Category Archives: Game Development

Zombieland!

Zombieland

Zombieland is a horror/comedy zombie movie now showing in theatres. It’s also a side scrolling gore-fest mobile game that I developed! It has recently been released on all major carriers, including iPhone.

Zombieland Screenshot 1So far it’s getting pretty darn good reviews, which is exciting. It has a four-star rating (out of five) on the iTunes App Store. And Touch Arcade incredulously labeled it a “fun movie game.”

For more information, you can check out the Sony Pictures page for the game, or for a more loving treatment of the game, see the Facebook fan page, which was created by the producer of the game.

Zombieland Screenshot 2Now bear in mind that if you’re going to check out the game on iTunes, it’s listed as iZombieland there. The original Zombieland application is a simple free app developed strictly for marketing purposes, and unfortunately has not received very favorable reviews. So don’t get it confused with our zombie-slaughtering action game!

All the screenshots here are from the iPhone version of the game, which has the highest blood-to-zombie ratio. Hooray for headshots!

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UniWar Now Available on iPhone!

Javaground’s first independent game, UniWar, is now available for purchase on the iPhone and iPod Touch through the App Store. We plan to charge $7.99 for the game (believe me it’s worth it), but to boost awareness of the game, we’re currently only charging 99 cents. Golly, that makes me want to go get an iPhone just so I can buy UniWar for a dollar!

If you missed my feature post on the game, you can read it all here. And if you do buy the game, feel free to challenge me to a match. My player name is ‘jason,’ and even without an iPhone, I have my own means of playing the game. 😉

We also found another preview of UniWar, which is noteworthy because it refers to Javaground as the developer of Wheel of Fortune for the iPhone. It looks like working on such a well-known game may pay off through name recognition!

Additional versions of the game, which will allow you to play with any other players, including iPhone users, will become available soon.

UniWar Logo

Wheel of Fortune and iPhone, Together At Last

My latest project, which I finished right before leaving on my Kenya trip, is rather high-profile. Wheel of Fortune is one of the most popular TV shows in America, and the iPhone is all the rage right now. I had the honor of programming the mash-up between these two giants, the Wheel of Fortune mobile game for iPhone and iPod Touch, which we affectionately refer to as “iWOF.”

iwof-01Now don’t let me take too much credit here: I didn’t write the whole game, just the iPhone version. The biggest task for this project was to create flashier, higher-resolution art that matches the latest season of the television show. Plus there were a number of minor rule changes, the most noticeable of these being the addition of the Million Dollar Wedge. Yes, you can win ONE MILLION DOLLARS on Wheel of Fortune now, but meeting all the requirements is statistically impossible. Still, that didn’t stop this woman. We also added trophies. Because, y’know, you gotta have trophies. Even Sony agrees now.

As for the mobile game itself, it’s been a roaring success. We watched the game’s sales ranking rise daily after its release. I had heard that at one point, it reached #13 on the iTunes Top Paid Games list. Currently it’s hovering in the middle of the Top 50 list at a respectable #29.

iwof-03The reviews for the game have been exceptionally good as well. Everyone seems to praise the gameplay and art, while only criticizing the same small list of shortcomings: no Pat Sajak or Vanna White (Sony would bankrupt themselves trying to license their likenesses),?no multiplayer. What’s been funny is people who complain about the rules of the game, without understanding how the latest season of the show works. I’ve seen people criticize the wheel layout (it’s copied directly from the design layout for the show itself), and the biggest complaint is that when you select “Normal Mode” it starts with Toss-Up Rounds. Normal Mode is meant to replicate the game show experience exactly, and the show starts with two Toss-Up Rounds! Overall, though, it seems like most people who like the show love the game, and that’s a great feeling.

There are also some more in-depth web-based reviews that are worth checking out. I love this guy’s mocking criticisms of some of the puzzles. I agree that some of the puzzles seem totally random, but they came directly from the show’s writers, so I don’t know what the deal is with that. And this guy supposedly has a video review of the game, but it’s actually just a silent video of him playing, with some jazz music overlayed to spruce things up.

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Wheel of Fortune Title Screen

Javaground’s Own Game: UniWar!

UniWar Logo

Javaground is finally releasing its first internally-produced, original IP game: UniWar. This game is our CEO Alex’s brainchild, and it’s turned out amazingly. UniWar is a turn-based multiplayer strategy game, and it’s incredibly addictive. You can play with up to eight players in various team configurations or free-for-all, and there are three races, each with their own totally unique units. You can believe that balancing those units took some time, but the game plays very well now.

uniwar-screenshot-4Alex has been doing a lot of promotion for the game. My favorite article includes a video demo of UniWar that Alex demonstrated at the Game Developer’s Conference a couple weeks ago. He’s absolutely right when he says people at the office are addicted to the game. I have multiple matches going on at once, and occasionally take a break from my work to play. So in a way, I’ve also been doing Quality Assurance work lately…

There are a few other articles talking about the game as well, here at Pocket Gamer and elsewhere. My heart goes out to the poor soul on this forum who claims to be checking the internet every few hours for UniWar updates.

The game was just submitted to the Apple App Store for release on the iPhone and iPod Touch this morning, so if all goes well, it should be available in a week or so. The game will also be released for a whole slew of regular cell phones, so more likely than not you’ll be able to play the game on whatever phone you have! More updates on the non-iPhone versions to come soon.

That's my green army on the left.  Go humans!
That's my green army on the left. Go Sapiens!

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Javaground Update: Underworld Mobile Game

I haven’t written about my game dev progress in a while, and in fact a lot has been going on. Right before Christmas I wrapped up development of the game Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. This was a very quick project, intended as a marketing tool for the movie (which was released January 23rd). It was a fun project because I got to write it from scratch, and I had a lot of creative freedom over it. And since the timeline for development was so short, we weren’t slowed down by multiple art or gameplay revisions. Underworld is a simple fighting game, where you can play as a vampire or Lycan (werewolf) and duel to the death against the other race. We ported to over 100 devices, though unfortunately it was for international markets only, and therefore not available to U.S. customers. The one version that is available to Americans is for the iPhone. This was one of the first iPhone apps we’ve written at Javaground, and I’d highly recommend checking it out if you have an iPhone or iPod Touch. It’s free. 😉

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Underworld Title Screen

Goldfinger Downloadable Pack Available; First Top Agent Review!

We’ve released the latest downloadable pack for James Bond: Top Agent. You can download the pack for free from the “Download Packs” menu option in the game, though you may need to still have a valid subscription on some carriers. Make sure you finish the Die Another Day pack if you’ve started it though, since this will overwrite your old pack.

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Also, Top Agent has gotten its first review! It’s from a reviewer in the UK, where we were unfortunately not able to support the networked aspects of the game (multiplayer challenges and pack downloading). I think it’s a very fair review, and a 6 out of 10 isn’t bad at all from someone only reviewing half of the game!