Thursday, April 29, 2010

iPhone App Game Development Blog #26

iPhone App Game Development Blog #26

Yes, time to plunge into the deep end of iPhone App development. Grab your water wings and dive in..

180 Development -well, what can I say - it's here! We've finally released our sophomore effort, and oh boy has it been a journey. Here's a link to the iTunes page should you like to purchase the game for yourself; it costs $1.99, it has 3 gameplay modes, 2 levels of difficulty, openFeint Leaderboards and Achievements, okay if you are a regular reader of this blog then you already know the skinny, just buy the blasted thing already :) We had been in submission for nearly 3 weeks (counting our initial rejection and re-submit) - not as speedy as I had hoped, but it certainly could have been a lot worse. When I saw the game sitting on the App Store last night, I was actually quite surprised.

Anyway, we are not out of the woods yet. As I have mentioned, we are doing a "soft launch" and aren't doing much to promote the game right off the bat. I want to wait until the Free Version is completed and passes through submission, because as everyone knows, people hate paying for iPhone games, especially from tiny developers. When we reach that milestone, then I will launch with a nice trailer, a Press Release, email all my contacts, et cetera. At this point I've made a pretty low-key thread posting on TouchArcade to try and drum up some interest, but it's very hard to command much attention at a place like that unless you've got a powerful presence. That being said, if you're a TA forum member I'd appreciate it if you could drop in the thread and help us keep it aloft. These things require a bit of nettling before the dam can burst!

Likewise, if you've bought the game, please help us out and give us a rating on iTunes. Be honest; if you don't care for the game, if you're disappointed, rank it accordingly. But definitely give us a moment and rank it somehow.

I'm going to use this blog to reach out to this community more, after the Free version becomes available; right now we don't want to make much noise, but at that point it will be critical to seek some grassroots help from those of you out there who enjoy our product. Something as simple as mentioning the game to your friend, maybe you have a "fun stuff" thread at your office where people post pictures of cats all day. Again, I am only requesting help if you actually enjoy the game, and appreciate what we are trying to do; if it's not your cup of tea, that's fine too!

These next couple of weeks will be very critical for 180 and my future as an indie developer. I feel like we have a potentially powerful product here, it just needs room to get out there and find its audience. As you can imagine, this is quite stressful, but honestly it is the most exhilarating point in my 13 years of game development. This is the most attached I have felt to anything I have worked on (that's a lot of good stuff too, if you've seen my resume) and I am completely satisfied with how things have wound up to this point; I feel like great things can come of this, and I'd like to be able to produce more projects that are even better experiences for the gamers out there.

So, do your part, Headcasers! Give us reviews, pound on our thread.. play the game, get some openFeint achievements! The first person who can trounce my high score (good luck!) will get a special prize!

Bizdev - things are really quiet right now as we are launching the game and wrapping up the Free version. I am having a few meeting with folks regarding getting the word out there, and porting the game to other mobile devices. Best-case scenario, I'd love to do a Droid port of 180 (it's not impossible) and make it a Deluxe version, but right now I am not gonna put the cart before the horse. Also I am moving forward with another programmer to wrap-up his game as well, and that should be submitted to the Appstore within the coming weeks. Following that production, it is hopeful that we can start on something fresh as well.

What Else is Going On -Well hey, a lot is up in the world of video games. It's not hard to understand how topsy-turvey things are right now, with Activision dominating the news lately for good and bad reasons at the same time. What a mess, right? Anyway, all we little guys can dois sit back and watch as the world reforms itself in strange ways. Activision Exec resigns; 2nd lawsuit filed by Infinity Ward staff; Respawn "spawning" out of the ashes of that whole mess, signing with EA; Bungie and Activision making a deal. My head spins, thinking about it. Never mind all this "next gen" iPhone "leak," and the announcement of the overhauled new iPhone OS. On top of everything else, as the months wear on, we shamble closer and closer to E3, I need to wrap up my registration for all of that.

What Have I Been Playing?

The iPhone scene has been pretty electric lately. There's a lot of things clamoring for the consumer's attention; let's dig through and see what is on my i-Thingie.

Okay, I am a sucker for Excitebike, that's never been a surprise. Apparently quite a few people share my love of this game, and a few derivatives have popped up on the Appstore. Giant Moto is a recent one; looks great, feels pretty good to play. Instantly when I tried this I though "man... the iPhone really needs a button sometimes." I just can't get over that fact when I try to play a game like this, still it is fun and I keep coming back to it.

Motocross Challenge is, surprise, another Excitebike-style game! Well, what do you want from me, I really dig these! Unfortunately, this one even more than the first game I mentioned, I really wish there was a button control for these things. Still, a fun game, and worth the money - lots of colors, lots of worlds, lots of content packed in there. Word has it that this was originally intended to be a Gameboy Advance title or something, but just never came out. Well, here it is now! A little sloppier in it's control than Giant Moto, but still a fun ride.

I gotta hand it to the staff at No Monkeys, they do a bang-up job of producing some of the most aesthetically wonderful iPhone games I have ever seen. This one does a marvelous job of maintaining the status quo (marvelous, wonderful, what am I, Billy Crystal?) They try to take the line-drawing genre in a different direction with this little game, it's instantly easy to understand and fun to play; though it does feel claustrophobic rather quickly. Worth a look, for sure.

Okay, these guys really don't need me pimpin' their game in my blog.. they just showed up barely a couple of weeks ago (if that) out of nowhere, and now they are literally dominating the paid charts with this little $0.99 app. It's quite remarkable. I am very curious what the story is behind it all.. anyway the game itself is pleasant, one of the true pick-up-and-play wonders that hits all the marks, and it's so simple that your head will spin. It's fun and I am glad I picked it up, I am interested to see where these guys go from here. A fun little test of reflexes, though it gets difficult to tell what is going on at times.

Who what huh? Did I accidentally try to review my own game which is conveniently available right now at this very link? Oh my God. So shameful. Skip this and buy some farting app instead.

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