Interview with HangZone, creators of Spelldom

The team over at HangZone, creator of Spelldom, took some time to chat with us! Let’s read it:

1. Tell us where you came up with the idea for this game. What were your inspirations?

We came up with the idea for Spelldom in 2013. We were playing a good bit of Clash of Clans and Words With Friends, and we started to think about what would happen if we made a cross between the two games. One of our biggest gripes with Clash of Clans was the lack of skill, as your attacking could only be as good as the troops and the spells that you had unlocked. We were also frustrated with how Words With Friends games lasted so long, and you were always at the mercy of your opponent to play back before you could to anything. With Spelldom, we looked to fix those areas with a skillful fast-paced attacking system that also had teams, chat, town building, and required strong word game skills.


2. What version of cocos2d-x did you use?

We used v2.2.6. We may upgrade v3 eventually, but have no plans as of now. Cocos2d-x 2.2 was that newest stable version when we started the project, so we have stayed with v2.

3. How did you decide to use cocos2d-x instead of Unity, Unreal Engine or SDL?

Our first game, Pico Time, was a fast paced 2d mini-game adventure, somewhat similar to Nintendo’s Wario-Ware Franchise. We chose Cocos2d-iPhone for it largely because the language was Objective C, which we knew from iPhone development, and it worked well for the 2d game that we were creating. Our next game, Fizzy Factory, was made originally with Cocos2d-iPhone, but we converted it to Cocos2d-x to port the game to Android and Amazon. We really like Cocos2d-x and felt that it was the perfect platform for Spelldom.

4. What features did the engine offer you that made development easy? What do you wish the engine did better?

Overall, cocos2d-x is stable and works extremely well for a game like Spelldom. Sprites are simple to create and manipulate. Some small issues that we had were with text boxes and sound controls.

5. What tools did you use besides the engine?

We used XCode, Zwoptex, ParticleDesigner, GlyphDesigner, ImageOptim, and ImageAlpha.

6. What 3rd party libraries did you need to use?

Backend: Kinvey

Analytics: Flurry, Facebook

Social: Facebook

We are adding Everyplay to record/share gameplay in a new update.

7. Did you create the art yourself? What tools?

We created some art ourselves, but hired artists for the majority of it. We used Inkscape and Gimp for the art that we created.

8. Did you create the music yourself? What tools?

We did not create the music ourselves. We have for previous games using GarageBand and Audacity.

9. Will you continue to make games in the future?

We haven’t started working on anything new, but we hope to.

10. Lastly, any advice for those also making games on how to get to a release point?

Our experience has been that games take much longer than expected to produce. Sometimes the delays are unexpected: os updates that require changes in your game, API’s that don’t integrate as smoothly as expected, new devices, etc. Other things that can slow down time are art assets, which often take several rounds to get just right, and tweaking and adding game features—this happens a lot as your game gets closer to release. It’s important to keep in mind that things will often take longer than expected, no matter how solid your idea is, or how well the game is planned out. Besides that, I think it’s important to test your game and concept with others as you go. You quickly get quite good at you game during the development process, and it’s important to gauge what a fair difficulty level is from players that aren’t playing it constantly and don’t know how everything happens from a code level. Having outsiders play is also important from an explanation and menu standpoint. Just because everything makes sense to you as the developer, it’s important to make sure that a new user who just downloaded the game will understand everything too. Doing these things along the way can make for a smoother time getting to launch.

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