Posts Tagged aurora feint

 

Jason Citron is, without a doubt, a visionary when it comes to the App Store. His first game, along with then business partner Danielle Cassley, Aurora Feint launched with the App Store on July 10, 2008. It was, at the time, a quite ambitious game with graphics and compelling gameplay that outclassed many of the so-called larger games released at the time. Aurora Feint was the first review we posted here on 148Apps, and an early consumer favorite, reaching over one million users in the first nine months.

jason_snarky_faceAurora Feint integrated game-wide top player lists and some social interaction, also unseen at the time. Other developers were clamoring for those social gaming network features included in the game, simple as they were initially. That led to the launch of OpenFeint in early 2009. During it’s three year run under Jason Citron, OpenFeint reached a total of 120 million players through integration with 7,000 games. OpenFeint was sold to Japan-based mobile gaming giant GREE in 2011 for $104 million. Jason left the company shortly after that. GREE closed down OpenFeint in 2012 when the company changed direction.

Jason Citron has taken all of his experience and his wish of creating a core gaming audience on the iPad and recently founded his next company Hammer & Chisel. Developing a MOBA type game, Fates Forever for the iPad is their first announced game.

Let’s talk a bit to Jason about his experience in these past five years with the App Store.

148Apps: How has the App Store changed your professional life?

Jason Citron, Founder of Open Feint, Hammer & Chisel: Entirely! The year before the App Store was a really pivotal year in my life. I had quit the console games industry to attempt to start my own company. This was the time of “Web 2.0″ sites. Facebook had just opened up their application platform. So I was working on these various website ideas that had elements of games in them. Fortunately, they weren’t doing so well and I switched to building an iPhone game. That project shipped and eventually morphed into OpenFeint, which was a success beyond my wildest dreams. Having the opportunity to build and run a company that employed 100 people and had such a big market footprint was incredibly humbling and educational. I compare the experience to a trial by fire Business School. Now, I’m taking all those learnings and applying them to start Hammer & Chisel, my new gaming company.

They say that luck is when preparation meets opportunity. I suppose I was prepared to start a company and the App Store turned out to be the perfect opportunity. Lucky :-)

148Apps: You were first on the App Store with the original Aurora Feint. What was it like developing for the App Store back then?

Jason Citron: I actually started developing for iPhone before the official SDK was even announced. It was using this unofficial iPhone OS programming toolchain. I worked on some prototypes for a couple of months. One was a multiplayer fighting game that used the wolverine character sprite from Marvel Vs. Capcom! When Apple released the real SDK I had this hunch that the App Store would be like a new console launch: the few games “on the shelf” on day 1 would get a ton of customers. So I got a bit more serious and teamed up with my cofounder to start on Aurora Feint. We ended up building that game in just under 3 months. It involved a lot of all nighters, sleeping in the corners of the office, and general insanity. We submitted to Apple the day before the App Store opened and got approved as one of 400 launch apps.

I actually have a distinct memory of waking up the morning the App Store opened. At 10am it was supposed to “turn on” so people could start downloading apps. I had our database open and kept hitting refresh to see if any players had launched the game. I was expected to get like 100 users in the first week. We ended up with something like 1,000 in the first hour. It was shocking. So began the crazy ride of the App Store.

148Apps: In the five years since launch, the App Store has gone through considerable changes. The number of users has skyrocketed along with downloads, prices for paid apps has stabilized way lower than many expected, free to play has dominated the top grossing charts. If, knowing what you know about the App Store now, you could go back and influence your path five years ago, what would you say?

Jason Citron: Honestly, the whole last five years was so rewarding for me that I don’t think I would change anything. But, I suppose if I had to pick something, I think we should have made Aurora Feint use a respectful free to play monetization scheme. We had priced the first game at free and got a LOT of players. The second one we priced at $7.99 hoping to “upsell” people. We found out that first Christmas that $0.99 was the most successful price point for paid games. That failure led us to quickly pivot the company to the OpenFeint idea.

Like I said, not sure I would really change anything :-) 

148Apps: What have you seen on the App Store, outside of apps published by
you, that has surprised you most?

Jason Citron: I expected very different kinds of applications to be popular on the iPhone, as opposed to say the PC Web. It turns out that almost every successful iPhone App has been a reinterpretation or straight up clone of a PC product but with a modern twist. For example, instagram is really just “flickr on the iPhone.” The popular F2P sim games are all mostly the same as the Facebook games that came before them. Etc. This isn’t to be disrespectful to any of those apps. Many of them are awesome. But I was surprised at this. I’ve since long changed my opinion on what that means for starting new businesses on new platforms.

 

148Apps: Any predictions on what the App Store will be like five years from now?

