While in the mood for anything but productivity the other morning, I stumbled upon Dino Run SE [$2.99] on the Mac App Store. Dino Run is another lo-fi runner with a seriously bent and brilliant artistic direction. It started out as a web-based game. This version, according to creator PixelJAM, is an ‘expanded’ offering on the flash title, as it boasts new hats, new levels, and a fancy-schmancy new full-screen mode that I think makes the entire Canabalt-meets-Jurassic Park For Babies experience pop.
Since I write about iOS games, the first thing that popped into my head as I raced my little yellow dino through a land of the lost rife with flaming rocks, head-butting triceratops, side passages, and swooping pterodactyls, was if it would ever see the light of day on the iPad or iPhone. After an ill-timed e-mail, I learned that it is.
In a May interview with Slide2Play, PixelJAM’s Miles Tilmann said that development of an iOS version was going slow, but steady. He elaborated on the technical side, stating that it’s a “re-write” of the original game and not a direct port.
“[Dino Run iOS is] a ground-up re-write with a new physics engine and new levels. It's not a sequel, but more like a re-do. It’s going to have most of the other levels and features of the original, plus some new stuff thrown in, just because we have the opportunity to improve it a bit,” he said.
An outfit named Spiralstorm Studios is handling the coding, while PixelJAM is wrapping up the presentation side of things.
I caught up with PixelJAM for a little update via e-mail. Progress is still being described as slow and steady. A representative tells me that this version uses Box2D as its engine, which is a colossal switch from the old flash-based engine PixelJAM created for the game that we see on the web and on the Mac App Store. Plus, there’s the whole “new content” thing: new levels, new terrain, and new puzzles will be a part of the package.
In addition to Dino Run for iOS, PixelJAM is also working on Glorkian Warrior, a new IP that it raised the money to produce via Kickstarter. It looks like a cool project, but it’s not currently slated to grace iOS.
Actually, PixelJAM has a lot of fantastic flash games not slated for iOS. Cream Wolf jumps to mind as one of its best. In a recent follow-up e-mail I asked if there’s a chance we’ll see more of its titles on touch devices. In the subsequent reply, I got the feeling that Cream Wolf looks grim since it's Adult Swim's property, but overall the studio seems open to iOS possibilities.
Regardless, Dino Run is still on the way, but doesn’t appear to have a firm launch timetable. It was suggested to me that we might see something from the project in about two or so months, which I hope means we might see the full game within that window. Time will tell.