Interview with Pascal Bestebroer of OrangePixel, developer of Mechanics Touch
Jul 14, 2009 6:00 AM –
OrangePixel brings a unique game of concentration and multi-tasking to Android using the touch screen to save as many Mechanics getting them from point A to B. We’ve Interviewed Pascal Bestebroer of OrangePixel to get more insight on their game, company and future Android development plans:
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Pascal, and I am the owner and a developer at OrangePixel http://orangepixel.net, a mobile games company. The last 5 years we have been working mostly on mobile games for the large collection of mobile phones running Java. We are now making the move to Android and iPhone (and I personally prefer Android).
Why did you create your app?
Mechanics Touch is a game based on one of our older Java mobile games. We made this version for use with touch screens and designed a new gameplay around those concepts. It’s one of the first concepts we are developing for Android devices using our existing IP’s. With our goal being that we like to use our IP’s but only if they make sense on the Android touchscreen device. So no simple porting of old games, but figuring out new game concepts for the device.
What technology did you use in creating your App and why?
We used the basic setup of Eclipse for development, it’s not the best development IDE, but it’s the easiest and quickest way to get started when developing for Android. For the graphics we used a version of Paint Shop Pro 9, it’s an outdated version but I personally think it works much better for pixelart stuff then any of the newer versions or other programs… of course that’s all just personal taste 😉 For music we used MadTracker and Audacity, and for level editing we used TuDee from http://gojoentertainment.com/ A very nice tilemap editor.
About how long did it take to create your App?
It started out as a side project next to our mobile games, so it’s hard to say exactly how long.. I guess it was about 4 to 5 weeks spread over multiple months 😉
What is a cool uncovered tip or trick you can do with the App?
If you play it while in space, you can actually make contact with other species.. but that feature is still a bit buggy and might not always work. Other then that, there are no hidden features in this game 😉
What other interesting uses can come from the App?
It’s a game! it should bring pleasure, and kill some time, no deeper meaning behind it.
Can you tell us about future feature enhancements with your App?
We have plans on adding a couple of more worlds in the following months, these will then only be playable if the original 3 worlds have been completed.
What did you really like about creating Apps on the Android platform?
Having struggled with the limitations of J2ME on mobile phones, the fact that so many features are now available (simple things like resizing images, rotating images, alpha blending, etc) almost made me declare my love for Android (almost). And not being limited by memory or filesizes (atleast not as much as on mobile) is really a new world opening up.
What are some things you would like to see improved with Android?
I’d love to see support for micropayments, social connected stuff like Facebook, Twitter and possible other such services. The social aspects make gaming much more interesting, and although we have our own RumbleX code build into our games, for highscores and achievements… nothing beats being able to brag about your highscores to your friends on Facebook 😉
What is your opinion of the Android App Market’s distribution method? In comparison Apple’s model (strict control over the iTunes store) or the Windows Mobile model (no store at all).
I love the App Market, it is more open then Apple’s model (thank god) and provides developers with a way to reach everyone that has an Android device. Oh, and not having to deal with distributors who take a percentage cut is just an awesome bonus (that goes for any App-Market model).
What is your Opinion on the state of the Rating/Feedback system in the App Market?
Hmm, I guess it works on the user side, but as a developer you have to resort to a site like www.cyrtek.com to actually read the reviews and ratings (developer phones won’t display the copyrighted paid apps).. and some way to reply to some feedback would really be great. Seeing as our game mostly got great ratings and feedback sofar, I guess it works for now 😉
Do you have plans on releasing Apps for other markets (i.e. iPhone, Windows Mobile, Blackberry, etc.)?
We are working on Mechanics Touch for the iPhone, and we are still developing some games for J2ME devices, because it’s still a huge market and we have some games that need wrapping up. No plans for Windows Mobile, Blackberry or Palm WebOS at this time.
Your app is a paid app, why did you choose this model over the free model, and how to you project its success?
We are a company, and we try to make money with our games for a living.. so a free model wouldn’t really be working for us unless we can get our food for free 😉 Right now the game is doing nice, but we had a hard time getting coverage on game sites. For some reason it seems Android isn’t really thought about as a game-platform.. I’m positive this will change within 6 months time, when there are much more phones out there running Android.
Must-have Android Apps?
Hmm, for me that is Twidroid to check tweets when I’m not at my pc, and Meebo for the IM service (also only when I’m away from my pc). Although Meebo could really use some improvements, but I found it the best solution sofar to be able to talk to my msn,gtalk and facebook contacts when on the road.
What advice would you give to another aspiring mobile application developer?
Just go for it! It’s really that simple, if you want to develop, then nothing is keeping you back. The tools are free and it’s fairly easy to start learning it.
Can you tell us what future Android Apps you have brewing?
Right now we are working on a couple of game concepts. We have Little Hotel: a hotel-management game, where you start out with a dump with two floors, and you have to try and build your own 5-star hotel. Another one of our projects is based on a mobile game we have in development: Yokiyo 2, basically a test to see if we can create a run-and-jump game on a touch screen device like Android.. sofar it’s looking very good and seems playable enough (and I personally LOVE run-and-jump games, so I want this game to succeed).
And finally we are working on Toddlers 2, a very funny and simple casual game that requires you to shake your phone, and tilt your phone to have your toddler in the air as long as possible.. it will be awesome 😉
Thank you very much Pascal, sweet app… keep it up! Don’t forget to check out our Android App Review of Mechanics Touch!