The slow and steady takeover of the iOS marketplace is still in effect for Sydney-based studio Flat Earth Games, as their expanding & exploring game TownCraft expands & explores beyond its iPad roots and onto the iPhone and Mac.
We've featured Flat Earth Games in the past, as their founding members, Leigh and Rohan Harris, went through the trials of getting their first game through the App Store certification process -- and the subsequent battle to have everything ready to show at PAX Aus (within a couple of days), was a stressful tale they happily told for our amusement.
TownCraft is a somewhat of a hybrid, starting out a bit like Minecraft, and evolving into something more akin to SimCity. As your town evolves, more people will come, more tools will be made, more resources made available and refined, until you have a grand hierarchical pyramid of things supporting rarer, more special things. But don't listen to me, just watch the new trailer:
Further setting TownCraft apart are the challenge modes, continually added to the game. These add a bit of difficulty and force players to approach a map more like they would a Mensa puzzle.
Having only just reached the App Store on iPhone and Mac, the game has already been featured by Apple, which is pretty much the dream. It has also reached #13 on the paid strategy section. It's a positive look for a game outside its tablet-sized comfort zone, and we requested words with the Brothers Harris once more to see if development was a little easier this time around.
"The number one difficulty on getting the game to iPhone was the screen size," said Leigh Harris. "But it ended up being a blessing in disguise, because in order to make it playable on iPhone we had to add a zoom function -- something we lacked the technical capability to do back on the iPad.
"But since we had Screen Australia funding this time, we were able to hire a guy who worked on L.A. Noire and really knew his stuff. So now with the iPhone release, the iPad version also has the ability to zoom right out and check out your whole town."
Sounds like smooth sailing, compared to the drama of our last entry in the Flat Earth Chronicles. C'mon, Leigh. Where's the drama? Where's the juice?
"One weird problem we encountered was that even though it's the same game, people are used to paying more for iPad games than they do for iPhone ones," said Harris. "So we had to decide whether to lower the price to make it more iPhone friendly, or keep it at the same iPad price it's always been at and risk the iPhone crowd saying no to a $5+ game.
"In the end, we chose the latter."
Our thanks to Leigh Harris for his words and time. A pleasantly uneventful development process is clearly ideal. But next time, throw in a few screaming tantrums and lawsuits, for our benefit, hmm?