What’s been the hardest part in implementing a co-op mode for Infected Wars? How many players can join a co-op game at once, and what’s the team’s approach to making sure levels feel balanced whether one player or more than one are blasting their way through?
The hardest part in implementing a full co-op experience is definitely the programming. There is a reason this has never been done before on mobile. Typically a studio has a much larger team than what we have in order to pull this off, and a much larger budget to float the extended development cycle. Simple deathmatch is a walk in the park compared to full co-op.
For the single player campaign, there is a maximum of two players at once. We are working on our next major update that will include survival gameplay modes and new maps for the players. This might offer the latest hardware the ability to play with more than two, but right now we feel that two plays great on mobile devices and fits in better with the technical limitations most players face.
Balance is always really tough, because the truth is, it takes just as much time to properly balance a $6.99 game on mobile as it does to balance that same title on a platform where games go for $20-$40. It takes a ton of time and labor to do it properly. Your larger studios frequently will have a whole team dedicated to it. In our case, it just meant 60-hour weeks to ensure great balance is achieved.
I feel like we have multiplayer at a really good point that is tons of fun while still challenging. Once we get the community behind us and more experienced players emerge, we plan to release additional content to challenge higher-level players even more.
Have any of the game’s creatures become particular favorites among the team, or do you think certain ones will really catch on with players?
The bosses are definitely the team favorites. Lazyeye and Imrod are larger than life and look so awesome when you are fighting against them. My personal favorite is Lazyeye and some of the custom AI behavior he has, but I don’t want to spoil anything for the community.
How is Action Mobile handling sound effects and music? Are one or more team members dedicated to these, or are you looking at contractors and third party sources for audio?
We have a dedicated team member who has done all of our in-game sound effects and music.
Looking back on such a massive project, has there been any aspect of the game’s development that you and the team were completely unprepared for, or that took you by surprise? Have you had to scale back on anything you wanted to have in the game originally?
I think the two things that really surprised us were just how time consuming and difficult a full co-op campaign was going to be to implement. Also, our vision of how the gameplay was going to operate was a huge challenge with the restrictions you have on mobile devices. From the very beginning we wanted the combat to be against a horde of infected, not just two or three. For example, most games with decent graphics have a very small number of creatures on screen at once, maybe three tops. In our case you can frequently see seven, eight, or more infected on screen, plus another player, and with the custom spawn system we have created it can seem like you’re fighting 20 or more! We definitely had to get creative to accomplish this, and I think the players will really appreciate the feel of the game with so many creatures on screen at once.
I think the developer always wraps up a project wishing more could have been done. It’s that passion to always improve the experience that usually inspired the project from the beginning. I’m very proud of what we have done and feel a great sense of accomplishment in knowing we have done something that has never been done before on phones and tablets.
And finally, what can you tell us about the release plan for Infected Wars?
The release plan is pretty straight forward. We’re in the final stages of working with Apple on a release date and what exactly that will entail from a marketing standpoint. Once we have a set date we’ll announce it to the community. We have an incredible trailer ready for release day, and we will publicly release it to the community to try and generate some buzz. Since we are an indie developer, we have to really count on support from the community in order to compete with huge marketing agencies and publishers. Our hope is the trailer will make this a lot easier for those fans to share what is going on with 2013: Infected Wars in the community.
And that’s a wrap! Big thanks to James Petty for taking the time out to answer our bevy of questions. Keep an eye out for 2013: Infected Wars on Action Mobile’s website, Facebook page and Twitter account.