Think for a moment, what's the game you've laughed the most with? Did you play alone? Or in good company?
Got it? When I ask this to my friends, they usually answer that they were with friends and playing some kind of casual game. In my case, I can't name another game but the Mario Party franchise, on a room full of friends. So when Tim Cook got into stage on his latest Keynote and showed the new Apple TV features, I couldn't help but remind of those endless hours playing and laughing with my friends. And I also thought... Why not on the Apple TV?
The challenge wasn't small. Up to the date, my contribution to the video games world was a puzzle game made with Cocos2D and the occasional game jam entry using Unity. The truth is that I had spent long hours using Unity, but always on hobby projects, just for learning, and never on a real project. That lack of experience, added to the fact that Apple sent me a dev kit barely a month before the launch date, made me wonder.. Will I make it? The answer: of course not.
RAYMAN LEGEND'S KUNGFOOT MINIGAME TO THE RESCUE
Some years ago, when Rayman Legends was released on the Wii U, I was so enthusiastic about it that I invited over some friends to play. The game that engaged us the most was Kungfoot, a soccer/football minigame. One of my friends took that idea with him, gave it a twist and turned it into a full featured game using Unity. That game is Soccertron.
It was clear that if I wanted to release the party game, I'd need someone experienced by my side, and who'd be better? I told him my game idea and he accepted without a doubt. We only lacked one thing: art. However, thanks to the game style (party), we had a huge advantage: We didn't need "themed" art, nothing too specific. Being flexibles about this, the Unity Asset Store is a real gold mine! With a budget not higher than $100, we got every single piece of art used in the game. Some people think that a game using art from the Asset Store is not a real game, but we wanted to provide the best and most fun gameplay, not the most original art.
THE FIRST THROUGH A WALL ALWAYS GETS HURT
This process hasn't been easy. Developing a game using beta versions for Unity, Xcode and tvOS is pretty hurtful! You can never be sure if that bug is because of your code, or Unity's, or Xcode's, or tvOS's! There's an eternal trial and error cycle, followed with long code reviews. However, we understand that this difficulties only add to the reward of releasing a game on a new system. Because, as the saying says, he who hits first hits twice.
The new Apple TV just arrived and it won't be until a few months has passed that we won't know how well it was economically. It may go ok, or It may just be an anecdotal game on our development portfolio. Either way, we'll be pleased to share the post-mortem with you.
If you are the happy owner of an Apple TV, you can check the game on http://www.partytapgames.com