Game Theory: Q&A with Tor Martin Kristiansen of Kristanix Games

Jul 2, 2010
Games

Location: Lierskogen, Norway Notable apps: Mahjong Epic HD (99 cents), Zamby ($1.99), Maxi Dice ($1.99) Platforms: iPhone, iPad, Mac, Windows, Linux Specialty genres: Puzzle, Casual, Adventure, Arcade Company size: 2 brothers 🙂 Short description of company: Kristanix Games is a small Norwegian company that has been making computer games and applications for many years. We consist […]

Location: Lierskogen, Norway

Notable apps: Mahjong Epic HD (99 cents), Zamby ($1.99), Maxi Dice ($1.99)

Platforms: iPhone, iPad, Mac, Windows, Linux

Specialty genres: Puzzle, Casual, Adventure, Arcade

Company size: 2 brothers 🙂

Short description of company: Kristanix Games is a small Norwegian company that has been making computer games and applications for many years. We consist of two brothers, Vidar and Tor Martin Kristiansen, striving to create great games. Although we mainly focus on making games involving thinking, we can also release games which require rather less brain activity!

How did you and your firm get into the iPhone game development business?

Me and my brother have always been making small games, and have so far specialized in making puzzle games, and basically been in our own little bubble; creating the games we wanted to make. Successful or not! To be honest, we were slow with acknowledging how big the iPhone would get. When we first heard of it, we thought “What’s so darn special about this thingamajig?”. When we then later on purchased one and actually got to play around with it, our reaction simply was “Oh crap!”, realizing what we had ignored! By then, thousands of apps had already been released, so our only option was to suit up and get ready for the ride, and start developing iPhone games! And despite the fact that we arrived a little late, we are actually doing quite well on the App Store right now.

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In your opinion, how has the iPhone and Apple’s iTunes App Store changed the gaming industry?

The App Store was definitely the first thing that sold us on the iPhone. When we first got one, we checked out the App Store. By just tapping “Buy” on a game, it was bought, installed, and ready to play, all within seconds! I had never experienced that before, that easily! That was such a revelation of how easy it was to use the iPhone and the App Store for the customer, and what possibilities it gave developers, especially with the In-App Purchases feature. That’s something that has always been tricky setting up without the backing of a powerful server and an already existing payment system, making it as easy as possible for the customer.

Describe the differences between developing games for the iPhone and the iPad.

Certainly the development and coding itself is pretty much the same, but the higher resolution means creating better art that looks awesome on the iPad, meaning higher cost. Porting over iPhone games over to the iPad won’t always be as simply as scaling everything up 2x. On some games that will be enough, but on others you need to re-think the interface, and how it would work best on the iPad. What’s exciting though is that the iPad is still very new, so I’m sure we’ll see a lot more cooler and better ways of playing games on the iPad. Especially completely new ways of playing old games, in new and innovative ways. It’s a fun time, and I’m looking forward to new games coming out!

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What factors go into how you ultimately price your games?

The biggest factor would be competition, unless you got an app that completely blows away the competition and you can charge what you want. Although I can’t help but think whole price race down to $0.99 that has happened won’t be sustainable for the developers in the long run…Now with the iPad it seems many apps are getting bigger, better and with a higher price point, so I hope it all turns out for the best for both the developers and the customers. We all want to keep the customers happy and be able to get food on our tables, and perhaps a beer or two 🙂

Describe what your dream game for the iPhone would look like.

Simple: Invasion of Nazi Bears! Since the Nazis couldn’t convince normal people, they started to convert animals instead. The bears fell for it, and now we have the result. After WW2, no one thought about checking the woods for enemies, so while we have been living in peace, the bears have been planning their attack for years…  That’s my dream game today. Though, yesterday it was Nazi Polar Bears, but that was such a stupid idea!

 

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