The Rovio veterans at Finnish startup studio Epic Owl is ready with their first game; the multiplayer title “Starside Arena“, aimed at core gamers.
Starside Arena is a game wherein players build their own custom spaceship with the goal of challenging other players in deadly space duels. Since Epic-Owls inception, games aimed at core gamers on mobile devices have been the primary target, Epic Owl CEO, Juha Vainio, explains:
“It was always the starting point for us. Epic Owl’s mission is to bring mobile games to core gamers. Core gamers appreciate online multiplayer games so it’s an easy choice.” says, and continues to explain how Starside Arena has been tailored for the core gamer by focusing on the creativity and strategy of the players:
“What is great about Starside Arena is that it creates its own meta-layers from the ship designs made by the players. This means we avoid the content treadmill since content is done by the players and on the other hand, the game stays fresh and inherently renews itself through the meta created by thousands of different ship designs and design strategies.”.
There is no singleplayer in Starside Arena, meaning that Epic-Owl is dependent on building a community around the game if they want to keep it alive. This has meant that Epic Owl is spending a lot of time following the discussions on Internet forums, listening to the fans for essential feedback that allows them to build a game that makes the fans feel welcomed:
“We try to be active in all the different places that are currently having discussions about the game. All feedback is appreciated and we like talking about the game with our fans. After we’ve built a slightly bigger following, we will establish a centralised forum for the discussions. For now we are happy with e.g. TouchArcade.”, Vainio explains.
But engaging an active community isn´t the only challenge when relying on online multiplayer:
“The biggest challenges come from the server-side implementation and client-server communication which is vulnerable by nature.” Vainio says, and continues: “How to prevent cheaters from hacking themselves past the real players, that would make the game pointless for the majority of players. Another challenge is that the server needs to be very robust availability-wise. Connection to the server is required so if the server is down, no-one can play.”.
While Epic-Owl is hard at work with the launch of Starside Arena, it isn´t the only thing they have planned at the moment. While working on updates, they have also begun work on a yet to be announced title:
“We will keep on working with updates for Starside Arena. We have great stuff coming up and about 6 big updates already planned, along with smaller ones. We also have the high level design done for our second game and at some point next year we will establish a second game team and start working on that. Currently we are talking with interested investors to raise money to make all that happen.” Vainio concludes.
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