Friday 23 December 2011

Interviewed for!

Mover and shaker that I am, I was interviewed by Daniel Nye Griffiths for about running my one-man studio.

I talk about:
  • the challenges facing small indie developers
  • the benefits of the minimum viable product approach
  • redesigning Greedy Bankers for the iPad market
  • the advantages of the micro-studio in today's games industry
Alistair Aitcheson is a recent graduate, who has so far released two games: ‘Greedy Bankers‘ and ‘Greedy Bankers vs the World‘. His first game was a colour-matching puzzler. It was a minimum viable product, developed and released quickly to create awareness and some revenue, and to test the market’s eagerness for this kind of game.

His second iteration – ‘Greedy Bankers vs The World‘ brought in simultaneous multiplayer and – in line with the kleptocratic theme of the franchise – allowed players to steal gems from their opponent’s side of the iPad screen. This creates an experience somewhere between Bejewelled and ice hockey.

Aitcheson not only codes his games, but also produces the art and every other asset he can, keeping costs to an absolute minimum. That burn management makes it possible to learn on the job, without the high stakes of major game development. I asked Aitcheson about life as a microstudio.

Read the full interview on on

Thursday 22 December 2011

Ludum Dare 22: "Alone"

This weekend I took part in the Ludum Dare 48-hour competition. The competition takes place three times a year, and tasks developers with the challenge of building a game, from scratch, on their own, in 48 hours. This year over 700 people entered, all developing games based on the selected theme: "Alone"

I took part, and made a game which is part match-em-up, and part strategy/RPG, which I called Omega Men. I also made a video diary of my experience, showing how the ideas and game evolved during the time period.

Wednesday 21 December 2011

Develop Magazine's 30 Under 30

Exciting news! I was selected for Develop Magazine's 30 Under 30 feature of young up-and-coming games industry figures. A very lovely surprise, and a nice way to round off a year that's been full of excitement: two released games, trade show appearances, conference talks and snazzy Greedy Bankers T-shirts!

Here's what they said about me:

Alistair Aitcheson
Independent Developer

23-year-old Aitcheson has been running his own one-man studio since graduating from University of Warwick with a first class Master's in Mathematics, and has been programming games for over ten years. He handles all the programming, artwork and animation for his games, such as Greedy Bankers, and has already become a regular event speaker. One of 2011’s youngest 30 Under 30 members, he capably rivals the careers of those many years his senior.

Thanks very much, Develop Magazine! It's also a lovely surprise to see so many people I've met at events since starting the studio. There's some really exciting talent out there, and I'm very flattered to find myself listed alongside such ambitious individuals. Congratualtions to all the others on the list, and I hope to meet the rest of you at future industry events!

Finally, I would recommend following Develop Online to anyone in or interested in the industry, as it's a very informative source of news and information. I'd also highly recommend downloading the magazine, which is completely free, and has very valuable games business and development-related articles.

Friday 16 December 2011

My Favourite Game: Kongai

I contributed to the My Favourite Game blog to talk about my favourite video game of all time: Kongregate's collectible card game Kongai.

A multiplayer strategy game that takes all the best bits from fighting and card games, and a mind-bending twist on JRPG battles, Kongai is my best example of a video game that can make you smarter.

Have a read of my thoughts on the game, and why not contribute to the My Favourite Game blog yourself?

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Interview for Play Tribune: Running a One-Man Studio and the Evolution of Greedy Bankers

I did an interview for Play Tribune this weekend, which I hope you all enjoy! We talk about the challenges of running a one-man studio, re-developing Greedy Bankers for the iPad, the motivations behind creating the game, a discussion of propaganda in games, and some of my indie recommendations!


Monday 7 November 2011

Speaking at Develop Liverpool, 24th November

Just a small announcement to say I'll be speaking at Develop Conference Liverpool this month. My talk, Building on Greedy Bankers - Applying App Store Experience will be part of the Indie Dev Day, where I will explain how I built upon the foundations set by Greedy Bankers on iPhone to come up with Greedy Bankers vs The World.

