Posts Tagged skee-ball
This week, August 8-12, 148Apps interviewed Matt Gravelle, co-founder of Graveck, the developer behind one of the most successful and addictive iPhone games – Skee-Ball. Interviewer Gianna LaPin writes, “Graveck has recently started developing for the Android platform; this, combined with all the recent advances in the iOS world, is enough to make Matt’s head spin. Looking forward, he sees steady, predictable advancements in the mobile computing field instead of major breakthroughs in the near future. Specifically he agrees with Apple’s move towards creating a more seamless, cohesive user experience between devices by leveraging cloud storage, and Graveck plans on adopting that same philosophy.”
Released: 2009-09-22 :: Category: Games
Over on 148Apps.biz, founder Jeff Scott announced the upcoming App Developer’s Conference in Santa Clara, CA: “The App Developers Conference is the essential event for everyone building and selling apps for emerging devices. From smart phones to smart cars, applications and connectivity are driving the consumer application market forward at warp speed. This event brings development professionals together with the platforms, tools, services, and brand marketers that are working to connect people, places and things.”
The fine folks at GiggleApps reviewed an app designed to teach kids the basics of drawing, appropriately called How to Draw. Reviewer Amy Solomon writes, “How To Draw is a creative and fun application that explains, step by step, the elements used to draw simple pictures how and to re-create these drawings themselves. Although universal, this app best performs on the iPad when one is following along, drawing within this app, but this app also included is a very nice section which allows the viewer to just watch these images progress as well – something that can be enjoyed on either iPad or iPhone.”
Released: 2010-04-13 :: Category: Education
Finally, no weekly wrap-up would be complete without a visit to our 148Apps Lists. Stop by to see the newest 148 apps on the App Store, the Top 148 free apps and more. Plus, keep track of all the latest app developments by clicking “Like” on our Facebook page, or following us on Twitter.
That’s it for this week! Check in with us next week for a weekly round-up.
Hailing from the days when Mac shareware was commonplace, hobbyist game developers Jonathan Czeck and Matt Gravelle decided to take their shared interest to the next level when they co-founded Graveck. Things really took off when they adopted the Unity engine in 2005, and since then they’ve established themselves as leaders in the Unity3D community as well as talented game design specialists.
I had the opportunity to talk with Matt about how and why they made the transition to mobile app development. Matt explains that he and Jonathan were encouraged by rumors of small teams hitting it big with the then-young iTunes App Store. Their first game was an unbranded version of Skee-Ball called “10 Balls 7 Cups” which, as Matt put it, “was moderately successful for two guys building a quick game.” [Ed Note: It was also a fun stab at team-wars before there was an OpenFeint/GameCenter by the folks at ThePortableGamer, called Clan Wars]
I’m always curious as to what the working environment is at an app develop company and Matt generously provided lots of details. Graveck is currently a team of eight people, with occasional collaboration from other companies and individuals met though community forums or IRC channels.
They stick to smaller projects that generally don’t involve the entire company at once, so the mix of people changes regularly and colleagues get to interact with different team members. In groups that number three or more, development tends to loosely follow SCRUM methodologies.
People are assigned to projects based on their strengths and interests. When adding new people to the company, Matt likes to look for self-learners with a wide variety of skills. “The thing that keeps game development interesting is that you can apply a huge variety of skills… a lot of creativity and artistry is needed even for a programmer who in other careers wouldn’t need a creative hair in his/her body.”
Education takes a backseat to practical skills and experience – the best indicator of future success is a finished game in a developer’s portfolio – but everyone at Graveck has some post-secondary education. Matt himself has a degree in Mathematics and is licensed to teach math and physics at the high school level.
If you could look at a mobile app developer’s personal iOS device, what would you find? I asked Matt what mobile apps he used regularly and enjoyed. He claimed to be a developer’s “worst nightmare” due to his short attention span – an affliction I’ve discovered to be quite common among the developers I’ve talked to. Past favorites include Words with Friends and Angry Birds.
Sitting at a desk can make a person restless, especially a person with a short attention span, so I asked Matt what he does in his free time. Home improvement projects, gardening, making furniture – anything that doesn’t involve a computer – are ideal ways to decompress. When struggling with a difficult programming or design problem he might take his Macbook Pro outside to work in the shade or heads down to a nearby coffee shop. When this doesn’t work, walking away for a day to focus on something else might do the trick, because the solution might appear unexpectedly. And very occasionally he simply needs some help: “Sometimes it’s a good idea to let somebody else who’s more qualified to handle the problem, or if nothing else just get another set of eyes on it.”
