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Q&A - You asked the CCFS Studio, they answered!

QueenMiaQueenMia Posts: 9,583 Community Manager
edited November 2019 in Discussions
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Hello sweet people! 

Ever wondered what it is like to be part of the Candy Crush Game Studio or how the magic happens behind the scenes?
That you asked your questions in our last Q&A session or not, this might interest you!

You asked our sweet Candy Crush Friends Game Studio and they answered 🌟 

So now, put on your glasses, seat back, relax and enjoy the read.

You: Who does the voice work for the characters? How do you decide what sounds/phrases each character will make? Do you have the voice actor follow a script or do you ask the actor to make some creative decisions? 

Anna, Producer: The sounds for the characters are recorded from real voice actors. We are doing auditions to find the right voices for each of the characters. All the actors have scripts for the phrases, and those are designed by our narrative designers. The actors are brought in from external agencies, and are not a part of the game teams. The music is recoded from an orchestra in New York. We don’t have a video on the Friends team, but here is a video showing the life at King London, where the Candy Crush Friends Saga is developed. 

You: How do you come up with ideas of new characters. Most of them come from other Candy games - Are there maybe any plans for a brand new character we never saw before?

Riana, Art Director: The early set of characters was inspired by the Candy Town universe, and it’s the same for new ones. The first thing we do is to try to get to understand the character by asking lots of questions: Who are they? What’s their personality? How will it all add together and did it work well with the other characters we have? Once we have a really good understanding of character's personality, we start exploring what they might look like. The artwork needs to reflect that personality so you, our players, can really get to know them and their story. Every artistic choice we make, from the colour to the shapes, to the clothes they wear, and how they behave is based on their story. We do a lot of sketches, iterating until we get it just right. Then we have to break down the character for 3D work, since all our characters in game are three dimensional: we make a detailed model pack, with information about the colour, texture and any information the modeller might need before they bring the character into 3D.
Are there plans for brand new characters? Well, that would be telling! But I can say we’ve got big plans for the characters in Candy Crush Friends Saga in general, so watch this space!

YouHow did you come up with the powers for all the characters? 

John, Senior Level Designer
: The process is usually as follow: Level designers and game designers get together to come up with (hopefully!) exciting and interesting ideas for the game. We ask ourselves the following questions:

• Where is there a gap in the current set of character powers?
• What would be surprising and fun for our players?
• What would help us as level designers to create exciting levels?
• What would be a useful power for our players? What are they currently asking for or struggling with in the game?
• What is the personality of the character? What’s their story? How can we reflect this in their power?
• Is there a particular game mode or gameplay element that we’d like the character power to work well with?

Once we’ve discussed all of the above, we would come up with some early concept ideas, which we’d then ask our friendly neighbourhood developers to create prototypes for. We’d then use these prototypes in a bunch of levels to test those out and see if the power is fun, if it’s useful enough, and if it feels right for the game.
If we agree that it works, then we’ll further refine the logic and functionality of the power. We’ll also work with our art team to refine the visuals, before creating some shiny new levels to showcase the new power.

YouWill there be a temporary power for one character i.e double delish fish?

John, Senior Level Designer: Will there be a temporary power for one character i.e double delish fish? There are currently no plans for doing something like this – but never say never! We’re always trying to think of fun new ways to tweak and improve the characters, as we know they’re super-important for the game and beloved by the team here and our players alike! Could be that we do something like this in future – you’ll just have to keep playing and find out!

You: Is the BubbleGum Troll farting when he helps or is it me?!

Anna, Producer: Yes, he is farting! We felt that it suited his personality really well 😋

You: What are the figurines from other game boards that live in Candy Land? I'm always waiting to see them, haven't spot a single one!

Inka, Game Designer: Great question. Actually, you have seen those figurines! There are three types of figurines in the world of Candy Crush. The ones who came with the original Candy Kingdom board game, the ones who fell in from neighbouring toys and board games, and the ones who came from a “faraway world.” You can always tell an original Candy Kingdom figurine because they are the ones made from sweets. So, Bubblegum Troll and Dachs the Donut Dog for example (as well as Cupcake Carl and The Jelly Queen from Candy Crush Jelly Saga, and Percy Blockerton and Lyclops from Candy Crush Soda Saga) are all original Candy Kingdom figurines. Yeti, and Misty, and Nutcracker, and Odus all fell into Candy Town when Tiffi triggered what Mr. Toffee calls “the great scramble.” On the day of the great scramble, Tiffi fell into the Candy Kingdom from a faraway world triggering the ultimate board game mash up catastrophe. All the Yetis from the game Yeti Trap fell into the Candy Kingdom. Misty came from Pin the Horn on the Unicorn, and Denize the Dragon came from the classic Dragon in my Flagon, all parachuted in from a tear in the sky. Tiffi and Kimmy of course come from our “faraway world.” And secretly, so does someone else. But he will never reveal his secret. Can you guess who it is? 

