Development

Our development idea is an arcade style mobile app with the purpose of entertaining our consumers. ‘Sheldon’s World’ is essentially an app loaded with various ‘old school’ arcade games including platform and puzzle games. Upon initial download the app will contain numerous preloaded games, however the aim for the player is to collect tokens by completing different stages of the game, which can then be used as virtual money to unlock more games and features.

Our app is targeted at a large demographic due to its family-friendly, simple and straightforward interface. It will provide a sense of escapism for many players, as well as help the older generation reminisce on their younger years when these types of arcade games were at their prime. Our advantage is that simple, ease of entry games are quick to learn and difficult to put down (due to the technology affordances) and by having a ‘retro’ appeal, it sets it apart from competition.

Using Scratch, a game and animation engine, we created a prototype racing game for our app. Scratch is a VPL (visual programming language), where by utilising its programming language, users can create games by manipulating programming elements graphically as opposed to specifying them textually (Dehouck, 2015). Our game has been coded so that the user plays against the computer. Creating all our graphics first within Photoshop, we then individually coded each character specifically to perform the action that we wanted it to. A variety of programming languages were utilised.

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Our Prototype

To develop our app further, we would need to code it on Java to make it accessible for Android users (Simms, 2016), as well as on Objective C, which is the preferred programming language for IOS devices (Developer.apple.com, 2014). The developer fees came to £79 per year, for each operating system (Developer.apple.com, n.d.). Through research we discovered our app would become more successful by making the app free to download. We would be asking for a start-up budget of £5000, to cover our development costs and advertising costs for the first two years, as well as any problems we might encounter.

From the perspective of McLuhan’s tetrad theory, the personalisation that we have incorporated into the game would enhance the gamer experience. By allowing the players to choose characters, it creates the feeling that the game is unique to their friends. Furthermore, it enhances the social capital for the consumer as the multiplayer feature provides opportunity for peer discussion, replacing an activity, which has slowly become less prevalent in our society.

Our app relives the idea of old, simple arcade style games, which have been overshadowed by the growth of consoles such as the Xbox and Play Station, and repurposes them onto a modern platform bringing new life to these classic forms of entertainment. Additionally, our app facilitates involvement and participation, which is decreasingly present in entertainment today, for instance browsing through social media or watching Netflix providing interaction and an immersive form of escapism from daily pressures (Tyler, 2008). 

As a result of having multiple games in one space, the app obsoletes the need for other solo gaming apps; instead having only one app for the consumers to download and fulfil their needs. In addition to this it negates the need for consoles and gaming equipment, as the app is readily available, on mobile devices, which the majority of people will already own.It has become a part of media evolution; as technology is developing and growing, these forms of entertainment have to evolve with it. 

To develop our app further we have considered possibilities off creating a gaming hub accessible through the app for players to communicate with each other across the world, as well as create leader boards for them to compete within. Furthermore, to start earning profit from our app, we would create in-app purchases, in which players can buy tokens to unlock the new features. This would be appealing, as they will not have to wait to collect the tokens through playing the game. There are endless opportunities for us to add new games and features to the app to keep it engaging for new and old customer, a critical enabler in its success.

 

References

Dehouck, R. (2015). craft ai | The maturity of visual programming. [online] Craft.ai. Available at: http://www.craft.ai/blog/the-maturity-of-visual-programming/ [Accessed 18 Nov. 2016].

Developer.apple.com. (2014). About Objective-C. [online] Available at: https://developer.apple.com/library/content/documentation/Cocoa/Conceptual/ProgrammingWithObjectiveC/Introduction/Introduction.html [Accessed 18 Nov. 2016].

Developer.apple.com. (n.d.). Choosing a Membership – Support – Apple Developer. [online] Available at: https://developer.apple.com/support/compare-memberships/ [Accessed 18 Nov. 2016].

Scratch.mit.edu. (2016). Scratch – Imagine, Program, Share. [online] Available at: https://scratch.mit.edu/about [Accessed 18 Nov. 2016].

Simms, G. (2016). I want to develop Android Apps – What languages should I learn?. [online] Android Authority. Available at: http://www.androidauthority.com/want-develop-android-apps-languages-learn-391008/ [Accessed 18 Nov. 2016].

Tyler, T. (2008). Game Studies – A Procrustean Probe. [online] Gamestudies.org. Available at: http://gamestudies.org/0802/articles/tyler [Accessed 18 Nov. 2016].

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