BEHIND THE SCENES: Seasonal Events!

The “Behind The Scenes” series is a chance for us to give you a glimpse into the inner workings of HabitRPG, Inc., the company that makes Habitica. Every so often, we’ll treat you to some silly staff shenanigans or show you the work that goes into your favorite features. Enjoy!

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What would Habitica be without our four Grand Galas to celebrate the passage of the seasons?

Believe it or not, the first event was created on a whim by Leslie, whose fondness for seasonal decoration eventually led to her becoming the Seasonal Sorceress in-game.  Shortly before Habitica’s first Halloween, she whipped up a set of monster skins for fun and we stuck them on the site as a silly extra… and were blown away by the delighted response from our community.

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The original Spooky Skin set, now retired, that was thrown together in a single morning, and the improved Supernatural Skin set, which we now release every fall.

Emboldened by the success, we began to plan out a more ambitious winter event, involving decorations for the Non-Player Characters around the site, a winter-themed quest,  limited-edition winter equipment, snowballs that turned your Party-mates into snowmen…. and the rest is history.

So what goes into making a Seasonal Event?

Answer: a lot of work.

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Some of Leslie’s original quick scribbles, brainstorming possible Summer Splash outfits…
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…and the eventual pixel art that resulted! (Note that the designs were spread out over two separate years. We plan these things far in advance!)

 

Leslie usually has brainstorming sessions a few times a year where she batch-plans events, including art, potential features, and quests. When we’re a few months out from the start of the event, it’s time to talk to Sabe about what’s needed from a programming perspective, to make sure that enough time is budgeted. Finally, the new art assets are all completed a month or so before the event launches, so that we have time to build it out!

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If you summon the Mysterious Time Travelers during a Grand Gala, you’ll see them dressed for the opposite season. That’s partially a joke, but it’s also partially a nod to our users from the Southern Hemisphere. Though the vast majority of Habiticans live in the Northern Hemisphere, we didn’t want our friends below the equator to be forgotten!

We quickly figured out that prioritizing things that could be repeated each year would free us up to keep innovating. That first year of events was pretty exhausting to implement, simply given the sheer number of new assets and features that all had to be prepared at once, but now we can reuse lots of art, code, and content. That leaves us free to add something new and interesting every year without burning out!

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A sneak peek of spooky things to come…

Now Leslie and Sabe aren’t doing it all by themselves anymore — Beffymaroo and various pixel art contributors pitch in! Even so, it still takes a lot of cooperation, coordination, and commitment to bring you a new Grand Gala. But when we see how much fun the community has, it makes it all worthwhile.

Until next time!

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2 thoughts on “BEHIND THE SCENES: Seasonal Events!

  1. -Chu-

    Thank you for this post! The Grand Galas are one of my favourite features – the hard work and coordination that goes into every one of them is much, much appreciated!

    Ooh, what an exciting sneak peek… What could it be? Thrilled to find out!

    Like

    1. S Leslie

      We’re so glad that you enjoyed the post, and that you like the Grand Galas! They’re tiring, but rewarding. As for the sneak peek, you won’t have to wait too long…

      Like

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