Tag: Theme park »
Ever wanted to start up a tech firm? Got an idea that seems stupidly awesome and original? Or just fancy running a business, warts and all? There's a fairly safe and inexpensive way of experiencing that life coming to iOS later this year. That title is Hipster CEO, a game which challenges players to "take an idea from their dorm room to Wall Street, Zuckerberg-style". We had a word with Dublin-based developer, Ger Kelly, on his vision for the game and just how it came to be.
148apps: Where did the idea for Hipster CEO come from?
Ger Kelly (GK): Well firstly I have a huge passion for tech startups - I love reading about the causes behind startups' success and failure, exciting new technologies, marketing techniques, stuff like that. Whenever I tell someone I work in a startup they always say that they'd love the opportunity to do just that. I wanted to give people a taste of what running a startup company is like - fun but difficult. It isn't all air hockey tables and free beer but when it works, it's the best feeling in the world.
Secondly, I was a video game addict as a kid - particularly sports/business simulations like Championship Manager and Theme Park. I always felt games like that were different in the sense that you were especially proud of what you did - like bringing some low-tier football team all the way to the Cup Final - you always wanted to tell your friends. Even now one of my fondest teenage memories is winning a league title with my favorite football team - which probably says a lot about my adolescence! I felt that there was room for a tech startup simulator in the same vein.
The name came about when a friend called me a total hipster because I guess I can be a little snobby about my musical taste at times. I had a few other ideas for a title but people really reacted really well to Hipster CEO so I went with it.
148apps: The idea of the game seems pretty lighthearted, will that continue throughout the game?
GK: The Hipster element of the game is simply a veneer, the game will create the experience of building a tech startup as closely as possible. I think the Hipster shtick appeals to a lot of people in a fun way and I want people to have fun playing this game. However, the gameplay will be firmly rooted in reality so there won't be any "wacky" investment offers tabled or disgruntled developers setting fire to their desks. On second thoughts I might include that last one!
Stuff like the Social Network movie and TV shows like Dragon's Den and Shark Tank makes every man and his dog feel like they could grow a startup company into a huge success but, as anyone who has ever built a startup will know, it's a lot of hard work. There are so many things you need to get right to build a winning product: quality development, creative marketing, and of course sales. It might sound crazy but so many tech startups out there have no sales strategy starting off - Hipster CEO will encourage players to start making revenue from day one.
Players will need to get the right balance of these three in order to succeed, all the while keeping their staff happy, handling investors, and dealing with the media. That sure seems like a lot but trust me that's what a startup CEO has to deal with on a day-to-day basis!
I hope my app puts a smile of the face of those who play it because they feel rewarded not just because of some jibe at hipsters.
148apps: Will the game solely be quite text focused, or will there be more game-style graphics too?
GK: I really wanted to have a basic graphics pane which displayed your character, your employees, your office and stuff like that but it's just not feasible for the first version. Like being able to see your little team graduate from your parent's basement to some swanky, playground-esque office would be awesome. I have some design skills but nothing on the level that would be required for proper animation so I've had to shelve that idea for now. It will probably be one of the first things addressed if the game takes off.
I think Championship Manager showed that you can just have words and numbers on the screen and still create a totally immersive experience.
148apps: Will it be a one-off payment game, or will there be in-app purchases involved?
There will be a one-off payment and the option to get additional investment via in-app purchases. I want to stress, however, that you don't need to make any in-app purchases after getting the app in order to build a great startup - it's merely there as an option. I'd actually prefer if players declined the option to take investment completely and slowly but surely built a solid company but I know there's people out there who will just want to get to a certain level as fast as possible.
148apps: Is there a way of completing Hipster CEO? Or is it more open ended than that?
GK: It's open ended. Each character in the game (including you as CEO) has certain stats that will grow and shrink based on their performance. If your company goes broke you'll have the option to build another startup with the skill set you've developed. Most entrepreneurs fail with their first few startups so it may take players a few different cracks of the whip before they really hit the big time. It's totally possible of course that they have a huge success of things and start getting acquisition offers to decide upon.
