Apologies for the advertising here, but I figured some of you might be interested in reading about this from a "being a game developer in NZ" kinda perspective!
For those who don't know, I'm Tristan Clark, editor at this fine establishment and one half of Launching Pad Games. Along with Tim Knauf, we've been busy working away on our first iPhone game: Zoo Lasso.
Zoo Lasso is an action-puzzler that sees you creating lassos with your finger around a bunch of cute animals that have escaped their pens. It's a classic high score-based game, with online leaderboards and all that razzamataz.
Wanna see it in motion? Here's our gameplay vid:
If you want to know more about the game itself, head here. Otherwise, read on for our experiences making Zoo Lasso.
It's been a real interesting experience making this game. For one thing, both Tim and I were pretty new to our respective roles. Tim hadn't coded in Objective-C before, and I sure as hell wasn't an artist. But I had to upskill myself pretty quickly, simply because we had no money to spend on an artist!
The process of drawing and animating all those animals was...painful. But such a learning experience! I can now safely say that I've found my niche when it comes to cute cartoon lions. In fact, maybe every Launching Pad Games titles from now on can just feature cartoon lions. I'll see how that goes down...
Development of the game took about 3-4 months, with the idea gestating for a little while before that. We were initially hesitant about leaping into iPhone development, having just come off making a Flash game. We had to learn Flash pretty much from scratch, and the thought of learning yet another platform was a bit daunting.
However, it soon became clear that the gameplay we had in mind was best suited to the iPhone. You'd think it would work well with a mouse, right? But we actually found it to be kinda horrible when testing the game out on our Macs in the iPhone simulator. The only other platform that this kind of thing would work on is, I think, the DS. Maybe one day?
The other big benefit of the iPhone platform was its global...ness. There aren't any silly region restrictions ala the Xbox Live indie channel - where we in NZ can make games for it, but not play them! - or the upfront costs of a console dev kit. Of course, the trade-off for this is the sheer volume of apps coming out.
We've only just released (today arrrgh!!), so who knows how well it'll do. But if people are interested, we're more than happy to post details of how it gets on in the coming months.
The best thing I can say about the iPhone platform was that it negated nearly all the disadvantages that being in NZ presented. We could ask for help on US forums when we needed it, and Apple doesn't care where you're from. Of course, we certainly lacked face time with other devs, but even on that front we're lucky enough to live in the same city as Sidhe, who were very friendly and helpful. Thanks Mario and Jos!
I'll update with a more extensive post-mortem down the line a bit, but I just wanted to say a big thanks to all of your for being encouraging, particularly those who listen in to our podcast.
It's awesome to have a 'home' in NZGamer, so thanks guys, you rock.
If anyone is interested in game development in NZ, or about iPhone development, post below! We're more than happy to answer any questions about the whole process. :)
Thanks again fullas!
P.S. Want to help us out and buy Zoo Lasso? Click here to get it (will go to iTunes).
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