We were so excited to test Numeri this past week that the game itself made it as a regular thing on our lunch break here at Appbite.com. We've got to the point of organizing tournaments of who can finish the puzzle faster, although we now know that the puzzles themselves vary in difficulty. And we know this because the developers of the game have been kind enough to grant us an interview.
1. Tell me a bit about yourselves, the values and team that hold it all together. What drives and motivates you? How long have you been in the business?
Lucio&Marta: We are both software engineers, and have full time jobs. We started with the idea of making small games for kids that would stand apart with design and usability. Marta would do the design and I would to the coding. We tried really hard but didn't reach the design level we hoped for, eventually decided to try a simpler idea, a numeric puzzle, less focused on design.
2. What does it take to succeed in the market?
Lucio&Marta: I would love to say: content, usability, quality, simplicity, and value for the user. But the hard truth is probably: marketing, visibility, and anything that attracts media attention. At least for small games that sell for less than 2$.
3. What made you develop for the iPhone?
Lucio&Marta: The low entry cost in terms of software and hardware, plus the illusion that Apple Store would be an easy sales channel.
4. What do you think sets you and Numeri apart from competition both in the Appstore and the general market?
Lucio&Marta: We tried to make a personal game for a couple of friends that like puzzles. It had to be challenging, responsive, accurate, look simple, and match iphone design. But the most visible part of the result is the minimalism. We tried to remove every option, popup, distraction and content to focus on the game itself.
5. With the new SDK released, a whole new world opened up for developers such as yourself. What can you expect from the market and how will you respond to more expectations from your Numeri app?
Lucio&Marta: I was not very impressed with the new SDK. What I would really love was to see a more open platform, less frustrating approval process, and an improved apple store user experience.
6. Do you plan to release any updates for the app, or do you have any prepared?
Lucio&Marta: We already submitted a free version of the game. It is a simpler 4x4 grid. It allows users to learn with a simpler challenge and eventually upgrade to the more challenging version of the game. It should be a relative success as most users will find enough challenge in it and it doesn't contain any catch or annoyance.
7. What was your favorite thing about designing for the iPhone and iPod Touch? The biggest challenge?
Lucio&Marta: Usability choices. It took a lot of time to get it right. We tried multiple grid sizes, number density, and generation algorithms until the game reached the current result. The game even contained a line mode that was scrapped because users could not see the line they were drawing. This was not an easy decision, as newcomers try to think of line segments.
8. What other apps do you have on your iPhone or iPod Touch? What’s your favorite?
Lucio&Marta: Bejeweled 2, Blocked, Pinball Dreams, WildWest. I really like Blocked. I normally prefer simple and old games.
9. For our readers, please describe Numeri in just one word.
10. We must say that Numeri has really hit us here with hours of fun. We basically couldn’t put it down and we’ve made it a regular lunch break thing. What’s next for you? Should we expect new puzzles like Numeri?
Lucio&Marta: This is just a hobby and it is really hard to achieve the same level as Numeri when we both have full time jobs and two small kids. Still, in the next months we are planning to launch a word search game and a baby names application, both in Portuguese. If we get them right, we'll then translate them to other languages. The idea for the next ones is to have some fun with it. My father is also joining us as he loves to code :)
11. Some funny notes on the game.
Lucio&Marta: - half of the users we followed took a lot of time to find out they could see all the digits in the grid, even though it is written in the instructions; -cheating is purposely uncomfortable to make you look ridiculous while cheating (we had a couple of good laughs with some users)
- it is easier to solve the puzzle if you fill all your grid at first, as most of the grid is inside the closed line;
- some puzzles take more than 1 day to solve by a trained user (without watching the hidden digits);
- not all puzzles have the same difficulty level;
- each puzzle is reduced with two different modes, the one that resulted in less digits is picked
- puzzles are generated in background while you play as puzzle generation is rather slow
- my 6 year old son already solves some of the 4x4 grids on the free version :)
We sincerely thank Lucio and Marta for a rather interesting point of view on developing an awesome game for the iPhone and we look forward to seeing their game get where it surely must get eventually: on users iPhones to enjoy. Good luck and all the best from us at Appbite!