With the recent release of 3D Super Sniper 2 – the sequel to the smash hit iPhone App, Super Sniper – I sat down with Coresoft’s CEO and President Dave Connelly, to get an insider’s take on the gaming industry.
Eleven years, twenty-five published titles, and eleven iPhone apps later, Coresoft, stands as an accomplished and nimble game development company that specializes in both computer and console video games. They have also achieved remarkable diversity within the gaming landscape, by developing for just about every game machine out there.
BRADLEY HEBDON: What were you doing before you started Coresoft?
DAVE CONNELLY: I was a lead programmer developing video games.
BH: Now that you’re head of Coresoft, what is your primary role?
DC: I go out and get the new business as well as make sure it gets done once we get it.
BH: What kinds of disciplines make up your team?
DC: Our development teams are mostly made up of producers, designers, artists and programmers.
BH: And what skills are important to make a successful game?
DC: The important skills for making a successful game are having a creative and reasonable design, accurate scheduling, and experienced developers to make the game.
BH: When hiring someone, what kind of qualities do you look for?
DC: We first look for developers with experience. We develop titles very quickly so we usually need people to come on board that already know how to get things done fast and with quality.
BH: What kinds of tools do you and your team use?
DC: On the art side we primarily use 3D Studio Max and Photoshop. On the programming side we typically code using Visual C++ and also code using objective C as well as Java.
BH: How do you come up with ideas for games?
DC: We all have a never ending amount of ideas. We pitch dozens of ideas to publishers every year and amongst ourselves. Publishers also come to us with their ideas and we give them our take on how we would develop them.
BH: Do you have any inspirations that you draw from?
DC: Anything that is fun inspires us, from other games to just life in general. It’s the most fun when we find a genuine mechanic that is just natural and fun to do.
BH: Once you have an idea for a game, how do you go about kicking it off? Do you have a specific process and approach that you use for each project?
DC: It depends on the idea. If it’s something we need funding for, we create a pitch document for it. Then we send it out to publishers. If they like it, then we embellish it and make it more complete and in some cases even make a prototype. If it’s a smaller idea that we can develop ourselves, we compare it to some of our other ideas. Then we choose which ones to make. The process is different depending on who the title is for.
BH: What have been your biggest successes so far?
DC: We have had several big successes. Our first big hits were hunting titles for the Playstation One which totaled over a million units. Next we had a huge hit with a poker game for the Playstation 2 and Xbox which sold about 1.2 million units. We next developed High Stakes on the Vegas Strip: Poker Edition for the PS3. It’s available on the Playstation Network (PSN) and was the number nine best selling title last year. Most recently we made Super Sniper for the iPhone and it made it all the way to the #2 paid app on iTunes. We seem to have a great eye for what will sell well and continue to make titles with that in mind.
BH: Any particular games you’re proud of that weren’t necessarily the biggest sellers?
DC: Yes. Most recently Blitz Football for the iPhone. It has a really fun mechanic that anybody can enjoy. I personally was very passionate about us making it. It’s a really fun game to play and I think if people just try it, they will like it. It has not really taken off but I believe it will soon. Currently it’s the #10 free sports app but is only the #50 paid sports app.
BH: On what platforms have you focused? Any particular reasons?
DC: We have amazingly covered almost every platform. I say amazingly because our development team has never been very big. We have read stories about other development houses creating for several years and not ending up with technology as good as we made within a few months. We have developed games with our own technology on the Playstation 1, Playstation 2, Playtation 3, Playstation Portable, GameCube, Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360, Personal Computers, Java, and the iPhone. We have witnessed many development houses go out of business focusing on just two or three platforms and were not even able to finish their game engines. We not only made engines for all those platforms but developed and shipped games at the same time. The main platforms we have been focusing on lately are the PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, PC and the iPhone. We are also planning to develop for other smart phones soon.
BH: What are the biggest challenges working within the gaming industry?
