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Origins of a solo game dev - Part 1

September 6, 2017

In this series of posts, I will be delving deep into my game development journey and bringing you classic memories of some truly awful releases. But first a brief look at my childhood.

 

Early years

 

You see, while most kids were out playing football on the field next to my house, I would regularly spend that same time making games on my Amiga using Amos Professional (yesterdays equivalent of Xcode or Visual Studio). I'm pretty sure upon launching the application, a posh american lady literally says "Amos Professional". Perhaps my memory is letting me down, but that's how I remember it.

 

 

With the aid of sexy lady Amos, I was able to carve out some true classics such as:

  • Footy Manager

  • Footy Manager Italia 90

  • Bolton Wanderers Football Manager

  • Slick, Slime and Dirty Dime

  • School's Out

Of course, you remember none of these. That's because there was no app store. And because they never, ever, ever got finished. I would get bored and move onto the next great idea (normally ANOTHER football management game). And I was about 8.

 

Still, it was around that time that I knew I had a real passion for creating games. But it wasn't until I left university that I met a like-minded individual and published a game.

 

Getting serious 

 

During my placement year at university, I met a strange man. I was always warned to ignore bearded men with terrible hair. But I had to work with him, so I had no choice but to get on with Matthew Hartley. Turns out, we had lots in common - aside from body hair. He had similar ambitions to myself and we regularly planned (and failed) at coding the next big thing.

 

A couple of years later, after giving up on websites (we remain convinced that WeDraw would have prevailed if not for Mark Zuckerberg), we set up KPM Software. One of the driving forces for this was a new emerging powerhouse for indie developers the world over - the Apple App Store. This went on to influence the development and subsequent success of the Google PlayStore on Android. We could wait no longer. We had witnessed the overnight success stories and decided it was time we had a piece of the pie. By this time, we were playing around with writing Adobe Flash games. In fact, Matt had almost finished his first one. We decided it would be my job to port it over to Android. What was this game that would make us rich so we could retire? 

 

Bungee Ninja

 

Ah Bungee Ninja. I cringe in the most delightful way when I hear your annoying voice in my head.

So Bungee Ninja is a neverending game with an infinitely growing level. Yes, it is an "endless runner". The objective is simply to swing a ragdoll stickman (who is a ninja) from one lantern to the next, and get as far as possible without dying.

 

We quickly realized that without more of a challenge, the player would become disinterested very quickly. So we added cannons that shoot cannonballs at the stick figure to cause damage to his health. Cannons obviously go hand in hand with Ninjas and bungee rope...

 

 

Yes, Mr Rock - I give the game that very same look any time I go back and play it. If you are intrigued, feel free to head over to the Play Store and take a look at the game yourself.

 

Download it here

 

We got lucky in some respects with Bungee Ninja. It was released at a time when it was relatively easy to get recognition on the app stores. You would appear on the "New Releases" section for a day or two. This would result in 1000's of downloads. We did no promotion whatsoever. No reviews. Nothing. And it surpassed 10,000 downloads easily. This seemed like a phenomenal success to us. 

 

Financially, it did not make much money. Maybe £20 from ads? I don't recall to be honest. But we enjoyed the experience enough to warrant the creation of another new game - something much more ambitious. Then we decided against that and wrote something rubbish. More about that next time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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