Tell us about your app! Botpocalypse is a fast-paced, survival-style arcade game where gamers can compete against friends for the highest score or longest survival time, acquire new characters, and unlock achievements.
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Tell us about being triVios! triVios can be summed up very simply; It’s a real-time trivia game that allows players to win awesome prizes by playing one of four unique trivia game modes.
Thinking of switching from iOS to Android? This post will help by addressing some of the areas of hesitation or concern, particularly as it relates to the new iOS continuity announcements. more
Whew, it has been a year since we launched our Stories Behind the Apps feature and what an amazing journey it has been.
Tell us about being WittyLater! WittyLater was the natural choice for our inaugural app. It perfectly demonstrates our sense of humour, it allows us to use unusual words like “jape”, and it even let us make up a word (kaflabble) when we couldn’t think of a word to describe a completely jokey and non-serious argument.
Tell us about your game! Sudoku In Space launches the classic paper-and-pencil game into orbit with its sleek design and stellar graphics and sounds. Its colors-only mode is a brilliant alternative to the traditional sudoku with numbers, providing an entertaining twist to both novice and experienced players.
Startup communities are cropping up all over the world. Global News called 2014 ‘The Year of Startup Communities’. Almost every day, a new accelerator program is announced. We prefer the announcements and results coming out of existing accelerators than to hear another one has been born, but still - the spirit of the entrepreneur is spreading. Since anyone with a computer and an internet connection can start a company, and learning to code is becoming cooler than ever; the growth and unwavering hype around everything startups does not look like it’s going to slow anytime soon.
If you’re reading this you might already have an interest in startups. You might not have a ‘big idea’ right now, and might not be an innovation leader yet - but have you ever considered working for a startup? Your interest doesn’t need to be as a co-founder, and you don’t need to aspire to be the next Zuck - startups need good people and people need to do work they’re passionate about. You don’t even need to necessarily have experience - fresh grads and startups are a great match.
Here’s why we think YOU should consider working for a startup:
- Startups need good talent arguably more than large companies do. Lets face it, large companies have enough man power to get things done while they are busy looking for more staff. They’re going to get by. But for a startup, every day missing a key skill or knowledge can be crippling.
- Second-to-none experience to be gained. In large companies there are teams of people working on key tasks or objectives. You won’t always get a chance to try something new. Startups need confident and ready risk-takers. The best lessons and experiences come from diving in and having a go because there’s simply no time to waste! With your contract you’re handed a lot more responsibility at startups than you might find at established companies, which leads us to number 3…
- Maximum impact. Being with a company from its humble beginnings means you get to see your passion and hard work make real impact over time, influencing the outcome of the team’s work. Been chipping away at your established workplace for years, but not feeling fulfilled or like you’ve made an impact? Startups are everywhere and they’re ready for your influence. Alex Lynn of Real Ventures told MTL NewTech last month that people working for startups benefit from seeing the future before it happens - meaning these people are also shaping the future.
- Savvy graduates need not be just a number. Large companies are full of faces. Numbers, even. Fresh grads are often lured by well-known brand names and companies with impressive history. But will you be just another number? Choose a startup and you might just skip years of waiting for promotions, waiting to be noticed and waiting to make an impact - for your moment to shine. You can step into high-level positions right away, or maybe even just something closer to the job you really want; you don’t always have to spend years working towards that if you find the right fit at a startup.
- Increased flexibility. Although a lot of companies are switching it up to let you work remotely, (P&G major announcement last year, Work From Home Program) many startups don’t have offices yet and working from home or the nearest cafe with WIFI can often be the norm. Plus, if your startup hooks up with a local co-op space, you’ll experience a fresh and new kind of environment. These kinds of shared spaces can spark creativity and innovation just by being surrounded by people equally as passionate from other like-minded companies doing all kinds of different and amazing things.
Busbud CEO and Co-Founder LP Maurice, a leader in the Montreal startup community thinks you should work for a startup too. “I think that startups offer some of the most exciting career opportunities right now, partly because you can learn a lot very rapidly, partly because you can play an active role defining your work environment, but mostly because of the potential to have a big direct impact on society.”.
Even the PPLCONNECT Co-Founders Jenviev Azzolin and Denzil D’Sa left a large, Fortune 500 company to begin PPLCONNECT. Jenviev shares her view on the appeal of startups;
Startups offer very meaningful experience, especially for young graduates eager to learn quickly and accelerate their career. Typically, startups have very little to no hierarchy, which means you can gain a wide-breadth of experience and exposure to complex corporate challenges, which would otherwise be reserved for more senior employees. At the end of the day, you can have a major direct impact on your team, end-users and tackle a worldwide problem.
The trending keyword here seems to be ‘impact’. Having an impact in your daily work ultimately leads to fulfilling work. And the best part? The growth of startups means that supply of ready and willing startup employees is always low. If you find a startup you’re passionate about and you’re an intelligent person smart enough to know when to take risks, then the chance to shape the future is yours for the taking.