Indie iOS developer Alistair Aitcheson recounts the ongoing tale of Greedy Bankers, his App Store debut, and its semi-sequel on iPad. Despite the original game’s sales slipping below expectations, Alistair chose to expand the franchise, with a bolder USP and fresh marketing strategy. The result, Greedy Bankers vs The World, was selected as a finalist in the Eurogamer Expo Indie Game Arcade.

Was the expanded game more desirable? Were the changes in marketing strategy effective? Did fresh exposure bring the game success? This is the post-mortem with a difference, about using lessons from one project to directly inform the next.

Tickets to the conference can be purchased here, and the Indie Dev Day track can be attended at a reduced rate.

Thursday 3 November 2011

Greedy Bankers at GameCity Nottingham

October 26th to 29th saw Nottingham invaded by games and gamers, for one of the most varied and quirky games events in the UK calendar. There were talks from industry veterans including Naughty Dog's Richard Lemarchand (also a kickass DJ, but more on that later), 100-player laser-pen projector games, stirring breakfast discussions hosted by the Guardian's Keith Stuart, and, of course, a smorgasbord of indie games to try out on the show floor.

And the Greedy Bankers were there to join in!

Greedy Bankers vs the City of Nottingham

I have to say, demoing the game at Eurogamer Expo has really given me a thirst for more public events. The game does really seem to suit it, and battling a friend over a shared iPad can be a memorable shared experience.

The audience was much different to what I was used to from previous demo sessions, as there were a lot of families there, which made a nice change. One kid (pictured) was particularly good at the game and kept on coming back. He wanted to challenge everyone, and usually won! He even gave me a run for my money - I beat him after two very close rounds and only $500 in it in the end. Normally I'd go easy on a new player, but my pride was at stake!

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Tap! Magazine App of the Week!

The wonderful Tap! Magazine selected Greedy Bankers vs The World as their App of the Week.

It's my birthday today, so this is quite a nice present! I've included a screenshot below to preserve this lovely surprise.

“An excellent update to what was already a fine match game — recommended even if you own the original,” said Tap! Magazine, and gave it 4 stars.

"[The multiplayer mode] propels Greedy Bankers to the top of the iPad match-game heap. Let’s hope the dev doesn’t blow the cash on subprime credit."

I'll try not to!

Thanks very much, Tap! Incidentally, Tap! Magazine is well worth a read. There's an iPad-specific version which makes intelligent use of the interface, and it's full of well-written recommendations of apps, games and peripherals. Check it out!

Thursday 20 October 2011

Coming to GameCity and Qantm College!

I'm going to be heading up to the GameCity Festival in Nottingham next week, where I'll be demoing Greedy Bankers vs The World.

You'll be able to come and play from 11:30am to 5:00pm on Friday 28th October, and I'd love to see you there!

Do come and say hi if you're going to the festival! And if you're not, why not? It sounds awesome, with all kinds of games-related activities going on. A full schedule is here.

I'll also be giving a guest lecture to students of Qantm College London about running a one-man indie studio, which I'm really looking forward to. It'll be great to meet budding young talent and hopefully get them fired up and excited about indie game development!

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Version 1.1 out now, adds Colour-blind Support

I recently submitted the first update for Greedy Bankers vs The World, which became available in the App Store this morning. The new update adds:

  • Colourblind support - an alternative viewing mode can be toggled on in the pause menu to add symbols to the gems so that colourblind players can enjoy the game.
  • "Crisis" difficulty level, which is unlockable after beating Story Mode on "Hard"
  • Tutorial video - a quick how-to-play video to introduce the core mechanics, also viewable on Youtube here

As always, let me know your feedback! I'm particularly interested to hear how successful the colourblind support is, and if you have any suggestions on how to improve it do let me know.

Thursday 13 October 2011

How to play Greedy Bankers vs The World!

One thing that I wanted to improve with v1.1 of Greedy Bankers vs The World was the tutorials, which are admittedly a little brief. I wanted to do something a bit more fun and visual than a set of instructions, and decided that a video would be the most exciting way to do this.

