Let’s start out by getting the story behind Dobsoft. How many people work behind your label nowadays, and are the Dobsoft projects everyone’s first experience in iOS game development?
Primarily, Dobsoft Studios consists of two people: myself (Will Dobson), and Rowan Edmondson. I’m in charge of the technical side of things, and Rowan is a game designer, so he comes up with a game concept and nuts out the particulars of how the gameplay should work. Thus far we’ve contracted our artwork from outsiders, but we’re looking at getting some in-house artists soon.
Both Rowan and I had some experience in iOS development before doing projects under the Dobsoft Studios banner. He interned with Freshtone Games on a project that many of your readers might be familiar with – One Single Life. I, too, interned as a programmer on an iOS game, but it’s unreleased as of yet so I probably can’t say too much about it!
Now that you’ve been in the industry for awhile, what would you say is the most difficult part of being an iOS game developer? Work/life balance, keeping up with the latest iOS versions and features, getting your products noticed? Maybe all the above?
All the above, for sure, but getting your products noticed is the hardest thing. iOS gamers are spoiled for choice and most games out there are amazing bargains. It’s such a competitive field and the standards get higher all the time.
How has Dobsoft’s experience with Bull Stampede and Bathtime Boogie shaped your approach to the upcoming Gun Fu, in terms of game design and/or marketing? Do you see Gun Fu as a chance to go back to the drawing board and try things from a different angle, or do you view it as a natural evolution in Dobsoft’s product line?
From a game design point of view, our games thus far haven’t really been similar to each other except for the fact that they’re quick, arcadey pick-up-and-play titles. One of the real joys of iOS development (to us anyway) is that with the shorter development cycles compared to console games, you can really mix things up and not get bored with one product or genre.
We learn new marketing tricks on every project and hopefully we get better at spreading the word every time around the block. So I wouldn’t say that we’re approaching Gun Fu from a totally different angle, but there’s definitely new things we’re trying. And thematically, it’s different from our previous games, which could be considered suitable for all ages, since we’ve got guns and blood and all that good stuff!
What about Gun Fu do you hope will stand out in the vast ocean of App Store offerings? Can you trace the inspiration for its gameplay and visual style to any particular media?
We hope that we’re offering something unique and compelling in terms of its gameplay. It’s a simple concept taken to the extreme, and you really have to play it to understand what that means. We want the player to feel like the ultimate bad-ass when they’re on a hot streak, and to offer a real challenge to those who are looking for one. The game gets pretty brutal if you survive long enough and it’s likely that only the top players will complete “The 10 Trials” that they’re pitted against.
The visual style is another thing that we’ve put a lot of effort into defining, to separate us from other games. Most color is stripped from the game and we’re left with black, white and red, which looks quite striking. Both the gameplay and the visual style were strongly influenced by movies like Equilibrium and The Matrix. The main character in our game could fit quite comfortably in either of those movies!
How long has Gun Fu been in development, and how has this project’s development time and scale compared with the previous Dobsoft releases?
We’ve spent about two months on Gun Fu so far, and we’re getting close to release now. Two to three months has been about the average for us on all our projects, but we’re looking at spending a bit longer on something in the future, likely a level-based game, which will be a first for us.
Is Gun Fu’s user interface pretty much what you envisioned when you began work on the game, or were there significant changes along the way?
Right now the user interface is almost exactly like we originally envisioned. A few new things have been added and we might tweak stuff based on user feedback, but it’s mostly all there as planned in the first place.
It appears you’ve launched a very robust beta testing phase prior to Gun Fu’s release! What advice would you give new indie developers for conducting a good round of quality assurance testing?
In the past we’ve had friends and family road-test our games before release, but this is the first project where we did an open call to the community for testers. It’s worked out very well for us and we’d recommend it to other developers out there. The feedback you get is invaluable and your testers might catch little things you’d otherwise miss. Since we want the online aspect of Gun Fu to be one of its big draws, having the extra players to fill out the competition and really put it through its paces has been a great aid.
An added bonus is that we hope testers who have enjoyed the game will help us spread the word when we finally submit the finished product.
What can we expect in updates to Gun Fu? It looks like there might be another mode coming soon?
We definitely will be adding another mode some time after launch. We’ve played around with a few ideas so far and aren’t really sure which of them we’ll use yet, but suffice it to say that it will be different enough to be a welcome and refreshing addition to the core game. And who knows, the ideas we don’t choose could very likely end up in future updates!
And that’s a wrap! Big thanks to Will Dobson for taking the time out for a digital chat, and not to mention, serving up some promo codes for all of Dobsoft’s releases so far — Bull Stampede, Bathtime Boogie and Gun Fu. That’s right, here’s what you need to do for a chance to win Dobsoft’s entire lineup including Gun Fu once it releases:
A.) Make sure you’re following both iFanzine and Dobsoft Studios on Twitter, and re-Tweet this interview at least once.
B.) Boost your chances of winning by liking iFanzine on Facebook, or giving this article a +1 with the Google+ button right at the top corner of this page!
C.) Comment below to let us know you’ve done so. This giveaway will last until Gun Fu releases, which we estimate will happen September 8.