The History of Boxel 3D

April 19, 2024


Boxel 3D version 2.0 is finally live and includes a bunch of visual features to enhance the current gameplay!

I’d like to share with you a short history of Boxel 3D, and also explain why I decided to completely replace the graphics in version 2.0.

Back in 2019, I saved up enough money to start a company with my brother Isaiah. Our goals were very simple:

  1. Grow our Twitch channel, also known as KargohTV
  2. Develop a new game called Boxel 3D
  3. Build websites to earn extra cash

A typical day looked like this: Kargoh would drive to my apartment at 6 am so we could prepare the stream by 8am. While he streamed, I would develop new features for Boxel 3D offscreen. By lunch time, we would end the stream and continue developing websites for our clients. At 3pm, Kargoh would head home and we’d do it all over again the next day.

After one year, our Twitch channel had gained over 20,000 followers, and we finally released the alpha version of Boxel 3D on Google Chrome. Our goals were starting to come true, but we were not as profitable as we would have hoped. To help fund our company, we invested more time into web development, but the pandemic made it difficult to find clients that were willing to spend extra money on new websites.

By 2021, our piggy bank was starting to run out of money. After a few months of scrambling to find new clients, we had to make the hard decision to close our shop… for good. Before dissolving our company, I decided to launch Boxel 3D in its current state and call it version 1.0. The game was supposed to have over 50 levels with different colorful themes, but it only launched with 35 levels and one theme. The game was playable, but I was not happy with the final product.

To help pay my bills, I went back to developing websites for local marketing agencies. Before going into work, I would wake up super early and make new games such as Boxel Golf and Tiny Tycoon. While developing these games, I got an email from Google saying they wanted to congratulate me for one of my extensions that was included in their 2023 list of favorite extensions. To my surprise, they had chosen Boxel 3D to be included in their list. They even sent me a trophy for providing users with a quote “fun and innovating experience”.

I was incredibly overwhelmed with excitement, so I decided I was going to “properly” relaunch Boxel 3D by adding all the features I felt were missing since 2021. To celebrate my excitement, I designed a roadmap of missing features and shared it with the community.

The first feature I worked on was the user interface or UI. The old UI was highly functional, but I felt like it lacked color and playfulness. Before designing anything, I researched a bunch of other game UI’s using a website called Game UI Database. This website lets you search games by genre, theme, and even aesthetics.

After collecting a folder of screenshots, I started redesigning the Boxel 3D home screen with elements that I liked from other games. This included rounded edges, vibrant colors, and fun icons. I redesigned every page with this new theme and shared the prototypes with the Boxel Community Discord channel. The feedback I received was mostly positive, but many players shared that they really liked the old UI, and wanted to at least have an option to switch back.

Before developing the new UI, I decided to completely replace the UI software from jQuery to Vue.js. The old code I wrote was becoming difficult to manage, so I used this time to introduce a more modern framework. I decided to use Vue.js because it makes it easier for me to separate each page into smaller components rather than adding code to a single massive file. After a month of development, I quietly released the new framework update in version 1.3. This allowed me to test the new UI software on over 600,000 active players before committing to the new designs.

For the next month, I started developing every page with the new theme designs. As promised, I made sure players could easily switch back to the old UI if they preferred the nostalgic experience. On April 4th, I officially released Boxel 3D version 2.0 into the wild. I felt so good about the work I had put into the redesign, and I can only equate it to finishing a huge homework assignment.

That blissful feeling quickly turned into anxiety when people started sharing their dissatisfaction towards the new designs. I truly thought the option to switch the UI back to the old version would prevent this type of reaction, but boy was I wrong. The responses I received sounded like I had destroyed their favorite toy, and replaced it with a cheaper version.

In the end, I managed to swallow my pride, and listened to the feedback players were sharing. The requests were often simple to adjust, and most of the recommendations were intended to improve the new experience they had grown to enjoy for many years.

So why did I spend all this time and energy into making Boxel 3D version 2.0? Honestly, I just wanted to build my original vision of the game from 5 years ago. Boxel 3D was supposed to look like Boxel Rebound, but ended up looking dark and gloomy mostly due to my lack of 3D knowledge. At the time, I didn’t even know how to add light to the game, so I just used cheap 2D images for the background to fake the environment. After making 3D games for the past 4 years, I finally felt confident enough to dust off Boxel 3D and give it a second chance.

Boxel 3D is free to download on Google Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge and will continue to receive free updates for the foreseeable future. My next goal is to develop new games that can help fund more consistent features and updates for Boxel 3D.

Thank you so much for watching the history of Boxel 3D! I look forward to making new levels and content for the many years to come. Have a good one, bye!

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