There will be an online leaderboard of all the players worldwide so you can see how you measure up as a CEO in the game. I've a lot of long term ideas for the game too - like inviting the top players around the world to become virtual venture capitalists in later versions of the game which other people can pitch to.
Sounding a pretty intriguing idea, we'll be keeping a close eye on Hipster CEO's progress. Further information is also available at the game's site. It's hopefully set for release in October. Thanks to Ger for taking the time to answer our questions!
My wife and I decided to eschew family Christmas traditions and make our own this year by visiting Disney's Magic Kingdom in Orlando. The experience itself was wonderful, in spite of surprisingly large crowds when we visited on Christmas Eve (no fault to Disney there, but even THEY seemed overwhelmed by the numbers that visited the park). But what amazed me the most about our trip is how essential our iPhones have become to every aspect of our travel. From navigation to photography to even Disney park preparation, our iPhone 4(s) had us covered every step of the way.
Our single-purpose GPS is way out of date (I'm the cheapskate and can just never bring myself to pay for map upgrades) so we decided to try out MotionX GPS Drive on this trip and the results could not have been better. MotionX GPS Drive has recently received a much-requested upgrade adding full-voice support for street names, so this new feature was added just in time for our trip. Mind you, neither the app nor the full-voice is perfect. "Exit 83-A" was commonly referred to as "Exit 83uh" and other street names were mangled from time to time, but as a whole the new voice functions worked well. And then there was the time when we needed to travel to the Animal Kingdom Lodge for dinner at African restaurant Boma. When I selected "Boma's at Animal Kingdom Lodge" from the app, it began navigating us, but our destination ended up at the main gate of some Orlando resident's palatial estate. A little fine-tuning was needed, but the app finally got us where we needed to go. MotionX GPS Drive is also a steal from a financial perspective - $0.99 for the app with guided navigation for $2.99 for 30 days. MotionX wisely does not auto-renew, so you only need to pay the navigation fee when you really need it, which is a very nice touch.
Once in the park, we had two go-to apps - Undercover Tourist and Hipstamatic. If you're unfamiliar with Undercover Tourist, it's an app designed to give you information about anticipated crowds at the various Disney parks and queue wait times at rides within the parks. Unfortunately, Undercover Tourist pushed an update right before our trip and it broke the app on my iPhone 4. I was hopeful when I saw a new update released, but mine still crashes. My wife, ever reluctant to update apps, still had an older version on her phone, so we were able to use it. The crowd forecast for December 24th (color coded: red for heavy, yellow for moderate and green for light) showed green so we thought we had it made. Like I said earlier, the crowds seemed to surprise even Disney, so I can't really blame Undercover Tourist for a mistake in its data. The good news is that the queue estimates were generally accurate and helped us, particularly early on, decide where to go and what to do. And since the app is free (there is a paid ad-free version) there isn't much I can complain about.
Finally, what would a trip to the Magic Kingdom be without lots and lots of pictures? Sure, the iPhone 4 has a much-improved camera, but I'm a sucker for the retro surprises generated by Apple's iPhone App of the Year Hipstamatic. I suppose it's because my first trip to the Magic Kingdom happened only a year or so after the park opened, but I love the washed-out, 1970s style prints that Hipstamatic generates on the fly. Changing virtual lenses and films was a great way to while away the time spent in long, long lines (the Haunted Mansion line was longer than I have ever experienced), and the photos the app took are some of my favorites from this trip. There's a reason Apple selected Hipstamatic, and it's primarily because of its easy of use, versatility and overall fun-factor.
So, we're back home now, but there's no mistaking that the iPhone 4 changed our Disney experience for the better. For one thing, it was the first time we didn't have to lug around a heavy, cumbersome camera throughout the park; but beyond that, it made the day more pleasant, more organized and a lot more fun to remember.