Today we get to speak with Anthony White, Director at Paw Print Games. Paw Print Games currently has two games out KamiCrazy and Battle Bugs. If you have not tried KamiCrazy, you need it. It is a fun and sometimes frustrating game. In the game you need to help get the KamiCrazy soldiers home. In each level you need to make a plan and then execute it. Once those guys start running, you can’t stop them. This game definitely is worth a look. After playing it for a while, I decided I would reach out to Paw Print and see if they would be interested in answering some questions for us. They did and here is our conversation.
Q. So Anthony, can you tell us a little about you and your company Paw Print Games?
A. Paw Print Games was established by Steven Craft and myself at the beginning of 2011 and is based in Chester in the UK. Prior to forming Paw Print Games both Steve and I worked at Sony Liverpool and Travellers Tales where we worked on such games as Formula One 2005, Transformers, LEGO Star Wars, LEGO Batman, LEGO Clone Wars and LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean.
The path to Paw Print Games was actually quite a long one. When Apple released the official SDK in the summer of 2008 we decided we wanted to develop a Lemmings style game for the iPhone. So throughout our evenings and weekends during Autumn 2008 we created KamiCrazy; a gesture driven fusion of Lemmings and Bills Tomato game. It saw over ½ a million downloads in less than 3 weeks and held a number 2 spot in the All Games chart over the 2008 Christmas period. Since there were no ways to monetize a free game at the time other than the paid version we were not likely to get rich quick unless the free version provided a good free to paid conversion rate; which it wasn’t.
As we had been crunching in our day jobs and on KamiCrazy in our spare time it was time to take a much needed rest and take stock. After not too many days we started to gather all the feedback from reviews on websites and on the App Store and began improving the game. We spent a number of weeks doing this until it started becoming a totally different game. Throughout the summer of 2009 and in to the first quarter of 2010 I continued to evolve this new game whilst Steve ported a Soldier Ants (a friends game) to iOS and began adding Android support in to our engine. By April 2010 we realized the new project was actually becoming quite big and being inspired by the visuals for 3D dot Game Heroes I decided to create a retro inspired version of KamiCrazy using the lessons learned from the first game and some of the ideas developed over the previous year.
By November 2010 we had a trailer for KAMI RETO and started distributing it via blogs, Twitter and forums etc. Almost immediately we started to gain interest from various publishers and began striking a deal that suited both parties for publishing KAMI RETRO, enabling us to take the next step and form Paw Print Games.
Our first release under Paw Print Games came in March 2011 in the form of KAMI RETRO for iPhone. On release it received the Game of the Week App Store accolade and subsequently went on to appear in numerous features including Stylish Games, Greatest Platformers, Innovative Controls section of Benchmark Games. At the end of 2011 KAMI RETRO was entered in to the App Store Hall of Fame. Throughout 2011 KAMI RETRO also saw releases on other platforms including iPad, Android, WebOS and in January 2012 it was released for the BlackBerry Playbook.
Q. Sounds like you guys are doing well. Just to recap though, what games has Paw Print Games published?
A. KamiCrazy for iPhone was published by Fluid Pixel and by ourselves for Android and PlayBook.
KAMI RETRO was published by Gamevil for iOS, Android and WebOS and was recently published by ourselves for the PlayBook.
Battle Bugs was a porting project and was published by ourselves on Android and PlayBook.
Q. Regarding KamiCrazy, any tips for folks playing? Definitely takes some time to figure out (at least for me)
A. KamiCrazy was ultimately very difficult and has had the progression simplified for the Android and PlayBook release. If anyone has played Fren-zE (a shmup I developed for the PS2) then you will see I had a tendency to create difficult games in the past. For a shmup it is kind of the norm especially the bullet hell style that Fren-zE is but there was simply no need for KamiCrazy to be that difficult really. This is what happens when you spend 14 weeks of intense programming and designing, getting really good at the game and not seeing anyone play test it before rushing it out the door to make it out for the Christmas release. Ultimately this was probably the downfall of the initial release of the game in 2008. So in terms of tips, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
Q. Any other games coming out soon?
A. Wacky Rapids will be our next title and will be released on all supported platforms in the first quarter of 2012. It is a river rapids racing game where you take control of one of a number of different cartoon animal characters and race to become the champion of the Wacky Rapids Resort.
Q. What is the hardest thing about developing games for Android?
A. The hardest thing about developing for Android is generating a decent revenue stream on release. There are different models to choose from, paid, paid with IAP, free with ads, free with ads and IAP etc. We are still learning this side of the business but whichever model is chosen it has to work for your game.
Q. Finally, where do you see the Android market going in the next year or two?
A. The Android market has been getting stronger and stronger over the years and when Android first entered the scene being a Google development it was a no brainer to get involved from the get go. I hope to see market discoverability improvements and improved billing mechanisms to aid developers with making a decent return on the platform.
Thanks Anthony for your time. I really appreciate it. I really enjoy hearing the developer’s perspective on things. I have really enjoyed KamiCrazy and look forward to Wacky Rapids and any other future game Paw Print Products.