Thursday, March 4, 2010

iPhone App Game Development Blog #23

iPhone App Game Development Blog #23

Yes, it is that time again.

180 development - Well, the game is essentially done. Hmm, I say that a whole lot lately, don't I? Wrapping up the menus, fonts, upsell stuff, a couple tweaks. Honestly I would expect that we will be submitting to Apple sometime early next week, but we'll see. It's done when it's done. In the meantime, I will keep churning out Retro Game of the Day's and doing prep for the launch (making a trailer, etc). I did a camera capture but it looks terrible with the moire patterning - I will likely do a re-shoot (it's a real hassle with my weak, slow PC!) but if you are really anxious to see how the game plays, here's a peek. Feel free to email me with any questions/comments you may have (I welcome this, feedback is extremely helpful, especially now!). I'd prefer that you don't spread this around as I want to show the game off in a better quality video, but if you know someone who would absolutely love this type of thing then you have my blessing :)

There will be a free Lite version of 180 which will contain a 90-second Score Attack mode. The full game will include that as well, with a Drop Attack mode (how many lines can you add before the timer runs out?) and of course the Endless "play until you lose" mode, where the speed increases as in Tetris. After all this time I still get a real kick out of playing the game and cannot wait to release it! We are talking with another developer who is interested in porting the game to Droid phones down the road, as well. I am excited to break into other markets, but I want to stress that we will be concentrating primarily on iPhone-specific development for the time being.

Bizdev - Things are quiet besides, as you can see we are just trying to wrap this thing up and get to submission. I will push forth with a big flurry of business development once it is out the door (also, that will make things a lot easier in a lot of ways). In the meantime, I have been taking some odd jobs to bring in some cash! I've been a roadie, a merch guy, a short-order cook. I'm pretty beat! Also, you may have noticed that I've started up another website called, as you might have guessed the purpose of this is to promote things further. I live in an interesting place and enjoy going out and being a part of the scenery - and I want to utilize it to help sell my games. I've been inviting friends to help pitch in with content (and promote their own wares as well!) so if you live in/around the area and would like to be involved, please contact me and we'll talk! We can only help each other out, you know :) When the game launches I will start more heavily promoting this website and it WILL get eyeballs!

I want to take a minute to mention HcG friend Ciji "StarSlay3r" Thornton, a pro gamer who is working with us to promote our new game (she's actually a character in the game!) Ciji is one of the contestants in the PS3 Reality Show "The Tester" which is currently being broadcast on PSN. Cheer her on!

Also, of important note is that I will be traveling to Boston for the PAX East game convention at the end of the month. My primary goal will be to push the game and get as much notice as possible. If you're a local dev who would like to meet up while I'm in town, contact me. If you're a devoted fan who appreciates what we do, now's your chance to buy me a beer. Or better yet, volunteer to help out and show off the game/distribute 180 flyers/stickers/buttons. Show your support and help out the little guy!

What Else is Going on - A lot of noise coming out of the big studios right now, unless you are living under a rock you've likely heard about the madness that's been going down at Call of Duty developers Infinity Ward and their publisher Activision. It sounds like a big mess and a lot of people are going to suffer for this, on every side. It's very unfortunate and it boils my blood, but to be honest there's a lot of hearsay going around right now and while people are generally very upset with ATVI right now, the truth is that we don't know the details. I'm not one to stick up for ATVI, but my years in Big Development have taught me a lot about how this stuff goes. I can expect that weirdness was probably happening on both sides, and I doubt no one is totally innocent in all of this. The devs deserve to be rewarded for their work, with money, respect, and control over their brand - but the truth is, when you sell out to a company, they own you, regardless of "if it's fair or not." It IS fair. If you don't want to get taken advantage of, be very careful who you are dealing with, how much money you can potentially make for them, and know who has the upper hand at the end of the day. No smart publisher is ever going to let a developer have too much control, if they can help it - it looks like Bungie and Microsoft narrowly avoided this kind of mess, we'll never know. They've seemed to work their situation out amicably. This COD situation is such a disaster and destroys so much potential in a lot of ways. I wish the best for everyone.

In my case, I have worked for Activision previously, back before they had the reputation they do now. The company has quite a colorful history (ups and downs, ups and downs) and it's taken a lot for them to get to where they are now. I don't see them as evil, they are doing what they need to in order to survive, but to be frank, I see big guys like that having a lot of trouble maintaining their relevance in the coming years if they don't adapt. EA is getting wise to this already and making big moves to deal with the future (Playfish acquisition). ATVI's merger with Vivendi, though hardly elegant, was probably one of the best things they could have done. Both EA and ATVI (and other big guns like UBI and THQ) need to go a long way to future-proof themselves, and they'd best be planting the seeds right now. Digital Distribution will come in a big way; it's a ways off yet, but when it does, developers won't really need big publishers quite so much anymore, certainly not in the capacity that they do currently.

What have I been playing? -some of this, some of that! Enough with the boring part of the blog, let's get to what everyone's craving for, the video games!

A perfect little time-passer for the iPhone. Looks very cute but underneath is an addictive game which you will have trouble putting down! I love these games which you can pick up and figure out how to play in a few seconds. Simply pop a bubble and see how many chain reactions you can set off - sounds easy but it gets hectic really quickly! Support HcG buds Retro Dreamer and pick this up, you'll see why they've moved countless units already!

Here's a really nice shooter for your iPhone. Traditional shmup gameplay, but nicely reformatted for iPhone play. The graphics are absolutely stellar and they really nailed the feel. Playing this makes me want to do a MUSHA for iPhone!

A cool little game with a unique, artsy look. Very classy. You must drag the ribbons over the properly colored dots to proceed, but you can only overlap the ribbons criss-cross. It quickly gets difficult. Some folks love this game, and others might feel it's too complex. Download the lite and see which camp you fall into.

Downloaded this as soon as I saw it, a Rampage-themed game sounds perfect for a quick pick-me-up. This doesn't disappoint, with some quality presentation. I've not played it too much but I like what's here; though I'd gladly pay more if they made a super-deluxx version with lots more going on. As it is, a perfect mini-game which inspires for something greater.

I read some mixed reviews for this one and decided to plop down a couple of clams. Intriguing concept for sure - brush strokes mixed with car drifting? Why not? To tell the truth, though I absolutely enjoyed the aesthetic, the short experience I had with this game was not enough to rope me in. I will try it a little more and see if I can "get it," but when I spend a couple of minutes getting frustrated with trying to decipher the main game mode (and sooooo many other iPhone games to play) then something's gone wrong on the design end. Any takers?

Instant classic right here. I was very excited when they announced that this was released for iPhone - I couldn't hand over my $5 fast enough. I am an old-school TF fan (who isn't?) as well as a big Advance Wars fan - so this totally made my day! I am a ways into the game now, and the novelty has worn off, but for a while there this had me glued. Not perfect, but a great realization on the iPhone. If you dig "lite" strategy games and you're a TransFan you will enjoy this, check it out!

Also on my iPhone - Plants vs Zombies, which my girlfriend is horribly addicted to, and Nectaris Military Madness, neither of these I have played yet (for obvious reasons!) but I will give them due time when I get a free few minutes.

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