Jason Citron: Ahh predictions. Five years is a long time. Honestly I have no idea. If I had to wager a guess, not much will change. There will be many more customers. The economy will be bigger. There will be new waves of apps that have come and gone. Tablets will be much more significant then they are now. You’ll have human beings who literally don’t know what corded phone is. Who’ve never used a normal PC. Their expectations of what apps do for them will most certainly be different. 

These days we tend to overestimate how much technology will change in 3 years but underestimate how much it will change in 10. Five years is comfortably in the middle.

Thanks very much to Jason Citron for his time.

This Week at 148Apps: Dec 3-7

This week at 148Apps.com, site founder Jeff Scott took a closer look at the new studio and game from Aurora Feint co-founder Danielle Cassley: “It’s been a long time since we’ve heard from Danielle Cassley. Please indulge me in this short trip down memory lane. Ms. Cassley is one of the co-founders of Aurora Feint. Aurora Feint was our first app review way way back in 2008 here at 148Apps. Sadly, the Aurora Feint games have been removed from the App Store probably due to their reliance on the soon to be shutters OpenFeint. They were and interesting part of the App Store history and will be missed. Aurora Feint the games company eventually became OpenFeint the social game network service as the demand for the social backend built into Aurora Feint became the focus. A couple years later, in April 2011, after great success, OpenFeint the company was purchased by GREE.

Ms. Cassley has always struck me as a superstar seemingly held back by other forces like corporate structure. Much like her co-founder of Aurora Feint, Jason Citron who started his own company recently, she has now started a new game studio to help build the games she wants to see made. The first game from her new company, Red Bird Studios is a joint venture with Velvet Architects and is titled Avengees.

Want to know more? Read the full article on 148Apps.

GiggleApps.com got revolutionary this week, with a review of Ansel & Claire: Paul Revere’s Ride. Amy Solomon writes, “Ansel & Clair: Paul Revere’s Ride is a splendid educational app for iPad 2 and beyond that does a thorough job of explaining the American Revolution and the details of Paul Revere’s ride.

Ansel & Clair: Paul Revere’s Ride is a new app in a series of Ansel & Clair apps that revolves around intergalactic travelers Ansel, a travel photographer from planet Virtoos and Clair, the Virtoosian robot who accompanies Ansel to Boston at the start of the American Revolution to take historical photographs used to teach other Virtoosians distant history.”

Read the full review at GiggleApps.

$4.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-10-23 :: Category: Education

And finally, AndroidRundown’s KickStarter Spotlight this week was for iGloLED. Joseph Bertolini says, “While it may not be the cheapest, probably the fastest and easiest way to spice up any basement or outside area is to add colored lights. We’ve looked at KickStarter projects in the past that are WiFi enabled smart LED lightbulbs, but these are very expensive per light and only illuminate a small circular area. The other solution is to use LED strips, those long single row ropes of LED’s that can easily be hidden under a bar or inside an entertainment system. Now, I have looked around the internet before for these and buying one is actually a lot more expensive then it initially seems because they have to include their own power adapter and most of them cannot be wirelessly controlled or change color. As you can probably guess, this is exactly what this weeks project, iGloLED does. Like most of our KickStarter projects this operates via WiFi and includes a host of options for customizing the color. If that is not enough there will also be an available SDK which means that this bad boy is open to the public and all of their programming brilliance.”

Find out more about this potential product at AndroindRundown.

Another week down, and only 15 shopping days remain this holiday season. Before you give the gift of apps, check all of our sites for the latest news, reviews and more – and be sure to follow us on Twitter and Pinterest, and Like us on Facebook to get the latest updates right when they happen. See you next week!

It’s been a long time since we’ve heard from Danielle Cassley. Please indulge me in this short trip down memory lane. Ms. Cassley is one of the co-founders of Aurora Feint. Aurora Feint was our first app review way way back in 2008 here at 148Apps. Sadly, the Aurora Feint games have been removed from the App Store probably due to their reliance on the soon to be shutters OpenFeint. They were and interesting part of the App Store history and will be missed. Aurora Feint the games company eventually became OpenFeint the social game network service as the demand for the social backend built into Aurora Feint became the focus. A couple years later, in April 2011, after great success, OpenFeint the company was purchased by GREE.

Ms. Cassley has always struck me as a superstar seemingly held back by other forces like corporate structure. Much like her co-founder of Aurora Feint, Jason Citron who started his own company recently, she has now started a new game studio to help build the games she wants to see made. The first game from her new company, Red Bird Studios is a joint venture with Velvet Architects and is titled Avengees.

We know little of Avengees so far. What we do know is that it’s a physics based puzzler with turn-based multiplayer and it will be released for iOS in the coming weeks. We asked Danielle for a bit more about the game and what makes it unique.

“We are keeping game play a little under wraps for the next week or so. What I can tell you is players engage in an single player level based game where they unlock items for customizing their world. Their custom world then serves as the basis for multiplayer turn based battles with their friends.”

