How Ravenous Games satisfies the hunger for simple titles on the iPhone

Jul 14, 2011
Games

Independent developer Ravenous Games created one of our favorite games of the year so far with its 99-cent title League Of Evil. Simple and accessible, the 8-bit platformer hosts 50 stages of two-dimensional fun. As described by Appolicious Advisor Phil Hornshaw in his Games of the Week post upon release: “League of Evil has some […]

Independent developer Ravenous Games created one of our favorite games of the year so far with its 99-cent title League Of Evil.

Simple and accessible, the 8-bit platformer hosts 50 stages of two-dimensional fun. As described by Appolicious Advisor Phil Hornshaw in his Games of the Week post upon release:

“League of Evil has some great, responsive virtual controls (which is sadly a lacking feature on many [or most] iOS games) that make it a fun platforming experience on a device that can sometimes struggle with the genre.”

In this edition of Game Theory, we tap into the mobile gaming insight of Derek Doucett, chief cook and bottle washer of Ravenous Games. In addition to describing the life and responsibilities of an independent game developer, Doucett talks about taking ownership of his games’ marketing efforts, why Android is not ready for smaller game developers yet, and what other Apple product have eventually revolutionize (again) iOS gaming.

Appolicious: As an independent game developer, what is the most significant mobile industry news or event to impact your company over the last six months?

Derek Doucett: Playing iOS games through AirPlay on the Apple TV. Providing there is next to no lag in the transmission of the game to your television, this could be a big game changer.

APPO: Outside of financial considerations, how do you go about determining and prioritizing which projects to work on?

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DD: We always prioritize major bugs with our existing library before anything else. When looking for new projects, we look for games that we feel would translate well onto iDevices and would interest our target markets.

APPO: How large is your company, and how many app/game titles do you ship per year?

DD: Currently an army of one, however we contract work out to a few artists and have a few partners. We ship between 2-4 titles per year if you count our client work.

APPO: Any plans to develop games and applications for Android or other mobile operating systems? Why or why not?

DD: At this time, we are not interested in the Android market until it proves to be a good revenue source for indie developers. Seems as though the big guys are porting their iOS games there and giving them away for free to help brand awareness.

APPO: How much control do you have over the marketing of applications after they are developed and what do you think are the most important factors for driving downloads?

DD: Being an indie lets you have total control over your marketing. We’ve approached the standard Twitter and Facebook fan pages. We’ve ran promo code and t-shirt giveaway contests. We were positively reviewed in major game review sites. None of these for us could compete with Apple featuring our game on the App Store. This alone gave us a big boost in public awareness of League of Evil and snagged us quite a few gamers!

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APPO: Outside of the ones you created, what are your favorite iOS games?

DD: Fruit Ninja, Tiny Wings, Canabalt, and The Blocks Cometh.

APPO: How much preparation can you make from now for developing for iOS 5 environments and what will likely be a next-generation iPhone come this fall?

DD: To date we have not been on the “cutting edge” and focus on supporting a lot of older devices. There are still people who have 3G phones and we feel with our games being fairly simple in nature that we should support these devices as well. We will be dropping 3.x support and moving to iOS 4 as a minimum as soon as iOS 5 ships.

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Brad Spirrison

Brad Spirrison is the managing editor of appoLearning and Appolicious Inc. In this capacity, he has sampled and evaluated thousands of iOS and Android applications. He also holds an M.A. in Education and Media Ecology from New York University.

Spirrison worked in concert with appoLearning Expert and Instructional Technology Specialist Leslie Morris while curating and evaluating educational applications.

A longtime media and technology commentator and executive, Spirrison is also a regular contributor to ABC News, The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Bloomberg West and The Christopher Gabriel Program.

Spirrison is married and lives with his wife and young son in Chicago. As his son was born just weeks before the debut of the iPad, Spirrison takes his work home with him and regularly samples and enjoys a variety of educational applications for young children.

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