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TAP DISC LITE - Try it before you purchase !!!

 

NEOCRISIS.COM (US) INTERVIEW / November 25 2010
online: part-1 | part-2 | part-3

We had the pleasure of getting some questions answered by Stamatis Sarris, the concept and graphics designer, and Ioannis Loukeris, the programmer of Tap Disc.

What inspired you make this game?

Stamatis:
The bet was to create a game we would enjoy first of all. The inspiration came from the micro world.

The idea was 3 colors representing virus infection levels.
At the beginning, on paper, there were no moving discs but static squares close one another that change color (infection status) as time passes.
The concept of color changing during time was just evolved.
This would conclude later to a great idea that is the soul of the game:
The collector which changes colors gathering discs of the same color at each collision. That is to say our main navigation element! No virtual joysticks or other inaccurate navigation methods. After some thinking, we changed the concept because the alien discs are more popular than diseases and here we are.

All the rest came as evolutionary steps along the way.

 

While developing the game, what was the hardest issue(s) that you came across?

Ioannis:
. Maintaining performance in older devices.
This proved to be a real pain as some features had to be dropped in order to maintain playability in 2g, 3g iPhones and 1g iPods. There was quite a bit of juggling needed in order to maintain the required 60fps on all devices but in the end we did it.

. Keeping up with Apple's emerging iOS features. We began development way before multitasking, retina displays and game center. When we thought we were done we found out that we had to include them too... This had a negative impact on development time, but we were lucky as multitasking was easy to implement by back porting it from newer Cocos2d versions (we used 0.93.x for this game).
Game center came almost free, courtesy of the latest Open Feint client, though a bit of work was required in the end and we have not added retina display as a conscious choice as this would delay the game and we wouldn't have any time to do all the great stuff we added since 1.0.0

. Most importantly managing to "educate" the users on how to play. This was by far the greatest challenge which was finally resolved in version 2.2.0 Tap Disc's gameplay is highly innovative and a lot of people had trouble understanding what is going on in the game.

 

What was your "best moment" during development?

Ioannis:
When it first run on the phone and we confirmed that it was incredibly addictive.

Stamatis:
When I first played it with no graphics and lost my sleep that night and when the TUAW announced our game the "app of the day".

 

Were you able to incorporate all of the ideas that were proposed?

Ioannis:
No. We left a lot out due to platform limitations (the 2g iphones in particular) and because we didn't have any more time.

 

If the answer to the previous question is no, would you add those other ideas through DLC or make a possible sequel?

Stamatis:
We believe that any extra content should be added as a simple update. There are at least two modes that could add new and very interesting experience to the player but we also consider the possibility to develop it on other platforms too. Still haven`t figure what is the best to follow.

 

Are there any plans to bring Tap Disc to PSN or Live?

Ioannis:
We are strongly considering a Windows Phone 7 version and possibly a Mac Version. PSN is not in our plans. Tap Disc with Kinect would be an insane experience (and a good physical workout too ...) but it also is a very remote possibility for now. The biggest problem is that there is just two of us and our resources are extremely limited.

 

Now that Tap Disc is completed, can you provide any insight into your next title?

Stamatis:
I would vote again for a casual game. Have some thoughts as physics style of game like angry birds but completely different concept, or a climbing style of game, or an innovative idea we had, which will have many sequels and continued updates but it is too soon and too secret to talk about. The quality will be the key regardless the decision though.

Ioannis:
My personal preference would be an RPG, but based on a very strong story and very well thought out interface rather than hack'em all action. We have a few concepts that we are considering so far but we haven't decided yet. The iDevice landscape is very competitive. We focus on quality, above all and we want to be able to deliver something truly valuable for the buyer. We want to avoid things already done again and again (zombies for example).

 

Any special advice for the fans playing Tap Disc. Something like a special gameplay tactic or a hidden gem?

Stamatis:
For starters, play the game without the little aliens (settings >> turn them off). Play the playground mode a lot and finish the easy mode before you try normal. After you get the rhythm select normal mode and enjoy a new experience of gaming. But there are tips rolling in the main menu. The last level hides surprises. Be patient and you will be rewarded.

Ioannis:
My personal preference would be an RPG, but based on a very strong story and very well thought out interface rather than hack'em all action. We have a few concepts that we are considering so far but we haven't decided yet. The iDevice landscape is very competitive. We focus on quality, above all and we want to be able to deliver something truly valuable for the buyer. We want to avoid things already done again and again (zombies for example).

 

How do you like the iPhone as a platform for game development?

Ioannis:
It depends. If you consider iPhone only then it is an average platform and the tool chain has its issues. If you count Cocos2d in the equation then it is very good.
The effort put in Cocos2d for iPhone alleviates most if not all the hassle of getting a project off the ground and doing everything you want with ease.
Compared with XNA and Windows Phone 7, the iPhone tool chain has a few things to ... learn. It is obvious that Microsoft has much more experience making games than Apple. Add the Cocos2d engine to iPhone and I would take it any day over XNA and WP7.
Yes Cocos2D is an Open Source engine and not part of the platform, but the savings and ease it brings to the table for no real cost (although we STRONGLY urge anyone using it to donate to its creator) really change the picture.

 

Any advice for people starting out with game development? It does not matter what platform they are using.

Stamatis:
Send your wife and kids to Hawaii for some months and concentrate on your work.
Find quality and passionate partners sharing the same dream.
People that combine many talents to keep the cost low.
Game design is hard and demanding.
Besides deep programming knowledge and experimentation, experience and mastering on sound editing, graphics, UI experience and .patience.

Experience comes only from the hard work. Have some money to spend for promotion. You will not go far without it. When you get a good idea and manage to create something that you enjoy playing, it is time to listen to others.
And listen good.

Ioannis:
Study.
Read as many books as you can.
Study more. Experiment and fail. Study even more. Read other people's code, so as to get the game creation mind set.
Study even more than you thought possible. Experiment in constrained platforms, because it is easy to move 1000 sprites on a $3,000 PC.
However try that on the iPhone 2g ... Study ridiculously more.

Complete a game (regardless of concept and with no commercial aspirations) so as to understand the thousands of little issues you will face in order to complete it.
Squeeze your brain for a great innovative idea. Find an investor and make it reality. It will most probably fail commercially, but you will realize how good (or bad) you are and understand how to use your resources better.
If you manage to cope with failure and start the next one, you will have the experience to make a great hit (an a lot of money too ...)

Well, it is a bit condensed but it kinda goes like that ...
If you manage to become a part of an already successful team you will be saved most of the frustration and certainly a good amount of time.
Depending where you live this might not be possible though, certainly was not for us.

 

 

 
     
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