He shares some of the juicy details of how TtL was first thought of, some ‘plans’ for the future of OneManLeft, and offers some advice to new developers trying to get a head-up in the App Store. Read on after the break!
Q: After you launched ‘Tilt to Live,’ you seemed to do the opposite of what most developers do; you continued to develop and churn out big updates (like the ‘Gauntlet’ update). Is that the ‘key to success’?
A: Well, it probably hasn’t been the best use of our time, financially. The original plan was to move straight into the next title, but Tilt to Live caught on so well that we didn’t need to rush new projects out. There was a LOT of TtL ideas we’d been itching to try, so we’re as excited about the new content as you guys. Code Red was a direct response to user feedback, and Gauntlet was partly an experiment to see how a major addition would affect our sales. It really wasn’t enough to justify more free content, but we wanted to add some stuff anyway.
Q: Are you pleased with the success of ‘Tilt to Live?’ And how long do you plan on supporting and updating it with newer features? I’ve seen the Frostbite mode is slated for a July launch; is that the last ‘big’ update?
A: The success of TtL was far beyond our expectations. It’s bought us enough time to add some cool new stuff, and if we were Angry Birds we’d keep it coming. But sadly, we’re not a 99 cent wonder app, so it’s time to sell things again. Our plan right now is to end the major additions with Frostbite and the burnicade.
Q: Do you have any other games in the pipeline?
A: We’re still polishing up Frostbite and the burnicade at the moment. At the same time, we’re putting together a prettier iPad version of Tilt to Live, which we’ll show off once Frostbite is out the door. There’s also a whole new title we’re hoping to have ready before the end of the year, but it isn’t far enough along to say much just yet.
Q: On your site, you say that, “We dump the bulk of our workload on two people, because we view cruelty and comedy as interchangeable.” Do you intend on expanding and hiring more developers?
A: That’s tied directly to our success, and we aren’t there just yet. We only just went full-time at the end of June, so we’ll see if we earn enough revenue for expansion from here.
Q: What do you think of the new sensors (read: gyroscope) in the iPhone 4? I’ve heard it described as ‘pretty damn cool.’ Have you seen that, and is there anything being considered for ‘Tilt to Live’ that would require an iPhone 4 to use?
A: We’re looking at adding gyroscope support at some point, so that iPhone 4 users can play in any position without having to enable “Steering Mode”. Steering is our current solution to the old hardware losing its left-to-right tilt sensitivity when you hold the device in Sleepy position. We’re also giving “retina graphics” a shot, though I’m not a fan of calling it that. Our current graphics can actually make it all the way to people’s retinas, already.
Q: I have to ask; is there a version of ‘Tilt to Live’ in the works for other mobile operating systems, or are you focusing on the iOS platform?
A: No plans at the moment. Just iPhone, iTouch, and iPad.
The rest of these questions are from members of the site.
Q: from Bobby681: What do you think about the strict SDK agreement?
A: It’s never been a problem with us creatively. Games tend to push the SDK license agreements less than more ‘game-changing’ apps that try to fundamentally challenge the more ‘established’ channels of information sharing and media consumption.
Q: from studangerous: What advice would you give to potential developers wanting to be successful in the App Store?
A: We’re really only mildly successful, but I’ll answer this as though we’ve become very rich. Tilt to Live was designed with a focus on the player, meaning we set out to make an appealing (read: marketable) game. We also consciously made it as unique from its competition as we could, which meant no techno music and no neon. That makes it easier to get noticed; it’s something fresh for people to write and read about. We also e-mailed journalists until our fingers exploded. That’s very important. While marketing, ask yourself: how are my fingers feeling? If the answer is “not exploded”, continue looking for people to email.
Q: from jakey103: How long have you been programming?
A: Our programmer got into it 10 years ago, and has been doing it professionally/semi-professionally for 4-5 years.
Q: from awal: With so many apps available in the App Store, how difficult is it to come up with an original idea that users will enjoy?
A: “Originalilty” is placed on kind of a shaky pedestal. Our idea started with Geometry Wars’ Pacifism mode, so it was hardly original. I think Starball came out just before TtL, and had a pretty similar mechanic (though we’d never heard of it). A totally unique idea can still be the least entertaining thing you’ve ever played, so “fun” is more of a yardstick for us than “unique”. Ideas that are overused tend not to be fun, so it covers the spectrum.
Q: from ChrisL: What inspired you [One Man Left Studios] to create a game like ‘Tilt To Live’?
A: Tilt to Live started with a desire for something that’s easy-to-play and suitable for mobile gaming. We began with Geometry Wars’ Pacifism mode, something accessible that we thought we could expand on, and hit it with a bunch of “what if’s” until it developed a life of its own. We half-jokingly decided to call it “Tilt to Live” to get around having a tutorial, and that’s when the game’s personality really codified.
And that’s the show, folks. I’d like to take this chance to thank Adam of OneManLeft, and wish them luck for their future ventures!
Tilt to Live [App Store, $1.99]