148 Apps on Facebook 148 Apps on Twitter

Tag: Little bit games »

148Apps 2013 wrAPP-Up - Developers, Hardware, and Carter

Posted by Chris Kirby on January 1st, 2014

Sure 148Apps is known far and wide for its diverse array of app reviews, but we also love to spotlight some lesser-known developers, review the occasional piece of useful hardware, and challenge developers to duke it out in their own games. Here's a look at some of the highlights from the past year:

Developer Spotlight: 11 Bit Studios

Jennifer Allen:What’s your favorite thing about iOS development?
11 Bit Studios: We are producers of PC and console games too, and iOS development is pretty different. The entire design process begins (after typical dev brainstorm for game’s main theme is over, hehe) with thinking about how to make touchscreen gameplay enjoyable in the project. At least that’s our way. We believe this particular gaming platform is based on the controls in the first place. PC games may be pad-controlled, keyboard-controlled, mouse-controlled or even be turn-based in a model where controls are totally less important comparing to story. That, of course, does not mean we are not putting attention to story, visuals et cetera, but there’s something in the statement, that iOS development is very controls-oriented. And those controls are all about tapping and finger-swiping.

Developer Spotlight: Dragonhead Games

Jennifer Allen:What was the inspiration behind Zombies & Trains?
Tor Martin Kristiansen: We actually weren’t that interested in making a game about zombies, since it seemed like every other day, someone made a game about them. We were focusing on coming up with an idea that sounded cool when you shared it with other people. At some point, almost as a joke, we started discussing ways of disposing of zombies that hadn’t been used in games or movies, and the idea of a train blasting through a zombie-horde came up. It immediately struck us as an idea that we just had to try, and we made a simple demo that was so much fun to play. And it was incredibly challenging, something we liked!

Kickstarting echoChamber: A New Party Rhythm Game

Posted by Jennifer Allen on December 6th, 2013

Approaching things differently from the rest is always good, right? That's what the folks at Little Bit Games are clearly thinking, too. Having previously covered their efforts earlier in the year, my interest was piqued thanks to a new Kickstarter campaign they've recently launched.

EchoChamber is the title hoping to be funded by it. It's described as a rhythm game with a "unique twist." It's a free-to-play local multiplayer title that uses positional audio to get players to follow various cues and perform gestures in time with the music. I took the time to learn more from Cody Lee, co-founder and developer at Little bit Games.

148Apps: How did the idea for echoChamber come about?
Cody Lee (CL): The idea for echoChamber came about after playing the game SpaceTeam with friends. It seemed like such a unique and original idea and utilized your phone for multiplayer in a way that I’d never seen before. It kinda blew my mind and I started to think of other ways we could use mobile devices for multiplayer experiences that you couldn’t get on any other platform. I spent a lot of time picturing people physically standing around with friends, trying to come up with games that required that physical space, and that used the capabilities of modern cell phones.

148Apps: Why the decision to be free to play?
CL: echoChamber is a multiplayer only game, and is more fun the more people you are playing with. It seemed natural for us to release the game as a free download so people can start playing it as easily as possible with their friends without requiring everybody to commit to purchasing it. We’ll be releasing additional tracks as paid DLC for people who want to extend their experience beyond the base tracks.

148Apps: How hard has it been to implement the positional sound effects?
CL: Doing the positional audio itself isn’t too bad. It’s really just a matter of adjusting volume for the different devices to get the desired effect we want. The hardest part has been synching the playback of the track on all of the devices while accounting for network latency. If the sound is out of sync at all, the positional effect is lost, and you get more of an echo. If it’s REALLY out of sync it just sounds like garbage!

148Apps: What other challenges have you faced?
CL: echoChamber started out as more of a Pong-like game where sound would move around and players would have to tap their screens to hit the “ball” away. The problem is it’s hard to know when the ball has reached you. It get’s louder so you know it’s closer, but how loud is the “loudest” and “closest”. That’s why we ended up going the rhythm game route. When there’s a set beat, and the ball moves to the beat, it’s easier to know when the sound will “hit”. We’ve since moved away from the Pong aspect of the game and are focusing more on an overall fun musical experience instead.