Since this November (in November 11 actually) , the Candy Crush Soda Saga celebrates the 5 years from its launch , I was wondering if Kimmy who is Tiffi's older sister will appear in Candy Crush Friends Saga too?

Inka, Game Designer: That’s a great idea! We are always looking for new characters to introduce in Candy Crush Friends Saga and new stories to tell, and a story where Kimmy finally catches up with her kid sister Tiffi is a big one! We are still trying to find the right moment to tell that tale, so stay tuned. Who knows, maybe an anniversary is just the right opportunity. 

YouFrom where did you inspire the characters and their backstories in CCFS?

Inka, Game Designer: We worked hard before the launch of Candy Crush Friends Saga to bring together all the hundreds of people who were working on Candy Crush games and revise and update our story world. Headed by our narrative team, we carefully tried to use the whole story that was implied in prior games, while adding new details that we thought would give the world more intriguing fictional fabric, as well as allow us to have more fun with the characters and the story world. For example, did you know that the entire universe of Candy Crush is dependent on there being a cosmic balance between the forces of sweet and the forces of salty? Did you know that if those forces get out of balance we risk the terrifying “taste-a-geddon”? And did you know whenever someone plays Candy Crush they are making the magical energy sweetonium that powers sweetness into the universe and helps keep that balance? Did you know that the world of Candy Kingdom is a giant oversized magical board game and that somewhere across the cosmic divide there is another board game world, a Salty Kingdom, where Pretzella and Baron von Anchovy plot their way into the Candy Kingdom? Did you know that Mr. Toffee keeps a deep dark secret? Did you know that Bubbglegum Troll hates Mr. Toffee and wants nothing more than to expose his secret and become the mayor himself? Did you know that Nutcracker has a crush on Tiffi but Tiffi can’t even remember his name? In fact, we’ve got loads of backstory still to tell. So, let us know what you think and we will work hard to keep the stories coming.

You: What characters have you planned to add next and when do you plan to add them in to the team? 

Riana, Art Director: We do have big plans for the characters in Candy Crush Friends Saga – but we don’t want to spoil the surprise! I can say that there is a new one coming very very soon, so let the speculation begin! 

You: What characters did the beta test version have? 

Anna, Producer: In the very first beta there were only Tiffi, Yeti and Nutcracker.

You: Who exactly created these amazing maps and backgrounds in CCFS? I would like to congratulate him for doing amazing job with those 3D graphics and all in this game.

The CCFS Studio: This is also a team effort! The work we do in Candy Crush Friends Saga really is very collaborative and requires multiple people with a variety of skills coming together to work towards a common goal. Generally, map creation starts with a visual development artist or concept artist who sketches and plans out how it’s all going to work. Here’s an exclusive example from our talented Carina: 

We like to work in sketches like this first as it’s far quicker to iterate in 2D sketches before going into 3D. We want to make sure that these maps have all the love, charm and personality of the wonderful Candy Crush Friends Saga characters!

Then our 3D Environment artists take over – often more than one, but right now Tautvydas Kazlauskas is the artist responsible for making the 3D maps – he’s just made a stunning one and I can’t wait to share it with all of you! Stay tuned for more!

You: I want to know why some people get the challenges and some other don't

Jessica, Data Scientist: As a games developer, the most important way to learn about whether and how our players enjoy different features and events we make for them is to do what we call AB tests. By giving some players a particular event, and others another event, or maybe no event at all, we can compare the data from those different groups and learn how appealing and fun different elements of the game are. This is how we make sure that we only give our players what they really enjoy! Unfortunately, this means that some players will miss out on some events 😕 But don't get disheartened if you missed some event. Since it's completely random, you will probably get lucky for the next one!

You: Why do some people get free boosters at the start of the games and watch video for 4 extra moves and others don’t?

Jessica, Data Scientist: Similar to answer above, we want to make sure that watching videos is rewarding for our players, and not an annoying experience. Therefore, we are doing various tests for different players across different King games to ensure the best player experience. Every time we do a test, we learn a bit more about what our players enjoy, and we can make the game a bit better!

You: Can you please design a good and effective way to navigate to past levels, please? 

