Are you enjoying all the newest AR games hitting the Apple App Store? If so, you are more than likely already intricately familiar with a game called Flat Pack by Nitrome…
By far one of the coolest mobile games of 2017 today we would like to share our first ever interview with the developers of this truly magnificent game. You can check out our review of Flat Pack here.
Before we start we’d like to thank the Nitrome Team for participating in our interview and for answering all of our geeky questions! Thanks guys!
…and without further ado, our interview begins…
Ok first up, what was the initial idea that inspired you to create Flat Pack?
There was a video a long time back where someone superimposed super Mario bros onto a wall and cleverly wrapped sections around the edges. It instantly triggered the idea that would become Flat Pack but this was back in 2011 when we still made games in Flash. Flash didn’t have a 3D engine back then but we loved the idea so much that we decided to make one. We made this video which pretty much covers it back then:
Eventually, it got too time-consuming to be profitable so it got put on the shelf for many years before being picked back up for Flat Pack.
You already told us that Flat Pack was originally designed without AR in mind. However, because it fits Apple’s new ARKit so perfectly, you implemented AR into the game.
Could you tell us a little about how the AR version of the game was made?
It was really down to Apple’s new ARKit api which makes a map of 3D space that you can use to lock your object convincingly into it.
We had been building Flat Pack for a while before this and we knew one issue with the concept is that even the most ideal camera could only focus straight ahead but the player might want to look round the corners to see what’s coming or step back to see where something leads. AR provides that so it was a natural fit.
It actually ends up being quite a different experience and some things are interesting both with and without AR so it’s not universally better. Because you have to physically get up and move around in the AR mode it can make following quick longer distance movements harder and there is nothing rotating the object to keep the player the right way up. This was part of the fun but we decided that to get the most out of it we should build bespoke levels for that mode.
What programs or game development software did you use to create an AR experience better than that of Pokemon GO? A game said to have had a development budget of over 30M(!?) in 2015.
The game is made in Unity and the AR portion is powered by Apple’s new ARKit api. It’s impressive tech that I don’t think any dev could have built for just a single game even with a 30M budget.
Pokemon GO I believe, is also going to update to implement ARKit to better anchor the Pokemon to the environment in a future update. Not to dismiss Pokemon GO’s technical achievements, I do think that although people talk about it as an AR game that the clever tech is more about how they use GPS for the gameplay. The AR part was always quite simple and more there in my mind, to tie with the idea that you are tracking down Pokemon in the real world.
We never expected AR to be so awesome, and we would like to hear your team’s thoughts on how the technology will develop in the industry of mobile gaming.
Can we expect to see more AR games from Nitrome anytime soon?
Maybe. We’re wrapping up a bunch of other (non-AR) projects at the moment. After that, it’s hard to say what we’ll work on next. We are very interested in AR but we’re also traditionally a 2D pixel art based studio, so AR being 3D focused is not such a natural fit. We did it once so I’m sure it may pop up again…watch this space. 😃
A few words to Flat Pack fans on Edamame Reviews. What to look forward to next?
For Flat Pack, we’re considering adding some more levels, particularly to AR mode. We’re also looking at Google’s equivalent to ARKit, ARCore which is not available yet. Once it is though, we’d like to explore how hard it would be to get the same feature running on Android hardware.
Outside of Flat Pack, we have two other internal games reaching a mature state plus ongoing support and updates for our biggest hit to date Leap Day.
We also have several games coming from our publishing partnership’s side and a new porting initiative to bring some of our best flash games to the mobile space.
Lastly a few words on how you feel about Edamame Reviews and our service.
We always appreciate exposure provided to our games and it’s particularly great to be able to do interviews like this and expose a little more of what went into the game that may not be immediately apparent on the surface. Edamame Reviews have been awesome at both.😃
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