The concept was simple. Two players spout-off answers to a question asked by a host with a sports almanac. The first person that gives an incorrect answer loses. The concept’s first public appearance was sometime in the early 2000’s as a browser based game named Chucksports. Played by sports fanatics, their ultimate goal was to be on the leaderboards that displayed their name on the front page. It was a single player sports trivia experience that ranged from impossible, to “how the hell can anyone know that” for the average person. I think the difficulty helped create a cult following that kept my cousin going until the website was hacked, and my cousin decided it was time to stop supporting it.
Sometime in 2012, Chris revitalized Chucksports. This time developing the game for his iPhone.
He showed me his mock up. It was a fully functional recreation of his original browser-based game. Players could make guesses. Correct guesses would flip the tiles over like Family Fued, and wrong answers would be added to your list of incorrect answers. I wanted to help. His mock ups were functional, but needed some design refinement.
After spit balling a few ideas back and forth and taking some time to comprehend his full intention, I began organizing the information for a mobile device (Small screen, touch gestures) and made a quick and dirty mock up. I wanted all of the possible answers to fit on the screen, and for the answer board to list vertically instead of horizontally because of the orientation of the game/phone. We added a 5-strike system that created an end to the game. A user can guess until the answer board is filled, or they’ve made 5 incorrect guesses. Incorrect answers were divided into two columns similar in appearance to the answer board to continue the theme, and they were always visible to the player instead of being hid behind a button. It was a start, with more finagley bits to come!
I cannot remember if it was Chris’ original intention, or if we decided to adapt the single player experience into a multiplayer experience together. But it the change in scope was natural and made sense. We’re developing for mobile devices, the original Chucksports concepted was played with multiple people and a sports almanac, and it would make the game more fun. Let’s see how the game would look if we were to add a second player to the game screen.
Each player takes a turn guessing answers. When your opponent has made a guess, a notification is delivered to your iPhone lock screen to let you know it’s now your turn to guess. On the answer board, correct answers are colored based on who guessed the answer. Incorrect answers (max of 3) are written below the user’s name letting the two players see who guessed what at all times. The game now ends at 3 strikes (ha!) instead of 5, and who ever had the most correct answers wins the match.
With the match design in a good state, it was time to look at the meta-game, and think about the entire game.
I find doing high-level flows like this helpful for two reasons, to get the thoughts out of my head making room to focus on other things, and to show to my coworkers (at this time, Chris) to make sure we’re on the same page and working towards the same goal.
The game’s flow was fairly linear, and took a lot of inspiration from games like Words with Friends. With the addition of multiplayer, we created a way for users to customize what sports and decades they felt comfortable playing. It looks like the original design had users selecting a specific game, than searching for someone else wanting that exact game, at that exact time. This obviously had to change (and did) by release.
Expect to see how Chucksports developed visually in the next chapter, Chucksports Part II.