By February 24, 2014 Read More →

Rubicon Developers Interview

Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Paul Johnson from Rubicon, the developers of GLWG, and GLWG: All Out War. If you have not tried GLWG or any of their games, I recommend you do. All are quite fun.

Q. Can you tell us a little about yourself and your company Rubicon?

A. Sure, pretty common story I guess. Myself and Steve Haggerty set the company up eight years ago when we were offered a bunch of small porting contracts, and we continued doing that for several years. However it was starting to get tiresome being cheated and lied to all the time so we decided to bin that and start taking some control back by writing and publishing our own games. Great Little War Game was an instant success and we’ve not looked back since then.

Q. How did you come up with the idea of GLWG?

A. It’s a game I always wanted to play – kinda like Advance Wars, but with modernized graphics and what I considered to be the weak parts taken out and some new stuff put in. We didn’t set out to make a clone and I’m sure you’ll agree it isn’t one, but it’s silly to try and deny that that classic game wasn’t our main inspiration.

Q. I see that GLWG: All Out War came out recently. Tell us a little about the new game. Do you need to have/play GLWG first?  What else is on the horizon for the GLWG series?

A. It would probably help to play the original first, but it’s not a strict requirement. The iOS version of the main game has two campaigns that can be unlocked via in-app purchases, but we had to take those out of the data for the Android version as there are stricter limits on download size. GLWG: All Out War is simply our workaround for getting those campaigns into the hands of Android users.

On the horizon for both platforms is a brand new sequel containing lots more of everything. There will be many more missions and skirmish maps, new units and terrain, fog of war and a bunch of other big new features. We’re very excited over this and can’t wait to get it finished and shipped.

It’s worth a note here that GLWG just made runner up for “best strategy game ever”

Q. What other games have you guys done and doing?

A. There is of course Yachty Deluxe, our award winning yahtzee™ style game. This is available on both Android and iOS in free with ads and paid versions. You can find more info on that here.  Next up before we switch back to finishing the GLWG sequel is a match-3 game called “Fruit Blitz”. You can see some early pics here.  I think every developer has one of these games inside them and I wanted to get it out before going back to the big stuff for a bit. I’m very pleased with how it’s turned out and we’re just released just last week. There’s no story or other fluff in the background, we just concentrated on making the core game as polished and action packed as possible. You can even import and challenge your friends with a Facebook account and stuff. You should check it out.

Q. I see that you have created the game for Chrome. Do you think browser based games are going to really take off? Think they will become more popular than apps?

A. Bit of a sore point, this. Sales have been epically disappointing on this format for us and we’re not going there again. Facebook games can have success, but in terms of outright selling a browser game I’m certainly not convinced based on my own experiences. Others’ mileage may vary of course.

Q. What, if anything would you do to improve/change the Android market?

A. I would like to see it split into “games” and “apps”. The main feature banners are a powerful tool, but if you’re looking for a game then some keyboard extension being on offer is of no immediate interest, and the reverse is also true. Other than that, I think it works just fine. Well, the other thing I’d change of course is some kind of auto detect so that whenever Rubicon release a title it instantly gets featured for a month!

Q. What are your thoughts on the 15 refund rule that Google has setup?

A. Mixed feelings about this sort of thing. It’s good for the users if they realize they bought the wrong thing or, heaven forbid, an app doesn’t work on their device, Etc.. On the other hand, I’m sure it being offered on a plate does make more people ask for a refund that otherwise may not have. I guess I’m in favor of it overall – if users feel safe in their spending then they’ll be happier taking a punt on something that otherwise they might have overlooked.

Q. Where do you see the Android marketing going in the next year or so?

A. I see a very bright future for Android. Both phones and tablets are generally either cheaper or better than other makes, often both, so the choice is a bit of a no-brainer really. Apple have their ardent supporters, as do Android, but for the vast majority of people on the fence taking an unbiased look, there’s not even a choice to be made – Android wins every time. That has to be a good thing for Android developers as well as consumers. We can spend longer and make better stuff knowing we’re gonna sell more of it, and that filters into the end user getting a better experience. And that cycles back into developers making better stuff, etc.

Q. Anything else you want to add?

A. Just a big thank you to all our customers. Tiny firms like ours couldn’t make the games we do without finding an audience pretty quickly, and we’re very grateful that we can (just about) do this for a living, instead of having to get a real job!

Well thank you Paul for your time. I always enjoy speaking with developers and see want is coming down the pike or the challenges they face when making apps for Android.  So if you have not tried any of Rubicon Developer’s game,you should they are nicely done.

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