We recently spoke with Matt Pringle, designer and author of the new game Alien Horde, about his experiences developing the game. You can learn more about the game at www.alienhorde.com, and a video is on youtube.
Tell us a bit about yourself, what kinds of work you have done.
I’m a graphic designer by trade and have worked as one for 10 years now. I started out studying Aerospace Engineering at University but I wanted to do something a little more creative so I decided to become a designer. I’ve worked for clients such as Electronic Arts and 3DO in the game industry producing renderings, packaging and logo designs. These days I mostly design and build websites, working for a design company in Manchester, England. I’m constantly exploring new technologies and learning new skills, the latest being Corona.
How’d you come up with the concept for Alien Horde?
When the iPhone 3GS first came out, with the compass, the idea occurred to me. Based loosely on the film the compass would be a great feature to use in a game. That was a long time ago, however! Whilst exploring Corona I wrote a few small apps to explore the different control methods or orientations I could use in a game and after a while my original idea came back to me. From there the game just grew and grew!
What challenges did you run across? How did you solve them?
The first hurdle was learning Lua, that didn’t take long though. The provided documentation and examples were enough to get me started and it is so close to a number of other languages I use in web development it now comes naturally. The forum also helped where the documentation could not and there is already a small but dedicated group of users growing around Corona.
My most obvious challenge however was waiting for features to be included in Corona, as well as the odd bug that needed squashing. I’m happy to say though that through the hard work of the team at Ansca, with their rapid response and the frequent updates I was able to release a very stable game that not only runs fine in iOS 4 but passed Apple’s approval process first time through.
Why did you choose Corona?
I explored many of the options available for new iPhone developers and I have to say that Corona just felt right. The language was easy enough to pick up in a short time and yet powerful enough enable some really cool things to be done. The built in transitions and memory management are a bonus and that allows me to focus on the actual gameplay and graphics, where I can really shine.
What do you like about Corona?
It feels like it is designed with me in mind, which is nice. I’m not fighting Corona or the iPhone when trying to program an app. Instead it integrated nicely into my skill set and allowed me to do things I didn’t think I could do on my own and in such a short space of time. The updates and roadmap show me that my initial investment in Corona is one that I will be able to build upon and I look forward to what Ansca has in store as it can only get better from here.
What are you thinking about for new projects with Corona?
V1.1 is next, it’s only been 2 days since the launch of Alien Horde, and I’m getting some good feedback and requests. I’m currently in “New & Noteworthy” for Games > Action in the UK iTunes store and I’m seeing a steady amount of sales and generating some great reviews. I plan to grow the game as Corona grows, I already have some new requests for the team and when the Corona Game Edition comes out I feel I might do a sequel with much greater scope.
Congratulations, Matt, on your awesome game. Good luck with it!