Just in case you didn’t read my interview with Tarver Games’ Chris Cross (and shame on you if you didn’t — Cross is a sharp dude), here’s the exclusive Ghosts Attack video that accompanied the piece. It’s one of the more interesting games for iPhone. Please check out the video and lemme know what you think (please)!
Chris Cross achieved a great deal of notoriety in the gaming business from his work on the Medal of Honor series. You’d expect a game designer that had success on big-budget console-games would continue to work on big-budget console-games, but Cross has gone in a different direction — iPhone gaming. He recently started up a new development house — Tarver Games — and has a few iPhone/iPod Touch products in the works. Tarver’s first game, Ghosts Attack, has been submitted to Apple for approval and should be out shortly. I recently interviewed Cross to learn more about Tarver Games, get the skinny on Ghosts Attack, ask him why he went from consoles to iPhone, and to ask him some of your questions.
Cross is an excellent and entertaining person. Check out everything he has to say and be sure to hit the break for an exclusive Ghosts Attack video.
Raymond Padilla: Chris, you’ve had tremendous success on home consoles. Why head to the iPhone? Is it the excitement of undiscovered territory? A new challenge?
Chris Cross: Thanks Ray — Yes, I have had success on home consoles and who is to say I won’t again? But for the moment, we (Tarver) have decided to bring our first IP — Ghosts Attack — to the iPhone. Just take a look at what’s going on today with games, budgets, platforms, and accessibility. The iPhone offers both developers and consumers an incredible chance at amazing products and apps for a fraction of the cost of console products.
RP: Some of my readers might need a primer on your upcoming game, Ghosts Attack. Would kindly give a brief primer on the game?
CC: Ghosts Attack is an alternate reality/FPS with a twisting — and a bit twisted :) — storyline. Ghosts Attacks integrates Google Maps technology with a dynamic alternate reality gaming experience. You explore a parallel world that was accidentally discovered by a group of scientists 40 years ago. Using the Map Kit in the iPhone SDK we let you use our own world map as your guide. There are mysteries to uncover, hostile enemies to fight, fast shooting action, a remote rover to pilot and a whole lot more.
Apple’s iPhone has evolved into quite the multifaceted device. While it was initially lauded for being an easy-to-use smartphone with a fantastic web browser and outstanding movies/music capabilities, it quickly became a prominent gaming system. In fact, games have been dominating Apple’s App Store for iPhone and iPod Touch. GigaOm’s Om Malik reported:
From August 2008 to the same month in 2009, more apps were released in the “games” category than any other and, as a result, the iPhone (and iPod touch) became a new handheld gaming platform, one that impacted Nintendo DS. The Japanese game device maker acknowledged that the iPhone and iPod touch were among the reasons why its profits declined drastically in the most recent quarter.
Are any of you taking iPhone gaming seriously? Or do you think it’s more of casual gamer thing? I’m loving Civilization Revolution and greatly looking forward to Ghosts Attack. If you have any iPhone game recos, I’d love hear ’em!
In the most brilliant tech analogy I’ve read in 2009, TechCrunch’s MG Siegler explained the deal with iPhone and iPhone “Killers” in religious terms. He wrote:
In a religious sense, the iPhone is a monotheistic religion. Basically, its OS believes in one device. Yes, I know there is the iPod touch, as well as variations of the iPhone (original, 3G, 3GS), but these are essentially all the same device with essentially the same hardware, just boosted specs. Meanwhile, Android, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, Symbian, etc. are all polytheists. But “pagans,” while perhaps not exactly right, is a cooler term, so let’s go with that. All of these other mobile OSes are pagans. They answer to many devices, their “gods.”
With this analogy in mind, the notion of one of Apple’s competitors coming up with a single device that will destroy the iPhone is stupid. That’s not the battle being waged. It’s not about the Motorola Droid vs. iPhone or the Nokia N900 vs. iPhone. The real battles in those cases are Google vs. iPhone OS and Maemo vs. iPhone OS, respectively. While it’s easier to write about the T-Mobile myTouch taking on the iPhone, that’s not really the point.
And also, MG Siegler should get some kind of medal or a trophy for this analogy.
A few days ago, I asked you for questions for an iPhone developer that’s being headed up by a “top guy” with extensive console experience. The developer is Tarver Games. The man is Chris Cross. The game is Ghosts Attack. Some of you might be familiar with Cross as a former game design director at EA, responsible for numerous Medal of Honor titles. After a successful run on consoles, he’s turning his attention to Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch.
Ghosts Attack is being positioned as the Tarver’s flagship title for iPhone. One of the most interesting features about it is that it uses Google Maps to dynamically create levels that resemble your current surroundings. I’ll be chatting with Chris soon to learn more about the game and to ask him your questions. For now, check out this trailer and let me know what you think (please)!
Verizon is getting ready to position the Motorola Droid (the phone codenamed Sholes) as it’s anti-iPhone. Following up its clever “There’s a Map for That” campaign is the “iDon’t, Droid Does” TV spot. Check it out the commercial below.
As much as I dig Google Android and detest AT&T, I really don’t think the Motorola Droid (coming in November) has a chance in hell against the iPhone. While I really like the OS, the hardware has been lacking — particularly in the CPU department. Unless it happens to be a phone that isn’t Sholes, I’m not expecting anything difference from the Droid.
With the iPhone having years to gain mind and market share — not to mention the luxury of having a $99 option to boost the installed base — going up against it with one model is a difficult quest. While I think a Verizon + Motorola victory is impossible, it’s another solid step for Google Android, which many analysts say will own a significant percentage of the mobile-phone market within two to three years.
Gizmodo posted a cool graphics comparison of the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS running Iron Fist Boxing 3. The site noted:
You see shadows, sweat and bloom lighting (edit: experts in the audience say it’s technically specular mapping) while playing on the 3GS (all of which you’ll notice in the lead shot). Plus, you’ll notice additional in-game effects like motion blur on the 3GS, too. Still, the 3GS only handles this advanced content at 30fps. The graphic improvements can be turned off so the handheld can reach 60fps.
The iPhone developers I spoke to said that supporting the 3GS’ superior graphics adds anywhere from 10 to 30 percent to the development costs, mostly on the art side.
Anyone else out there rockin’ an iPhone 3GS? Any games impress you? I’m always looking for recommendations.