Behind the Reels: A Deep Dive into the Design and Animation of Lucky Cola Slots

Lucky Cola Slots is a popular free-to-play mobile slots game featuring a colorful cast of characters and animations centered around a soda theme. With its casual gameplay and lighthearted graphics, it has garnered over 5 million downloads. But what goes into designing and animating such a charming game? We go behind the scenes with Lucky Cola’s art director John Smith to find out.

Creating the World of Lucky Cola

The first task was to establish the vibrant, soda-filled world that the slots gameplay would inhabit. John envisioned a 1950s-style malt shop setting to evoke nostalgia while having fun, modern twists like sentient soda bottles as characters. “I took inspiration from classic diners and vibrant pinball machine art,” John explains. “I wanted to combine vintage elements with bubbly, over-the-top personalities.”

After sketching concepts, the art team began modeling the environment and characters in 3D while focusing on establishing the logo, color scheme, and signature visual style. The familiar bottle shape of the Lucky Cola logo drives brand recognition, while its red, green, and white color palette informs the rest of the game’s graphics. The team ultimately settled on a vibrant, bubbly and cartoonish look reliant on bounce, stretch, anticipation, and secondary animation principles.

Character Design

At the center of Lucky Cola Slots are its wacky mascot characters like Cherri Cola, Mr. Fizz, and Professor Bubs – sentient bottles full of charm. John recalls the ideation process: “We brainstormed silly pun names that would fit the soda concept. We knew we wanted a classic red cola as the lead, then expanded into other flavors.” Each character was designed to be unique while having universal bottle-shaped appeal.

The team went through multiple concepts fine-tuning the details. Modeling fully articulated 3D bottles allowed animating flexible faces, limbs, and props to push poses. Bold colors, facial features, shiny materials, frothy soda props, and bouncy movement help establish vivid personalities to match the playful names. John says making the bottles appealing characters was one of the most complex yet rewarding parts of development.

Animating Game Elements

With the world and characters established, the team shifted focus to animating critical game elements. The main slot reels needed to feel kinetic and reactive while matching the bubbly theme. The art team simulated real-world slot rotation physics while injecting their playful style through bouncy stops, bubbly transitions, and slot symbols popping cartoonishly into place.

Hyper-animated reactions were also added for wins, unlocks, and other key events. For example, bottles burst into choreographed dance moves or get showered in a bubbly explosion of coins and rewards. These high-energy celebrations help make gameplay more exciting and satisfying. “Having fully articulated 3D characters allowed us to hit “anticipation” poses before a winning combo lands, making the payoff even sweeter,” John explains. “The animations are essentially little reward skits for players.”

Through meses of concepting, modeling, animation, and polish, the Lucky Cola team brought this soda-soaked world to life. Their attention to archetypal characters, punchy animation, and playful style gives a simple slots game added personality. So the next time you play, pay attention to the details – there may be more than meets the eye under the frothy surface. Every bottle bounce, slot spin, and payout celebration was crafted to heighten a charming experience where the reels feel almost alive.