Richard Vanner of U.K.-based development firm The Game Creators is playing both sides of the fence. His team doesn’t just make games — with several hugely successful iOS titles under its belt — it has been building tools for other game makers for over a decade.
Games iDare and iDork put Vanner et al. on the map in 2009 when the market started filling up with touchscreen smartphones. Vanner is especially proud of iDork — an adventure game about a stick figure’s quest to escape a pile of homework, evading obstacles like pencils and protractors. It’s been No. 1 on the Apple App Store’s free app chart and the Samsung Bada Chart.
Another soccer game app called Goals — built for iOS and ported to Windows — won the Best Game category and Most Innovative App Grand Prize at last year’s Intel Development Forum event, netting the team $60,000. Altogether, The Game Creators has made 19 unique apps published worldwide and has had more than 10 million downloads on the App Store.
TGC is most familiar with iOS and Intel’s AppUp Store — mostly because they are so easy to develop for — but is increasingly interested in the Windows Phone platform.
“Windows Phone is a breath of fresh air to us — it means we have a great new platform to publish our games to,” Vanner told VentureBeat, adding that the firm looks forward to bringing many new apps to the platform.
Game Creators doesn’t just build games. It also builds tools for other game makers. It’s close to releasing a tool that will make app game creation very easy across platforms, Vanner said. Called the App Game Kit, it will ensure that games work on any device regardless of screen resolution or input method. Initially, the AGK will support iOS, MacOS, Bada, Windows and MeeGo. After that, support will be added for Windows Phone 7, Android, Blackberry, WebOS and more.
“Our approach to App Game Kit from the beginning was to fix the biggest issues we as developers have been facing and other developers suffer from too,” Vanner said. “The fragmentation of platforms costs developers time and money, and the process of converting code can be very difficult and hard to predict.”
The AGK will allow game creators to code their applications once and deploy them to all the platforms the kit supports.
“One of the main advantages of AGK is its ease of use,” Vanner said. “It will enable many more budding developers and artists to get their ideas up and running. By developing in AGK, you spread out your risk. If your game fails to get noticed on one store, you still have the other stores where it can find an audience.”
Vanner said he expects Game Creators’ business to grow significantly over the next six to 12 months as AGK is released and support for new platforms is added. The firm also plans to roll out a slew of new game applications once this technology is in place.
“Up until now we have not been seeking investment, but I feel the time is right to start looking,” Vanner said. “The business needs to expand its portfolio and make the most of its potential.”
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