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Interview: Big Daddy's Creations (NH, AoF and Caylus)

Brad Cummings
United States
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A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet and speak (via Skype) with Lukasz from Big Daddy Creations. He had a lot of great things to say, please enjoy.

Brad Thank you for letting me interview you today.

Lukasz No problem.

Brad What is the history of Big Daddy Creations?

Lukasz Me and Marek met up at our previous corporate job for Samsung. We were both programmers. And to be honest the job was extremely boring so we needed to find something that interested us. It was last February when we first thought about creating a company. Our idea was to create a game for the touch device because we thought it will be the next big thing. We thought about creating a game for the iphone and Marek is a really huge gamer. He runs a very popular polish board game blog: So we came up with the idea to create a board game for the iphone. I guess that is it. It took us about 6 months from the point of the idea to the point that we had the finished product to put on the app store.

Brad Is this your full time job?

Lukasz Yes, about 2 months before we put the game on the appstore we quit our jobs. We started our full time job as developers.

Brad What made you choose Neuroshima Hex?

Lukasz First of all we were both fans of the game. And our guess was that it is a perfect fit for the iphone screen. The board was not too small or not too large. Also we had a really good contact with Portal publishing. It was easy for us to get a license. The game itself is a cool game, it is interesting and it is expandable. It sucks you in so you can keep playing and playing.

Brad What is your background?

Lukasz Marek worked for 6 years at Samsung as a programmer and I worked for 3 years at Samsung and 3 years at another company. We both have hardcore experience.

Brad When you made your first game what were the challenges?

Lukasz There were a few challenges. The first was the small screen of the iphone, even though it was a good fit, we had challenges like how big the symbols should be on the tiles, also how to display your hand so you can see the board and also see your hand of tiles. The touch interface, like what gestures to implement how to pick up the tiles and how to rotate the tiles. We tested with our friends, and watched to see if they wanted to rotate the tiles with one finger or two, or wether they tap to pick up the tile or double tap or no tap just dragging. So the touch interface we have now is something that most people like, so we were quite happy with it. The other thing is that the iphone’s performance is not that great and when it comes to AI it cannot really do all the math that it could do on the desktop computer. You have to find ways to not do to much calculations with the AI. It still has to play intelligently. AI was the biggest challenge. It is really CPU consuming and we had a hard time getting it to play in under 5 seconds.

Brad How did you come with the idea to Neuroshima Hex Puzzle? I think it is a brilliant move to push it more mainstream.

Lukasz The idea was to show this game, to make it more accessible to casual gamers. The main idea were puzzles that you uses the tiles and rules from Neuroshima hex to make puzzles is not a new idea and was really no our idea. You can find Hex-aches and those are just like the same kinds of puzzles, small puzzles that you solve by playing the tiles you are given in the just the right places. People who like Neuroshima hex would like solving these puzzles, so we knew that our fans would download this app, but we also wanted to interest the casual gamers with Neuroshima hex puzzle. We thought that we would include different sets of puzzles and an easy one that can act as a tutorial. We thought that casual gamers who download it could begin to see that it is not complicated but it actually easy to learn. We were hoping for that. A few people came from the puzzle game and bought the Neuroshima Hex.

Brad When will we get online multiplayer Neuroshima Hex? And will it be asynchronous?

Lukasz I will answer the second part first, yes it will be asynchronous. When is the wide open question to answer. Because the situation looks like this. We are looking for universal multiplayer solution for Neuroshima Hex, Army of Frogs and our future games. So we want to have multiplayer standard featuring. Our main idea is to create the service solution and test it on the easier game, Army of Frogs, because the game itself is easier. And we want to see how it will work and then we want to add it to Neuroshima Hex. And our dream is to have the cross-platform option because Neuroshima Hex will soon be on Android. So we want iphone users to be able to play with users on Android. That is our great idea and I hope we can achieve it.

Brad That is awesome news. We wish to play N-Hex online as soon as possible.

Lukasz It is a lot of work to create a service solution. Our idea is to create such a solution that you can log in to the server and create your games. You can create a game with open slots and then you can log out. Other players can login and join the game, then it work asynchronously. That is our main idea in creating the multiplayer. But like I said it takes time. Our idea was taken from BSW. There are game rooms on the site, but we are going to do it asynchronously.
The problem with multiplayer on the mobile devices is that there are not really many people who want to multiplayer games on the mobile devices. The creators of the Carcassonne app posted on their blog that they were hoping there will be many people that enjoy playing it online, because there seemed to not be a huge interest.

Brad Yes it is sometimes a challenge to find players.

Lukasz I just hope there are at least 2 people that want to play games online.

Brad Well I know I am one.

Lukasz And I am the other one, so there we go. We can play online.

Brad When will we see new armies for Neuroshima hex?

Lukasz Yes, of course. We sent the new update to Apple for approval yesterday! We hope it will be available next week. We're currently preparing a preview video wich will present the two armies in more detail, it should be available next week.

Brad Is Army of Frogs on schedule?

Lukasz I guess we will have to move the premiere of this one to June. It will have iphone and ipad support so it will be a universal app. The hotseat mode, player vs player mode on one device is finished. We have the AI play support finished and we are in the middle of ironing out multiplayer support. We want this game to be extremely accesible, so we want to test is a bit longer to make sure everything is as we wanted it to be. We're also preparing a short gameplay video of this one.

Brad So you are working on Caylus as well?

Lukasz Yes, yes. Because of everything that we have going on, we did not create a huge buzz about it. We are on target to release in October. We want to release it before the Essen fair. 

Brad Any other projects you are working on?

Lukasz I can’t really give you the titles yet. For sure it will be one of the Portal publishing games.

So there you have it. I found speaking to Lukasz very informative and I am excited to see the future of all of Big Daddy's Creations games. It was great to learn why Neuroshima Hex multiplayer is delayed, and though I am looking forward to kicking all of your respective trashes (that's right cool), I am glad they are taking the time to get it right. I hope you enjoyed the interview and checking out the screenshots Lukasz generously provided. Now if you will excuse me Chaos Rings Omega just came out...see you next week.
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