DC: The biggest challenge is getting the business in the first place. We pitch dozens of titles a year and also estimate and create many proposals for the ideas that publishers present to us. We end up only developing a small portion of the titles we pitch and bid on. Another challenge we are facing is marketing of our own titles. The number of titles out there is increasing at an amazing rate and to get more eyeballs on our games is a challenge.
BH: What games in the industry do you think have raised the bar in recent years?
DC: God of War 3. I saw a lot of footage of the game at E3 and was quite impressed. You can easily tell there is a huge budget for that title. Games of that nature are like feature films along with the feature film budgets.
BH: Where do you see gaming going in the next 10 years?
DC: I see games going in all directions. There are going to be the top dollar AAA titles and also the casual titles that will be successful. The market is huge and even niche titles will find success since the distribution is global. There is so much room for growth in all areas, casual, top of the line, educational etc. Also, all the innovation with respect to motion devices and cameras will greatly improve the gaming experience.
BH: How do you see your profession evolving?
I think the level of graphic and interactive quality of the games are going to greatly increase. The power of the new computers, consoles, and motion devices are just going to improve and make the experience more and more realistic and immersive for the consumers.
BH: What titles are you currently working on now?
DC: We just shipped 3D Super Sniper 2. Super Sniper was a huge hit becoming the #2 paid app on iTunes and we have taken the game to a new level making it in 3D and adding a lot of content. We have a few other titles on the fire but are keeping our cards close to the chest with respect to them.
BH: Any advice to folks wanting to get into this industry?
DC: Yes, go for it if you are passionate about it. I got into the industry because I loved games and loved the idea of making games. The best ideas and work come from really being into it. I do however have to say that this can be a tough industry to be in, and it’s not easy to get into. People always say you have to work in the industry to get in the industry. Many companies demand you work very long hours fairly regularly because the ship dates are so important. There are not many companies such as ours that make it a point to not work crazy hours and try to keep family hours. There are definitely upsides to the industry such as flexible hours, casual dress, and it can be quite fun developing games especially since the industry is filled with very interesting and creative people.
BH: Thanks for the great insights Dave! Good luck with the latest installment of Super Sniper.
As Dave pointed out, Super Sniper 2 is live and ready to be played on your iPhone or iPod touch. Already, rave reviews are coming in from the fans and the game currently has a 5 star rating.
A bit about the game
The sequel to the SMASH HIT Super Sniper is finally here and it’s incredible.
We listened to our thousands of Super Sniper: War on Terror fans and have made this sequel knowing exactly what Sniper game fans want in the ultimate Sniper Game.
The action now takes place in glorious 3D and features the latest version of our groundbreaking Touch ‘n’ Tilt controls, allowing players to play EXACTLY as they like!
Back from your last mission to take out the Somali pirates, you find your city once again under seige by crazed terrorists. This time however it isn’t a small sleeper cell, but an entire army of AK wielding madmen.
Their M.O. is take over buildings forcing the inhabitants to flee onto the streets, they then pick them off one by one from their vantage points. These guys are pure evil.
You are the Super Sniper. The best there is, and you have been flown into the city with one goal. Take out these bastards and save as many civilians as you can.
Doesn’t sound too hard right? WRONG, these terrorists mean business and have acquired military grade armored helicopters, vast amounts of C4 explosive, and have highly trained bomb makers and operatives. They also have an almost unlimited supply of suicide bombers willing to die for “the cause”.
Good luck soldier. You’re gonna need it……
- WORLDWIDE All Time and Monthly Leaderboards for all control modes.
- Story Mode that ups the ante with each new mission.
- Incredible 3D City Zones
- Amazing Movie Quality sound effects and music.
- Realistic Blood splatter bullet effects
- Building destruction on a MASSIVE scale.
- Window snipers
- Rooftop snipers
- Bomb planters
- Repelling Terrorists re-taking cleared buildings
- Civilians running for their lives on the street as snipers pick them off one by one…
Download it now!
Want to download it for FREE?
Dave has generously allocated me 10 FREE download promos, which I’ll be handing out to the readers of UXbyDesign. Leave your comments, and you might get lucky!