Who would you say is the top Android developer? It’s not as easy to determine as you might think.
Take a look at our favourite Android games and the vast majority are iPhone ports. If you’re lucky, these arrive within weeks or even months of the original version.
One developer stands out, not only for the consistent quality of its releases but because it’s always treated Android as a strong, standalone platform – something other developers are only just coming around to.
We spoke to David Peroutka, managing director of Hexage, about his company’s latest release (the wonderful EVAC), the reason behind those HD reissues, and his views on the Android platform.
Firstly, congratulations on EVAC! Obviously there’s a lot of Pac-Man in there – was the intention to reinvent the classic maze-runner?
Thank you! At first we wanted to make a survival game where the hero is overwhelmed by the enemies, trapped and desperately tries to get out. He can only run, hide and be smart about it in order to escape. That's also where the name came from.
We’ve incorporated the dot-eating mechanics in the later stage of the development process - it was a fun way to make players risk more, being constantly on the dot-hunt.
However, it also inevitably marks the game as the 'Pac-Man clone' which is not that bad after all - players are then pleasantly surprised that the game goes far beyond that.
What prompted you to re-release your entire Android catalogue in HD form?
The main idea behind HD versions was to support the upcoming Android tablets like the Galaxy Tab. HD games use redesigned graphics and visual effects and they look and play great on bigger screens.
We've made an extra effort to make these HD versions compatible with the current generation of hi-end handsets.
Will you continue to release separate HD versions from now on?
There are numerous older Android devices with a very limited space for applications. We will keep releasing separate versions as long as there is a considerable market share of low-end devices.
The presence of HD versions seems to highlight the fragmentation issues on Android. Do you see it as a big problem for the platform?
Every other mobile platform has a fragmentation problem, including iOS which has devices with different screen resolutions, features and performance.
The openness of Android makes it more fragmented but it’s not really out of control. From a developer's perspective the Android Market needs to adapt to this situation and provide developers with broader range of options to filter and choose which devices they want to support with a particular version.
You seem to have made a conscious decision a while ago to embrace Android on equal terms to iPhone. In fact, I think it’s safe to say you’re considered an Android developer first and foremost. What made you go against the grain here?
We always saw the rise of Android platform as inevitable, especially considering how well it is built from its core and how clever is the long-term strategy behind it.
iPhone was a revelation, a breakthrough that created the whole new 'economy' of apps that never existed before. Developers who established themselves on the iPhone then frowned upon the Android because they didn't see the same miracles happening there. That perception of Android is changing now as it grows stronger.
We're now supporting a wide range of platforms – Android, iOS, Palm webOS, and Samsung bada. It is interesting to see how unique they all are and we see a distinct potential in each one of them. These are exciting times for the mobile industry!
We hear a lot of complaints about Android Market, with some major developers opting to support alternative app stores. As someone whose games sell well through the service, what’s your view of it?
Android Market needs a lot of improvements and they are happening - though slower than many would like. However we’re quite confident that Google will address many shortcomings of the market soon.
If anyone wants to publish Android apps then there is no better option than the official Android Market. Many alternative app stores exist not because they are superior, but because Google has restricted the access to the official market only to selected partners.
A central market for Android applications is one of the key aspects for the future evolution of Android ecosystem. We’d love to see Android Market available in more countries, with more payment options and pre-installed on more devices.
What’s next for Hexage? Anything to share on your next project?
We are currently working on updating our titles with new content and new features. We are receiving a lot of great feedback and we would like to reward our customers for their continuous support.
We are also working on two new games which will be released in the first half of the next year. They are based on simple but very unique concepts and we seriously can't wait to play them. ;)Thanks to David for his time.