There is games on the Apple iPhone that I find are extremely addictive. It is called Labyrinth 3D. In this game, you control a metallic ball and roll it around a wooden board using the iPhone’s accelerometer. You have to make sure that the ball makes it to the right hole and doesn’t fall in the trap holes.
The Lite versions of the game is free. This is the perfect time pass when riding on a train or plane. I found myself even getting bored during the commercials for the Oscars and played it.
To find the games search for “Labyrinth 3D” on iTunes or on your iPhone/iPod Touch. Wooden Labyrinth 3D is currently $2.99.
I noticed that the name behind the game on iTunes is Elias Pietilä so I reached out to him to find out what the story behind the game is. Elias was kind enough to give me an interview with him.
Amit: What is the story behind the game?
Elias: The beginning of Wooden Labyrinth 3D was actually a combination of four separate factors. Firstly, I had just finished my first iPhone game, Pajatzo, which quickly dominated the Finnish App Store as the best selling App. It’s actually still doing well over here, months later, but I realized then and there that there was no money in the domestic market. I needed a game that was universally recognizable. Well, I had been wowed by other labyrinth games before, but also been disappointed that their walls weren’t rendered based on the tilt. I mean, after seeing the famous “Wii head-tracking” videos, I felt the labyrinth titles fell short of their potential. However, I had no clue how to achieve an effect like that in practice, as I had almost no experience with OpenGL. Then I happened to bump into Pangea Software’s “Ultimate Game Programming Guide for Mac OS X”. There was plenty of interesting material in the guide, but what really struck my eye was the code that allowed them to make stereo games (the types you play with glasses). I figured the effect was close enough for what I wanted in my labyrinth, and decided to give it a go. A month later, the game was finished.
Amit: You have a team of people all working on the application, how did you bring this team together to all work on this project?
Elias: The team was assembled quite ad hoc. I needed sounds and my friend at the university – Tapani – works in the audio lab. It was pretty much a no brainer to ask for his assistance, especially after he provided the sounds for Pajatzo. Later he contributed to the level making as well, and commissioned the music from his friends. My other level designer lives quite far away from my humble home in Finland. I bumped into him on youtube, after he reviewed Pajatzo. I asked him whether he would like to give a hand with the next game – he then agreed to make some levels and market the game.
Amit: How well is the game selling on iTunes?
Elias: I quit my day job, to pursue iPhone development. At my age (22), I feel it’s a risk worth taking. The App is generating a fair bit of income. It’s selling a couple of hundred copies daily, but who knows how long that will last. It hasn’t gotten a feature in the App Store unlike many games selling worse/ having worse reviews, and I fear it is because of the saturated genre. Wooden Labyrinth 3D was extremely close to breaking top 100 games in the USA and it has done that at least in UK, France, Italy, Finland, Austria, Poland and Argentina. There is always hope however. (the lite shipped over 5800 copies on its first full day online… that’s a nice chunk!)
Amit: Thank you for the interview and I wish you the best of luck!