Posts Tagged jason citron

FF_vale_illo_w_FF_logoJason Citron is something of a Founding Father for the App Store when you think about it; what with the work on OpenFeint that popularized achievements on iOS and arguably resulted in Apple creating Game Center. He’s since founded a new company, Hammer & Chisel, and has begun work on a new Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) game made specifically for the iPad called Fates Forever. And this AAA vision has just received some major financial backing.

It was announced today that Hammer & Chisel has completed an $8.2 million funding round, with none other than Riot Games/League of Legends top investor Mitch Lasky doing his thing (investing lots of money) again. Lasky will also be joining Citron and Silicon Valley Alum Peter Relan on the development company’s board of directors. If ever there were a clear indication that Fates Forever will definitely be amazing, this is it.

With the release of iOS 7 upon us and a whole plethora of juicy new features for consumers and developers alike to enjoy, we took the time to ask some popular game developers just how they feel about it and what features they’re looking forward to getting more intimate with.

ios7

Look and Design of iOS 7

The look of iOS 7 is a huge change for many, which explains why so many pivotal apps are changing their appearance; to make sure it ties into the new style of doing things. How about with games, though? And do game developers appreciate such a significant change?

For the most part, it’s been considered a positive change from those we questioned. Andrew Smith of AppyNation and Spilt Milk Studios explained, “I like it! I’m a fan of refreshes – and although when I first saw the new look I wasn’t completely sold, since using it in studio on the betas it’s won me over.” Stephen Morris of Greenfly Studios reinforced that view, emphasizing that the “redefining of the experience… it certainly feels fresh and more efficient.”

Some apprehension was felt, though. As Richard Brooks of Rodeo Games explained, “a veteran iOS user may find it a little jarring at first,” pointing out that, “the new look will split the room,” from his personal experience of showing it to others. Ben Britten of Tin Man Games felt the same, pointing out that some people will love it and others will, predictably, hate it.

It’s not all plain sailing though, as Martin Linklater of Curly Rocket explained, “to be honest the colours are a little garish for my tastes. Maybe in iOS 8 Apple will tone it down a little. It’s not quite got the subtlety that Apple is known for.” Aaron Fothergill of Strange Flavour felt the same, diplomatically pointing out that he’s “getting used to it.”

Even those who weren’t a fan had to admit that they, for the most part, appreciated the cleaner interface.

Issues

More positively, few issues have been encountered thus far. For the majority of the people we asked, covering developers such as Hello Games, Hammer & Chisel, AppyNation, Spilt Milk Studios, Strange Flavour, and Green Fly Studios, hardly any issues were reported. The only few problems that did occur related to third-party tools, although noticeably Ben Britten of Tin Man Games found no issues with Unity3D. There were some early day problems with Rodeo Games’s Warhammer Quest as explained by Richard Brooks, “The devices we were testing with were crashing a lot and it was very difficult to get anything working. Warhammer Quest didn’t work at first due to some bugs in the iOS 7 main libraries, so we just had to sit back and wait. After about 4-6 weeks these were dealt with and are mostly good now.”

It’s a pretty positive sign for developers that iOS 7 should prove quite beneficial in the long run, given the limited issues that have been encountered so far.

Controller Support

Concept art of a possible Apple Controller (via PocketGamer)

Concept art of a possible Apple Controller (via PocketGamer)


Arguably most significant of all for many game developers is the introduction of official controller support. How do they feel about it?

“For us, this is the biggest new feature of iOS 7.” explained Aaron Fothergill, “The fact that they’re a standard is the important bit as we can actually design them into our game with the standard features in mind, so we can do it properly. We’ve already got test code in SlotZ Racer, Any Landing, and Apple Dash and we’re just waiting on controllers being available for us to actually test with and perfect the controls before we release games with them in and then we’ll be considering MFI controller as integral design parts of all our games.”

Simon Renshaw, of PUK fame, has similar thoughts. ” I love that its possible to play iPhone games on the big screen with Apple TV mirroring, latency is an issue though, as is battery life, so I kinda hope we’ll see a controller bundled with a magical iPhone-charging HDMI cable!” Martin Linklater also thinks that the controller could be the “real killer feature,” at least once adopted more frequently.

Hello Games’ Sean Murray explained that “touchscreens are great for lots of games – like, I’m really proud of what we managed to do with the touchscreen design with Joe Danger Touch. There are some games that just benefit from buttons and thumbsticks though, and as a gamer, my thumb just feels comfortable sat on a nice analog button. Having officially supported controllers could be fantastic for broadening gaming on iPhones even further than it is today, bringing in the controller snobs like me! We’re working on making something of all this right now, something that makes use of both touch and controller. We’re throwing ourselves into it completely… I think people will be surprised how well it works.”

