“But Chris, I thought you said you hate phone games?” Well, that’s not what I was trying to say, but I think the message might have come across that way to some people. I actually play a lot of phone games. I was surprised to find that I stopped playing on my 3DS because it is far more convenient to play games on my phone instead. Over time, my phone has become my primary mobile gaming device. This includes playing on the go outside of the house, casually playing on the couch, and even a few minutes of gaming in bed before going to sleep. If you were to average all my gaming hours across a week, it’s probably split pretty equally between phone games, computer games, and console games.
Choosing a Platform
When I was first considering taking the plunge into game development, I wasn’t sure if I would like it. There is a big difference between enjoying playing video games and enjoying making them. The idea was to start with a smaller, simpler game. So right off the bat, phone games were already seeming like a great option. Next, I wanted to demonstrate the values that I think are truly important and will help separate this company from others. Phone games are again, another perfect fit. I wanted to make a game that purposefully avoids all the annoying mobile gaming monetization tactics and design shortfalls that have frustrated me when playing phone games. I think my next article will explore exactly how I am planning to accomplish this.
Does this mean we’re committing to making games for phones going forward? I do strongly believe that there is a big shortage of high-quality games available for phones. Making “premium games” as they are labeled in the play store might not be as profitable, but I’m positive there is an untapped market there. I think you can see this with the rise of Google Play Pass and Apple Arcade. Our next platform might somewhat depend on the success of Hint, but as of right now I’m leaning towards making a console or PC game next. As much as I enjoy playing on my phone, I’m not sure it’s the best platform for the kinds of games I am interested in making going forward. We’ll be exploring this more when the time comes to start on the next game.
Choosing a Genre
The decision to make a puzzle game went hand in hand with the decision to make a mobile game. I think puzzle games are a great fit for phones and there is clearly a market for them. I myself quite enjoy playing puzzle games but frequently find I’m frustrated by different aspects of them. The idea was to try and make a puzzle game that avoids all the annoying things I run into while playing other puzzle games. I also thought a puzzle game would be great for learning many different aspects of Unity (this is the engine Hint is made with) while keeping the artistic demands of the game to a minimum.
Does this mean we’re committing to making puzzle games going forward? The answer to that question is a definite no. I have some exciting ideas for adding more levels to Hint and we will spend some time adding other kinds of content and updates to the game, but our next game will not be a puzzle game. It’s not that I’m tired of making a puzzle game, there are just other genres that I really enjoy and want to see what I can do with them. One of the things that got me to even begin thinking about making games instead of only playing them was a conversation I had with a friend many years ago. I was talking about a specific kind of game that I wish existed but does not and is still not in development that I’m aware of. My friend told me, “Well Chris, if you want to play that kind of game, you’re going to have to make it yourself.” I’m not sure if I’ll ever get to make that specific game, but step one of that long journey is to make what I hope is a really awesome puzzle game.