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Sponsored feature: Why Bight chose OpenFeint for Big Top 10

Sponsored feature: Why Bight chose OpenFeint for Big Top 10
The choice of social networking technology is a decision many iPhone developers are currently grappling with.

Continuing our series of sponsored features, Stuart Duncan, CEO of Canadian studio Bight Games explains why it chose the OpenFeint platform for its counting game Big Top 10.

Pocket Gamer: Why are social networking features important for iPhone games?

Stuart Duncan: The iPhone is inherently a social device, as is any phone. Playing games is another way to keep in touch with your friends, whether that be a direct challenge or a global leaderboard or traditional multiplayer. All of our games have had some element of the social. Even before there was any standardised way to accomplish it.
Puzzlings is a good example of a simple social functionality. You can create your own custom Puzzlings and send it to your friend. Simple but effective.

You launched Big Top 10 with an email option. Did you also attempt to use Twitter or Facebook Connect?

We decided to do the email challenge as a simple way to be social. We realised that Big Top 10 was a game driven by high scores and we wanted a way to challenge your friends. We didn't invest much time in developing our own Twitter and Facebook integration, because we knew that a middleware was likely the best solution for us.

Why did you choose OpenFeint for Big Top 10, and how does it make the game more fun?

From the day that Big Top 10 launched, we had requests for online leaderboards. We listened to our customers and provided OpenFeint integration in version 1.0.1. I think it was the right decision.

In version 1.0.2, which we've just released, we've also provided leaderboards for all the stats in the game, not just the high scores. We capture everything from sessions played to the most negative numbers in an equation. There are now many ways to see your "name in lights" so to speak.

How does it make the game more fun? Right now we have 1,600 players on the global high score table, and there's nothing better than moving up even one slot.

What was the integration process like?

The integration was a snap, and the OpenFeint guys were really responsive to the few questions we did have.

What future updates are you planning for Big Top 10?

We're working on the next major release of Big Top 10, version 1.1. We're including multiple new game modes, challenges, and a bunch of new achievements.

There are also three new games in the works that will be released under the Big Top brand. We'll have some more details in the next month or so.

How have you dealt with Open Feint's achievement points system?

Basically we gave ourselves a lot of wiggle room, because we knew we'd be adding more achievements over time.

Do you expect to include OpenFeint in your existing and/or future iPhone games?

Absolutely. OpenFeint is planned for all of our games, both for our released games and for upcoming games such as Queues and Fleeced.

Thanks to Stu for his time

You can find out more about Bight Games via its website.

The OpenFeint SDK is freely available for developers at OpenFeint.com. For daily updates, follow its Twitter feed.
Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.

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