iPhone App Game Development Blog #22

Development updates and notes on our soon-to-release independent iPhone action-puzzler "180," and iPhone game reviews.
iPhone App Game Development Blog #22



Time to catch-up! Let's do this.


180 development - Well, the game is essentially done. There's a little couple tweaks here and there to be done (always gonna be the case!) and a little work to wrap-up the menus all nice and tidy. The game is more or less on the shelf to go out to submission to Apple any day now; hopefully "real life" will grant a couple of free hours in the next week's time to allow said wrap-up. There's always going to be a few things I wish we'd done differently (with any project!), but I am quite pleased with our final product and I can't wait to challenge YOU on the leaderboards! Expect a gameplay videocapture quite soon (by Wednesday most likely!)


iFist - things are very quit with iFist right now. We'd like to do some updates following the 180 rollout, and we plan to upsell through that game as well. If we get a nice response, that'll likely hasten things. I still show the game during test sessions and it tests quite well, so it makes sense to support it.

Bizdev - understandably, things are very polarized right now. Some aspects of HcG are crazy busy and other important pieces are dormant/quiet. Regular readers of this blog are probably wondering "what's going on, where's the game?" Well, what can I say, it will be out when it is done! As for what to expect immediately following that, as for "what other titles can be expected to be announced/released?" There's a long list of ideas I'd love to follow-up with, but there's a lot that must happen before any concrete plans will be laid down. Independent development is very liberating in certain ways, but can also be extremely constricting. Like a small-time rock band, it involves a lot of scrapping, putting yourself out there, and trying to build up a vocal and supportive fanbase. If YOU enjoy our games, then we need you to help us. Be the face of Headcase. Get your buddies to play our games, to look at our blogs. Only through a dedicated effort can we change the world! I am going to produce a lot of promotional material shortly (stickers/flyers/etc) and if anyone out there is interested in helping cover the World with the Word, get in touch and let's talk. Basically I'd love to put together a Street Team.

What Else is Going on - Being a former Neversoft employee, I was not shocked when I heard of many of my buddies recently getting the Axe as that place is undergoing a huge metamorphosis. I met with a few unfortunate victims this past week to discuss what happened and what's next. This was hardly a surprise to me, and shouldn't be to anyone else who pays any kind of attention to what's been happening in the industry of late. It's a shame and I wish the best to all involved, but really it just fuels my desire to remain adhered to the independent side of things (as compared to returning to my former life as a console flunkie). I will do what I need to, but there's such an abundance of layoffs lately and I really don't see things straightening out for several months, at the very least. The stakes are incredibly high for Big Budget Gaming right now - you can make a ton of money, but with such a high risk. I've spent too many recent years wallowing in poorly-managed environments and I feel it is high time that us "meat and potatoes" guys put our money where our mouths are: specifically, raising our visibility and proclaiming that we, the monkeys who turn the gears and make everything happen, know quite well not only what it takes to make a good game, but that we can affect the new directions this entire industry is taking (and that for the first time in a long time, we can be quite empowered to do that). Mobile gaming, online diversions, Steam and things like WiiWare and XBLA and PSN all make this possible, it's time to stop muddling about and take the bull by the horns. It's actually a fairly high barrier to entry of course (the money is never instantaneous, getting all the people involved to work together properly requires miracles sometimes) but for those who have the drive and the vision, and some serious patience, they are already being nicely rewarded. This window is just opening now.

What have I been playing? - not much lately, as I have been so wrapped-up with work. Still, there's been a little action on my machine, and here's what can be said about it.

The Raging Dead


Hoorah! Yep, it's a zombie game. This one is an interesting twist in that all the monsters are represented by little red dots, seen from a plane's eye view. You have bombs and guns to shoot from far above, to try to prevent the infection from spreading. The game is a little tough (the enemies are teeny tiny!) but it's a fun little game with a nice presentation that Zombie flick fans will appreciate.

Eyegore's Eye Blast

Recently met up with these devs (Retro Dreamer) and it sparked some interest for me to play through a little more of their recent release, which had been sitting on my phone for awhile. very compelling presentation with an interesting take on the Bust-a-Move concept (something our game dabbles in as well!) This game is tough and takes a little while to get the hang of, but once you start figuring out how to clear large amounts of eyeballs then the groove starts to suck you in, and it becomes one of those "just one more play!" games. A nice feature is the way they've incorporated the achievement system.


I picked this up during a free promotion, which seemed like a steal considering the sharp visual presentation. This is absolutely the dictionary definition of a minigame right here, and though it's not particularly deep it is fun to behead monsters one after the other.

Get Lucky

Another free pickup, this one is interesting in that it's super barebones - there's no options, nearly no modes, not even a credit screen - just turn it on and jump right in. Strikingly simple but colorful and fun, and a nice little take on the slot machine genre. Actually it inspires me to take it a step further, slot is a cool idea!

Low Grav Racer 2

A nice followup to the original, which is a clone of the WipEout/F-Zero genre of hovercar racing. These games tend to look really nice on the iPhone, and it has some nice features and plenty of cars and tracks. Usually I have issues with games like these which require tilting the device to steer, as it never feels precise enough to be anything less than frustrating; though if they alter the design, I think it could work better. Still, a game which you may like and I suggest looking at the Lite Version to see if it is up your alley.


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