So, where are we now, exactly?

I can’t believe it has been so long since I blogged! Last time I announced Fare City 2.0 and now – well, version 2.3 has been out for a month…

Anyway, what’s going on? What happened to the rush of releases? When will we support iPad? What about iPhone 4 Retina Display? Is there going to be a two-player version? What’s next in production?

All good questions, so let me try to give a big update in a short space.

First, the big splurge of updates from 2.0 to 2.3 was an effort to give FC a boost after languishing for so long. In many ways it did help by creating enthusiasm and buzz among our players. However, it did not really give much of a lift to sales. Fare City has never paid its way in terms of development time and I simply couldn’t keep up the pace of a feature release every two weeks. There are plenty of ideas and maps still on the drawing board and hopefully there will be a 2.4 before too long.

It seems like forever that we’ve been talking about an iPad version for Fare City. It is also the number one question we get asked. I think I first promised it in June, so where is it? Well, there have been a few road bumps along the way.

Our initial idea was to do a quick conversion by doubling up the resolution. But then we realized that the maps didn’t really work because you end up with borders because of the different aspect ratio. Also, many of the graphics were a careful mixture of image, vector and hand drawn so needed complete reworking.

So we thought it would be great to redo the maps from scratch using a different scale and make a bigger game for the iPad. But a funny thing – play-testing the early prototypes it turned out that having more roads on a bigger map made for a less interesting game. Somehow the balance was just wrong.

And then there was another problem: Fare City maps take time to put together. With the iPhone version we can put one out in a couple of days, but to figure out the dynamics of the bigger scale and screen space of the iPad we knew it would take much longer to balance the gameplay and refine the graphics. How were we going to put together enough maps to launch Fare City HD?

But while we sweated over the issues, Apple came to our salvation by announcing the iPhone 4. Now we had to do a double-resolution version of everything anyway! So finally we reverted to plan A – the iPad would use the same maps and graphics as the iPhone (once redone for Retina Display). We really like this plan now because it allows us to release a universal binary while still keeping an option of adding iPad-only, special maps down the road.

So, great; where is it, this universal binary awesomeness? Well, I’m saddened to say that our plans have been hit by a large slice of life. I won’t go into details here but at present the graphics work is on hold while more important things happen. We would love to get the work done and out, but it will have to wait.

Meanwhile, I do have another game project in development, in collaboration with another designer. This one has also been plagued with hitches through the summer (not least of which has been my taking a full-time contract to help pay bills) but I’m hoping to bring more news on this soon.

But for now, I hope you are enjoying the last of the summer (if you live in the Northern Hemisphere), still enjoy playing Fare City, and if you know anyone who is looking for a fun game on their iPhone, please pass the word.

P.S. I knew I forgot something! I have an important announcement regarding Fare City pricing…

As of Friday we will be returning Fare City to the 99c bargain-bin price. Having tried out the (we feel more appropriate) $1.99 price point for the last few weeks it is clear that it is not a popular price for people. So, if you know someone who was put off by the “big” price tag – tell them to go buy it this weekend. You know it makes sense.

3 Responses to “So, where are we now, exactly?”

  1. hkiphone Says:
    September 17th, 2010 at 00:11

    Oh my, sorry to hear that development has not been as smooth as hoped for. Guess my recent request sent will have to wait abit longer too!
    Well, take things one at a time… there’s only so much that one can do without an avalanche of income from sales. Good luck with everything~!

  2. Finkly Says:
    September 17th, 2010 at 08:17

    Thanks. I’m hoping to start work on Game Center integration next week so hopefully it won’t be that long.

  3. ps Says:
    October 5th, 2010 at 01:52

    wow, if a game this great is not paying the bills, i am shocked.

    sorry to hear it isn’t happening yet. if you make your game .99, maybe you should package up the existing extra levels as additional in-app purchased content. i would have paid for it, if it was offered that way. but, maybe because of the way in-app purchases work, for existing users, maybe there is no way to go back.

    honestly, when i read new levels were on the way awhile ago, i was expecting to pay for it. i really want to see you succeed!

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