Whether you love or hate bugs, Pinoy game developer Gigadrill Games’ new title should be of interest to you. “Finger VS Bugs” is a casual mobile game that pits your finger against armies of ants and other creepy crawlies. You know what that means: total, non-stop, bug-crushing mayhem!
The object of the game is simple enough: crush all the bugs that travel down the screen. Some are killed with a single tap. Others, like giant ants, take a couple of more hits to defeat. Every critter that makes it to the bottom damages you; should your life bar dwindle to zero, you lose.
Ants compose the bulk of the bug army, but others, like disgusting cockroaches, show up every once in a while to torment you. How quickly the creatures travel depends on their size and species, and also on your chosen mode of play. The “Kids” mode is easier, with slower and fewer bugs. “Classic” is the real challenge, and will have you tapping so fast you might forget to breathe.
The bugs’ spawn rate depends on how quickly and the order in which you flatten them. Therefore, while they don’t spawn randomly, it’s difficult to predict when, where, and how often they appear.
You can even play simultaneously on the same screen with your friends, which is great if you want to spend some time with your friends or kids.
From gamer to game developer
Gigadrill Games is the game development outfit of its founder and sole developer, JC Claridad.
As one can expect, Claridad is a serious gamer, with his favorite series including “Final Fantasy,” “Super Mario,” “The Legend of Zelda,” “Mega Man,” “Resident Evil,” “Breath of Fire,” “Pokemon,” “Digimon,” and “Monster Rancher.” But playing video games was not enough for him. Eventually, his curiosity about how these fantastic experiences are created urged him to learn how to program and design his own games.
Claridad has been designing video games since 2009. He first learned how to make games through self-study. Then, as an employee at one of the earlier game development companies in the country, he was trained to develop Flash games, such as those you can find on Facebook, Kongregate, Armorgames, Newgrounds, and Y8.
Claridad has a cute reason for creating “Finger VS Bugs.”
“I made this game for my son,” he explained, adding that his child, who is just shy of three years old, loves looking at ants and is often tempted to touch them.
“I feel like it’s not good to play with real ants, and it’s quite dangerous, that’s why I made this game,” he stated. He then realized the concept was something he could develop into a full game, which is why we now have “Finger VS Bugs.”
A one-man game development effort
Claridad has faced several challenges as an indie game designer.
Because Gigadrill Games has no artists to help Claridad produce his games’ visuals, he purchases readymade graphic assets online.
“I don't have a graphic artist, that's why I need to buy graphic assets online, like sprites, 3d models, particle effects, etc.,” he explained. “And I need to hire a friend to do the marketing materials like game icons, screenshots, and banners for the App Store.”
Claridad also has a day job as a game developer and programmer, so he can’t work on his personal projects full time. Development on his own games is on and off due to deadlines and busy schedules.
Then, of course, come the budget issues.
“Because I’m the only one making this game, everything is so limited, and that includes money for hiring graphic artists to do all the assets for the game full time,” he said.
He also has a limited budget to hire a full marketing team, and to advertise his game through online marketing campaigns such as Facebook Ads and Google AdWords.
“I do the marketing on my own, going to different Facebook groups, making write-ups on the Reddit playmygame category, going to different indie game sites to promote my games, making a Facebook page, making a Twitter account for tweeting to prominent people in the game industry or to get the attention of other people, and a lot of other marketing things.”
He added that, without marketing, “your game will just disappear like a bubble in any App Store, like Google Play Store, iTunes App Store, Amazon App Store, and more.”
Claridad therefore does a huge majority of the work, from programming and game design, to editing graphic assets and audio such as sound effects and background music, and everything mentioned above.
Despite these challenges, Claridad remains passionate about developing his own games. It is, in fact, an extremely rewarding experience for him.
“The most rewarding thing for me is when people actually play and enjoy my game, and share it to other people,” he said. “That feeling is so addicting, that's why I still make games even though it's so hard, challenging and expensive.”
Claridad admitted that competing against big game companies, which are now dominating the mobile game industry, is “like picking a fight with titans.” Nevertheless, the financial reward of making games also keeps him going.
As Claridad seeks to learn all aspects of game development, he also plans to continue making games that “everyone will like and play.”
For more information about Gigadrill Games, visit its official website. You can find out more about “Finger VS Bugs” through its Facebook Page.
“Finger VS Bugs” is available on iOS and Android devices. Check it out on the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store. — TJD, GMA News