Cinopt Studios is a team of one programmer and one graphic designer. Our fourth game, Arlo's Adventure, will be released on the iOS app store on February 17th. It is a 2D sidescroller inspired by classic 8-bit games, with 36 levels and a variety of magical powers to use against enemies.
When Cinopt Studios started in early 2012, we knew very little about the process of developing a game for iOS. So, our initial goal was to learn about the process by constantly developing and releasing games through a strict D.I.Y. mentality. We were determined to shape our own process of game development to fit to our strengths, abilities, and schedule.
Here's how this process helped us:
• It's a great way to challenge and gauge your programming skills. By the time you start working on the next game, you will be able to code much more efficiently. Someday, you'll end up looking at your older games and cringe at some of the stuff you used to do.
• It's good to be ambitious, but we had to be realistic when it came to certain ideas for games. We have had to put some solid game ideas on hold because the development time would be way too long with a team of two people.
• Submitting an app for the first time was a somewhat confusing process, especially when it came to implementing Game Center leaderboards. Now that we have multiple games on the iOS app store, we are much more comfortable with the app submission process.
• We realized that taking a step back or getting a second opinion helped guide development in the right direction. Also, asking others for advice when we were having a problem saved ourselves a lot of time and stress.
• We got a feel for what kind of games we wanted to make. Our first two games followed the endless runner trend because they had a short development time and didn't need a story or multiple levels. After finishing these games, we wanted to go in a much different direction, which ended up becoming our upcoming game, Arlo's Adventure.
Development of Arlo's Adventure was much different from our older games, mainly because we decided to create a more fleshed out game than our previous efforts. We knew it would require a lot of pre-development planning (storyboarding, game functions, art style, etc.) that we hadn't really gone in-depth with before in our other games.
Here's what we did to streamline development of Arlo's Adventure:
• We made sure to define specific roles for each of us, in order to spread the workload as evenly as possible. If either of us started feeling swamped, we didn't hesitate to split up some of the work between the two of us.
• Deadlines are a great source of motivation. We set deadlines for all six areas (containing six levels each) in Arlo's Adventure, which helped us visualize the size of the game and how much needed to get done. Although we didn't meet our initial deadlines, we still maintained the motivation to work hard on systematically completing each set of levels.
• Having a good network of artists and musicians was incredibly beneficial to speeding up the development of Arlo's Adventure. We collaborated with friends for the music and cutscene art, so we could focus on the graphics and programming. If it wasn't for these collaborations, our game's release date would have probably been pushed back several months.
• We set up Dropbox folders and a LAN server to host and back everything up. Doing so eliminated a lot of potential stress and allowed us to easily work on the game from multiple places.
We got out of our comfort zone for Arlo's Adventure and we are proud of what we have accomplished with our first sidescroller. If it wasn't for the learning experiences we had during the development of our older games, Arlo's Adventure would have taken much longer to finish.
Arlo's Adventure will be available on the iOS app store on February 17th!