148Apps: When do you hope to release echoChamber?
CL: If the Kickstarter goes well, we hope to release some time early next year. If it doesn’t go well... we’re not sure.

The Kickstarter campaign runs until December 27, with a wide selection of backer rewards to cover everyone's budget.

Thanks to Cody for taking the time to answer our questions. We'll be sure to keep an eye on echoChamber's progress.

Developer Spotlight: Little Bit Games

Posted by Jennifer Allen on April 24th, 2013
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: PLANT A SEED :: Read Review »

With the release of Little Bit Games' first title, The Seed, we thought it was time to get to know more about these up and coming Canadian developers.

Jennifer Vogt, Curtis Vogt and Cody Lee
Who is Little Bit Games?
The team is made up of developers/founders Cody Lee and Curtis Vogt, musicians Eric Cassell and Jennifer Vogt, as well as artist Jeffrey Taniguchi. Based out of Winnipeg, Canada, the team have been together since 2011 having been previously inspired courtesy of Ron Gilbert's keynote speech at PAX 2009.

What is Little Bit Games most famous for?
Currently, its sole release: The Seed. It's a physics puzzle game in which players must guide the Seed to the end of the level using droplets to manipulate its path. Minimalist in appearance, David Rabinowitz gave it 4 stars when he reviewed it earlier this month.

What's next on the horizon?
We checked in with Cody Lee about the team's plans. "The current version of The Seed in the App Store is part 1. We have plans to release part 2 as a free update later in the year, but we are planning for a quick project in between. We aren't ready to announce anything yet, but we are currently experimenting with some really exciting and unique ideas that can only be accomplished on the mobile platform."

Anything else I should know about Little Bit Games?
Having been intrigued as to just what makes the team tick, I checked in with Cody for a few answers.

Concept Art for The Seed
148apps: What was the inspiration behind The Seed?
Cody: The original inspiration for the basic physics based puzzle mechanic of The Seed was an old PC game called The Incredible Machine. The game involved creating elaborate Rube-Golderg contraptions for each level and featured a very addictive tweaking trial-and-error type gameplay. Overall though, The Seed has taken a much different tone than its inspiration. We've noticed that most physics-based puzzle games on mobile platforms these days look and feel the same. Quite frankly, many feel like they're trying to capture the Angry Birds "feel." They're colorful, and childlike and try very overtly to appeal to the casual audience. With The Seed, we really wanted to do something different and decided to take a much more mature and minimalistic tone which is what every detail [of The Seed] strives for. There's very little text in the game, and the music and art are designed to give a zen-like experience, to offset what can often times be a very challenging game.

148apps: What's your favorite thing about iOS development?
Cody: Developing for iOS (and mobile in general) offers many constraints when it comes to screen real-estate and memory concerns, but it opens up a whole world of exciting game design possibilities you just can't get on traditional video game platforms. The tools available and popularity of iOS development also make it super easy to get up and running and find documentation and open source libraries when you need it. Above all though, my favorite thing is probably how easy it is for indie developers to distribute their games. Digital distribution such as the App Store has made it super easy for up and coming game developers to get their games out to the public, and as a result the indie game development scene has been stronger than ever. It's a very exciting time for indie games and iOS is definitely part of the reason why. This easy distribution is of course a blessing and a curse, as it also means a lot of noise in the App Store, making it difficult to get noticed!

Where can I find out more about Little Bit Games?
Plenty of places. While we'll be keeping an eye out for the next update to The Seed, you can also check out the developers' website, Facebook page and Twitter account.

The Seed is out now, priced at $0.99.

The Seed Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By David Rabinowitz on April 19th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: PLANT A SEED
The Seed is a physics-based puzzle game that combines elegant artwork, an engrossing narrative, and enjoyable gameplay.
Read The Full Review »