Interview :: Spilt Milk StudiosJuly 28 | Posted by John Geoffrey | Feature Tags: england, essex, game, hard lines, indie, ios, spilt milk studios, uk
What is Spilt Milk Studios?
It’s a one-man game development studio based in a shed in the Essex countryside. We make iOS games at the moment, and have our eyes on bigger things in the future.
Who are Spilt Milk Studios?
It’s me – Andrew John Smith, game designer – plus anyone foolish/kind enough to help. Or whoever I pay. I outsource a lot!
What are your backgrounds?
I used to work in Dundee, Scoltand for various companies, the most recent of which was Proper Games. I was the designer there on the BAFTA-winning Flock! as well as on Final Fight: Double Impact, Crackdown 2 DLC and their recent iPhone release Moving Day (in a purely pre-production sense).
Where did the name Spilt Milk come from? Is there a sour patch of milk in a carpet some where representing a eureka moment?
I spent days and weeks agonising over what to call my studio, and my ex actually came up with it one evening. No real reason for it other than it is memorable and conjures up imagery in people’s heads. It’s certainly memorable!
What’s the theme of Spilt Milk Studios?
Essentially we just want to make fun games for people! Sounds silly, but that’s the core aim. Beside that, I believe in creating characters, worlds and stories that resonate with people. My output so far has been mainly concerned with the fun part (and making enough money to survive!) but believe me when I say I’ll get round to the second part as soon as possible.
You’ve just launched Hard Lines and it appears to be getting rave reviews from all over the place. How are you finding it’s success?
I’m blown away by the reception we’ve had. Critically the game has performed so well (being featured in a few ‘best mobile games of 2011′ lists, and sitting at 86 on Metacritic!) and we’re still seeing coverage even now, 4 weeks after launch. We were featured by Apple in our second week so that helped sales, and we’re taking a very long term approach to success, with tons of plans for Hard Lines’ future! I need to shout out to Nicoll Hunt (the project’s coder) as he has been instrumental in creating the game, way beyond just coding it. It wouldn’t be the same if it had been made with anyone else.
Where did the idea of Hard Lines come from?
Literally from being disappointed with the official Tron game. Me and Nicoll thought we should just make a simple iOS game, and the fact the official Tron tie in game sucked made us sure we could do better. The rest is history, really!
What was the best moment whilst developing Hard Lines?
Probably the Saturday afternoon we spent jamming on it together – most of the game has been developed remotely; Nicoll in his bedroom in london, and me in my shed in Essex. That Saturday was when we added the very popular ‘quip’ system to the game and it went from being a cool little higscore chasing game to something with charm, personality and humour by the bucketload. As soon as the lines started talking, the game just evolved into something more than the sum of its parts. A very satisfying hour of development, that was
What was the worst moment? Spill all the beans now as the milks already out of the bag.
Well I think the word moment was when we realised we’d released a patch that crashed the game on startup. For everyone. On the day we got reviews on FHM, Kotaku and Edge. Nearly cried, in all honesty. Total bloody schoolboy error, but it shall never make the mistake again!
What do you have next in the pipeline? Anything hugely top secret?
Apart from supporting Hard Lines with a ton of content, I’ve got a project coming up that involves adapting a boardgame onto iOS, as well as potentially a second original game project. Can’t really say much beyond it’ll probably involve Bears in some form!
What’s the future plans for Spilt Milk?
As I alluded to earlier, my plans do not rely solely on iOS and mobile games. They’re just the easiest market to break into at this stage. Looking to the future I truly believe the browser games market is the future. Be it Facebook, Unity, HTML5, Flash or Java – every TV sold from next year onwards is likely to have browser tech in it, and that means browser games will have an even bigger reach than they already do.
Do you, or would you consider, selling your own (from a cow) milk? In a non spill or drip carton of course.
I’m totally up for making the most of my brand, so if any farmers out there can approach me with a tempting deal, I’d be up for it!
Be sure to check out Hard Lines in the iTunes Store. It’s available now so don’t hold back.