Four Door Lemon on the answers to the App Store's quiz
One recent example is UK studio Four Door Lemon.
Its QuizQuizQuiz is now climbing the App Store charts; currently it's approaching the US top 50 thanks in part to being featured on Apple's What We're Playing list.
We caught up with co-founder Simon Barratt to find out more about the company and its new interest in quiz games.
Pocket Gamer: Can you give a quick overview about what Four Door Lemon does?
Simon Barratt: We're an independent game developer based in Yorkshire, England. We started up early 2005 providing our programming expertise and multi-platform middleware to other developers and publishers.
We've been involved in around 35 game projects, as well as several cool research and prototyping projects via work-for-hire arrangements. We still do these contracts which we use to help fund our own projects. It's taken a while to get to the stage we can really push on and we're really excited to have the first game out.
Why did you decide to get into iPhone development?
When the device first came out and the development platform was opening up, we bought a Mac and started investigating it.
Unfortunately due to other work we had on at the time we didn't have chance to work on the App Store in its earlier days. But we really liked the power of the device and the ease of purchasing products from the device and within the widespread interface of iTunes. The App Store has given us a great way to get to the public and start engaging with them in a very short space of time.
What was the inspiration for QuizQuizQuiz and how did you hook up with the QuizQuizQuiz company as your partners?
This was pure luck for both of us - one of the QuizQuizQuiz team had mailed us to see if we were interested in working with them as question providers.
We're big fans of quiz games and when we spoke to QQQ we realised we shared the same goals and a partnership was formed to develop and release the product.
We had tried other quiz games on the App Store and were disappointed with the offerings, either in terms of the quality of questions, the supported international markets, or interface and game modes.
So after getting Jack from QQQ up to our offices for a chat, we got straight to work and after a lot of tweaking we hopefully have delivered an enjoyable quiz game for everyone.
Why do you think a quiz game would be good for iPhone because they can be very culturally specific?
There seemed to be no quiz game that catered for different cultures i.e. US questions for the US audience, UK specific questions for the UK and so on. So we decided to tackle that issue head on and come up with a simple and engaging format for the quiz game but build in the unique content feature of having multiple different question sets to suit different people from around the world.
There's also the interesting ability to play with an English interface but use the French, Spanish, Italian or German questions (or even English - New Zealand questions if you feel like it).
How did you find the development process?
I agree with other developers who are concerned about the lack of App Store approval process transparency but Apple has made moves to address this recently and is providing a lot more information and feedback to developers.
To be fair to Apple it has to deal with a huge amount of titles compared to other hardware vendors (though admittedly we don't know how much testing it actually does) and it doesn't require payment per submission.
The iPhone itself is a great device to develop for. The uncertainty over available memory is the only real technical worry but we're talking about a lot of available RAM compared to say a Nintendo DS, where we're used to dealing with 4MB maximum.
Can you explain why you decided to use AGON social networking technology and how its multi-language support came about?
After looking around the available social and high score platforms, we really wanted to work with the AGON guys. The only negative for us was the lack of multi-language support, which was at conflict with QuizQuizQuiz going out with localisation for English, French, Italian, German and Spanish.
We spoke to AGON and came up with a deal that worked for everyone - with a quick turnaround on localising their system and with us providing test and the translated text. Both ourselves and AGON were keen to make sure this could be used by other developers and hopefully it's helping out other developers in the App Store with sales in those countries.
Being a European developer, we really appreciate the importance of localisation which I think can be missed by some US game developers.
What plans does Four Door Lemon have, in terms of iPhone and other platforms such as DSiWare and PSP Minis?
With QuizQuizQuiz we've got a great content update coming soon with a couple of minor tweaks. Also on iPhone we're working on a 3D racing title and we've also been prototyping a few mini-game ideas that don't seem to have been done by anyone else yet.
On other platforms, we've just about finished our work on an unannounced PSP Mini project. Having done lots of previous PSP and DS development, we're keen to work on both of these platforms further and will be exploring both with respect to current and new ideas.
Thanks to Simon for his time.
You can keep up to date with Four Door Lemon via its website.
You can try out QuizQuizQuiz via this App Store Link.