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Gravoor: Indie Gaming Made in Sheffield

Gravoor is an independently created game by Sheffield-based studio Scrapbook Development Limited, originally started as a high school project almost ten years ago. Back then, the primary way to publish a homemade game was to use sites like Newgrounds, and people still do that today. But with the launch of the App Store and various iOS devices, Scrapbook have managed to get their game out to a much wider audience. You play as a perfectly round ball equipped with just two big eyes. Gravoor’s mission is to reach the end of each level while avoiding various obstacles, traps and walls. This game is essentially a puzzler with very addictive gameplay. There are a total of 60 levels spanning themed worlds, each with their own distinguishable look and difficulty curves. You can try to reach the target times to increase replay value (or for bragging rights) or take your time navigating the game at a steady pace. The game itself is extremely easy to get into. You just use your finger to direct Gravoor in the desired direction. The further way you touch the screen, the faster Gravoor will travel, and vice versa; the closer you touch, the slower Gravoor will move. This adds a tactical depth when deciding how to tackle a certain level or individual obstacle. Along the way, you'll come across numerous pickups that are needed progress. For example, Gravoor can be scaled down to fit through narrow spaces, or he can be enlarged, allowing you to crush enemies that would previously be unbeatable. Some very interesting level designs have been implemented, allowing for often frustrating but extremely fun gameplay, and it’s because of this that the game is so easy to pick up and play, despite its difficulty. To extend replayability, you can unlock a number of achievements as part of the Game Center. You can buy the game for just 69p. For that price I highly recommend getting your teeth into it. I spoke with the game's Technical Director Ashley Collins-Richardson and Creative Director Chris Gray about the creation of Gravoor. What were the influences behind Gravoor? I feel we owe a lot to the relatively obscure Japanese Game Boy Advance launch title Kuru Kuru Kururin and the Super Monkey Ball series. How long did it take to create an iOS version? From concept to delivery it took about seven months to develop. Treading into iOS gaming territory was new ground for us. Any plans for a PSN, Xbox Live or Nintendo eStore release? We are currently establishing an agreement with Sony to develop PSN titles for both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita in the very near future, which we think will provide a great opportunity to bring Gravoor to console. Will there be a level editor in future versions of the game? Should Gravoor come to console, most definitely! We do feel that there is a good opportunity to make a level building community for Gravoor like Little Big Planet. So it is definitely something we are planning. What is it like to be an indie game developer? Being an indie games developer gives you a lot of freedom which can sometimes be a double edged sword. You want to make the best game possible but you also have limited resources so you have to find the right balance in order to be successful. Will there be a Gravoor 2? I think we will certainly see the return of Gravoor. It is something that people enjoy playing. I think we will have a good opportunity to expand greatly on it over the next year or so. Any advice for people wanting to get into the indie dev scene? Never give up! Games development may have its rewards but is never short of challenges. Programming is something that you can only understand the more you do. It is always important to work hard when studying. Get used to being confident around people. Games development is a very team-based profession, where you have to be able to communicate with each other effectively to achieve the task at hand. scrapbookdev.com @followscrapbook )

Next article in issue 70

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