So without further ado, here is the video!

Please note it's slightly different in the game, and you can flick between the different "chapters" in case you miss an important bit of advice. The voice was great fun to do, but took a bit of effort, as my voice isn't naturally very deep! It's quite hard to keep this voice consistent over two minutes. To avoid drifting back into a more comfortable pitch I put a picture of Deholm from the IT Crowd on the screen while I recorded.

I hope to get the v1.1 build submitted in the next few days. The update includes colourblind support (which I hope to improve as I go based on people's suggestions), and an extra difficulty mode in Story Mode, dubbed "Crisis" level!

Wednesday 12 October 2011

More reviews and interviews!

It's been so exciting seeing the reviews, interviews and articles for Greedy Bankers vs The World popping up in the past few weeks. So here's a few more!

Bits 'n' Bytes Gaming said the game "will have you screaming at the top of your voice with gleeful frustration." They also selected it for their "Recommended" section - thanks!

A very positive review from Square-Go called it "a great achievement on the iPad... uses that large screen size to its advantage," and also awarded the game a wonderful 4 stars.

I was interviewed for the MediaPulp podcast, episode 21, which was tremendous fun. I talk from about 27 minutes in, for a good 15-minute segment. Check it out!

And finally, here's a great interview from - hope you enjoy seeing the game in action!

Saturday 8 October 2011

Improving Greedy Bankers for Colour Blind Players - Help Needed!

Hi everyone. One of the issues that came up at Eurogamer Expo that I really wanted to fix was the fact that the game was very difficult for colour blind players. This is something I really wanted to fix, because I don't want to lock anyone out of playing the game over something that's easy to fix.

For example, here's a screenshot from the four-colour version of the game...

... and the same screenshot as viewed by someone with red-green protanopia (as far as I know, the most common form of colour blindness). I used the Vischeck web tool to simulate the view (which seems to have stopped working today, unfortunately).

Thursday 6 October 2011

Interview for PocketGamer

Hi everyone! I did this interview with about redesinging Greedy Bankers for iPad, updates and plans for porting to other devices.

Total bankers: Alistair Aitcheson talks Eurogamer Indie Arcade, content updates, and new projects

I hope you enjoy reading! This interview was also linked by the weblog.

Tuesday 4 October 2011

Greedy Bankers at the Eurogamer Indie Arcade

This year I was fortunate enough to be selected as a finalist in the Eurogamer Expo's Indie Games Arcade. From Thursday 22nd to Sunday 25th September I headed to Earls Court, London, to demo the game to Eurogamer attendees.

There were 16 finalists in the competition, including five iOS entries: my own Greedy Bankers, online card game Cabals, action-packed tower-defence Earth Under Siege, augmented-reality physics puzzler Reflow, and snake-on-steroids Hard Lines. Meeting all the other developers were amazing, with teams flying over from Germany, Finland, Italy and Brazil, as well as Cambridge and humble Coventry.

Monday 3 October 2011

The first reviews are in! 4.5 Stars from GameZebo!

Once the game's launched it's always very exciting when the first reviews start to appear. I was really happy with this review from GameZebo who, having been impressed with the iPhone original, really took a shine to the iPad sequel.

Read the review here!

"Greedy Bankers vs. The World is an excellent follow-up to an already-great game. It's incredibly fun and goofy, the new gameplay modes add a lot of extra enjoyment, and things are even more stylish than before."

Thanks very much for the kind words guys! Much appreciated!

As always, Greedy Bankers vs The World can be purchased from the App Store here

Wednesday 28 September 2011

Bankers take on Eurogamer!

Hi everyone! Eurogamer Expo was amazing. For those of you not already in the know, Greedy Bankers vs The World was selected as a finalist in the Indie Game Arcade, and so I got to demo the game to visitors at Earl's Court from Thursday until Sunday. It was exhausting, but so much fun!

I'll be doing a proper write-up of the event soon but, suffice it to say, Greedy Bankers was really well received. Everyone seemed to love playing, especially once they started stealing from their friends!

