Before I officially started work on Dungeons of Doom, or even knew what kind of mobile game I was actually going to make, I wanted to think very carefully about what orientation it should use: landscape or portrait?
Getting any kind of publicity for your game these days is hard. There are so many great indie games out there and sometimes it feels almost impossible to be heard above the noise. When we released our previous game, Dare the Monkey, we really struggled to get any exposure. Luckily by happy accident one thing did help gain some traction and even several years on still leads to frequent download spikes. What was it you may ask? Simple. I created an Apple Watch version of our game.
When making a game there are many challenges along the way. But one of the biggest and often overlooked is the effort required to create a compelling user interface. Not only does it need to look good, the experience of actually using it needs to be intuitive too. That might sound easy, but the reality is somewhat different. It’s hard. Really hard!
I decided very early in production that Dungeons of Doom would have only one game mode. Why only one mode you may ask? Wouldn’t multiple game modes keep people playing longer, increase retention, and drive revenue? Well that was exactly the plan when building our previous game – Dare the Monkey – but in our case the analytics just didn’t support this.
During the production of my previous game – Dare the Monkey – I leaned heavily on ZBrush for rendering my game assets. The reason for this was the simplicity and quality of ZBrush’s MatCap materials. The MatCaps really helped my characters and objects to pop out of the screen.
We’ve been neglecting the Apple Watch version of Dare the Monkey for some time. In fact, we hadn’t exactly been keeping up to date with all things Apple Watch to be perfectly honest. So it came as a bit of a shock when I discovered recently that Apple had removed Force Touch support from Series 6 watches and in fact from any watch running watchOS 7 onwards. This had a serious impact on our game and meant that it was almost unplayable for many.
Let’s be honest, there aren’t that many great looking games for Apple Watch. When I decided to ship Dare the Monkey with a simplified Apple Watch version I thought I was onto something. Frantic platform action with great graphics. What’s not to like? Well one thing I didn’t consider was the unrealistic expectations an Apple Watch owner might have once they’d played the iPhone version of Dare.