Dev Inside Look: Amused Sloth
February 1, 2011
Today we take a closer look at a company that is making their presence known in the Windows Phone Marketplace. Amused Sloth has several apps available… Slothcyclopedia, Slothshots and Tipping for Sloths. They also have a game out called Rebellion Rise and they just announced the upcoming game Chickens Can’t Fly. We recently had a virtual sitdown with Amused Sloths to ask them a few questions…
How was Amused Sloth born?
Amused Sloth is actually the child of Evozon Systems ( http://www.evozon.com/ ). We've been doing outsourcing software development for 6 years now. Early last year, after the new Windows Phone 7 platform was announced, we decided it was a good time to try out the consumer market. Having a recognized expert in XNA (one of the technologies used for WP7 development) on our staff who kept pestering us about it also helped getting this project started
So we got together and brainstormed what we wanted to achieve on the new platform and which direction we wanted to go, and that was the beginning of Amused Sloth.
I love the name and your 'mascot'. Why a Sloth?
Thank you! We love him too.
We chose a sloth as a mascot because, in some way, we are all sloths. Maybe not in all aspects of life, maybe not all the time, but I'm sure everyone has at least once wished to just sit around all day and hang out and have fun. So our philosophy is to give you as many chances to be a sloth as possible. We hope our apps will help you finish your work quickly, so you can have more time to sloth-away and play our games for the rest of the day.
Was it always about Windows Phone?
It started out about Windows Phone because it's a new platform, fresh with opportunities and great to work on. We want to extend to other platforms in the future, possibly including Xbox Live Indie Games, Android and iPhone, but at the moment all our efforts are on ensuring the experiences we deliver for Windows Phone 7 are the best they can be.
What about WP7 made you guys jump on board?
Simply put the technology. The tools we can use as developers for WP7 are cutting-edge and they make development a real pleasure. Being able to use the same code on WP7, PC and Xbox is a testament to how cool these tools are. Also, the devices are really impressive and we have faith that the platform has a bright future. We want to be there when that happens.
So far we have reviewed 2 of your apps and they have received great scores. What extra steps do you guys take to make sure you come out with a quality product?
During production, we continuously try to refine the interface and mechanics to make them as user-friendly as possible. We also use our testing department as often as possible to make sure we discover any bugs that might pop-up.
We made a habit of not releasing an app until we’re 99% pleased with it. Unfortunately, this sometimes leads to delays, but quality comes first.
You guys have the Slothcyclopedia app, Rebellion Rise and now the Chickens can't Fly game. What do you guys enjoy creating more? Apps or games?
Games, of course. We like experimenting with new play mechanics, seeing what new experiences we can create. Seeing someone playing your game and having fun is really exciting.
We have a few prototypes built to try and explore new gameplay mechanics. Not all experiments succeed, and sometimes we might even build something that we enjoy but our customers don’t. It’s risky and sometimes scary, but that’s what makes it exciting.
We truly hope that Chickens Can’t Fly will be one of those experiences that players like, remember and tell their friends.
How long did it take to create 'chickens can't fly'?
Until now, Chickens Can't Fly has been in development for 7 months, and we're gradually closing in to releasing it. It's been great fun designing and developing it and we have a team of talented developers and artists that worked really hard on it. It took longer than we expected because we kept on refining the gameplay and input. We want everyone from casual to hardcore gamers to enjoy it, and making a game that’s easy to learn but hard to master is challenging.
Every time we give the game to someone who’s never played it before, we learn something new about what we can improve to make it even more accessible.
We can't wait to see the people's reaction to it when it’s done and we hope everyone will enjoy it.
How did the concept for 'chickens can't fly' come about?
At its inception, it was a very different design, set in a sci-fi world on a deserted planet (as you can see in the first concept art…). The core theme remained the same though: fall down through a series of tunnels, with little hope of slowing down, and avoid as many deadly obstacles as you can.
One of our developers kept joking about including a chicken in the game as an Easter-egg. When we let ourselves go wild with ideas for obstacles and power-ups it soon became clear that a more humorous setting would do better justice to the theme and thus we revisited the ‘chicken’ idea and the current design for 'Chickens Can't Fly' was born.
After that spark, lots of iterations on the design and the core gameplay led to what the game is today: a fun incursion into the labs of a paranoid corporation trying to find out what chickens are capable of. Just in case… you know… chickens decide to take over the world.
On your site you have now a new game posted as 'Coming soon' on your homepage… 'BRAINS, SOULS AND COOKIEZ' any info on that? What stage in production is that in?
'Brainz, Soulz and Cookies' is currently in pre-production. We are currently defining the gameplay by iterating through a couple of prototypes, but we won't have anything to show for a while. We might start with teasing some concept art and characters, but currently we're focusing on Chickens Can't Fly. As soon as we're ready to go public with more information, we'll let everyone know.
There you have it – I can't wait to get my hands on Chickens Can’t Fly… In the meantime you can find their other games & apps in the market place by searching for Amused Sloth. You can also check out their website here for more info.
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