iPhone App Game Development Blog #19
Hello Head-Heads?! How is your 2010 treating you, then.. Going to get right into it, as I am in the middle of working and should like to get back to that asap. That being said-
180 development - this game has been sitting in the oven for a bit too long. We've made some strong administrative decisions over here and decided to put the full thrust of our efforts behind wrapping up and releasing this game already. I am pretty tired of saying "it's coming, it's coming, you'll love it!" The truth is, the longer we wait to put it out there, the more saturated a market we will be facing and that does not mean good things. Of utmost importance is that we release a product of the best possible quality, which follows with all the necessary marks to market properly. We've got the plan down and we're well into execution. Ben and I spent a long meeting on Saturday to fill in the "missing element" and it flows quite nicely. I was excited for the game before, but now that we've got our follow-through planned out, I couldn't be happier. Anyway, Two weeks from now we will submit - and get on with our lives!
We've been working closely with testers (thanks volunteers!) to make this as smooth of a pick-up-and-play experience as possible, I find that to be one of the most crucial elements of any game design. You need to get someone's interest and attention within the first half-minute of play and have them be able to figure out the game mechanic, be attracted to the graphics and interface, and not too frustrated by the starting difficulty. From there the game rhythm must unfold to become more enticing, as the player subtlely comprehends the depth "ohhhh now I get it.. just one more game, just one more!" And of course the game must be more than just a rehash of someone else's game with some half-hearted twist applied. These are some of the finer points of successful casual-mobile game design..
iFist promotion - anyone who reads this regularly knows that we recently gave away our first app iFist during the Xmas-New Year's period, with the intention of just getting our name out there a little more and boning up our marketing connections and such (yes, it's all an experiment!) Very pleased with the results, we got lots of great feedback from people overall and it's got us jazzed to update the app at some point down the road. It was interesting to revisit that part of the world once again after so much time had passed..
Bizdev - Things are going well in that area as well. If there's one thing I have got out of all of this, it's a stronger sense of how to think more higher-level about a lot of this stuff! Suffice it to say we've developed several amazing connections throughout the past year alone, and once we wrap up 180, we're going to move into something that is really going to be stellar from all of the lead-in! 2009 was the warm-up, 2010 will be the crazy year!!!
Meanwhile, as usual I am just working hard to expand the connections with Twitter, Facebook, Retrogame of the Day, etc. Huge HUGE thanks to all of you readers/fans who have been helping spread the word. Everytime I see a retweet from something I have posted, that really makes me feel like it's for a good reason. People are into this stuff and they appreciate the long and late hours we put into all of this (and believe me, sometimes I just really wanna crash out on the couch for a change!!) So those of you who are helping, you have my gratitude, I will do my best to keep giving you folks things to be happy about. For a tiny dev like us, we rely on you guys to keep spreading the word on your own pages, your own blogs, your own twitters.. if you know someone who might appreciate what we do, please don't hesitate to keep the word going!
What have I been playing?
Drop 7. Still addicted.... yes, still...
Skater Nation by Gameloft
Was interested to see this ever since it was announced, then it came out along with tons of other products and I missed it! Checked out the lite version a couple of weeks later. Seems nice, looks great, and the price is definitely right. I worked on a couple of TonyHawk console games, so definitely wanted to see how they handled this on iPhone. My first impression - the controls are rough. This wasn't a surprise, as TH games require absolute precision control to be truly enjoyable, and transferring to the touchscreen in this situation wouldn't come so easily. I got over the game and haven't looked back - but it reeks of effort, so I will definitely play around some more. It feels good to see such a quality game on the device, otherwise..
ATV Offroad by 2XL
These guys know how to make a game. No, seriously. I could sit on the couch and play this for awhile. The fact that they've dropped the price so sharply is ludicrous. This looks and plays great. Like Skater, it's never going to be as enjoyable without an actual control device - but for what it is, lotsa fun and absolutely worth the pittance they are asking for. I'd LOVE to spend time building a game like this!
Implode by IUGO
Now this is a cool little physics game to kill some time. The cute and clean presentation is absolutely worth the 2 clams. Blow up structures by carefully placing TNT. Get the rubble to fall lower, with as little dynamite as possible. Addictive!
Textropolis by Nimblebit
Alright, my friend showed me this game ages ago and I didn't "get it." For whatever reason I recently relaunched it and actually gave it a try, it's quite fun! It really just tests your brain to see how many words you can find in the names of cities. Sounds bone-simple but it gets tricky. I love this and could easily play for hours! They have a sequel recently released as well - definitely check this out. It might look simple, but it's very very good. Excellent for mobile gaming.
Pac-Man:Championship Edition by Namco
This is an interesting one. I was skeptical about it from the moment they announced it (actually thought it was a typo!), I am a super-fan of it on the Xbox 360 and I think they did a wonderful job updating the game for the new generation. However, as most would expect, it seemed like it would be asking a lot to port a game like this with the controls carrying over properly. After all, Pac-Man had been done on the iPhone before. Anyway, it comes off decent, worth the couple of dollars to play, though I still much prefer to enjoy the fullsize version.