Here's a selection of video interviews I did during the event - I'll let you know when more appear!

The awesome guys from Bit Socket popped by the indie arcade and interviewed me and some of the other finalists

The SweetFFA team interviewed me as my team took to the queues to entertain the waiting crowds!

Eurogamer TV interviewed some of the indies to find out just how indie we really were. Did my credibility remain intact? Find out here!

Tuesday 20 September 2011

Podcast: Greedy Bankers vs The World on Against All Expectations

I recorded a podcast with Leo Loikkanen from Against All Expectations about the launch and development of Greedy Bankers vs The World, and its upcoming exhibition in the Eurogamer Indie Game Arcade.

Take a listen here! Follow the podcast for other fascinating indie developmer interviews!

Download the podcast direct from here

Monday 19 September 2011

Greedy Bankers vs The World launches tonight!

Update: Out now worldwide!

Here it is! Greedy Bankers vs The World has been approved by the App Store and is now ready to launch midnight tonight!

But there's more! The game has been selected for the Eurogamer Indie Game Arcade 2011, and will be on display from Thursday to Sunday this week in Earl's Court, London. I will be there to show you the game and talk to you about its development, so please do come along!

From midnight tonight (whatever time zone you're in), Greedy Bankers vs The World can be bought from this link

I can't wait to hear your thoughts, and I look forward to meeting some of you at the Expo!

Friday 16 September 2011

Price drop! Greedy Bankers for iPhone now £0.69/$0.99/€0.79!

Hi everyone! In the run-up to the Greedy Bankers vs The World launch for iPad, I've decided to drop the price of the original iPhone game. Please do check it out if you've not done so! I'm so excited to launch the new game next week!

Buy now on iTunes: £0.69/$0.99/€0.79

Reviews for Greedy Bankers (iPhone)
"I expect to keep returning to Greedy Bankers... I love that one-more-go appeal!" - iPhone Freak

"Simple to describe but complex to master... Greedy Bankers delivers in short, healthy doses" - DIYGamer

"Guaranteed to keep you coming back for more (and more and more!)" - iFanzine

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Greedy Bankers vs The World: Submitted to the App Store!

This is a very exciting time indeed. Greedy Bankers vs The World is now submitted to the App Store, and is awaiting review. I hope to have the game available for download next week, which will coincide with something very exciting. But I'll wait for the official announcement to tell you what exactly that is!

In the meantime, I would like to say a big thank-you to the beta testers, who were essential in getting the game finished and polished ready for release. Feedback from the testing team has been comprehensive and very promising, and I really appreciate their hard work and input.

The final couple of weeks of development were pretty hectic, with me trying to get the game ready for this event. I guess you'd call it "indie crunch", and having set myself the deadline of Monday 12th to submit the build, the last weekend was tiring indeed!

I'll keep you up with more information as things are announced. In the meantime, I've uploaded a press pack to the Greedy Bankers site, which pulls together screenshots, announcements and the game description for easy use by press and bloggers. Feel free to take a look.

Monday 5 September 2011

Interview for Smartphone App Review

I was interviewed by the Smartphone App Review about expanding Greedy Bankers for iPad, working with iOS, and my plans as a developer. Take a look!

Interview: Alistair Aitcheson talks Greedy Bankers 2, life as an iOS developer and much more

This interview was featuted on 7th September 2011 as an Indie Game Link on

Thursday 1 September 2011

Calling beta testers!

Hey all! Greedy Bankers vs The World is now ready to go out to beta testers, so please do comment or email me (aitchesongames[at] if you'd like to get involved.

The latest video shows the current build of the game, which is getting very close to completion, with just a few loose ends to wrap up and some balancing work to do. Which is, of course, where beta testers come in handy! If you'd like to try out the game with your friends and family, and are happy to give me your thoughts and feedback, please do get in touch.

Hope you enjoy watching and I look forward to hearing from you!

Sunday 14 August 2011

Newsflash! Greedy Bankers vs The World Trailer

I put up a trailer for Greedy Bankers vs The World last night. Have a look, and tell me what you think!

