I’ve been thinking of applications which would suit the iPhone and iPod touch and mused about how the original iPod models had a click wheel and yet no-one managed to bring out a driving game 🙂
One area that I’d love to see some work in would be gaming on iPod touch and iPhone. John Carmack has criticised the iPhone already in this area despite not seeing the SDK and not knowing therefore what Apple’s strategy was for gaming on the iPhone.
Casual Games work because they can be picked up and dropped off. SIMCity and SIMTower (the less complex version and include SIMAnt here) were the olden days versions of Tamagotchis. They were games that you could spend an hour or ten minutes messing with and then wander off for a few hours. Come back and then see where it had got to. Tamagotchis had the same thing but with a little more tech and a little more demanding on the attention. Ignore the little device with the little animal and it died. So sad, too bad. Nothing was more fun than coming back to SIMtower and seeing that floors 9-13 had cockroach infestations and 24-30 had a fire about half an hour after you left it. So, you’d repair the problems and then wander off for dinner.
Attention is the resource we’re striving for. But we’re not looking to completely capture it.
Games like Strategy, racing games and FPS require absolute attention. We’re talking about games that will run on a phone so people might be just trying to kill time while waiting for someone to come out of a shop. So the games have to let you in quickly. There also has to be a SaveState or not much of a penalty for dumping a game. Games which require you to drop back to arbitrary save points are a pain – and why would you as a developer of entertainment want to cause your viewers pain? That would be like a TV programmer, after each commercial, show the last minute of what happened before the commercial. I’ve seen this done in the US….and I didn’t like it.
It’s a bit like Splash screens in games. Man – how annoying are the splash screens in Battlefield 2142? Yes, we know it’s EA. Yes, we know some company called DICE had something to do with it. After the first time, we don’t care who made it. At least on most Mac versions of games you can delve into the bundle and ditch the movies which make up the splash screens and the game just continues on. Saved us from the overly long sequences in the Mac version of Halo I can tell ya. These are only slightly less annoying than companies which insist on showing you splash screens after the game is finished. You quit out only to be hit by an advert. Thanks but no thanks.
We’re looking to grab the attention, hold the attention and be able to release attention quickly. So our game must load fast, not be in your face too long, and get you into gameplay as soon as possible. And when done – it should allow you to exit quickly.