Guest Post: Getting ready to ‘Rumble!’

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John Tran is creator of the Corona Hall of Fame puzzle game (unofficial Hall of Fame, of course!) Word Ball, which saw tremendous success all over the App Store and Android.

Now, John is ready to step into the app arena yet again with his newest puzzle game RPS Rumble. How exactly does one go about with creating an app from scratch like this? Well, John lets you in on his company secrets below…

John Tran, 'RPS Rumble'

It has been a whirlwind past nine months with Corona SDK!

With our first game Word Ball being named the Corona App of the Month last June, we saw unlimited potential in the platform as an indie development company and immediately started working on our next project. We brainstormed over a few new game ideas, which proved to be quite a challenge given the fact that we have always wanted to come up with things that are original, fresh, and never been done before.

Operations-wise, we’ve always had the mentality of the independent development shop — the “do everything yourself” mentality. Such was the case with Word Ball in that the music, artwork, and coding were all done in-house. So, this time, we wanted to take it a step further and not cut any corners. We felt the need to let professionals do what they do best and started soliciting artists to work on our upcoming projects.

We finally nailed down a concept that we thought would be a sure eye-opener — let’s just call it Project X for now. (no, not that one) While working days and nights in our spare time for four months straight, we realized that we had gotten ourselves involved with a project that was getting too big in scope. Corona is perfect for rapid development, but when we kept thinking of cooler features to add and those polished “nice to haves,” the project just got to the point where the amount of artwork needed was proving to be too much given our shoe-string budget.

So, we took a step back and realized that we needed to work on a smaller scale project where the assets were much more manageable. That way we could get it to market quickly with the premise in mind to help fund Project X. Of course, we did not want to sacrifice on the quality — but we knew that Corona would handle the job. We just needed to make sure we chose a great idea where we could execute it in a shorter amount of time.

While researching artists on a great indie dev forum, I was contacted by an extraordinary artist named Mike Mac. His artwork and animation skills were nothing short of impressive. I worked closely with Mike for two weeks, and we had a fully functional game (not just a prototype) of what we believed to be a groundbreaking puzzle app.

They always say that the devil is in the details. So, then came the hard part…

We spent the next two months polishing up the game and making sure that there was enough content and puzzles. Aside from the puzzles themselves and the complexity of algorithms that required my partners and I to break out our computer science textbooks again, the next hardest thing was trying to figure out how we would handle the trailer. I knew I didn’t want a standard gameplay trailer. I was also under the assumption that to get what I wanted, we needed to pay someone to do a cool teaser with a story that would draw intrigue to our game. But it proved to be way too expensive. I also didn’t want to have to teach myself After Effects, Final Cut Pro, or any other professional video editing software either.

I was stuck for a while until it hit me on the head like a ton of bricks: “Why don’t I just use Corona?” This was my “aha” moment! I then sought out to find a musical composition to lay over my video.

Although the professional tools are probably easier to use once mastered, Corona worked perfectly for me in timing all of the transitions with the music. Game music is very important. Someone once told me it can draw you in or tune you out (so true!). This is where my work on a custom soundtrack with Andrew Riley from Lucky Lion Studios proved to be critical in giving the game the sound and feel I was looking for. In working with Andrew for about week, we nailed down the version that eventually ended up being the in-game music as well as the trailer.

Fast-forward through extensive beta-testing, running artificial intelligence for days that would make your average computer gag, hand-crafting and picking puzzles for maximized playability, we are proud to introduce RPS Rumble for iOS!

By deriving the rules of the game from the basics of rock-paper-scissors, RPS Rumble is an original take of the old school classic and the first puzzler of its kind. You are given a board of tiles representing these three characters in a variety of combinations. Move a tile one space in any direction where rock captures scissors, scissors captures paper, or paper captures rock. Strategize your moves by tapping or swiping your way around the board to clear it leaving one tile left.

Sounds simple? I guess you be the judge 😉


We feel that the Corona SDK is the most advanced and flexible mobile development platform available. By developing RPS Rumble in a span of less than three months, this is just another testament to what is possible by using Corona. We believe that our story hits the heart of independent game development. Just remember to stick with it and strive for the best that you can do.

This has truly been a wild ride and I am hopeful that there is much more to come. Hope you have enjoyed our story and happy gaming!

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This entry has 5 replies

  1. John Tran says:

    Thank you for the opportunity and guest spot! I am truly honored…I hope everyone enjoys our little game here… 😉

  2. Biffy Beebe says:

    That looks really awesome!!! Brilliant!

  3. Adam says:

    Really fun idea! Love the Luchadores!

  4. Sid T says:

    Very cool John!

  5. amirfl says:

    Very cool idea!