Developer Radu Muresan looks back at its journey from concept to release
Hello there! I’m Radu Muresan, designer and (mostly) solo developer behind Semispheres. I’m very proud to announce my game is coming to PS Vita in less than a month!
First off, a bit about the game: it’s a meditative parallel puzzle game, localised in many languages (English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Polish and Turkish). There’s a very smooth progression curve as you play through it. I owe this to being fortunate enough to be able to showcase and playtest my game at many public events.
I’ve already written about why the game is unique and how it works in my previous PS4 Blog post here.
Showcasing the game
About half a year after beginning work on the game, I started small with a showcase in a city close to where I live (Calgary, Canada). It was a make or break moment as it was the first time showing the game in public.
Fast forward a few more local showcases, adding puzzles, testing them, adjusting and repeating the process over and over again.
The first international recognition came in October 2015 when Semispheres was selected for the “Made With Unity” showcase at Boston Unite (a conference for developers using the Unity engine).
The first big break was being accepted into the Indie Megabooth at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. This is the North American equivalent of the Indie Arena from Gamescom. It was a badge of honour to be part of it and show the game to fellow game developers.
After this showcase, it all becomes a blur. I went to PAX West (Seattle), then Tokyo Game Show, PAX South (San Antonio), PAX East (Boston) and a few other events in Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Making the game work on its own and guide the player without my intervention was probably one of the best decisions made about the game. It allowed me to observe problem areas, attempt to fix them and verify if the changes work during the next showcase.
Showing a puzzle game at a noisy public event is very difficult. Sid Barnhoorn, the composer of the music in Semispheres, did a fantastic job at coming up with music tracks that instantly transported people away while playing and allowed them to get fully immersed in the game.
Semispheres on PS Vita
Speaking of good decisions, I still remember seeing my game on PS Vita for the first time. Unfortunately, as this happened quite a while after starting work on the game, the visuals didn’t initially look good. The smooth graphics in Semispheres are heavily shader-based, which just just worked on PS4, but back-porting to another platform was challenging. After lots of ups and downs and many lessons learned, I finally managed to get everything working right. I’m sure this will be easier on my next game.
One of the things that kept me going to make it all work was the PS Vita community. Just seeing the enthusiasm of the online community was really exciting. But being able to show the game and have fans repeatedly ask if the game is coming to PS Vita was a really good indicator of their passion.
The PS Vita version of Semispheres is very dear to me, even more so because it wasn’t easy for me to get it done. It’s extremely rewarding to be able to share it with you, I hope you will enjoy playing it on 11th October as much as I enjoyed making it!