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Monday, 28 March 2011

CaptainD Interviews Darren Spencer of Utopian Games

I interviewed Darren Spencer of Utopian Games, creators of Tumble Jumble.I asked them about that game, their future plans, and the direction they've taken to concentrate on iOS development.

1/ Tumble Jumble is the most common search term that brings people to Indie Game News, so I'm guessing you've had a lot of interest in the game?

We originally made Tumble Jumble for iPhone and published via Chillingo, it became a moderate hit on iPhone so we decided to make it for the PC where we then picked up retail deals for both the UK and the's available in most good shops including Wal-Mart in the US.

2/ Tell us a bit about Tumble Jumble.

Tumble Jumble is best described as a cross between Tetris and Topple.

Tumble Jumble : Intergalactic Rodent Removals is a fantastic new physics-based puzzle game from Utopian Games. As an employee of the Intergalactic Rodent Removal Company, you must rotate and drop a specified number of block-shaped rodents into containers while avoiding a variety of obstacles, including lasers and evil platforms.

3/ You've stopped developing for the PC to concentrate soley on iPhone development - what led you to that decision?

As an Indie, I felt that unless we made a hidden object/adventure type game for PC it would be very hard to generate sales.  We submitted TJ to a lot of game portals like BigFishGames, and the feedback was all the same...make a hidden object/adventure.

We feel we can make games we want to make for iPhone and iPad, but ironically our next iPad game is an adventure :P

4/ Tell us about "Game Salad"

GameSalad is a really cool engine to develop iPhone, iPad and Mac games, it's very similar to drag and drop engine like GameMaker from Yoyo games.

5/ What are your future plans?

We will still develop games for the Apple platform but recently we have found success developing GS Tools and Templates for GameSalad as a 3rd party and not in conjuntion with the company, although they are aware and praise our work no deal with the company has been made and we do these solely from self funding.  Check out to see our work.

6/ In terms of the indie game scene, what do you think the future holds?

If you develop for the PC its VERY hard to make games that sell unless you go down the route of Adventure like most of the casual portals now carry.

If you want to make money while making games YOU want to make i would advise the apple platform.

7/ What are your own favourite indie games?

Of course World of Goo and Braid stand out, but to be honest I never really get time to play...We enjoyed making our other PC game Bumps which again has gone into retail and can be found on various games portals.

8/ What advice would you give to aspiring indie game developers?

The usual really, start with a small project, don't quit your day job until you have at least 3 years worth of money saved, make sure you finish what you start (I read over 90% of games started get abandoned),.Work hard and listen to feedback as every game you make should be better than the last.

Thanks Darren for the interview and all the best with Utopian Games' future developments (whether you ever come back to the PC or not! :-D)

See also the posts: Indie Game News: Tumble Jumble - now on PC! and Tumble Jumble Popularity?!
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