Contrary to what it may seem, I’ve been quite busy. In fact, I’ve made an entirely new game….
Some time ago, probably about a year and half or so, not too long after Towers was released on the 360. I had a tax rebate of about £500. So, I decided to treat myself to one of those shiny new iPads. I liked the iPad very much and after quite some time (probably about a year), decided to port Towers over it. Since the game was already designed and effectively already coded, I’d just have to tweak it a bit on the way over. So far, so good.
It wasn’t quite as easy as I’d hoped, mostly because I had to relearn bits and pieces and optimise certain code to improve performance. The interface needed tweaking due to a lack of an analog control and a different screen resolution. I got it all working but wasn’t entirely happy with it. It had lost something (mostly sound, which I hadn’t added yet).
At about this time, I received news of an iOS development group get together at Aberystwyth University (in Wales). So, a month or so later, I embarked on the 10 hour train trip (and that’s before delays) between Cornwall and Aber.
At iOSDevUK I met loads of awesome people, who generally either worked for a company who made apps, or who wanted to make apps (usually for themselves and not as part of a larger company). There seemed to be less people who were actually making apps under their own steam.
I guess part of the reason, is that a lack of guaranteed money basically places independent app development somewhere between an expensive hobby and an actual paid job, depending on what you achieve. Either way, I showed off the work I’d done on Towers (iPad edition) to a few people and it met with good feedback. So between random conversations and the lecture sessions, I came away with plenty of tips and tricks.
But, I also came away with a different plan. Way way back, when Towers came out on the 360, I made a few mistakes, which combined with some incredibly badly timed network outages, mean’t thinks didn’t go as well as they could’ve. So, this time around, I would release Towers as my second app, after learning the ropes with my first.
So I’d end up producing a much much smaller, quicker app, just to see how things would go. A quick puzzle based on the Japanese sudoku-like game, Hashi. Except, what started as a simple plan around a fairly straight forward puzzle game, suddenly grew into a HUGE list of ideas.
The starting prototype was also far too similar to at least a couple of existing apps. In it’s early state, I wasn’t bringing anything new to the table at all. So, I added bigger levels, a ‘world map’ (and from there level progression), shaped levels, timed targets…
…and eventually decided to draw a line. There was more than enough for an expansion/update. Things had already gotten far beyond where I’d originally planned (though I can’t say that it wasn’t fun pushig the boundaries a bit).
So, I finally ended up with an app that produced larger Hashi puzzles than I’d ever seen in variations that were at least new to me (and are hopefully new to most, if not all, people).
The toughest decision I had to make was around the price. This was tied back into my previous discussions around Towers. I actually quite like the ‘try before you buy’ model and it has served Towers quite well with between 40-60% of people buying the game after getting the demo in any given month since release. As a result of that (although it’s still something of an experiment for me), I’m putting Hashi Infinity out into the app store for free. It’s smaller levels are completely playable and can be regenerated to create brand new puzzles as many times as you’d like.
The price bar (which is the lowest price tier available) covers the larger levels and most of the content in the upcoming puzzle packs (which will also include fully playable freebies).
At the time of writing this, I’ve just been told that my app has passed review. So according to the dates I’ve set, it should be out tomorrow. I hope you like it!