Many iOS production companies have their roots extending back to the early days of game development for Apple and Freeverse is no exception; they got their start back in 1994. Moving to the mobile platform was a natural transition for them, as the iPhone felt more like a “real computer” than any other mobile phone in history.
Not all everyone in the mobile app industry has an engineering background. Colin was a poetry major, for example. “There are plenty of skill-sets that are helpful in creating great apps and great games,” he says. “An eye for design, an ability to analyze the market and spot opportunities, speed of thought and action to take advantage of those opportunities, great coding skills, flexibility to work around problems or change directions when events warrant.” You don’t necessarily need all these skills and abilities yourself, but a good team has these strengths evenly balanced across the group. Sometimes the unique mix of skills in a team dictate the direction a game takes, which Colin feels creates a better project, and one that’s built with more passion.
In Freeverse’s younger days development workflow tended to be more fast and loose, but in the last year or two they’ve been focusing on doing more pre-planning and following a structure without slowing down or losing their creativity. Colin humorously calls this evolution “leveling-up”.
I suspected the gameplay reference had to do with what he did in his free time. Like many other mobile app professionals, Colin personally has an iMac, an iPad2 and a iPhone 3GS, “because I rock it old school,” he laughed. Favorite apps include Kindle, Bloomberg, and lots of games (of course). Starbase Command and Robotek are receiving the most air time right now.
When you make games for a living, what do you do when you’re stuck or need a break? “Apart from performance enhancing drugs?” Colin quipped. Walking away for an hour, a day, a few weeks –- whatever is necessary -– eventually results in a revelation that only seems sudden, because your unconscious has been working on it the whole time. Preferred time-off activities include sleeping, reading, watching TV, spending time with his 2 year old at the park, and sleeping some more.
Freeverse just continues to grow along with new advancements in the mobile industry. As a 1st Party Studio for ngmoco, the American subsidiary of DeNA, they have started making games for DeNA’s Mobage platform. Mobage is a mobile social network from Japan which already exists on the Android platform, and in mid-August DeNA released Mobage for iOS. Mobage service makes it easy for mobile users to find and share new games and it’s already generated over $1.3 billion in revenues for DeNA.