He tries to keep the office a relaxing setting as well. Every Wednesday they order lunch from a local restaurant and try to keep the selections interesting. I asked Matt what his favorite food was. “A better question would be what type of food do I not like? Mushrooms. Sauerkraut. Head cheese. Other than that I love all forms of food and do not discriminate. Oh, and I was really disappointed with the jellyfish we ordered the other day.”
Graveck has recently started developing for the Android platform; this, combined with all the recent advances in the iOS world, is enough to make Matt’s head spin. Looking forward, he sees steady, predictable advancements in the mobile computing field instead of major breakthroughs in the near future. Specifically he agrees with Apple’s move towards creating a more seamless, cohesive user experience between devices by leveraging cloud storage, and Graveck plans on adopting that same philosophy.
Speaking of the future, there are some really exciting projects on the horizon for Matt and his company. Arcade Ball is coming to Android, which should really illuminate how the Android market compares to the iOS. There’s a golf game near completion as well, which has a fun multiplayer mode. Lastly, there’s a top-secret project about halfway done which Matt is really enthusiastic about, but declined further comment. “You’ll just have to stay tuned to learn more,” he says, and I could almost hear him grinning.
As the year winds down and we look ahead to the next decade it’s time for all those wonderful end-of-year lists we all get so excited about. Today we have some exciting news, as Apple has detailed all the top paid and free apps for the iPhone and iPad, as well as the top grossing apps on each platform. Here’s the full rundown, for your edification.
Top 10 Free iPhone Apps
2. Angry Birds Lite
3. Words With Friends Free
5. Tap Tap Revenge 3
6. The Weather Channel®
7. Paper Toss
9. ROCK BAND FREE
10. Talking Tom Cat
Top 10 Grossing iPhone Apps
REad even MORE lists after the jump.
Continue reading Apple Lists 2010 Top Apps »
Newly released to the App Store is Skee-Ball HD by Freeverse. If you like their iPhone game, you’ll definitely want to check it out on the bigger screen, and more levels and prizes.
Whether they played Skee-Ball on the boardwalk or at Chuck-e-Cheese as a kid, practically everyone remembers throwing those hard balls down the lane and hoping it’ll go up the ramp to the highest points rung. Skee-Ball HD tries to emulate the physics of the game so that you have the same feeling now as you did back then. The graphics are HD quality and offer a 3D style background to offer a high quality overall experience.
Not only will you have fun trying to reach and beat your own high scores, but as a part of the Plus+ network, you can try and beat other people’s high scores for either ticket accumulation or points. If your friends are also a part of the network, challenge them to a duel, and may the best Skee-Baller win!
It’s easy to pick up and play for the first time – simply flick your ball up the ramp towards the scoring rings. For more experienced players, tilt your iPad for spin and try to do neat tricks or harder shots to impress your friends. They’ll want to try it out, too; it’s an addictive game.
Just like the fun of the original, you can collect tickets to cash in for awesome prizes that include custom Skee-Balls like the Moo Ball, Sun Ball, Dinosaur Egg Ball, and must-have oddities like Vampire Teeth, Peruvian Flute Band CD, New Zealand, and more than 80 others items. Expansions and Upgrades are also available within the game!
At only $1.99, this is one of the least expensive games on the iPad and certainly well worth trying out, especially if you’re already a Freeverse Skee-Ball iPhone user, or just a Skee-Ball fan in general. The all-time classic arcade game has been enhanced for the iPad and should definitely be a fun new game to play.
As I sat back and thought about things last week, I realized that the site was missing something. Every news source worth their salt partakes in long form interviews, which are great, but for the most part aren’t read all the way through due to their length. Being the busy guy that I am, I completely understand, and in my understanding I’ve decided that four questions (4Q) is the length that interviews should take. So with that, I’ll leave you with the interview.
Being a lifelong fan of skee-ball, I decided to reach out to Freeverse via e-mail to get some important questions answered about their new app, aptly named Skee-Ball (how was this not used already?). Fortunately, my desperate pleas for answers were answered by none other than Lydia Heitman, marketing director extraordinaire, and Justin D’Onofrio, senior producer/pizza guru.
Check out the full four question interview after the break. Enjoy!
Continue reading 4Q Interview: Freeverse – Skee-Ball »
Ramp Champ, a reimagined skee ball game from DS Media Labs and Iconfactory finally showed up in the App Store today. Rarely have we seen such anticipation for a game from indie developers. Unfortunatly to me, the build up doesn't match the pay off.
Read The Full Review »
10 Balls, 7 Cups presents an arcade skeeball experience with a flippant ticket system (pet dragon, anyone?). It's a polished, simple game with great graphics, and perfect for wasting time. Just don't expect anything complicated.
Read The Full Review »