Yesterday we covered what went on at Gimmie’s pre-GDC game developer mixer, and today we’re following it up with the second half of the story: the games. Lots of excited developers were on hand at the event, and we talked to a few of them about their newest games.
Tim Rogers, veteran game designer and Kotaku writer, was at the Gimmie event to talk about his newest iOS game, ZiGGURAT, as well as some of his other upcoming projects. ZiGGURAT is the first title out of Tim’s new studio, Action Button Entertainment, but before starting out on his own he worked at Grasshopper Manufacture in Japan on triple A titles like No More Heroes.
Tim’s goal with ZiGGURAT, and most of the other upcoming games from Action Button Entertainment, was to first build a mechanic that worked really well on its own, and then build a game around it. In ZiGGURAT, that mechanic is swiping your finger along the bottom of your iPhone or iPad’s screen to aim at robotic alien skeletons jumping at you from either side. The game’s mechanic is simple and fun: just swipe left and right to aim, and let go to shoot. As cliched as it is to say, the game definitely has a really good balance between being easy to play, but difficult to master. And anyone with a soft spot for retro, pixel art graphics will appreciate the impressive art style and animations.
Action Button has already been working on building Gimmie into the next update of ZiGGURAT, so pretty soon you’ll be able to earn real rewards for blasting the most aliens. In posts on Kotaku, Tim has written about “Hamburger Moments” in games, and Gimmie fit the bill for creating these moments, where players feel like they are accomplishing something real, and being rewarded for it. When Tim first heard about Gimmie, he already had plans to include a similar method of rewarding players, and he liked that Gimmie’s approach was mindful of the consumer.
You can download ZiGGURAT on the app store here, and when you do, be sure to check out its unique leaderboards on Game Center where you can compete for seemingly arbitrary, yet fun things like most shots fired or most play time. And keep your eyes open for the next game from Action Button, Copter Wilde, a Diablo-esque social game about flying helicopters and collecting gems coming to the App Store at the end of 2012.
We also got to talk to Shu Chiun Cheah of Geolopigs, about his recently released iOS game, Peter Pog. In the game you take control of a flying pig, and navigate your way through Miyazaki anime inspired levels. The game is a classic 2D shooter, but in addition to dodging bullets and shooting down enemy ships, you must also try to collect crates along the way.
Geolopigs is a two person team that is always looking for ways to increase engagement through social platforms, and are currently integrating Gimmie into their Goals system in order to give their players real world reasons to keep playing and unlocking new things.
Peter Pog is available on the App Store right now as a free, universal download for both iPhone and iPad.
Stephen M. Levinson was also at the event, showing off his unannounced, first game for iOS. For his new gaming startup, Stephen is focusing on the characters first. He wants players of his games to form a real connection with the characters, and build fun game mechanics around aligning the player’s goals with the motivations of the character.
With regards to engagement and metrics, Stephen felt that both would play an important role in his upcoming games. The player’s experience with the characters and worlds he is creating is paramount, so he wants to take advantage of engagement metrics to continuously improve his games. Stephen is also adamantly against putting banner ads in a game that people have paid for, and has been looking for the best ways to make his games profitable without harming the user experience.
You can follow the development of Inkky’s first game on their Tumblr.
Onwards, to GDC!
This post was contributed to by Michael Silverwood.