Should be an interesting take on the asynchronous multiplayer game. We look forward to getting a closer look at the game in the coming weeks. For now, take a look at the first teaser trailer.

Bienvenidos! This week at 148Apps.com we started our Cinco de Mayo celebrations early with a special “Favorite Four” apps review from Kevin Stout. Along with several foodie apps, Stout writes, “It can’t hurt to brush up on the history of Cinco de Mayo. Cinco de Mayo: The Battle of Puebla provides users with a detailed video on both the Battle of Puebla, the military victory that led to the traditional celebration on May 5th, and the history of the celebration of Cinco de Mayo. The videos include accompanying text for users impatient users that want to read ahead. The app also includes two games, a quiz and a paint game, that can be unlocked for an in-app purchase of $0.99. But the app is free and so are both videos.”

Read about all of Kevin’s picks at 148Apps.com.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-06-28 :: Category: Education

Amy Solomon, over at GiggleApps, writes in her review of Bean Bag Kids Present Pinocchio that, “This app, as the name implies, is a retelling of the classic story of Pinocchio, about a puppet carved from wood by a lonely wood carver who wishes that one day this puppet could become a real boy. Here each actor is played by a bean bag dressed in costume as this application is styled as a live performance that one is watching, complete with red velvet curtain and other theatre details. The adaptation of this story is very nicely done, including the use of excellent narration, as is the choice to underline the text as the words are being spoken – a very nice touch that will aid young readers in following along as these words are being read.”

Read all of Amy’s review at GiggleApps.com.

$4.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-03-28 :: Category: Education

Finally, 148Apps.biz site founder Jeff Scott writes about the latest project from OpenFeint founder Jason Citron, saying, “Jason Citron, founder of Aurora Feint / Open Feint, which sold to Japan based social games company GREE recently for $104M, just announced his new mobile games-based startup, Phoenix Guild.

Phoenix Guild will be focused on creating multiplayer games in a post-PC world. Think MMOs on your iPhone and iPad. He plans on focusing on games that would appeal to core gamers. Sounds like just what we need in a world that has nearly reached the saturation point with variations on Farmville.”

Read more about Phoenix Guild on 148Apps.biz.

The week may have ended, but there’s more content to come from 148Apps. Just follow us on Twitter or Like us on Facebook to keep track of the latest news, reviews and contests. Until next week, keep your Avengers assembling!

Popular MMO puzzle game Aurora Feint is coming to the iPad with yet another sequel: Aurora Feint 3. If the vast improvements made from Aurora Feint to Aurora Feint 2 are any indication of the improvements being made, then expect Aurora Feint 3 to be an excellent addition.

auroraFeint03

Did I forget to mention that Aurora Feint 3 is currently available on the app store for the iPad, free of charge? It adds yet another free to play option right out of the box available for the iPad.

    “With Aurora Feint 3 we’ve delivered on two of our core goals: developing a beautiful, multi-chapter MMO for our players and deploying a free-to-play virtual goods-based version of OpenFeint,” said Jason Citron, Founder & CEO of Aurora Feint. “This game integrates core components of OpenFeint X and gives us a chance to test and refine these features in a live game before releasing them to the rest of the OpenFeint developer community.”

More pictures after the jump.


Continue reading iPad Game Preview: Aurora Feint 3 »

Aurora Feint II: Arena Daemons

Aurora Feint II: Arena Daemons

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Aurora Feint II: Arena Daemons is a complex, compelling match-3 with actual depth, featuring many multiplayer features and quite a bit of strategy. While it's plagued with crashes and will drain your battery, the actual game is excellent.

Read The Full Review »

If it’s one thing that GDC taught me it’s that the iPhone has a long way to go as a game console. It’s still a tiny little player in the whole gigantic video games world. But in the nine months since the app store launch, it has made some great strides.

For one thing, the iPhone totally dominated the Independent Games Festival Mobile awards. Not only did they will all the categories, they had most of the nominations as well. The iPhone is now, as far as most are concerned, the best mobile phone platform to develop on. As one developer put it, finally a mobile platform that doesn’t suck.

This past week we did get many clues about what 2009 will bring for iPhone games. First, this will be the year the big boys go full force after the iPhone market. EA, Chillingo, Glu, and others have announced some huge portfolios of games coming out this year.

We will also see an explosion in backend community systems, think XBox Live for your iPhone, and probably some consolidation of those services as well. Consumers aren’t best served by having multiple community systems, everyone knows that, but who will win out as the best? With GameSpy announcing they are bringing over their backend that already powers many console and desktop titles, they will likely start out in the lead. Then ngmoco announced they were opening up their platform to third party developers, another strong contender, but no release date announced. Then you have the underdogs such as OpenFeint, ByteClub, and a new contender, Agon. Then there’s also the Facebook Connect for iPhone that many systems are using. It’s not purely a gaming system, but many have adapted it. A force for sure, with Facebook having over 160 million users.