Tell us about your game! We have recently released our debut title called Galaxy Dash: Race to the Outer Run. Galaxy Dash combines the excitement of an endless runner with the thrill of space combat! In the game you play as a star captain and privateer who is navigating through the Outer Run, a dangerous but lucrative smuggling route on the edge of the galaxy. Your goal is to blast obstacles in your way, collect tons of loot, and survive as long as possible to become the most infamous smuggler in the galaxy!
How is the game different from similar apps? Galaxy Dash is a hybrid between an endless runner and space combat game. While Galaxy Dash shares a similar core loop and control scheme as other 3D endless runners, our key differentiator is the infusion of combat in the game. Players can shoot asteroids, enemy ships, and other space hazards to earn bonus score and loot during their run. This creates an exciting balance of dodging and combat, reminiscent of classic games like Star Fox. We also have a fresh visual take on space games, featuring a vibrant and colorful atmosphere to explore.
Tell us about the app design. Galaxy Dash features a whimsical cast of characters in the form of aliens, robots, and humanoids. We wanted to highlight these characters in the app icon, so our current icon features the character Helix, who is one of our favorites aliens in the game. With regards to the user interface, we spent many months creating layouts and mockups for the various screens, and testing them as grey-scale in the game. Once we were happy with the general layout and user flow, we hired a friend and talented UI designer to help push us over the finish line with their visual style and UX tweaks.
What resources assisted you in building the app? We built Galaxy Dash in Unity 3D and have utilized several plug-ins from the Unity Asset Store. Key plug-ins include the Toon Shader for our visual style, NGUI for our user interface, and Prime 31 for many of our SDK hookups. We’ve had fantastic support from the indie gaming community, who have provided feedback on the game and tips on the startup journey. We also recommend playing Galaxy Dash with the sound on, as we have fantastic music tracks from our friend Brad Griffin, and a ton of entertaining sound effects from Andrew Kim at Level-up Audio.
What lessons did you learn using these tools? I think a key lesson has been that it’s okay to ask for help. The Unity and indie community are incredibly supportive of each other, and people are willing to share all kinds of advice to help you create your game. We’ve also had many friends who have both contributed to the game and playtested the game over the course of our development. Having their involvement has made the journey even that much more meaningful.
What would you say went right and wrong with the release? Overall, the game’s development was a positive experience for us. We had a clear vision for the type of game we were making, which allowed us to move quickly and efficiently against the goal. However, our speed did make it difficult to pivot on some key items, which led to some tough compromises later in development. With regards to release, our ability to iterate on the game post-launch and maintain a solid update cadence has been awesome. But it has been challenging to drive installs without a large marketing budget, so we’re doing our best to improve on getting the word out.
Who is on the team and what are your roles? We have a three person team here at SuperMoon Games. Simon Armstrong is our Technical Director and lone engineer, and all the functionality in the game has come from his fingertips. Kyle Van Meurs is our Art Director, and has been responsible for bringing the visuals of Galaxy Dash to life. I’m focused on both game design and studio operations, and implement our level design and balance into the game. The overall creative vision for Galaxy Dash has been a team effort, driven by our backgrounds as passionate and avid gamers.
What were you doing prior to building the app? Prior to forming SuperMoon Games, we were working at larger game companies such as Electronic Arts and Zynga. We found ourselves playing tons of games together, and realized we shared a mutual passion for indie games and space games. When brainstorming what game to work on as our first title, we decided to take the opportunity to pursue an idea that would be difficult to greenlight at larger publishers. Thus a game about flying spaceships was born.
What other games do you play or inspire you? We play a ton of games here at SuperMoon, and I’m constantly inspired by the work from other indie developers like Vlambeer and NimbleBit. Perhaps my favorite app is a game called Dungeon Raid, which I easily sunk over 100 hours into and still have installed on my device nearly four years later.
Head over to the iTunes App Store to download Galaxy Dash.
Hey you app devs! Wanna be featured like Galaxy Dash? Be sure to check out http://www.powerslyde.com/get-discovered
Startups need press coverage. There are so many examples of how one good exposure in the media has sparked a viral story across the internet. It sounds easy, but a lot of legwork goes on in the background to make this happen. And that’s if you’ve even got the time/resources to spend ‘doing’ PR for your startup. In most cases, a bootstrapping startup’s team members will be wearing every hat in the book; coding, marketing, funding - media relations and PR can easily be pushed aside. People will tell you PR doesn’t work for startups and it’s low priority. You do need to make sure you’re laser focused on building a good, solid product/service - but keep PR in mind. It is possible to be smart about Startup PR.
Here’s how to build a great press kit that will do a lot of the work for you. (Click the image below to expand)
Also check out the PPLCONNECT Media Kit to refer to as an example.
Infographic messages expanded:
What is a Media Kit? A media kit contains resources that members of the media would need to run a story on your startup.
-Logos: be sure to include both web and print appropriate files
-Screenshots (if applicable): web and print appropriate files
-Press Releases: add these as you release them, be consistent
-Backgrounder: 1-3 page summary document (preferably PDF) with extra background information about company history & other useful information
-Awards & previous media recognition: this is the place to holla freely about your awards and media coverage to date
-Contact details for further information: writers need to know who to contact for interviews or product demonstrations. Make it easy for them!