Out of all the videos I've produced around my work, this was definitely the most fun to do. The idea of a newsflash-style video has been rattling around in my head for ages, and I decided that this would be a perfect way to put it into action. The most visually-interesting part of the game is the multiplayer matchups, which lent themselves well to a BBC News-inspired report, where they could have been recorded from a cheap digital camera (which they were!).

Tuesday 26 July 2011

Competitive Banking! Test sessions at TIGJam UK 5

As documented in my earlier post, I attended TIGJam UK 5 earlier in the month, and took with the latest Greedy Bankers vs the World to try out on the unsuspecting developers! I filmed some of the matches for the video below. Take a look at the video below to see how it went down!

Competitive Banking in Practice

The testing session was great fun and some of the participants got very competitive, which is exactly what I was hoping to see! The matches were fast and furious and, while I was hoping to capture whoops and cheers from excited players most had expressions of deep concentration. Perhaps not as photogenic but definitely a sign of solid competitive design!

Monday 18 July 2011

TIGJam UK 5: We came, we jammed, we conquered!

This article was featured as an Indie Game Link by the weblog and in Rock Paper Shotgun's Sunday Papers feature

This weekend the
CB2 Bistro in Cambridge UK was overrun with indie developers working on small mini-projects, socialising and generally having an awesome gamedev experience! 35 indies dropped in on the Bistro, home of the CB2 Indies meet-ups, from all around the world. Some developers had come in from Cambridge and London, others (including myself) from UK counties further afield. Some even flew in from Germany, or joined as part of their round-the-world travels.

Friendships were formed, awesome games were made, coffee and beer were consumed! Altogether a fantastic experience and highly recommended. And I was there, camera in hand, pestering people to be photographed - the results are below:

Just a Simple Game We Play

Every few hours, Stephen (also known as increpare) would come round with three jam themes, randomly selected from our own suggestions. We'd have three hours to make a game based around these themes. A lot of us ended up focusing on just a couple of themes, and extending them beyond the three hours if we liked them enough - there were no rules, so the atmosphere was relaxed and sociable, and everyone got on well, sharing ideas and working together.

Tuesday 12 July 2011

A new challenger bursts in! Latest drawings of the new bankers!

With Greedy Bankers vs The World for iPad, I've been keen to extend the cast of bankers and add a bunch of new characters. Much like in arcade classics Puyo Puyo and Dr Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, these new characters will act as a gauntlet of opponents, right up to a final boss fight!

The characters will also be unlockable and selectable as player-characters in Versus Mode. So without further ado, let's take a look at some of the latest images!

Sunday 3 July 2011

Video: Greedy Bankers iPad AI Demo

Hey everyone! Just a small update with some video footage of me taking on the AI opponent. Story Mode will be a key feature, expanding on the multiplayer gameplay, and while there's still plenty to be implemented, the computer is already proving a tough adversary!

I also explain some of the new features in the game, as well as how I plan to expand it from here.

Thursday 16 June 2011

Announcement: Greedy Bankers vs. The World for iPad

Following the success of Greedy Bankers for iPhone, I am now developing a version of the game for the iPad. The new game is due out this summer, and I hope to have it ready for submission to the App Store by the end of July.

Multiplayer is a key feature of the new game, pitting aspiring financiers head-to-head in a battle to secure market dominance! Stealing, cheating and underhand tactics are the order of the day as, after all, Greedy Bankers is quite literally the name of the game!

Greedy Bankers vs The World retains the simplicity and accessibility of its iPhone predecessor, with the added enjoyment of tricking your friends, and them tricking you right back!

Meanwhile, fans of competitive puzzlers such as Puyo Puyo and Puzzle Fighter will find a strong strategic core in a competitive puzzler designed solely for iPad.

How do I play Greedy Bankers multiplayer?

Two players share the iPad screen, with the game board split into two sides. Cash in gems on your side to add to your total, and drop rubble on your opponents. But watch out - some rubble contains power-ups, so you need to take advantage of your lead before your opponent bounces back!

