Join Shalthis from the GKick podcast as he delves deep into the world of Hearthstone in ShoutStone, a daily YouTube video series. Each day, Shal shoutcasts the latest and greatest Hearthstone games from the likes of Totalbiscuit, Trump, and Day!
I imagine you’re wondering where I vanished to? Well, over the weekend I got to visit my first ever gaming convention as a member of the press. One of the interviews that I managed to get in was with the one of the developers of Kukouri Entertainment. The mobile phone reception inside the building was beyond awful and my emails came through intermittedly. It was very annoying. Eventually, I managed to grab him for a quick interview about the game and for someone who really doesn’t play army or shooting games- I learned a lot.
Nickie: *shakes hand* Hello, and pleased to meet you. I’m Nickie from the GKick Network. Glad you could make the interview today.
Chris: Oh no, it’s a pleasure. I’m sorry about being able to get in touch with you, the cell reception is abysmal.
Nickie: I’m going to start with the questions, if that’s okay? When did you first come up with the idea of making a zombie game? There’s just a lot of them on the market and I’m wondering how you thought yours could be different and stand out?
Chris: Well, actually the zombies are a very small part of the game. We were going to do the enemies as people, but it just seemed as though a game where the enemies were hoards and hoards of people seemed kinda dull. So we decided on something else. Robots? No. Aliens? Well, Cannon Fodder 2 had aliens and that still didn’t quite feel right. Oh so zombies! Okay yeah, so zombies work. The enemies when you shoot them come back from the dead in ‘Zombie Mode’ and well, no one really cares about killing lots of zombies so that’s what we went with.
Nickie: What made you decide to make the game free on iOS when the Android version was released?
Chris: The Android version was supposed to come out for the Eurogamer Expo, but sadly it’s not really been finished in time. It works on my tablet quite okay (points to Samsung Galaxy Tab) but it doesn’t seem to work on all versions of hardware running Android. So, at this point we are shooting for a mid-October release date. We decided to put the iOS version free as a celebration of the Android version being released. The version on the Mac App Store went live today also, and a PC version is available to buy too as well as on Steam.
Nickie: Were there any games or media that inspired you when making the game?
Chris: Some of the Amiga classics like Cannon Fodder and Commandos for the gameplay, while Worms as the stylistics of the game. And just games in general, we were just playing a lot of different games when designing Tiny Troopers- trying to find ideas and inspirations from a lot of different genres and styles. There were mechanics that we dropped as we knew they were similar to what had already been seen and done in other games, so it was a lot of cutting before the final product.
Nickie: Did you find any kind of challenge when designing the game for both iOS and Android?
Chris: It’s been a bit of a headache designing the game for Android. It runs fine on both iOS and PC/Mac, but there’s so many different resolutions on Android and so many tweaks. What can work for one piece of hardware can fail on another. And then we have to go and tweak some minor thing in the game and then it still doesn’t work! It’s all about the cost. We’ve been designing both games since the Spring, the iOS version has been on the App Store since June. We’re still burning money trying to get the Android version finished. It takes time and money to work on something like that.
Nickie: Did the iOS version come first? What made you want to develop for the PC/Mac market also?
Chris: Well we were on the mobile market first and we had actually been on the PC market first. Not as the guys from Kukouri but we were just working within the market on lots of other stuff. When Kukouri was formed, we decided that the mobile market would be ideal as we wanted to make quicker games, not such long production times. We wanted to make a good quality, fun game that didn’t require us to spend two years in development. This in turn, allowed us to try lots of different ideas and try to make the best game that we could- but without having to waste a lot of time on a game that people didn’t want to buy. With Tiny Troopers, it wasn’t long till we realised that people liked the concept of the game so we know now that it’s an idea to run with in the future. We know to use what people like and not what they don’t. There’s a much faster turnover. At the end of the day though, we are still PC guys and that’s the market that we mainly concentrate on. The success on the mobile market is a pure bonus for us.
Nickie: Do you have any advice for those out there looking to develop their own apps and break the market?
Chris: Design or develop for iOS. Unity is a great base system, if you know any basic coding. That’s the system we’ve been using and it’s been a breeze to work with. It also makes it easy to port over to other systems.
Nickie: What’s the one thing that you would tell the readers of the GKick Network to watch out for in this game? Is there one cool thing or something that is really deadly?
Chris: Don’t step on the mines. We’ve been trying to scale back the damage on the mines as at this point, they’re pretty much instant death if you step on them. But a cool thing is that this game is progressive. If your soldiers survive the mission, they’ll go through to the next one and the longer they survive the more ranks they will gain. This in turn will make them stronger and more resilient. And of course you want the soldiers to live, so don’t step on the mines. If you do die, then you get fresh recruits and you start the mission from scratch. So again, watch out for the mines.