Mobile Monday Interview With Appxplore
Mondays suck. They suck much less with a mobile game in your hands. In spirit of 30PlusGamer’s Mobile Mondays, we had Appxplore — mobile game developer and creator of recent Mobfish Hunter — stop by to explain why they love mobile game development. Appxplore’s producer Desmond Lee discusses…
Appxplore Producer Desmond Lee
on Mobfish Hunter and More
Khris Golder: What drives your team to develop games? I know your staff has a long, illustrious history in gaming.
Desmond Lee: It all started with a few good friends who are passionate about games. Appxplore’s core team came from various backgrounds but had been involved in the gaming and creative industry for many years. Back then, making and sell your own game with a small team was tough, not until iOS and Android came. In 2011, the mobile game industry started to boom in Malaysia. We took the opportunity and started a 4 man studio funded by an investor who believed in the mobile game industry… and most importantly, believed in us.
KG: It seems like you had a guarding gaming angel. We want to know how the founding four Appxplore members joined forces in order to make mobile games.
Desmond Lee: Our mission is to produce high quality games that are at least on par with the international game studio if not better. Making your first mobile game is always the most challenging. We spent 7 months developing our first game, Lightopus, launched in February 2012, was featured by Apple on App Store homepage!
KG: That’s awesome!
Desmond Lee: Lightopus has brought us confidence and helped build our reputation. Our followup, Sporos and Alien Hive, launched in February 2013 and March 2013, also featured by Google Play and Apple and have surpassed millions of downloads. All the handwork has paid off, and we started to see our recognition and fans growing.
& Funny Nicknames
KG: It’s great to hear good things happening for your dev team. I know you guys have been busy this year.
Desmond Lee: This year, we launched 2 new games: Caveboy Escape and Mobfish Hunter in February and April 2014… both were featured by Apple once again! Both games received more than 300,000 downloads in the first week.
KG: That’s pretty incredible. Appxplore has worked on a number of different games. What’s your favorite topic?
Desmond Lee: Some might be curious why most of our games revolve around “Aliens” or some sort of “creatures”. Mobfish Hunter is no exception. One of our core team members who is also our Creative Director/Game Designer loves “Alien” designs.
KG: Any rockstars on the team?
Desmond Lee: Our newly hired artist joined us when we started Mobfish Hunter development back in June 2013. Her first few months with us and also her first task was to design and draw mobfish for Mobfish Hunter… a lot of them. She has come out with more than 200 mobfish sketches and only half of them were chosen to be used in Mobfish Hunter. She is now the Queen of Mobfish!
KG: Queen of the Mobfish is a weird title. Ha!
Desmond Lee: All the lovely Mobfish must have a name. Creating more than a hundred names for the Mobfish are “tough” and fun at the same time. Most of the names are modified from the actual fishes name but some of them we took creative licenses… named after “someone” or “something” in creative ways. Just to have some fun!
Millions of Downloads
KG: Between each game, Appxplore has over 3 million downloads. A lot of people make great games, but what do you feel is special about your games? What makes them stand out?
Desmond Lee: All our games are unique in their own ways. Not just another “clone” you find everywhere. We pay a lot of attention in the detail from game design, UX, art style to sound. We always believe quality game with strong marketing PR will prevail. We now self-publish all our own games. We are not only building quality games but building our brand, reputation… and fans are just as important to stand out from the overwhelming gaming industry.
KG: What were some of your team’s biggest hurtles in the development process?
Desmond Lee: We have a small team and everyone specializes in what they are doing. Our development process has been smooth so far. However, it’s always in the final phase close to the deadline when we wanted to push the game to some extra mile by adding new features. Our programmers will always say no to last minute features, but we always manage to pull it off (by miracle). Sometime that leaves us very little time for testing though.
KG: So do you normally fix it after launch? Sounds like it can be pretty overwhelming.
Desmond Lee: Whenever we discover a major bug in a game which is already live on App Store or Google Play, most of the time the bugs can fixed fairly quickly. It’s frustrating that Apple takes 3-7 days to approve the update when Google Play needs no approval (we appreciate Apple for the quality assurance though).
KG: So what you’re saying is that you like selling your Appxplore games on the Google Play market?
Desmond Lee: Yes. It has improved a lot since Google Market (Old version of Google Play). Google Play has a huge user base and provides all necessary tools for the developers to publish and monetize their App or game. Google Play also provides Google Play Game (Game Center), Cloud Save and Analytics. Nevertheless, since Google Play is supporting more than 3,000 different Android devices, sometime support could be a real headache for the developers. Both Google Play and iTunes are great platforms but unique in their own world. Google Play works better for Freemium. Currently we have more downloads on Google Play than iTunes. Both Google Play and iTunes are great platforms.
KG: Would you ever think about porting over to Ouya?
Desmond Lee: Not Ouya. All our current games were designed in portrait mode so it will not fit nicely on TV landscape mode.
KG: How about other platforms?
Desmond Lee: Our games were built with multi-platforms in mind. So porting to other platforms requires little work. We’ve ported 3 of our games to Blackberry so far. We will consider Windows if there is demand.
KG: Thanks Desmond and everyone else at Appxplore!