UPDATE: Now on Kindle! I wrote a book based on interviews with 67 iOS game developers

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UPDATE: The Kindle version is now available! (1/11/12) http://www.amazon.com/Buttonless-Incredi...-2-catcorr

Hi there,

I'm Ryan Rigney. I'm a freelance writer who's written for outlets like Touch Arcade, GamePro, PC Gamer, and Gamasutra. I wanted to personally let you know about my first book, which is coming out in just a couple of weeks.

It's called "Buttonless: Incredible iPhone and iPad Games and the Stories Behind Them." The Amazon page is here: http://www.amazon.com/Buttonless-Incredi...863&sr=8-1

The book tells the stories behind 67 of the biggest and most interesting iOS games out there. I conducted lengthy interviews with nearly 100 iOS developers and gathered their funny anecdotes, bits of developer wisdom, and tales of hardships into one 244 page book. I'm extremely proud of the result, and just wanted to share the news with the readers of this forum.

You can read the story behind Broken Sword: Director's Cut here (from my book!): http://www.joystiq.com/2011/11/17/excerp...ken-sword/
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Post: #2
It's a good book! I'm in it! Cool
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Post: #3
Thanks for the post Ryan! How long have you been writing about the games industry?

Seems like a fun project - over how long a time period did you interview, and when did most interviews take place?

KB Productions, Car Care for iPhone/iPod Touch
@karlbecker_com
All too often, art is simply the loss of practicality.
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I've been writing for games press for probably about 3 years now. I started out just doing a blog, and moved my way up. I was writing for Touch Arcade as early as 2009 (I was actually the first games writer in the world to review Angry Birds: http://toucharcade.com/2009/12/11/angry-...oom-blox/)

I also wrote for GamePro pretty regularly all throughout 2010 and the first part of 2011, and have written freelance for places like PC Gamer, Gamasutra, etc. In a bit of a sad note, I recently had the honor of writing the last ever 5-star GamePro review (GamePro is shutting down soon): http://www.gamepro.com/article/reviews/2...ecraft-pc/

I've been working on the book since early-mid 2011. I've been doing interviews non-stop since June, regularly doing follow-up interviews all the way up until November so that the book is as up-to-date as possible.

I really do appreciate the interest, by the way Smile
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Post: #5
bah, I want to read it now =(
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Now, that looks really interesting, Ryan! Grin. I love behind the scenes stories no matter what the product - whether it's behind the scenes of King Kong or Nissan GTR, they're all awesome. But all the more so when it's games obviously.

BTW, the games that are shown in the book's cover - does the book have interviews with all those devs too?
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Sure does! Here's a full list of the games whose developers are interviewed in the book. I spoke directly to the lead designer in all cases. Sometimes I also spoke to others that worked on the game as well (like with Angry Birds––I spoke with both lead designer Jaakko Iisalo and Rovio CEO Mikael Hed).

100 Rogues / Keith Burgun and Wes Paugh
Across Age DX / Philipp Döschl
Angry Birds / Mikael Hed and Jaakko Iisalo
Babylonian Twins Premium / Rabah Shihab, Murtadha Salman, and Mahir Alsalman
Battle for Wesnoth / David White and Kyle Poole
Blobster / Henrik Jönsson
The Blocks Cometh / Derek Laufman and Melvin Samuel
Broken Sword: Director’s Cut / Charles Cecil
Canabalt / Adam Saltsman
Compression / Craig Kemper
Cow Trouble / Justin Leingang
Cut the Rope / Semyon Voinov
Dark Nebula: Episodes I & II / Anders Hejdenberg
Dirt / Stephen Gazzard
Doodle Jump / Igor Pusenjak
Doom II RPG / Katherine Anna Kang
Edge / David Papazian
Enviro-Bear 2010 / Justin Smith
EpicWin / Rex Crowle
Flight Control / Robert Murray
Forget-Me-Not / Brandon Williamson
Frogatto / Ben Anderman
Fruit Ninja / Luke Muscat
Garage Inc. / Wojtek Kawczynski
Geared / Bryan Mitchell
Godville / Dmitry Kosinov and Mikhail Platov
Halcyon / Zach Gage
Hand of Greed / Farhad Shakiba
Hard Lines / Andrew Smith
Helsing’s Fire / Lucas Pope
Hook Champ / Kepa Auwae
The Incident / Matt Comi
Infinity Blade / Laura and Donald Mustard
Jet Car Stunts / Luke Ryan
Karoshi / Jesse Venbrux
Labyrinth 2 / Marcus Andersson
Land-a Panda / Paul Virapen
Minigore / Timo Vihola
Monkey Island: Special Edition I & II / Craig Derrick
Mos Speedrun / Nick Donnelly
Nimble Strong: Bartender in Training / Adam Ghahramani
No, Human / Rolf Fleischmann
Osmos / Eddy Boxerman
Pizza Boy / Annica Strand
Plants vs. Zombies / George Fan
Pocket God / David Castelnuovo
Pocket Legends / Jake Rogers
Poto and Cabenga / Ricky Haggett
The Raging Dead / Travis Houlette
Robosockets / Nadia Sydorenko
Rolando / Simon Oliver
A Short Game About Jumping / Markus Ruh
Shot Shot Shoot / Erik Svedäng
Silverfish / Frank Condello
Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure / Ryan Creighton
Solipskier / Mike Boxleiter and Greg Wohlwend
Soosiz / Ville Mäkynen
Space Miner: Space Ore Bust / Brandon Curiel
Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor / David Kalina
Super Stickman Golf / Jordan Schidlowsky
Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP / Kris Piotrowski
Sword of Fargoal / Jeff McCord
Tilt to Live / Adam Stewart and Alex Okafor
Tiny Tower / Ian Marsh
Toki Tori / Colin Van Ginkel
Words With Friends / Paul Bettner
Zen Bound / Jani Kahrama
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Post: #8
Honestly, the biggest reason that I posted about it here is that once all the interviews were gathered, the book sort of turned into a tome of iOS developer wisdom. The primary purpose of the book is to tell readers "did you know?" fun-facts about the games they know and love (and also to introduce them to games they haven't heard of), but the inevitable result of telling the stories behind each of these games is that I've learned a whole lot about the do's and don'ts of making an iOS game.