We also were fortunate to meet with some really cool developers and get a sneak peak at some of the great games coming out in the not too distant future.

Real Racing from Firemint
Release Date: Late April, 2009 at an unknown price
Without a doubt, the best we saw was Real Racing from Firemint. Real Racing is a racing game just short of a racing sim. It’s ultra-realistic and features some amazing community and asynchronous multiplayer modes. You even have the ability to publish hot laps to YouTube, automatically. The controls by default work great and are very responsive. This is one to watch for. Firemint are being close to the chest with the price on this one, but it will be released late April.

Real Racing from FiremintReal Racing from FiremintReal Racing from Firemint

Touch Pets from ngmoco
Release Date: unknown
I’ll have to admit I was originally nonplussed on Touch Pets. But after spending some time with it I can see what the excitement it about it. For one this, this game is deep. There’s lots to do, lots of things to collect, there are missions to go on, there are achievements, tons of stuff. But above all, this game has a social aspect that could set it apart from all of the other virtual pet type games. This all ads up to a game that will be very enormously engrossing to many people, maybe even me.
Touch Pets from ngmocoTouch Pets from ngmocoTouch Pets from ngmoco

Star Defense from ngmoco
Release Date: pretty soon at an unknown price
Tower Defense games are filling up the app store quickly. And many are really good. Star Defense takes a slightly different direction and adds 3D to the standard game. So instead of playing tower defense on a flat landscape, you play it on a 3D world. One of the more interesting parts of this is that, in one level, you are playing on a cube instead of a sphere. This basically divides up each level into 6 parts as you have to place defense on each of the sides since the weapons don’t seem to work around the corners of the cube. The game itself seems really well done and stable, and should be released soon. We’ll give it more playtime when it comes out and get a full review.

Star Defense from ngmocoStar Defense from ngmocoStar Defense from ngmoco

Star Trader: Moon Madness from HermitWorks
Release Date: very soon at $0.99
This game is an expanded version of the DopeWars genre that I’m sure everyone is familiar with. But it’s set in outerspace and uses the Quake engine to provide a 3D world where you can walk around and barter. The controls are a modified 2 location virtual touch pad as we’ve seen on other games and works well for movement and changing the angle you are viewing the world. The developers are releasing this at $0.99 and will be raising the price as they add features such as multiplayer in the future.

Space Trader: Moon MadnessSpace Trader: Moon MadnessSpace Trader: Moon Madness

All in all a fantastic GDC. Had to great opportunity to speak with some amazing people. We’ll try to get full reviews of these games up as soon as they are available.

Today, Aurora Feint launched the version 1.0 release of their OpenFeint Mobile Social Gaming Platform. The platform, which has been in closed beta for a few weeks, includes leader boards and chat room functionality for applications that include it. Starting today, we should start to see updates from some of the publishers included in the 1.0 beta. The list of apps enrolled in the initial beta is impressive and includes games such as VectorTanks, PocketGod, 2079, Radio Flare and Lumen. The games were chosen across a wide range to show the versatility of the platform.

One of the key features with OpenFeint is the open authorization scheme. Users have the choice of authenticating into their OpenFeint account using either their Facebook, Twitter credentials, or neither. Future versions will include support for MySpaceID, OpenID, and anything else that they can get to work and makes sense.

The features of the 1.0 release, in use by the developers in the beta include:

– Player Accounts enabled with FbConnect and Twitter Integration — users have the option of authenticating with these accounts or creating a new account.

– Developer Configured Leaderboards — leader boards are very flexible, allowing the developers to tailor the leader boards to fit their games. Developers can sort the leader board as they choose and also create as many different ones as needed.

– Game Specific Chat Rooms — chat rooms are also developer configurable and allow up to 50 users per chat room.

– Global Chat Rooms with Cross Promotion of Game Titles — the global chat rooms are dynamically created as they start to fill up. There’s a maximum of 50 users per chat room.

– Sample code and API are open source (GPL licensed) — this allows the developer to modify both the display and the processing as needed and provides transparency. Some possible pitfalls could occur here, if the developer changes too much and things change though.

Additions for the 2.0 release, which is available for signup today, includes the integration of profiles and news feeds from Facebook and Twitter. Developers can apply for inclusion in the 2.0 version at http://www.openfeint.com.

Speaking with Danielle Cassley and Jason Citron, the developers of Aurora Feint, they are obviously excited about the possibilities that the notification service and other features in iPhone OS 3.0 can add to their platform. The ability to be notified instantly when your friends start a game, beat your high score, etc. are all very compelling.

Read the full press release after the jump.

Continue reading OpenFeint Platform Launches With Facebook Connect and Twitter User Authentication »

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