When Considering My Next Game

Since the success of TripWire, I’ve spent my spare development time working on new features and bug fixes ahead of a hopeful eventual release, but that means that I’ve done very little work on new ideas. Now I know from experience that new ideas can come, but most games end up three-quarters of the finished thing and sit on my desktop with a sad face waiting to be finished (I’m sorry random space game from first year, today is not your day). However, something which I’ve been thinking about for a while is what I can make that I believe could be successful, by which I mean; could I release and there be at least one person who downloads it? With this in mind I came up with the following ideas.

  1. The easiest place to put something simple is on a mobile store. If you look at the many millions of downloads that some apps boast you can see that a simple game about flinging birds can rocket to success in a short space of time; even my friend’s drinking game for windows has several thousands of downloads. Therefore I think my first mobile game will be the way to go, still using XNA of course (Android and iOS are on my list of “things to learn”), but phone as opposed to Windows 8 (though having said that I might make the Windows 8 version first).
  2. The second thing I thought about is where and how people play a game. Sometime people have time to invest, but often it’s a cheap thrill that is being sought. This made me consider how I play games, and I know that when I have only a few precious minutes on my hands I’ll always pick a portrait game over landscape, mostly because I’m usually on a bus or train and my other hand is holding a rail or similar. I also find them more intuitive and user-friendly as the designer has had to think about placement and not just throw a joystick and buttons around the screen. On that user-friendly point, the use of complexity from simplicity makes games which need very little physical input but are mentally challenging much easier to while away the time then a complex waggling of fingers and thumbs. Take the popular Android game Archipelago, it only requires one finger to tap the island you’re going from and the island you’re going to, but the thought process about when to strike, which islands you need, building up your forces etc. is much more in-depth and means you become more engrossed in the game as a result.

With these ideas in mind I have come up with a simple, but I believe elegant, portrait-based, simple to use game for the Windows Phone. Right now it’s an idea in my mind, but I’m going to go away and start development now and hopefully come back in a week or so and show you how I’ve put these ideas into actions. In the mean time I’d like to know your thoughts on phone/app development, so please leave a comment .

Adam

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