We’re pleased to have had the chance to spent a little time with James Bryant, owner and president of Isotope 244 – a small game development company he founded 10 years ago. Bryant has had success programming games for various platforms including Windows, Mac OS and even mobile platforms as well. This is his story of getting Land Air Sea Warfare ported to the iPhone.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and Isotope 244.
All was lost when my parents gave me the Atari 2600 many years ago; I was hooked on gaming and knew it’s what I wanted to do! I grew up with Nintendo and Sega and started programming games in high school, later while in college I sold my first game to a company making a compilation CD. The games kept getting bigger and eventually I quit my daytime job and started doing it full time, that was about 10 years ago. Isotope 244 is my massive company of one person.
2. You have been developing games for other platforms for over 10 years. These other platforms include windows and mac os and windows mobile. What is the main draw to the iPhone?
The main draw of the iPhone is its cool multi-touch interface, being the first mobile platform to feature it. After its popularity surged the other draws are its huge market, easy distribution, good API, and rock solid hardware.
3. Any drawbacks to producing apps for the iPhone?
The fact that the API is based in Objective-C was a drawback for me, and probably most people. With how popular C/C++ is it should have been the obvious choice. When writing a game though the Objective-C portion of the code is minimal, but it still takes significant time to learn those portions, which could be spent making the game better.
4. Will you produce any iPad apps?
Yes I plan on doing an iPad optimized version of Land Air Sea Warfare, it will most likely be a universal binary. The game will carry over to the iPad very well; I already have user interface mockups done and am excited to see how it plays.
5. How long did it take you to develop (or port) your app to iPhone? (estimated hours and timeline)
I have been working on Land Air Sea Warfare full time for 2 years, so about 20,000 hours. The iPhone specific portion of it took about a month.
6. What assistance did you get in developing? if any. (people? training? etc)
I am a one man company and did all of the design, programming, graphics, testing, audio editing, and some of the artwork. I do get some of my assets from third parties such as some 3d models and artwork. I also hired voice actors for the sound effects in the game.
7. Many people that develop for iPhone are new to Objective-C (Apples programming language). Did you know Objective-C prior to writing the app? or did you learn it as you went?
I had no experience with Objective-C before this game, I learned as I developed the game, Apples documentation and examples were a great starting point, and the message forums were my second source and a great learning tool.
8. What were some of the barriers that you had to overcome in getting an app coded, completed and into the iTunes store?
The number of assets in the game is a lot to handle for one person. The game has over 10,000 frames of animation, 100 different units and technologies, over 500 sound effects, artwork, supports resolutions from 240×240 to 1920×1200, and supports four different platforms. Making a game as complex as a real time strategy game to scale over that range of devices was a great lesson.
9. Do you feel your time was well spent in developing for the iPhone platform?
It is still to early in the games release to judge, but I am hopeful as almost everyone who has reviewed the game has given it 5/5 stars and says it’s the best RTS on the platform right now. I am still ramping up my marketing efforts for the game by requesting reviews, doing interviews, and setting up advertising.
10. What is your expectation of success? ie: we know that there are Cinderella stories for iPhone developers going huge, what are your expectations?
I expect the game to sell decently and make it into the top 25 strategy games at one point. Hopefully the mighty hand of Apple will help me out on this with a feature on the game in the future.
Land Air Sea Warfare is available in the iTunes App Store for $4.99
5/5 Rating after 30 reviews.
“Great game. Controls are amazing. Reminds me of the first total annihilation game. This is my favorite rts on the app store right now.”
“This game is absolutely great. I’ve tried many real time strategy games on my iPhone and this is easily the best. It’s even better than the big name games like command and conquer. It’s the first iPhone rts I’ve found that plays like a computer rts.” -Doode305
“Incredible quality which is immediately apparent within 2 minutes of playing. Best RTS on iPhone without a doubt. Just get it.” -Kondor999
Command a force of thousands of units into strategic warfare in this new real time strategy game. Fortify your base with turrets, surface to air missile launchers, torpedo launchers, and long range cannons. Next create factories to pump out enormous legions of vehicles, aircraft, and ships to wage war with, you decide what to build. Form groups with the easy to use grouping interface and transport units to prepare for an assault on the enemy! Finally execute your strategic battle plan and enjoy the immense carnage that ensues. With unique explosions, wreckages, sound effects, and animations for every unit the carnage is as beautiful as it is deadly.
Discover and mine unique resources to build gigantic mega units which can turn the tides of war instantly!
As the commander of a massive war campaign you can navigate stealth aircraft
and submarines on recon missions, airlift units into the fight via helis, scout tread marks left by enemy tanks to their base, and hide under trees for an ambush attack. You can expand your city with over 100 structures and units to choose from. As your empire grows you can research technologies to guide the focus of your strategy. Dominate on all types of terrain, send aircraft to bombard the enemy to weaken its infrastructure, control the shores with a naval fleet of ships and subs, and transport units into the fight to finish the mission! You can even manufacture and launch game changing weapons such as ICBMs.
Land Air Sea Warfare features a random map system so every game you play is unique and poses new challenges. There are also several victory types and settings to customize the game and provide fresh missions. After each battle detailed statistics are displayed showing the how the tides of war changed for each player.
* Command six new gigantic mega units.
* Highly optimized game engine runs great even on netbooks
* Direct new ships, subs, and a full naval armament.
* Launch all new ICBM and defense systems.
* Use the new technology research system.
* New voices for units, over 250 fun remarks.
* New voice system warns you of attacks and resource shortages.
* Learn the game with new integrated help system and tooltips.
* Challenge the new AI featuring several attack modes and strategies.
* Navigate stealth fighter aircraft and submarines.
* Attack with new laser and electric shock weapons.
* Construct defensive shields and walls.
* New volcanic terrain type to play on.
* Learn more with the new loading screen featuring unit and tech info and
game play tips.
* Customize the game with the new mutator feature so you can play with only
ground units, only sea units, etc.
* Win at each of six new victory conditions such as Team Traitors, Arms
Race, The Mega Project, etc.
* Use the new radar system with upgraded display option to track enemy
* Command new transport carriers to quickly move vehicles and ships.
* Research new technologies including Secret Agents and Intelligence
* Watch the new aircraft with realistic flight patterns.
* Discover ten new map types.
* Enjoy ten new music tracks.
iTunes Store Link
Land Air Sea Warfare is also available for Mac, Windows, and Windows Mobile.
About Isotope 244
Since 1997 Isotope 244 has been developing Mac, Windows, and Windows Mobile games. The company also offers other award winning games such as Machines at War, Atomic Cannon, Acky’s XP Breakout, and Atomic Battle Dragons.