August 13, 2013
Qixi Festival / Chilseok
In the lunar calendar, the seventh day of the seventh month (or August 13th in this year’s standard calendar) is a time to celebrate a great, romantic love story. The names and traditions vary from country to country, but all the celebrations can be traced back to an old story of two lovers who are separated by a great river and are forbidden to meet except for this one night. Their reunion is always made possible with the help of some very sympathetic bridge-building magpies (or crows). The male character in the story is usually a handsome, mortal shepherd. While the female character is always a beautiful, heavenly weaver and the daughter of the gods.
The shepherd and the weaver
It’s a festival that we’ve created doodles for many times in the past. This year we wanted to create a fun, interactive game with the goal of getting the two lovers together. The challenge was to guide the birds into their correct places and prevent the lovers from falling into the river. The more quickly you build your bird-bridge, the higher your score.
Obviously in order to turn this story into a game, we played with some of the traditions of the story. One decision was to design three different types of birds that have to be matched to certain spots on the bridge. We wanted to make the game as friendly as possible to a wide audience. So the birds are different shapes in addition to being a different color.
Left-to-right: The blue, more traditional magpie bird and our new red and yellow birds
To make the game a bit challenging we also decided that there would be 3 levels to the game. Each level would have an increasingly more difficult bird-bridge to build. We hinted at the passing of time by making each level a bit brighter and closer to dawn. We also invented two mischievous birds who drag away the two lovers just as they are about to meet at the end of levels one and two. In our game’s universe, birds are forever helping you one minute and then interrupting your plans the next!
For the actual bridges we wanted to make sure each was different and also corresponded to the general theme of love. In level one the bridge is made up of single birds. Pretty easy. In level two you have to create pairs of birds to create a stable bridge. In the third level we introduced smaller, lighter-colored “child” birds. These child birds have to meet up with two adult birds to form a family unit of three to create a stable bridge. We thought this would make the final bridge a real challenge.
In the end, we hope everyone enjoyed playing the game and that all players had fun trying to reunite our two star-crossed lovers. Thanks to Feng Yuan, the lead engineer for this game, for all his hard work and sleepless nights. A special thanks to the core doodle engineers, Corrie Scalisi, Mark Ivey and Kris Hom for their help shepherding this project through its final stages. Also, thanks to the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra for generously allowing us to use their performance of “Full Moon and Blossoming Flower.”
As a bonus for those that have read this far, here are a few of our early concept sketches for the game. Remarkably the finished game isn’t too different from our original ideas.
— Posted by Brian Kaas, Doodler