Darkside Interview With Clockwork Pixels' George Allan
More ports to come from the studio.
Last week we reviewed Clockwork Pixel's wonderful 3D twin-stick shooter Darkside. Intrigued to find out more about the title, we spoke to George Allan, founder of the studio, and developer of the game.
Can you talk us through the development process of Darkside since the PC version was released in 2007?
Well, I first ported the game to iOS early last year, but I got side-tracked and picked up the game again a few months ago.
I realized I'd need to redo several elements (especially the UI) and so decided to update the PC version, then re-port it to the Mac and iOS. That way the game's nice and consistent across all platforms.
Most of the iOS functionality was actually developed in the PC version before porting. I think I'll continue to do this, developing on the PC then porting, even when designing specifically for iOS.
Is there anything you experimented with in development that didn't make it into the final release on the App Store?
Not really, although the game does have the ability to zoom out and appear to be playing inside an iPad. I couldn't figure out how to do this for the trailer in post-production, so I added it as a real-time event in the engine.
Many people struggle with the challenge of bringing twin-stick shooter controls to touchscreens. How did you go about getting the feel right?
The first app I downloaded for my iPod Touch was Epic Citadel. Their controls just seemed so natural and they didn't interfere with the look of the game/demo, I remember thinking, wow, touch screen controls actually do work! So yeah, Epic Citadel is the obvious inspiration.
I got used to my first attempt at the controls, so I added a bunch of options for players to tweak them to suit their playing style, just to be on the safe side!
Are sales of the game meeting your expectations?
They're meeting my expectations, but not necessarily my hopes!
The sales figures are almost exactly the same as those for Kitten Sanctuary, despite them being complete opposites. They even have different purchase models (in-app purchases vs. Lite/Paid).
It's only been a week though and the game continues to sell, so I'm happy, and I will keep my fingers crossed it'll out perform over time ... I'm looking for a good reason to write more action games!
How have you found the experience of releasing a game on the App Store and getting it in the hands of gamers?
The development has been great, I was surprised at how easy it's been to port the games. All the C++ code went straight over and it didn't take long to convert the engine from DirectX to OpenGL.
So far I've been lucky with how the games have been received by reviewers and both games have received some App Store love which has been fantastic.
It is a roller coaster though and very stressful. The charts update every hour, where I've been used to just receiving monthly results via the PC portals. I am slowly learning to calm down and let things
take their course.
What's next for the studio on the App Store? Browsing through your game catalog there seem to be some very suitable contenders.
The idea is to continue porting some of my current games, to see how they do and learn some lessons. I do look forward to designing games specifically for the iOS devices/market soon though.
Do you have any plans to add further content to Darkside via updates?
There are one or two planned updates to address some of the feedback I've had so far, but nothing major at the moment. I'll see how things go.
Can we expect an Android release in the future? Do you have any concerns about piracy on the platform?
No plans at the moment. Maybe when C++/OpenGL becomes the norm for developing Android games, then porting the games from iOS will become a no-brainer. Doesn't feel like we're quite there yet, but I guess that might be because I've not looked into it!