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EXLUSIVE: Developing Independently: Phyne Games and Windows Phone (Interview)

June 1, 2012 1 Comment
Developing games and applications independently is a definitive challenge. Lack of funding and manpower sometimes depressingly overcomes ambition, and sinks the most promising of indie projects. There are success stories, however, and Phyne Games is one of them. We talked to founder and programmer Arturo Nereu to learn more about app development, marketing, and Windows Phone from an ‘independent’ perspective.


Can you provide a brief history of your application development studio, Phyne Games?
Phyne Games started at university. We were interested in making games, so a few months before graduation, Yahir (our artist) and I decided that we wanted to start a game studio. Soon, we started with the development of our first game, Mictlan.


Why did you decide to develop games for Windows Phone? What did you find most attractive about the platform?
As a programmer, I had some experience developing prototypes for XBOX 360 with XNA, the same technology behind the games on Windows Phone 7. We thought that we could use that knowledge to develop a game without the need to learn new tools.


On the other hand, Windows Phone 7 was a brand new platform, with a marketplace catalog relatively small, so it was a great opportunity to get more exposure to gamers.

What are some of the challenges independent developers face? How have you tried to overcome these challenges?
There are a lot of challenges for independent developers, and I think that every case is different from the other because among indie developers, there are still some differences (team sizes and investment, for example).


In our case, the first challenge was to choose the platform. Making a game is a risk and targeting a new platform that must compete with iOS and Android is a double risk. Maybe this is why some developers have not been convinced to make games for WP7. From my perspective, WP7 is growing positively, and I think more and more developers will start targeting their games for the platform.


Challenges are great because you can overcome them. We think that choosing WP7 for Mictlan was a good call, because we have had a lot of exposure that maybe on other platforms wouldn´t have existed.

How did you come to participate in the Because We May? Has this event helped you gain Marketplace traction, or disappointed you?
We found out about Because We May on Twitter. The idea of making a sale with games on marketplaces that give developers the chance to set their own prices was cool, and we wanted to be part of it. In fact, Mictlan was the only WP7 game on that sale.


Windows Phone sale reports are delayed about one week, so we don´t have the numbers for that time span. We will share them as soon as we have them.



How did you conceive of your game, Mictlan?
We love the Mexican “Día de muertos” (Day of the Dead) – the game was inspired by it. It’s about a boy who dies and goes to the underworld. (In this case to “Mictlan,” which is represented by a Mexico City counterpart where everyone who dies goes.)


There are a lot of elements from”Día de muertos” on the game; some are subtle, and others are more explicit. The Catrina, who is the “calavera” in the game, is wearing a Quetzalcoátl as part of her dress.


What’s next for Phyne Games and Mictlan?
Right now, we are going to keep updating Mictlan for WP7. There are some interesting things coming for the game inside and outside the digital world.


Phyne Games is working on the next iteration of Mictlan, now for iOS, Android, and WP7. We have a bigger team now and are raising the bar. Visit www.phynegames.com to learn more about the new game from the Mictlan world.

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Kyle Williams

Long an enthusiastic technologist, Kyle has recently taken to writing about his passion. When not posting articles about Windows Phone 7, Microsoft, Windows, and smartphones, Kyle enjoys upgrading the heck out of computer hardware, reading historical novels, and playing the occasional video game.

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