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Made a video showing how I developed my game.

06-25-2013, 09:46 AM
Made a video showing how I developed my game.

A lot of people (also making their first game) asked me my process, so I made a little video of some of my notes and photos from production: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztRbfz3XIh8&hd=1

I just launched my game in early June, I plan on keeping the marketing strong through July. At some point after that I will put the app for free for 3 days or so. After that the games popularity is out of my hands. I plan on making a video that goes into much more detail. How the graphics were made (high speed screen grabs), detailed code, going universal, commitment to no IAP's, dealing with the App Store, marketing, sales, review sites (scams and legit), decisions to add a robust two player option and 3 modes of play, interviews with my small team of friends, etc... I've been debating on making a 30-60 documentary on the whole thing. I knew nothing of game developing 2 years ago and in my spare time published a game. I'm curious to see where the game lands in 2 months. I'm approaching 1,000 downloads and I feel like it has high potential to hit it "big". Either way (big or small) documenting my 2+ year journey may help others.

My inspiration was an old Atari game called "Frogs and Flies" I used to play as a little kid and then later in college with my friends (We would hold big tournaments for food). My top achievement in the the game is "Jay's Tator Tots" which is a reference to those college tournaments.

I actually spent A LOT of time getting feedback early on (prototype/alpha) stages. The original game is just one level, either 1P vs AI or 2P vs someone else. I decided that kind of gameplay wouldn't be enough to justify the 99 cents I was asking for the game, so I went on a 3-4 month discovery mode of what I can do with the game and remain true tot he gameplay. I added a full 1P campaign vs AI that increases in difficulty, changes environments, and introduces new bugs. No IAP's, ever. I added a 2P vs and 2P Co-Op, so you can play with or against others online, friends, and family. Then I added 3 different modes to play; VS (traditional), Time (against the clock), and Consecutive (play until you miss a bug). I even explored the consecutive mode a little further for 2P, if one of you dies in consecutive mode your friend has the chance of reviving you if they eat 10 bugs in a row. Anyway, here is my launch trailer that probably explains it all a little better: http://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=yDoW9yIDj5A&hd=1
The only reason the lizards are bigger in my game opposed to the frogs in the old Atari game was that it fit the art style better. Also, I was gaining more real-estate on a 16x9 iPhone 5 opposed to the old TV 4x3 output of Frogs and Flies.

I can remember in the mid 80's (I was like 6) playing around with a Texas Instrument computer with my Dad, we spent 2 hours or so programming a ball to move across the screen. That was my first exposure to programming. After that was YEARS of video games. When I was deciding on a college my best friend and I were currently on our 5th issue of a magazine we made while in high school that covered the NYC/NJ/Philly music scene and was fairly popular. We made the rash decision to go to a school that could help us continue with our magazine. The two of us and my girlfriend (now wife) moved to Philadelphia and went to The Art Institute of Philadelphia. The two of them went for graphic design, I went for Multimedia and & Web Development. This was in 1999. We learned ActionScript, Lingo, JavaScript, HTML, C++, and some other early Adobe languages. I wrote my first game in 2000 in ActionScript (Flash), it was a Flash version of "Duck Hunt": http://www.flashkit.com/movies/launc...=594&bg=ffffff

I graduated in late 2001 and was hired immediately by a Philadelphia interactive agency where I made websites, CD-ROMS, games, videos, 3D models, Visual Effects, etc.. Literally everything multimedia. I'm still working at this same place today.

I got to a point where I had not learned a new language in years and Flash was dying out, so in 2009 I started to teach myself XCode and Objective-C. I started off by reading this book:http://www.bignerdranch.com/book/obj...rd_ranch_guide

After I read that book, I made my first iOS App, called "Today I Learned" it's based off of Reddit's /r/TodayILearned. You can check it out here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/today-i-learned/id434863187?mt=8 I did everything myself and it felt great. As with Hungry Lizards I did this app in my spare time as well.

So, getting to the game I enrolled my best friend, (the same person who I went to high school/college with) Dave. Dave is an amazing Art Director/Designer who has worked for a bunch of NYC startups. He did the majority of T-Shirt designs for BustedTees.com (CollegeHumor.com) and is currently working at this awesome new start-up called "Fancy Hands": http://www.fancyhands.com/

I got Dave to make all my sketches come to life, I got my little brother to write all my music, and I got help from a friend I met on StackOverFlow to help out with some of the heavy duty programming that I just simply wasn't ready for. What was key is that I had a VERY clear vision of how things would work. I wrote out all the algorithms in plain English, and I mapped out (wire-framed) all the "if this, then that" architecture. It took 2 years all working in our spare time, but we finally got it finished.

The hardest part is getting your name out there, most review sites want you to pay for them to list you. Big review sites don't care about your game unless you've already created buzz about your game or your a AAA title or large indie company (We're just 4 random people working from different places, I had to make up a name to make us look like an indie company...). Like I said in the video, I made the game I wanted and while I'd love to have 50 levels, 8 player mode, animated interactive environments, and tons of other features the game must stand alone in it's core game play and if received well, these features will follow as free updates.

Download Hungry Lizards for iOS, Pocket Gamers #1 pick in 2016!