Players are free to steal gems from across the board and cash them in on their own side, and there is no penalty for stealing. You can even set traps for your friends, turning their hard-earned gems into rubble, or blowing them up with bombs. Whether or not you play fair is entirely up to you!

You can choose to play at opposite sides of the board, or side by side, and stealing across the board can be disabled, if you're in the mood for a more civilised game. In fact, many of the game rules will be customisable, to make sure the game rules suit you and your friends the best.

What stage of development are you in?

I'm currently working on balancing the game, finding the optimum feature-set for the game, and optimising the display to make it as clear and punchy as possible. I also have some other big features which are being implemented, the details of which I will announce in the coming weeks. Suffice to say, once you've beaten all your friends, you'll still have a legion of opponents ready to battle you.

When can I play Greedy Bankers vs. The World?

I'm taking the game on tour during development, to build feedback and watch players interact with the game. This weekend, I will be at University of Warwick for the Warwick Game Design 48 Hour Competition. In July, I'll be taking the game to TIGJam UK 5 in Cambridge, and the Develop Conference. Perhaps I will see you there!

If you're interested in beta testing, comment below and I'll get in touch. I expect to have a beta ready for testing in July, and it would be awesome to have you on board!

Friday 3 June 2011

Podcast: Interview for Against All Expectations

Leo Loikannen of the Against All Expectations podcast interviewed me today, and the podcast is up now!

Download the mp3 podcast from here, and view the Flattr page for the podcast here.

I talk about the upcoming iPad game, the state of the market for indie developers (on which I am generally optimistic!), developing for Objective-C, and my recommendations for gamers and developers alike.

This podcast was featured on the Weblog! How cool is that?

New episodes of Leo's show can be found on the Against All Expectations Blog

Thursday 2 June 2011

Video: iPad Bankers AI demo

I've been working on the AI algorithm for Greedy Bankers iPad over the past week, and this is how it's looking so far. It's very early stages, but I've very pleased with how it's taking shape! The iPad version of the game will include local multiplayer, and a story mode against computer opponents. I'll be keeping you posted with more details as the game develops!

Wednesday 11 May 2011

Interview with Players' Co-op and v1.3 release

I was interviewed recently by Players' Co-op, a neat little gaming-interest site which started up fairly recently and looks set to be full of interesting articles! Titled Indie Developer's One-Man Show I talk about the challenges and benefits of working as a one man studio, the development process, and my advice for aspiring developers. Check it out, and I hope you enjoy reading it!

--Read the full article--

v1.3.0 Released, with French translation

The latest update for Greedy Bankers is now available from iTunes. I've translated the in-game text into French, which was a fun excuse for me to brush up my old language skills, and also should open up the game to some new players. Thanks very much to Mathieu, Sacha and Klaim for their help with this update!

iPad Bankers underway!

The iPad version took a little while longer to get off the ground than I had anticipated, but the big-screen version is now well underway and the two player mode is really coming along! I'll be sure to post pictures and videos in the near future.

Friday 22 April 2011

Greedy Bankers: Reviews Roundup

A roundup of some of the reviews that Greedy Bankers has had so far:

‎"Guaranteed to keep you coming back for more (and more and more!)"
iFanzine, 19 April 2011

"Great gameplay with an addictive core" 87%
The Smartphone App Review, 13 March 2011

"Immensely enjoyable and fast-paced fun", 28 Feb 2011

"Simple to describe but complex to master... Greedy Bankers delivers in short, healthy doses", 24 Feb 2011

If you're a game or app reviewer and would like to review the game, feel free to comment below, or contact me at for a free promo code

Wednesday 20 April 2011

Video: Story of a Game Engine

The second instalment of my video series, Indie Developer Notebook is now available to watch online. It looks back on a platformer engine I developed at various stages from 2002 to 2010, how it developed, and why I ultimately put the project on the shelf.

The video also looks at platformer physics, and how breaking the accepted rules of physics can lead to exciting gameplay.

The first in the video series, Designing Greedy Bankers (Complexity from Simplicity) is also available to watch online.

