Archive | March, 2010

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Indie Interview: GeoSnake

Posted on 19 March 2010 by Todd

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Today we bring you an indie interview with David Perry, the creator of GeoSnake!

Company: Didev Studios
App Store: GeoSnake $0.99

How long have you been developing for the iPhone/iPod touch? What did you do before you started developing for the iPhone/iPod touch?
Since around September 2008. Before that I mainly wrote homebrew games for the Sony PSP.

How long did it take you to develop GeoSnake and how many people were involved?
Two of us worked on this project for around 15 months part time. Andreas Inghe provided the textures, audio and levels and I did the coding and vector graphics.

How did you come up with the idea for GeoSnake?
It’s based on an old PSP homebrew title named SnakPSP. Also, it’s Snake – The original mobile game!

What inspired you for GeoSnake from initial concept to formalized game?
The development cycle for GeoSnake was quite long, but seeing it evolve over the months was inspiration enough.

What inspires you? And is it different for each game?
Generally I find the game inspires itself. Sometimes you’ll add a feature to a game that ignites your inspiration and keeps you going night after night into the small hours.

What have you found most difficult about being an indie developer?
App exposure. If people never see your app they will never buy it. We’ve been lucky that GeoSnake has been featured by Apple in New & Noteworthy and sales have increased 10 fold because of it.

Can you describe your development process?
We use a project management system named Trac to handle the overall state of the project. It lists tasks that each of us have completed and need to complete in order to hit certain milestones. I can’t recommend it enough!

What does the creative process look like during the initial stages?
Andreas generally steers the creative side and he’ll create several concept shots that advance throughout the creative process.

Did you do any pre-marketing before GeoSnake was released?
We created a small preview thread on the TouchArcade forums when we submitted it for review, aside from that nothing really.

What are you working on now?
We currently have four other games that are all at different stages of development, stay tuned!

Any plans for updates to GeoSnake?
Many. Although GeoSnake itself is a complete game we have some great ideas to make it even better. We’ve had the 1.1.0 update approved this week which adds more features and depth to the game.

What was your most frustrating task while developing GeoSnake?
Drawing the various shapes procedurally was a bit of a maths related nightmare – but I managed to get through it.

What have you found to be the most successful way to market GeoSnake?
Getting featured by Apple was the clear winner, however review sites and App Store gaming forums have been somewhat successful too.

How much does user feedback affect your planning of updates and also future projects?
It pretty much drove the first update. 3 new features were user suggested and came from gaming forums.

Do you write games for yourself or for others? And why?
Bit of both really. I write games that I enjoy playing and also add features that I think others will like. It’s nice to feel that you’re giving others hours of entertainment for a mere $1.

What process do you go through to overcome creative block?
I leave it to Andreas to fight with 😉

Since its release what you do differently looking back?
Nothing comes to mind really. We’d already released Bugz quite a while back and had learned from any mistakes made then.

What was the development atmosphere like? What kind of music did you listen to?
It was literally just me and my Mac. I mainly listen to heavy rock.

What was a must have during the development process of GeoSnake?
Caffeine!

What games influenced you in your decision to make GeoSnake?
As mentioned in the other question, SnakPSP was the basis but the original mobile snake game gave us the gameplay we were after. The look of some of the other ‘geo’ style games also influenced our general direction.
We were careful not to use pre-generated images like some of the other ‘geo’ games – the gameplay in GeoSnake is all generated procedurally on the device for that true vector look and feel.

How close was the end product to your initial conceptualization?
Visually it was just a highly polished variant of the original. Gameplay has evolved massively from the first concept.

Before the release of GeoSnake were there any huge last minute changes?
On the front end, no. However the engine had some major improvements to improve performance considerably.

How did you keep yourself motivated?
Sheer willpower!

How much did the art drive the game? The vision of what it was to look like how much of that was the driving force?
At the start that was pretty much the entire driving force – the look. However as the gameplay evolved it took a bit of a back seat and the gameplay became the main focus.

What tools of the trade are a must have for you when it comes to programming, art and music?
Andreas uses Photoshop for art and FL-Studio for the audio. For development I use Xcode, Shark to profile, Trac to manage the project and Versions for source code management.

If you were stuck on an island with a laptop and no internet access what apps would you have loaded?
I’m a big fan of ‘The Creeps!’, not having internet access removes the rest of the apps I use!

Is there anything else that you would like to say?
Thanks to indieappolis for taking the time out for this interview.

