SA game developer Thoopid has been hard at work on its side-scrolling physics-based platform game, Snailboy, and MyGaming caught up with the developer to find out more about the progress on the project as well as the South African gaming market and community.
With regards to Snailboy specifically, the Cape Town-based studio explain that the popularity and dynamics of mobile gaming, along with the elements of physics-based platforming, helped conceptualise the idea for Snailboy.
“When it comes to mobile gaming, we know that a great experience is reliant on an awesome game mechanic and user experience, so our game had to encapsulate that,” said Thoopid.
“With those insights in mind we came up with the concept of being able to stretch our main character, almost like an elastic band, and essentially being able to sling him across the stage, which, in turn sparked the concept for a stretchy little guy called Snailboy… and so Snailboy was born”.
Snailboy features a unique and interesting visual style, reminiscent of a Pixar or Dreamworks animated movie, and the studio is well aware of its inspirations and pays close attention to detail.
“We wanted to design a really lovable character that would appeal to a broad audience as well as give us an option to easily adapt him into merchandise, toys… and if Pixar came knocking, an animated feature,” joked Thoopid.
“But I guess the rich visual aesthetic came from our childhood influences and our own passion for craft. Being from an interactive design and animation background, we know the magic is in the details so we spent a lot of time crafting the environments and world detail. The Thoopid team even injected some of our own unique little character traits.”
Regarding the South African game development scene, Thoopid sees a bright future for the tip of Africa to make an impact on the global gaming scene.
“South Africa has the potential to be one of the top game developing countries in the world. Game development is a growing industry, and South Africa is growing steadily with it. We have no doubt that we will soon see a lot more South African companies breaking into the scene, adding our unique twist on the gaming world. There is immense talent in our country, and we at Thoopid, are proud to be part of the growing trend.”
As for the South African market as a whole, Thoopid sees the great growth potential in the country despite the size of the community in comparison to first world countries.
“At the moment, the market is relatively small in comparison to the gaming giants, Europe and the U.S. However, while the game sales dropped in the U.S by 9% in 2012, South Africa’s continued to rise. The gaming community in South Africa is said to spend billions of rands on gaming each year,” said Thoopid.
“We already have a large group of avid gamers in our country, but with the recent popularity of smart phones and tablets, South Africa’s gaming community and market is rapidly increasing to include the everyday, casual gamer. As of late, statistics show that the demographic is evolving and we find a lot more women are playing games, both as hardcore and casual gamers.”
“With increased internet speeds in South Africa, gamers are now able to play online, multiplayer games as well as sharing through Facebook integration (which has also played a big role in the growth of South Africa’s mobile gaming market). Someday soon, South Africa will be recognised as one of the gaming giants of the world,” said Thoopid.
Pricing hasn’t been confirmed yet, but Snailboy is set to be released on IOS and Android in September/ August with development on a Ouya version set to start in September.