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Game Design Secrets by Wagner James Au

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Learning from the Style of Tiger Style

Tiger Style, the game studio behind the paid download iOS hits Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor and Waking Mars, has a long and legendary history in game design—and with me. The studio was founded by Randy Smith and David Kalina, both of whom worked on Thief, the groundbreaking PC/console franchise. Smith was lead designer for the first three games, whereas Kalina was the AI programmer on the final installment, Thief: Deadly Shadows (see Figure 13-1).

Figure 13-1: Thief: Deadly Shadows (Eidos).

c13f001.tif

Masterpieces of immersive and emergent gaming, the Thief series convinced me over 10 years ago that games could be an art form, and they’re a chief reason why this book exists.

With Spider and Mars, Smith and his team have been adapting some of the core principles that made Thief so great on the PC and consoles, and translating them to the iOS. And in the process, they prove you can create thoughtful, artful, genre-defying games for the platform and do quite well.

Spider still earns more than $5,000 in a good month.

In Spider (see Figure 13-2), you play an arachnid, jumping and spinning your way through an empty mansion with the flick of your finger, discovering the mysteries of the family who once lived there along the way. As of mid-2012, the game has sold more than 360,000 copies and grossed more than $1,000,000.

Figure 13-2: Tiger Style’s ...

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