Thursday 14 April 2011

Only the Beginning: Lessons from Greedy Bankers

This article was written as a guest post for It looks back on my experiences up to, and in the first weeks following the launch of the game. The article was also featured on the Weblog

Greedy Bankers, my arcade puzzle game for iPhone, is now available in the App Store. This is a perfect time to look back and see what I’ve learned from the development experience.

I am a one-man team, dealing with all aspects of development, artwork, business and marketing. Greedy Bankers is my first commercially available game since starting out as a full-time indie developer.

Friday 18 March 2011

Video: Designing Greedy Bankers - Complexity from Simplicity

I just posted up a video about how I designed Greedy Bankers to foster complex strategies from simple mechanics.

I plan to make a series of these videos, so if there's anything you'd like me to discuss, expand on, or experiences you'd like me to share, please let me know!

Wednesday 23 February 2011

Update: Greedy Bankers Now Available! 33%-Off Launch Sale!

Greedy Bankers is now available from the App Store!

Follow this link to find it on the App Store:

More information about the game is on the Greedy Bankers website.

As an indie developer this is very exciting for me, as it's the first time I've brought a game to market. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it goes down well, and working very hard to spread the world. So if you know anyone who may enjoy the game, or be interested in reviewing it, feel free to pass on the message - I appreciate it!

Frequent updates are on the Greedy Bankers Twitter feed: @greedy_bankers and also on my personal twitter feed: @agaitcheson

Monday 21 February 2011

Greedy Bankers for iOS: Designing Accessibility and Complexity

When I first came up with Greedy Bankers in June 2010, my intention was to create something simple to pick up, but with a depth that keeps you playing and trying to discover new strategies. I had been exploring real-world strategy games in the months previous to producing the first prototype, and desired to create a game where the player could explore deep strategies from a simple set of building blocks.
Beginning work on the iPhone version of the game, I knew I wanted to maintain the drive for complex gameplay, but realised I had new opportunities to make it even more accessible. The touch screen offered the potential for an even more intuitive interface for new players, and I hope to build up a community and a gentle sense of competition between players trying to maximise their scores.

Designing for Accessibility and Simplicity

The sliding-tile control system had been successful in my earlier Shifty Trains, which had proven popular with new gamers, so for the Windows prototype it made perfect sense to build on that. Using only the mouse, and avoiding the use of buttons, reduced the need to learn a control system. Translating this to a touch screen made it even easier for players to get to grips with, as players could use a single finger to play the entire game, and it resembled physical sliding-tile puzzles even more. Testing out the iPhone beta on new players was an exciting experience, as it was obvious how easy to pick up and explore the game was.

Saturday 19 February 2011

Greedy Bankers - out this month!

I did it! It's been quite an adventure, and as I always say to myself, this is only the beginning! Greedy Bankers has just been submitted to the App Store and is awaiting approval. I expect to release the game before 28th Feb.

So how does it look? Well, Greedy Bankers has changed a lot since last time you saw it, and is far more feature-rich than it was before. I fully designed the Banker characters, and am very happy with how they turned out in the end. To the left is a screenshot of the game in action, and more can be seen from the Greedy Bankers website.

I am very excited to see how the game does. Though I have been an indie developer for many years now, this is my first commercial release, which makes it a big landmark for me. But there is more to come! I have just started work on the iPad version, which will have even more game modes to make full use of the large tablet screen, including local multiplayer. The adventure has only just begun!

In the coming week I will post some more details on the game, how it has evolved, and the challenges I have faced re-developing the game for a new platform. Watch this space!

Thursday 6 January 2011

Creating Simple Animations for Games

Participating in game jams, 48 hour competitions, and small amateur game productions, I've noticed that a lot of people have trouble creating simple animations. Often programmers feel they do not possess the art skills, or skilled artists don't know where to begin with game animations. Creating simple game animations isn't as difficult as it seems, and most people just need a prod in the right direction.

Thus, here is my introductory directed prod. If you have any tips to add or disagree with anything I say, feel free to comment me here or on twitter, and I'll gladly include your tips in the article - the more we can teach and learn the better!