When you’re looking to create a game for the Windows Phone platform, it’s probably a good idea to talk to somebody who’s already done it. Ocous LLC, the people behind MMO game Age of Sorcery have created a strategy-based game where people fight each other online in a mystical world.
If you’re looking to create a successful mobile game, you may think you’ll need teams of people to do it. It’s not necessary, says Nina Hu, developer and co-founder of Age of Sorcery:
“Located in the Seattle area, WA, we are a very small team. There are just two developers; me and my friend, Alfred, also a co-founder. We both do all the feature design, write the code, do the testing and we have several designer friends who help with the graphics and illustrations (Stephen Cousins is our chief designer, one of the best). This is something we do in our spare time.”
“And when we say spare time, it took up every moment of it. In total, it took us eight months to create Age of Sorcery, after work, during the nights and during most weekends. Moreover, most of the time was spent on implementing the server components to support players from all over the world to play together. If you were looking to do this full time and the game doesn’t have to run against a server, you might have a working game in no time at all.”
But why create a MMO game in the first place?
“There are tons of MMO games designed for desktop, but there aren’t many MMO games that are customised for the mobile and touch devices, especially on Windows Phone. We are a group of people who love MMO games and therefore decided to write one for the device that we use every day. Unlike many other mobile games that run locally, we want to build a game that you can play with real people around the world on your mobile device,” she says.
“When you have some spare time, you can expand your empire or go out for a hunting trip with your friends. You can have the entire empire and all your friends in your pocket and take them with you anywhere you go. It’s a game that not just gives you 5 minutes relax time and then be forgotten. Age of Sorcery is a game you can play for a very long time and over 80% of our players have been playing the game for months since the release.”
Nina also explains why she chose to develop for Windows Phone and not another Operating System.
“One of the reasons we chose to develop on Windows Phone is because Nokia chose this platform”.
“Having used Nokia phones for the past 10 years, I just love Nokia’s phones so much. It’s a brand that I have trusted for a decade. Combining that with the huge percentage of mobile market in Asia and Europe, we saw huge opportunity to get into those markets.”
“Windows Phone is also such an easy to use OS. We like it very much and use it on a daily basis. Therefore, we wanted to create a great MMO game for people just like us. And, with Windows 8 platform on the horizon it’ll be so much easier to port Age of Sorcery to both Windows 8 and the new Windows Phone 8 platform.”
“But don’t worry, Age of Sorcery will run on both platforms – new and old, side by side.”
When developing a game for Windows Phone platform, it’s important to have the right tools (and a little bit of knowledge in the matter).
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“We wrote this game in Silverlight, the SDK is easy to use. The development tooling experience is simply the best in my opinion. Anybody with passion on games and are familiar with C# language can create a game like this.”
As you’d imagine with a MMO multiplayer game, it requires you to interact with other players, each with their own online identity. This means there’s a need for a server.
“AoS is a server based game. That means you need to connect to the server to play, as with all online multiplayer games. We’ve recently needed to upgrade our server as the old one was becoming full. We now have over 100,000 players with over 20% of them are online at the same time.”
Creating a game is by no means the end of the process. Nina explains that listening to the people that use the game is absolutely vital.
“I can’t emphasize enough how important and valuable the players’ feedback is. Since this is the first time we’ve written a game, it’s very hard to get everything right at the beginning and the support from the players has been incredible. It’s because of the feedback we’ve received from them that’s got us to this current stage. Our players are so talented and the features they suggested are awesome, we just hope that we have enough time to implement them all”.
Nina finishes by telling us of what we can expect to see in the future.
“Our future plans include adding new features, like treasure hunting, boss fight, arena competition, etc… and most importantly porting the game to Windows 8! I can’t wait.”
What do you think of Age of Sorcery? Are you thinking of developing a game and found this useful? Or, have you already created a game for the Windows Phone platform? We’d like to hear from you. Use the comments below to get in touch.