954996_4GDC Austin kicked off today with an information packed talk from Randy Smith and David Kalina from Tiger Style Games discussing the evolution of their first iPhone game, Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor [App Store]. Much of their origin story was previously covered in our interview with the duo.

Randy and David discussed that prior to the App Store, there never was any good way for indie titles to reach a mass market. The iPhone brought together a great hardware platform and the possibility for an indie developer with no financial backing to publish their titles to a large audience. (And they don't deny trying to follow the App Store gold rush.)

The original vision of the game includes things like it being "unique and inspired" and "not about orcs." David and Randy then went on to explain the business side of Tiger Style, discussing an amazingly flexible and transparent development team. An interesting aspect of the talk was their conscious decision to price the game at $2.99. They looked at the market, the competition and decided to carve out a high quality niche:


While they've been thrilled with their initial success of nearly 100,000 sales of Spider, with 12 distributed team members and an 8 month long development cycle, they put an enormous amount of resources into the project. Still, they recommend that indie developers shoot for this "quality alternative" of high quality titles priced above $0.99 that exceed expectations and to engage the community (slide).

They also revealed that they are working on more levels, new features, a Lite version, as well as "Game 2".

  • http://touchreviews.tk Qasim

    I helped! πŸ™‚

  • Dark NRG

    Nice article, and I like the price/game example breakdown. BUT: why is Alive 4-Ever under 99cents, and Minigore isn't an example of 99cents?! Respectfully, afterall, all the people bi... ah, COMPLAINING about Minigore not being a full game state that A4E is "on sale" and is a $3 game. OR is it gonna stay at 99 cents. Furthermore, it DOES have more at 99cents than the other examples as well. I just think Minigore should be showing :p

    • Mark

      Minigore not a full game? Really? I can think of other full games with "less" gameplay and humor. Personally, I can't get enough of the one liners, and I have no problem spending a few minutes blasting those "damn furries" πŸ˜‰

      • DannyV

        That's the problem, that's why it's not a full game, because you only spend a few minutes playing it at a time.

    • arn

      I'm sure you just spent more time thinking about the exact choice of icons in that slide them they did when they put it together.


      • Dark NRG

        Yeah, and it's a hot topic that I'm usually participating in on the forums πŸ˜‰ Now, no one is mentioning tho how The Deep pinball was submitted at the same time as Minigore Aug 6th, and even put "UPDATED" on their icon, and as well as Minigore has YET to be updated to 1.1. At least Timo keeps us up to date. I just can't wait for the extra levels for Spider now πŸ˜€

    • Mark

      ... and really, it's $.99. Don't get me started on people complaining about the price of some of these titles... $2.99, $4.99? Don't you spend more on a value meal that's gone in 4 minutes? - Argghh... another argument for another time.

    • spiffyone

      DarkNRG, I think what the devs at Tiger Style are getting at isn't the idea of amount of gameplay ("deep" or "epic"), but rather the intro price points of the games that carry with them a good amount of work on the parts of the devs. They're really arguing for $2.99 being a good "entry" price point rather than $0.99 as most devs seem to fall into for games that have higher values.

      So, yeah...a few of the games on the $0.99 side probably shouldn't be there if you're looking at things in terms of "gameplay length" or production values. That's the point. That the devs should probably have been priced higher because of the work they put into those games only serves to support the position of Tiger Style and other like minded devs.

      • Dark NRG

        Geesh, its either you or Sizz πŸ˜‰ It was just tongue in cheek my good friend lol

      • Dark NRG

        tho, on second thought, I could of said they excluded Minigore because they view it as their one true competitor :p

      • Eli Hodapp

        You guys are seriously overanalyzing their choice in icons. It's just a slide from their presentation meant to be a brief visual aid that was on the projector screen for maybe 30 seconds, there is no hidden meaning. They likely just pulled 7 icons of games they played recently that fit in the 99Β’ column.

        If you want to look for hidden meanings, pick up the new Dan Brown novel that came out today. πŸ˜‰

  • oldskooler81

    were is pocket god

    • Slapshot

      With Pocket Satan.

      • WeirdingWay

        And Pocket Fail...PG not even a game...it belongs under utility like a paperweight app

  • Dark NRG

    Seems I spoke too soon about The Deep, The release just came out!

  • http://www.pixel-pandemonium.com Tanukitsune

    What's the game with firey helmet guy icon? I don't recognize it! D:

    • Anonymous

      Fieldrunners is the app with the helmet.

    • arn

      he might have been talking about the icon on the right which is Blades of Fury

      • http://www.pixel-pandemonium.com Tanukitsune

        That's the one! It's so recent I didn't know what the icon looked like yet! XP

  • Nausicaa

    It never occurred to me, but I suppose Spider was one of the first games to use the $2.99 sweet spot. Frankly I thought at the time - and still do - that this game was worth $5.

  • lores3000

    ORBITAL is also priced at 2.99$ - and i totally spend more time with that game than with many of the 4.99$ titles...

  • http://www.cascadiagames.com CascadiaGames

    This is why I went $2.99 with Xeno Sola. I figure it's higher quality than the $1 and it gives folks a Carcassonne variant at a reasonable price. πŸ™‚

  • gludion

    why not $3 instead of $2.99 ?

    - it takes less characters, and thus less energy and thus more planet-friendly
    - it's more immediately readable
    - it assumes the (potential) customer has enough math knowledge to identify that 2.99 and 3 are almost the same. As a potential customer, I appreciate respect towards my person.

    Has anyone a reasonable demonstration that $(N-1).99 is better than $N?