Alejandro Jimenez is 0.33% of the Spanish-based “ChocoTeam,” whose ChocoRun game is our current App of the Week. We talked to Alejandro via e-mail and asked him about the process of making his game — but forgot to ask how we can get our hands on one of those stuffed Choco toys. DANG!!!

Also worth mentioning, Ansca buddy Graham Ranson gets a shoutout in this interview. Like we always say, Corona goes best with Lime! ;-)


The ChocoTeam: Pedro Oria, Joan Carles Quintans, and Alejandro Jimenez

What’s your background in engineering? Like, what type of code and programming languages do you have experience working with?
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Pedro and I work as IT guys/developers during the day. Actually, our jobs are focused on ERP development and we have ‘played’ with many code languages already, most of which have been object-oriented ones — Visual Basic, C#, Java, and X++ are the ones to first come to my mind.
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Like Ansca, we are also used to tending to our respective end users. That may actually be the craziest part of our lives — even crazier than making games, but we love them after all.
We’ve had no experience on the app side, though, until now… :-)
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So, what made you decide to use Corona for the app side? Had you tried any other mobile development platforms beforehand?
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At first, I tried to use Apple’s Xcode, but it was so slow to actually produce something that I working it drove me crazy. I think, as a first-timer, the last thing you should be forced to do is focus on what the tools need from you and not on what you want to get out of your tools.
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As some people noticed when ChocoRun was released, I already had a game in the App Store called The Knife Club. It was made with GameSalad for testing purposes — mainly because I wanted to learn about dealing with the App Store, its users, and all the legal stuff involved with that. It went fairly well, but its limitations showed themselves quite soon. Since I already was a developer it was very clear for me that I needed another tool. The next tool should be one that I could learn fast and easily and could get me into production ASAP.
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Then, I met Peach Pellen on GameSalad’s forums and was thrilled about how much she loved Corona. So, I decided to test it out — and man was it great! In just an afternoon of work with some examples I found on the web, I was already making a jumping cube with physics and ship-ready performance. I was set to go.
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How long did it take you to make ChocoRun? It seems relatively elaborate, considering that you needed high-quality 8-bit themed artwork and coding for 30 levels.
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ChocoRun really didn’t take too much time to get done.
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We completed the game after two months of development, and that’s counting the fact that we have full-time day jobs that take up almost all of our time. So, it was really fast!
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We have to thank Graham Ranson for his Lime library that made us capable of graphically designing the levels with utmost speed and effectiveness. As far as the artwork, it all was done by me except for the backgrounds that were taken from license-free websites. Even that went pretty fast too, as I had a clear idea of what I wanted so it was pretty easy for me to make it happen in just a few days.
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We really didn’t code any of the levels, we just made a game.lua class that handles the Lime features and creates each level and its obstacles every time it’s is launched. It may seem like a hard way to start, but it actually sped things up awesomely and I knew that was the way to go since the beginning.
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How many lines of code did the final ChocoRun turn out to be?
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Well, coding that way, we managed to fit ChocoRun into just 3000 lines of code. So tiny!
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What’s next for ChocoRun?
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ChocoRun still has a long road to ride in front of it. We really made a game we love to play, and now we are focusing on having a game we really like to look at. Incorporating a designer with so much experience as Joan Carles has brought some fresh air and new ideas to the game, and we are now under intense work to redesign the game completely. Every single pixel of it will be new on the next update so keep checking in! ;-)
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It’s no secret that ChocoRun got most of its inspiration from great games of the genre, but Choco himself turned out to be a great character and our players love him a lot! So, we want to make him pretty unique and recognizable — independent in his own right.
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The game’s controls also are pretty unique for a platformer, and we think they work like a charm and are really adequate for a touch-creen. We have also increased a lot the controls’ precision thanks to our users’ feedback, and will also upgrade them in the next update.
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Perhaps an Android version too?
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Sure we want to cover Android soon, but as it’s a market we really don’t know much about. We’ll wait a little to see how things evolve on the App Store before making the jump to other platforms. Just to tease you a little, we want to show you how awesome the new title screen will look…
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…Pretty cool, huh? We will be releasing this massive update by the end of August start of September — so it’s almost here!
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Cool indeed. Is there anything that Corona allowed you to do during the making of ChocoRun that would have taken too much time/effort with the mobile platforms you’ve previously used?
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That’s an easy question: EVERYTHING!
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We really think Corona is the way to go if you want to develop quality 2D/2.5D games. It’s lightweight, really fast, and it let us achieve a great performance without a massive amount of effort. So, we definitely will stick with it for a long time, and we are sure it will get even better meanwhile.
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So, keep up the great work!
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We definitely will. Thanks for your time, Alejandro!

  1. Great interview, Ansca!

    And nice job on the game, ChocoTeam – I’ve seen some of the rabid players posting on TA and it looks like you’ve really filled a niche on the iOS devices!

    Jay

  2. Alex, I wait that in the near interview (because there will be near insurance) you remember to mention to your colleague of work for the services given like catadora of games. LUCK IN YOUR NEAR LAUNCH!!

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