Hello, my name is Thomas Whitaker and I am the co-founder and director of Attollos Technology Ltd. During the summer of 2011, myself and my business partner James Robinson worked on taking our first baby steps into game development. Both students at Universities in the United Kingdom, we wanted to stray away from the well trod path of attempting to gain internships and try and gain some industry experience first hand.
As a talented programmer, James took over the main coding responsibilities, whilst I was attempting to take on the most daunting task of all: making a small indie game have a voice in a market that is so quickly becoming overshadowed by multinational companies, who can afford to throw thousands of pounds into generating a download surge. With this in mind, we decided we wanted to create a simple, addictive game, that would be a good time filler for the casual gaming community. The concept of a fast paced tapping game emerged at the fore-front of our thoughts and our game – Screen Invaders began to take shape.
With this challenge in mind and a notebook on my desk, I started to doodle out the characters and the storyline that would become the foundation behind our game. We wanted a simple, user-friendly interface that would allow the user to simply pick up and play. For me, there was nothing more aggravating with an iOS game than having to trawl through what seems like an eternity of menus in order to get to the actual gameplay.
This meant that the idea behind our game revolved around the notion of attempting to defend earth against hordes of alien invaders within a given time limit. As the levels progressed, the aliens became more and more numerous and difficult to destroy. James created a few prototype games without any of the graphics introduced and I soon became hooked on the concept.
I could barely stop playing my own game and decided that this pick-up and play concept was one that we should try and stick to at all costs. Taking inspiration from the dynamic art in games such as TinyWings, we decided that we would have a set background for only a few levels and try and keep changing everything round so that the gaming experience was not as monotonous as simply tapping away in a frenzy to try and destroy the last alien before time ran out.
After months of hard work and hours spent designing characters and icons, Screen Invaders version 1 was finally ready to be submitted to the AppStore. As newbie developers, this was a proud moment for both of us and where our advanced planning and research became critical. After recently completing an internship at Stick Sports ltd, the creators of the famous Stick Cricket series, I was able to gain advertising space on their website, a domain that attracts millions of hits a day.
Independent marketing schemes such as those created by Innovatty on twitter, involving all of the indie developers retweeting about each other’s ideas were also invaluable as well as the forums on sites such as TouchArcade. The challenge was intimidating, attempting to do battle with companies such as EA, in an arena that they were swiftly trying to dominate. Adverts such as the one above, were circulated across the globe in an attempt to build up a buzz before the game was released. Finally, towards the end of August, we gained permission from Apple for the game to go live and after hours spent blogging, tweeting, face booking and you-tubing, all we could do was hope. We averaged a respectable 50 downloads every few days and with the introduction of bonuses and power-ups, we hope the game can spread.
[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEFfkDfA1r0[/youtube]
Ultimately, we released our game at a very similar time to the day Contre-Jour was published by Chillingo. Without the advertising power and established consumer base dying to download anything with a company stamp on it, we were never going to emerge as real contenders to top the Arcade genre.
However, we have lots of great ideas and with our base of existing customers all around the world, we are hopeful that our next release can really cause a stir and ruffle some angry feathers. Our company motto “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”, a famous Eleanor Roosevelt quote really sums up what we envisage we will one day accomplish. We have taken our first baby steps and although we did not exceptionally flourish, you must first learn to walk before you can attempt to run.