1-2 Formula to Get it Done
1. Spend a week collating the pieces of the kit & getting them live on your website. We know your time is valuable in a startup, so grab a co-worker or a friend who might be in the PR field and some coffee and get cracking.
2. Dedicate an hour each day that week, and by Friday polish & publish the kit. That five hours will pay you back five-fold by acting as your new 24-hour PR pitch-deck. Once it’s done you’ll have a great base that will only need updates and tweaks when things change.
Tip: Find yourself an enthusiastic public or media relations student in 3rd year at a local university and get them to intern on this as a summer project #GiveAndTake #WinWin
Add your flavour. Tech companies may need a heavy & technical review guide as part of their Media Kit… If you’ve had a particularly good run with awards or previous media coverage, it’s easy to see how things can start to get long and (potentially) boring. Keep it fun where possible by adding your unique flavour to how you present and write the entire kit. The more engaging it is, the more likely viewers will spend more time there.
Edit, Edit, Edit! Have someone with a keen eye for design and proofreading take a look at the kit. Check that presentation is uniform where necessary, fix any typos and refine the layout.
Final Advice. The important thing is to have a bare minimum press kit available at least. Right now you can start by putting a contact email address on the website for media enquiries. After that work towards getting at the very least some press releases & useful graphics that the media can use in a story. Don’t feel like you have to have the whole kit ready before uploading. When we began working on our press kit we came up with two lists, one short and one long:
1. All the press kit elements we are happy to start with (shorter list)
2. All the press kit elements we would love to have (longer list)
Get started with the first and work slowly towards the second over time.
Click here to download PPLCONNECT + also share your advice in the comments on creating a media kit!
Tell us about your game! Escape from Alcatraz is an adventure game where, obviously, you need to Escape from the Alcatraz prison! The game was inspired by an old Brazilian text-adventure game, and to keep the same ‘vibe’ as the original, it has retro style looking graphics.
How is the app different from similar apps? Unlike most adventure games, the game is viewed from the top, most like a rogue-like game: as you walk new parts of the map appears on screen. This actually adds to the exploration aspect of the game as it also fits the escape mood in general. Also, the game has some unique puzzles – they start very simple, but later on the solutions are far from obvious. Adding to all of that, the game features an ‘eternal’ player list: the first 10 players who finished the game, has their names forever in the high-score list!
Tell us about the design. I have a whole article on Damedev.net here, which describes the choices I did on the user interface. The game icon itself was designed to pass the general game idea as quickly as possible to the player: it shows the main character (drawn in blocky graphics to show the game has a retro look) against a wall with a strong light pointing at him (an holophote, to put the escape part in evidence) and the word “Escape” above – all representing the classic “image” of the prisoner escaping and being caught by the holophote while doing so.
What lessons did you learn and went right/wrong with the release? It was the most complex game I’ve developed in Monkey, a complete adventure ‘engine’, and it was done in 30 days – so I learnt a lot about the language itself, and how monkey works internally. I could also get a glimpse on how the classic adventure games I played when young were made.
I think a lot went right in the game: it works really well on mobile and I could achieve the ‘mood’ I was aiming for (an adventure game, with retro graphics and rogue-like maps) – it was really fun reading the comments on the app stores, and even seeing friends addicted to the game. What went wrong was probably the in-game texts, which on small screens get really small and hard to read. I could also take some extra time to refine the adventure system.
Another thing is that people tend to go directly to the icons that represent objects and characters to interact, instead of first selecting an action – but this will be solved on a future update, where every object will have a default action attached to it (usually ‘use’ on objects and ‘talk’ to characters).
Who is on the team and what are your roles? Just me, José Lucio - I did the entire thing by myself from creating the whole story to programming. There are projects where I work with other people (usually graphics artists and musical composers) – but on small scale project like Escape from Alcatraz, that had no budget at all, it was only me.
Jose Lucio aka Slotman, creator of Escape From Alcatraz
What were you doing prior to building the app? Before Alcatraz I had another game released (and published) called Mahjong Max, for desktops and some small games on mobile. Most of them can be found at Icon Games website.
I’m in college (I’m 39, but never graduated, so I decided to go back and get a degree) and I was/am also working on some non-game related contract projects. I have also organized a Brazilian gaming developer event called “Joga Brasil” (something like “Play Brazil”) in 2012. Having to juggle all those responsibilities gives me very little time to make games, so as I started developing for mobile, I also ended up making ‘smaller’ games.
What other apps inspire you? A lot of old school games – some from a 80’s computer called MSX, others from Odyssey and NES… I still have those machines working, so every now and then I’d play some old games to remember where and how everything started :). As for an actual ‘app’, I would say the music player on my phone (the pre-installed one on WP8) – everywhere I go, I need some tunes playing in the background.
Hey you app devs! Wanna be featured like our friends at Escape From Alcatraz? Be sure to check out http://www.powerslyde.com/get-discovered.