Let me introduce myself. My name is Artem and I am responsible for graphics and creativity in our micro-indie-office, which consists of two people. The second guy in our team is Arthur, the C+ and Objective C programmer. Almost straight after releasing the first part of Numberama, there was an idea to totally change the game. Our main purpose was to live it up and add more drive to the usual puzzle with numbers, add some action and even humor, but having all this in mind, we aimed to keep the main idea of the game. As a base for the game design we chose a notebook theme that helps a player to immerse into the special atmosphere that conveys the spirit of the game itself. According to the legend the game was invented by students from Omsk.
A few words about the main idea of the game: Numberama is a game from our childhood. We all played it and loved it. The game had different names: 19, sun flower seeds, numbers, but we decided to give it a new name – Numberama. The point of the puzzle is to clean the game field totally by deleting pairs of the same numbers or numbers that form sum of 10 (consecutively or down).
Paper and nothing more
Once in the evening I was sitting and thinking about what can I add to the second part of the game besides creating Game Center and Achievements, and I had a thought of making it as close to the original game as possible.
On the shelves I had all the necessary materials for the game design – my old school notebooks. I created the side menu of the game on the same day by taking pieces of paper out of my notebook. Then, using a scissors, I created informational drop down stat menus, and the fields for achievements and game rules.
I also had to draw all the game’s elements from numbers to icons for achievements. Not to change the “Handmade” theme, all the graphic elements were drawn with a usual ball-point pen. Developers’ family members carefully chose from dozens of variants, until all of them came to the same opinion.
As a result we had a game, created without computer. All drop down menus were cut out of paper with the help of scissors, they were then scanned and put into the game. 99 % of graphic elements of our New Numberama from achievements to the context menus with technical text were drawn by ball-pointed pen on the pieces of paper.
In November 2011 our programmer, who was working with us remotely, started to write the code. Everything went fine, until he suddenly stopped replying to our emails. He also disappeared from Skype. This was quite a strange behavior and it still has a veil of mystery for us, as we don’t know the reasons why it happened. From that moment we stopped working on the project.
The fate brought us together with Arthur (programmer) who became an essential part of our team during summer 2012. After one and a half months we could star testing the new version on iPad. What usually happens and what’s called a “80/20 law” (it’s when 80 percent of work was ready in 20% of time, and the rest 20% of work is being finished within 80% of time) happened to us too. The work started to move slowly. We also started to find different bugs: either the game texture stopped working, or the menu didn’t come out etc. Also we had a big problem – Arthur didn’t have either Mac, or any of IOS devices. So I tested all the beta-versions myself with the smallest changes.
I was curious and put all the beta-versions into one folder and by the time the full version was released we had about 70 different Numberama 2. Even while being asleep, I kept on testing one Beta after the other, but finally, in April 2013 we made a first stable, ready to be released Numberama 2 and we started the preparation to launch it….
The famous phrase of Juriy Gagarin in the header means a lot. We respect and appreciate everything he did for the cosmonautics; we even have an achievement in the game: if you are on the 1961 cell – you earn a special prize “Man in Space” with the picture of cosmonaut on it. We also wanted to release the game by the National Day of the Cosmonautics (12th of April), but unfortunately could only do this 10 days later. By April 22nd we sent the game to Apple for approval and in 8 days Numberama 2 was ready for release in AppStore. The whole work on the game would have taken us half a year, but taking into consideration all our difficulties, it took one and a half year.
As before, we decided to do everything by ourselves, without the help of PR- agencies, like the real indie- developers. The first part of the game gave us some experience and understanding of how it works, when you work on the program yourself. Now we even have a base for sending press-releases and submissions for the game review. Sending press-releases and requests for reviews during nights and days, we reached some pretty good results in Russian AppStore: got to the 1st place in the Board category and 10th place in the Games Category. It’s a big praise for us, because the huge monsters of this Industry such as EA, Rovio and Disney stay ahead of us. So, we won’t stop until we can conquer them too and make a hole in the armors of the titans!
Thank you and have a great time playing!