Inka, Game Designer: Whenever you're really stuck, it's worth trying a new way to play the level. Sometimes switching to a different Friend (Yeti is my favourite), using a booster or getting a few extra moves is all you need to get through a difficult level. That being said, we have tons of ideas for new features which would make passing levels more fun!

You:  Why do updates interfere with the game so often? This time I lost my bubble gum troll trail. It just went poof! Can anything be done to get it back?

CowardlyYeti, Senior Producer: We try our hardest to ensure that every time we release an update it doesn’t have any ill effects on the experience. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, errors do creep in and can cause odd problems for some players. Please post here in the Community forums if you do have any problems, we are watching this space and are doing our best to fix any problems as soon as we can.

You:  How did the developers start working on the game? How did the game look like at the beginning, before the soft launch (game design, UI/UX), characters designs, Gameplay, etc). How many times are the designs changed? What programs are you using for making this sweet game?

Emil Jones, Senior Developer: We wanted to make a Candy Crush game with focus on our awesome characters. There are tons of characters in Candy Crush Saga and Candy Crush Soda Saga but they don't get that much backstory and space. We wanted to give these characters exposure they deserved 😊 Early prototypes leaned into the puzzle battle genre but were abandoned since we felt that it was taking away to much attention from the heart of the Candy games, destroying candies 😉 The design has changed so many times, too many to remember 🤗 We are using industry standard tools to make our games, a few examples are: Photshop, Maya and Visual Studio.

YouDo you get insanely urge to eat candies and sweets after playing for hours? 

The CCFS Studio

. One of the ways we judge that the art is good enough in the game is that we should want to eat it! It definitely makes you crave the sweet stuff! - by CowardlyYeti, Senior Producer

. Haha! Yes! But only if I stare at the candies for too long. - by Inka, Game Designer

. Sometimes yes! And the team is very fond of the Swedish Fika tradition 😊 - by Anna, Producer

. Definitely! It doesn’t help that there’s often sweets and candy around the office – for inspiration, I swear! Of course, eating them also inspires me – or at least that’s what I tell myself! Personally I’ve a very sweet tooth, I love baking and it’s a dream come true to work on a game as sweet as this one. - by Riana, Art Director

. Absolutely, I have a massive sweet tooth! My favourite day in the office is the last Thursday of the month, which is when we celebrate all staff birthdays from that month with a BIG cake :-) - By Jessica, Data Scientist

YouBesides designing the game, of course.. Do you play it? Which level are you on!? How you know which friend to recommend? 

The CCFS Studio:

. Yes, we are playing the game and there are tough competitions between the team members as well. I’m currently on level 1407.- by Anna, Producer

. Yes, every day! I'm on level 410. The recommended Friend is handpicked by the level's designer. Usually it is the best choice, but you're free to try other suggested Friends too! - by Inka, Game Designer

. We’re all big players here, and of course we are all on different levels. We looked at our own game data to see who was the ‘best’ player – the person who got the furthest with the least attempts – and that turned out to be our business performance director! He’s very proud of that fact. - by CowardlyYeti, Senior Producer

. I do play the game! I’ve been playing Candy Crush since it came out, I’m a huge Candy Crush fan! As to what level I’m on in Candy Crush Friends, I actually play two versions, the one in the app store, and I also play our special internal, developer version. It lets me try out all the new levels and test the artwork to make sure it’s perfect before we release it to the players. Playing the game is an essential part of our process here in King so I play it nearly every day and we all get together as a team to play the game every Tuesday. Yes, it’s true, I get to play games for a living!

. As to how we recommend which Friend to use, the level designers craft each level carefully with specific Friends in mind and then, yes, we play the level a lot to make sure that they work best! Of course, we all have our personal favourite characters to play with – mine is Yeti! - by Riana, Art Director

. I have been playing the game since it launched a year ago, and I’m on level 1244. A hard level, but I’m determined to pass! We have a group of very talented level designers who design all the levels and decide which friend we recommend for each level. If you find that the recommended friend is not helpful for you, try some of the other characters or use a booster! We reward you with booster pieces if you come back daily, which can help you pass that tricky level. Good luck! - by Jessica, Data Scientist

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What an amazing read 🤩
A HUGE thank you to our amazing Game Studio who took time to answer all these great questions. You guys rock 💪

We really hope you enjoy these insights and that you got to learn a bit more about how the magic happens behind the scene.
Let us know what you think below or just say hi! 


Have an amazing time everyone and don't forget to have fun 🍒

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