Consider us fascinated as to what this will mean for Joe Danger on iOS!

Another possible example of a future controller (via PocketGamer)

Another possible example of a future controller (via PocketGamer)


Andrew Smith is keen, but as he points out “[it's] hardly going to sell the games to more people. The vast majority of iPhone users and gamers are perfectly happy with good touchscreen interfaces, so we’ll be happy to continue to provide those!” Greenfly Studios feels the same way, with Stephen Morris explaining “our mobile games are currently more focused on the casual consumer but it doesn’t mean we’re not open to exploring the new niche!”.

Richard Brooks also found such support less than essential, pointing out that Rodeo Games’ titles are “designed entirely for mobile and tablet devices with touch screens and implementing controller support would make them worse.” A fair point indeed. Jason Citron expressed similar views, explaining how Hammer & Chisel is “laser focused on building original high-quality games for tablets. A big part of that is taking advantage of the unique interaction a large touch screen affords.”

With so many of the best developers doing a great job of providing touch-based interfaces, is there really a need for controllers after five years of perfecting touch controls? Perhaps not, but it’ll be fascinating to see how things develop.

Revamped Game Center

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For the most part, the revamped Game Center has been quite appreciated by those we asked. Andrew Smith puts it well, “it’s really neat!” although does admit, while inventing a new word, that the icon is a little un-game-y. Stephen Morris particularly loves that there’s a way to combat cheaters at last, which means “we can focus on providing consumers fun and realistic challenges.” Like any self-respecting iOS gamer, Sean Murray explained “Seeing insane hacked scores on any game makes me sad. I’m… going to really appreciate the added security for score and achievement data, because it’ll hopefully mean there isn’t so much leaderboard hacking.”

Richard Brooks points out what we’ve all been thinking in terms of old Game Center’s looks, “I’m glad they’ve gotten rid of the horrible green felt style though!” because as Simon Renshaw says while describing the old interface as archaic looking, “what young person recognizes the connection between a black jack table and their favorite shooter?”.


So, it’s a fairly positive change for iOS 7 and some of its finest game developers. Understandably, there’s some apprehension as is always the way with such a significant change, but the future is looking pretty bright. In particular, it’ll be fascinating to see what comes of controller support, as well as the new and extra shiny Game Center.

Thanks to Curly Rocket’s Martin Linklater, Strange Flavour’s Aaron Fothergill, AppyNation/Spilt Milk Studios‘s Andrew Smith, Greenfly Studios’s Stephen Morris, Rodeo Games’s Richard Brooks, Laserdog Games’s Simon Renshaw, Hammer & Chisel’s Jason Citron, Tin Man Games’s Ben Britten, and Hello Games’s Sean Murray for taking the time to answer our questions.


Continue reading iOS 7: The Game Developers’ Take On It »

Screen Shot 2013-06-05 at 10.54.37 PMIn the conversations I’ve had with Jason Citron over the past five years, one thing has always been very clear, Jason Citron is a very talented young man. But lately it’s like he is a whole new man. Excited, proud, and full of ideas. Could partially be because his newly renamed games company, Hammer & Chisel is showing off an early version of their first game, Fates Forever, a massively online battle arena game (MOBA) for tablets only.

Fates Forever is a MOBA game and yeah, we’ve heard a lot about MOBA on iOS in the past few months. For those not familiar with MOBA, see Wikipedia an MOBA. But Fates Forever shows some real promise in ways others we’ve seen have yet to.

FF_right_Logo_2048_1536_iPad

The fact that we are seeing more MOBA on iOS seems logical as for many months it was a genre that was conspicuously missing on iOS. League of Legends has been very popular on the desktop; why can’t we have a mobile MOBA?

Jason and his team at Hammer & Chisel are taking a bit of a different angle that what we’ve seen so far on MOBA for iOS. They are building out a lushly detailed, large scale MOBA game that closely resembles the depth and length of gameplay of League of Legends, but updated for tablet. In my short time with the game I found it, incomplete, yes and that’s to be expected, but also amazingly easy to get into and really hard to put down. The unique characters, their voice overs, their special moves, gameplay aspects–all combine for an interesting and promising game.

FatesForeverScreenshotStandard

Some of the interesting changes to the MOBA formula seen in Fates Forever, and remember it’s still early, are that minions constantly regenerate when killed, they won’t keep running back to the base to heal. The only power ups are to the three special powers each player has, and those reset between matches. Everyone starts out even, every match.

Hammer & Chisel have a lot of work ahead of them to finalize Fates Forever, but the progress so far is amazing. It is certainly one of my most anticipated games. We’ll keep you up to date on the progress as it moves toward launch.

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.

$2.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-03-28 :: Category: Games

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!

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