Interview with the ChickenBrick Studios Team, developers of Cestos
Jul 13, 2009 10:35 AM –
Catching major buzz and attraction even when their Cestos Android Game was in Beta, Chicken Brick Studios released an awesome online community multi-player game. We had a chance to interview the team, get to know them:
What is Cestos all about?
We developed Cestos around the idea that mobile phones were originally created to bring people closer together when they’re far apart. That’s the reason we carry cell phones to begin with, right?
Cestos is a multi-player game built on the premise of simple, interactive gameplay that is easy to pick up, but difficult to master. We wanted to create a game that offered an experience unlike anything we’d seen on Android, and make it free. We’re pretty satisfied with how Cestos turned out, but we’re not done with it yet!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Our core team is comprised of three people who all share in the development process.
Dan (CBS_Impact): Lead Developer/Architect.
Ellen (CBS_Elle): Graphic Designer/Artist
Matt (CBS_Haggs): Gameplay Guru / QA
Why did you create your app?
We all grew up playing games, and when the opportunity came around to develop one of our own, we jumped at it. It’s a lot of work, but loads of fun!
Will you be participating in Google’s 2nd Android Developer Challenge?
Currently we are considering entering the ADC, but we’re still early in the planning stages.
What technology did you use in creating your App and why?
Obviously Java, but beyond that, we used Eclipse for development, Illustrator and a Cintiq for design, and the Android Emulator/G1 for play-testing. Our server is a custom written server running Java on Linux (will likely be ported to C soon).
Your thoughts on Android’s gaming engine?
We looked into MAGES (an android gaming framework), and decided it didn’t quite fit our needs. So we developed our own in-house client/server framework which ended up fitting our needs. It was a lot of work, but in the end, to have a solution that fits your game like a glove was worth it to us.
About how long did it take to create your App?
It’s difficult to say exactly when the game’s development began, because it was broken down into two main phases, a beta test and a full version. Our best estimate is approximately 5 months.
What is a cool uncovered tip or trick you can do with the App?
We built in a little easter-egg, if you catch one of us online, we have a specialized chicken avatar
What other interesting uses can come from the App?
Cestos offers users with the opportunity to decide what their experience will be. Some people are drawn to it for the main game itself, which offers simple, yet challenging, addictive game play, while others seem to enjoy spending more time meeting people in the lobby, making friends, and only playing the main game on occasion.
Can you tell us about future feature enhancements with your App?
We currently have a long list of ideas that are prioritized based on user demand and feasibility. However, a couple of upcoming features that we can reveal are the addition of new map(s), and the ability for friends to challenge each other in pre-arranged games.
What did you really like about creating Apps on the Android platform?
The ease of development was amazing. We had looked into iPhone development in the past, but it just didn’t fit our style. We very much like the fact that you can push out a beta version, with almost no effort, and get a real sense from the community as to whether its worth continuing to work on. As opposed to waiting 3 months to find out theres a proprietary image nestled somewhere inside…
What are some things you would like to see improved with Android?
We’d really like to see the market have a “Sort By Rating” option. Cestos (and at varying points, our other games) have great ratings, however, because they came 6 months late to the market, games like Snake, and PapiJump will take ages to drop down the popularity list.
What is your opinion of the Android App Market’s distribution method? In comparison Apple’s model (strict control over the iTunes store) or the Windows Mobile model (no store at all).
It’s great to have an opportunity to reach so many users without having to go through a third party distributor. While it’s nice that you can sort by date and popularity, it would be great if users could also sort apps by their review rating.
What is your Opinion on the state of the Rating/Feedback system in the App Market?
Getting feedback from users is really helpful, but it would be even better if we could respond to each of their comments individually. Recently, we’ve been spending time in Cestos’s in-game lobby chat room to help answer questions, listen to suggestions, and help out players with anything they may need. We also try to respond quickly to emails. Its unfortunate that when you receive 1 star comments that say something like “I don’t get it, whats it do”, or “Not that good”, you can’t reply to find out more details.
Do you have plans on releasing Apps for other markets (i.e. iPhone, Windows Mobile, Blackberry, etc.)?
We’ve experimented a bit with other platforms, but we really enjoy developing for the Android platform. Google has done a good job giving developers what they need to be successful in a development environment that’s easy to use.
Your app is a free app, why did you choose this model over the paid model, and how do you project its success?
We went with the free app model for Cestos, because the game is all about community. The larger the community, the better the experience is for everyone. As the community grows we’ll have an opportunity to add new maps and features without spreading users too thinly across them.
While Cestos is free, we’ve chosen to place an advertisement banner which is displayed only when players are flipping through the menu system or hanging out in the lobby. Don’t worry, advertisements are not displayed during actual game play. Since Cestos is an multiplayer game that allows users to play each other from all over the world, we had to come up with a way to pay for our servers, and the advertisement model seemed to fit nicely.
Must-have Android Apps?
ShopSavvy, Shazam, and Terminal Emulator are all great apps.
What advice would you give to another aspiring mobile application developer?
The first thing we can say is that, you have to be ready and eager to learn new things. It helps to come from a solid programming background, of course, but there are many nuances when it comes to developing for mobile devices. The second bit of advice we can give is to prepare yourself for criticism once your application finally hits the market. It can be tough when you’ve put your heart into an application and someone tells you that they don’t like it, but stay positive! It may be a learning opportunity, or a useful suggestion in disguise.
Can you tell us what future Android Apps you have brewing?
We can’t reveal anything right now, but we can say that ChickenBrick Studios has some ideas we think people will really enjoy. We intend to build on the success we’ve had with community style pick-up-and-go games.
Do you have a website with more information about other apps and your company?
You can check us out at www.chickenbrickstudios.com!
Thanks CBT, nice work! Don’t forget to check out our Android App Review of Cestos!!