I often asked devs for advice that they'd give to others looking to get into iOS development, and it's funny how each of them comes from their own perspective. Based on their philosophies, I'm pretty sure that Kepa Auwae (lead designer of Hook Champ) and Semyon Voinov (CEO of ZeptoLab, creators of Cut the Rope) would not get along very well LOL

So the primary audience is "people who like iOS games and want to know more about them," but I'd also recommend it to any iOS developer. You guys are traveling down the same road that all of these devs went down, so the book very well contains advice that could help you with your own games.
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Post: #9
Do you think another book with a slightly different slant - specifically targeted at game makers - would also be compelling? That would definitely be interesting, and you could probably charge a more premium price for knowledge like that.

Do you directly compare, for instance, different developers to each other in the book? Or is it pretty self-evident from their statements? Smile

Seems like now that you've got all these contacts, the next logical step is to have a fantastic series of podcast interviews or live roundtables. I'd listen!

Either way, this book is in my wish list. Will there be a Kindle edition, or is there a lot of color imagery throughout?

KB Productions, Car Care for iPhone/iPod Touch
@karlbecker_com
All too often, art is simply the loss of practicality.
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I think that a book like the one you described would be potentially quite interesting, but given that I myself am not an iOS developer, I don't think I have the expertise necessary to be the one to write it. The person writing that book would have to be both an experienced writer and an experienced iOS developer. If my pal Keith Burgun (creator of 100 Rogues and contributor to Gamasutra) weren't already working on a book and two new games, I'd try to talk him into doing a book like that haha.

I think the comparisons are generally pretty self-evident, although some of them are so shockingly different that I sort of pull out of the narrative and comment on the strangeness of it. Super Stickman Golf's story is the perfect example of that.

There are also a couple of times that some of the stories become intertwined. Battle for Wesnoth's team is very much related to Frogatto's, and Silverfish––whose creator, Frank Condello, just posted in this thread––was greatly impacted by the development of Tilt to Live.

And I actually would be very interested in doing some roundtable discussions with the devs... perhaps I should contact the heads of some upcoming game events and try to arrange something along those lines? Good idea!

There are a lot of screenshots and colorful icons in the book. Kindle will be coming eventually (hopefully a few months), but for now it's just going to be print.
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Post: #11
Heh, I currently have a pile of books to read taller than myself, but I'm very interested in behind-the-scenes accounts (I've well-worn copies of Game Over, Masters of Doom, even the ... less-than-brilliant Zap!) so I'll probably be picking up a copy Wink

Mark Bishop
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Student and freelance OS X & iOS developer
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Post: #12
Thanks Mark!

And I just went and read some Amazon reviews for Zap!. Wow, people are harsh haha!
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Wow, that is one awesome list of games. How did you even manage to get in touch with so many devs and convince them to talk to you?! Heh, must have been quite an effort to get this organized and compiled, especially since you've only been doing this from June. Anyway, will pick this up when it's out Grin
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Oh God, it was horrible. I actually tried to get interviews with the developers of about 100 games, but that number slowly got whittled down as some devs stopped responding to emails, gave unusable interviews, or simply couldn't participate because of their insane schedules. I kept a spreadsheet of all the developers I was speaking with, complete with details about what else I needed to get out of them.

Yeah, it was rough. But totally worth it Smile

By the way, I just edited my earlier post to name that devs that are interviewed. Some great people in there!
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Hmm.. what does an unusable interview look like? Grin It'll be fun to have a book "outtake" like in the movies.. heh. BTW, I'm not asking if you could publish one of those unusable interviews. I'm guessing you can't do that out of respect for the dev.. it's more of a rhetorical question.

I went through those names again and yeah, you've got some really good ones in there.
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