Thursday, 8 July 2010

Hexage Everlands Interview

As promised in Friday's post covering "Everlands" I was lucky enough to be able to chat to the developers Hexage to find out what makes them tick -

Where are you based? What are your offices like?

The company is registered in UK but the studio is based in Prague, Czech Republic.

Our office is quite different from most other working places we've been to. We have utmost respect for each other's privacy and working pace so everyone has own "study" and works his or her own hours. It works well because we're all keen on what we do and we're glad we work in environment where everyone feels like home.

Where did the idea for Hexage come from? I am sensing a laid back puzzler vibe from Totemo, Buka & Everlands – can we expect more of this from future projects, or will you re-boot other classic arcade genres as per ”Radiant”?

First of all, we love portable games! We want to make mobile games that are fun to play and with a distinctive atmosphere. However we will definitely return to arcade genres soon. In fact we are already working on a new arcade game.

Can you describe your key staff? Is there a developer guru in the house? Do you have a creative type with crazy hair?

Of course we have a developer guru! (Which is me by the way :-D) We have a creative type with crazy hair too, how did you know? We also have a handsome guy and a silent guy and a REAL girl. (No, really!) Sometimes a baby helps us too - its job is to make sure I stay awake at night - but at least it does that for free. We are a very small studio so everyone is considered key staff.

Can you tell me about the inspiration for Everlands? How long was the project in development for and how big was the team? How did you remain focused over the development lifecycle? Did you create a game “design document” and if so can I see it?

We all have a long professional history in mobile gaming so we stick to all techniques that work. We use concepts, prototyping, game design document and focus groups. Everlands in particular started as a gameplay concept and a simple prototype that we considered fun to play. The rest of it came later.

Where there any project blocker moments and if so, how did you get round them?

I wouldn't call it a project blocker, but we had a really hard time deciding how to "dress" the game. The obvious choice was to situate it into a fantasy or some military world, but we weren't sure about it, because the gameplay really is about outsmarting, not destroying your opponent. We took a risk when we situated the game into a "casual" animal theme. However in the end all of us loved it. Everyone regardless the age or gender was in some point in life fascinated by animals. We especially liked how it resonated with our primary focus group, which is our families. Everlands are truly accessible to everyone in your family.

What do you think about the new range of smart features currently in devices on the market (Touch Screen, Accelerometer, Large Clear Display’s etc)?

It's great when they're used to make working with portable technologies easier. Although we don't like games that force you to use i.e. accelerometer for steering only because it looks cool on list of features.

How does working with Samsung mobile Innovator benefit your business? Where could we improve?

It helps us to widen our scope; it is an opportunity to get close to great technology that would be otherwise inaccessible to us. As independent developers we also greatly appreciate the creative freedom given to us by working directly with Samsung. We're excited about the potential of the bada platform and we're looking forward to bringing our future titles to bada as well.

What’s been Hexage’s biggest achievement to-date? Where would you like to be in the next few years?

All our games have been successful, especially on Android, where each title is in the top ten best selling games in their categories. Radiant is currently the top 4 best selling game on Android worldwide and Totemo is #2 winner in Logic/Puzzle category of the Google Android Developer Challenge.

Then there are "emotional" achievements that we enjoy the most. For example one of our young customers (7 years old) made a cake with Totemo witchdoctor from chocolate and pineapple. And guess what, he won a first prize with it at the cake contest!

In the next few years, we would love to do the same what we do now - portable games that our customers like.

Do you have anything in the pipeline or any promotions etc you want to let the world know about? Anything exciting ahead?

We're very excited about the growing potential of tablets. We are going to bring Everlands and all our other games to a larger format during this year. We hope to continue our partnership with Samsung Mobile Innovator in this field as well.

1 comment:

  1. Please port Radiant to bada - pretty please!!


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