With Lums being the latest title to gain an esteemed Editor's Choice award, we took some time to get to know more about its developer, Hyperbolic Magnetism, and find out exactly what makes the team tick.
Who is Hyperbolic Magnetism?
Primarily a team of two in terms of the development side of things, the team is based in Prague, Czech Republic, with Vladimir Hrincar and Jan Split Ilavsky at the helm. Having worked together on creating games since the ZX Spectrum days during Elementary school, the pair continued their working partnership throughout University, which eventually lead them to develop via the App Store. Alongside that, Filip Kuna has also helped them with non-development tasks.
What is Hyperbolic Magnetism most famous for?
The team has worked on particle system simulator, Midnight HD, puzzle game Escapology and arcade smash-em-up, Oh My Heart. I think it's safe to say that Lums is the title that's about to propel the team's fortunes skyward, though.
What's next on the horizon?
The team explained to us that their hope is to deliver more content for Lums, providing they are financially able to: "Our future depends a lot on the success of Lums. If we don't make enough money to cover for the two years long development, we will have to make a compromise."
Besides experimenting with various other prototypes and considering some very cool sounding ideas (a turn based multiplayer endless runner is one such idea that they told us about), the team has also just finished a side project title called I'm the Game. An iPad-only release, it's set to hit the App Store next month, and combines Space Chem and Trainyard. The studio promises that it'll be great for "crazy people who love extremely hard, mind-bending puzzles."
Anything else I should know about the developer?
Always! We had a more in-depth chat with the team to see just where the idea for Lums came from, and more.
148apps: What was the inspiration behind Lums and its unique look?
Hyperbolic Magnetism: When we started to think about Lums for the first time, we wanted to create something with unique graphics. We knew that we could achieve that only by doing something technically challenging. We spent hours and days watching amazing non-gaming videos, trying to get inspiration. We played a few games like Limbo and Twilight Golf, [as well as] read articles about 2D soft shadows implementation. Thus, we decided to make a game with light and shadows. The original idea was to use a grayscale palette only. It had an even more intense atmosphere, but it was hard to distinguish the background from the foreground.
148apps:What challenges did you encounter?
HM: There were many challenges. [Performance wise], we wanted the game to be 60 FPS smooth on iPhone 4, [so] we decided to write our own custom engine…and made it as fast as possible. In the end, it was much more work than just picking up 3rd party engine and working with it, but it was worth it – we would never be able to create such dynamic environment running 60 FPS.
[The] whole control system in Lums is quite innovative and we spent months tweaking it. We'd make something and one month later found that we didn't like it. So we just deleted the whole control system and made another one. Right now the…magic consists of about 10 variables and there is a lot of mathematics. Quite funny considering how simple this thing looks.
Last but not least, the level design was not easy either. Fortunately, we made [an] in-game level editor which allowed us to work anywhere…it was quite normal that some levels were edited more than 1000 times.
148apps: What's your favorite thing about iOS development?
HM We love the fact that you work for the specific devices only. When you make a game which runs without any problem on iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4, you are sure it will run smoothly on all the other iPhones, iPods and iPads out there.
Where can I find out more about Hyperbolic Magnetism?
We'll be keeping a very close eye on the team given the tremendous promise that Lums has demonstrated, but there's plenty of other sources to learn more. There's the developer's website, Twitter account, Facebook page and YouTube channel. Jan, Vladimir and Filip also have their own respective Twitter accounts for the more personal touch.
Lums is out now, priced at $0.99, but surely you've already bought it, right?