We want to thank David for his time and for GeoSnake!

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Kill the Fly

Posted on 18 March 2010 by TBS

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Playsteria
App Store: Kill The Fly $0.99

For the first time I can remember I have to protect a pile of crap in a game. I thought you were suppose to get rid of it not protect it? The object of the game is to protect a pot of (insert any synonym for fecal matter here) from flies getting to it. There are five different flies to kill. Tapping on a fly will kill it unless it is a big fat one. Just tapping on the screen without killing a fly will actually deduct points. While killing the flies you are awarded some special objects to use. The first one is a fly swatter. Anything within the area of the swat will die or well on its way to dying. The second object is a spray can. It disorients the flies and slows them down. I like this one the best. The third object is electricity. Can anyone say InstaKill? This also has a small AoE. Be careful, the regular fly will sometimes evolve and take a dive bomb at the pot. As you progress you will encounter certain levels that have spiky objects that will deduct points if touched. Occasionally there will be soft spots making it impossible to kill the fly over it. There are four areas to play from with each area having four levels.

The graphics are good. The sound effects are funny. I don’t know if I should be disturbed about the pot or the sound of a fly munching on some delight from the pot.

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Super Turbo Action Pig

Posted on 17 March 2010 by TBS

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Joystick Generals
App Store: Super Turbo Action Pig $0.99?

Super Turbo Action Pig, bacon makes everything better, makes you wish Mary Poppins sang “A spoonful of bacon makes the medicine go down.” My apologies, I have bacon on my mind. Let’s start from the beginning. The object of the game is to avoid Butcher Bill’s flying arsenal. The only control you need to worry about is the thrusters button. Using the thrusters you move up and down the screen avoiding all peril. When you hear a laugh prepare yourself for a flying missile or two spinning saw blades at top and bottom. The only way to track your progress is determined by how far you have traveled. The game is simple. At first glance you would think the game would become repetitive, but so far it has brought me back for more playing time.

The graphics are well done. It fits the game well. The music reminded me of the sideshow carny on Coney Island I visited last year. I actually got to stand on a petite blond laying on a bed of nails. Awesome! I really liked the UI. It was kept simple and intuitive. The only thing to worry about on the screen was the pause button disguised as a pig snout. The only thing I felt lacking were some sort of rewards that one can obtain during game play besides how long one lasted playing. Other than that, this game is well put together in all facets. I look forward to more games from Joystick Generals.

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Neurosis

Posted on 16 March 2010 by Todd

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Robot Swap Meet
App Store: Neurosis $1.99

Neurosis is a very fun and interesting matching puzzle game with some unique rules. The goal of the game is to create a connection between two blue puzzle pieces, but you have to watch the minimum and maximum requirements for the green and red puzzle piece connections! You need to have less than the minimum connections to red pieces, while trying to connect as many of the green pieces as possible to score extra points. This sounds simple, but Neurosis has tons to offer in both replay value, as you try to unlock all of the achievements for a level, and there are also 100 levels!

I found this to be a really fun puzzler that has a nice twist to the normal connection type games. The graphics, animations, and sound effects are great. The menu system is very intuitive and the achievement system is very well done. Neurosis is easily worth the $1.99 price and will keep you happily playing for a long time!

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Tilt to Live

Posted on 15 March 2010 by Todd

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One Man Left
App Store: Tilt to Live $1.99

Tilt to Live is absolutely amazing and a must have game! Who knew that dots could be so much fun? You are a dot and it is your little white dot against all of the big red dots. The name of the game explains how the controls work and this is the best tilt game that I have played.

This is your typical survival type game, but everything is done perfectly. There are various weapons and you simply move your dot over the weapon to activate. Sometimes the red dots get board and they merge to create arrows or even start o play Pong! The weapons are very balanced and the animations are great. The graphics and music are awesome and really add to the game. There are unlockable super weapons and 27 award challenges.

The game is well worth the $1.99 price and should be on everyone’s iDevice! Just watch the video if you don’t believe me and check out the reviews in iTunes.

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SwipeHead

Posted on 13 March 2010 by Todd

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Wizkeit Games
App Store: SwipeHead $0.99 | Free

This is the most unique puzzle game that I have ever played on the iPhone. I absolutely hated SwipeHead the first time I played it. I left it sitting for a few days and decided to give it another try. I sat and almost beat the entire game in one sitting. It is actually very addicting and a lot of fun if you are in the mood to actually think.

Menus are for the weak, so don’t expect to find any menus or settings screens. You dive right into the action and the first puzzle is learning how to play the game! The concept is very simple: matching. You swipe the screen up, down, left, or right to look for a screen the relates to the original screen. You follow the matches and will eventually find the exit point and complete the puzzle. The puzzle might be a number, shape, image, and even music! If you try to move onto an invalid space you will get to see a fish that sticks its tongue out at you.

Anyone that wants a fun brain challenge should really give this game a try. Just give it 20 minutes and you will be hooked. This is a very unique game and anyone that loves to challenge their brain will like SwipeHead!

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Gold Miner Joe

Posted on 12 March 2010 by TBS

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Donut Games
App Store: Gold Miner Joe $0.99

Gold Miner Joe in a way reminds me of Miner 2049er. The object of the game is to collect all the gold to open up the mining shaft exit. You can collect mining tools for extra points. You will run into fires, spiky animals and cavemen that will prohibit your progress through the level. You can eliminate the latter two by throwing stones at them. You do get dynamite to blow things up. Anytime I get to blow things up is a huge plus for me. I love destruction.

The controls are different. You can swipe and hold forward or backward to move Joe in that direction. To jump you must swipe up. Depending on the length of the swipe up determines the height of the jump. To throw rocks you must tap the screen. Tap and hold lays down some serious firepower, dynamite. If you want to duck incoming fire you must swipe down and hold. Ready? Go! Wait, sounds complicated? Lucky for you there is a d-pad that you can use. Go to options to enable it. I still had some difficulty with the d-pad. Up and down did not jive with my fat thumb.

The game is really fun. The graphics are well done. Sound effects and music fit right in with the game. The only drawback to the game are the controls. It can get a little dicey when precision is required. This is definitely a game I would play a second time through.

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GeoSnake

Posted on 11 March 2010 by Todd

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Didev Studios
App Store: GeoSnake $0.99

GeoSnake is the classic snake type game meets geoDefense Swarm and it is good! There are two game modes: arcade and survival. The arcade mode has 32 levels and they get pretty hard around level 6.

You guide the snake by touching the screen and grow by eating the yellow objects. The red objects are mines and are an instant end game, so avoid them at all costs. There is also an option to use tilt for the controls, but I really like how the touch controls worked.

The survival mode is really fun and is where you can earn OpenFeint achievements. There is a lot of fun and challenge to be had with GeoSnake.

The graphics are awesome and really remind me of geoDefence Swarm. This is a perfect snake game and I would recommend it to anyone that likes the classic snake and worm type games! Well worth the $0.99 price.

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Sunday Lawn

Posted on 10 March 2010 by TBS

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Donut Games
App Store: Sunday Lawn $0.99

Sunday Lawn is a game that makes mowing entertaining. Trust me, there is nothing entertaining about mowing. Well, rocks and puppy surprises could make it entertaining. The object of the game is to mow an entire yard before progressing to the next level. The longer you can mow uncut grass the more points you accumulate. The trick is not to mow over grass that has already been mowed, and avoiding animals. During the course of the game you will encounter a spray can that will super charge your mower. Avoid the dog “mines”, they will cause you to lose points. There are some areas in the yard that are blocked. You must find the switches to open that section. Avoid all the animals. They will cause you to lose the level.

The graphics are simple, but make it entertaining enough for the game. The sound is basic. The sound of nature and mower in harmony. It is a good thing I have the ability to listen to my music while playing the game. The controls are a little weird. I would rather use the arrows than tilt and swipe. Using swipe would cause a delay in change of direction causing me to miss my turn. Despite the minor issue with the controls the game was very fun to play.

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The Cannon

Posted on 09 March 2010 by Todd

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Jeff Cranford
App Store: The Cannon $0.99

The Cannon is just what the name says, a game where you get to shoot a cannon! This is actually way more fun and challenging then it sounds!

The objective is to destroy all of the soldiers on the screen. This might sound easy and it is at first! You destroy soldiers by shooting platforms and walls and having those objects fall and crush the brave soldiers. The catch: you have limited cannon balls and there are sometimes obstacles that cannot be moved by a tiny cannon ball, so you have to aim well.

You should not judge this game by looking at the graphics in the screen shots. The gameplay is similar to the other physics based games and is very fun. I played this game much longer than I would like to admit. There is an intro sequence at the beginning of each level that gives you a pan of the entire scene and really adds to the game. There are 60 levels in the game and this game is a steal at $0.99! Did I mention that there is even a level editor?!

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