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Stories Behind the Apps

Stories Behind the Apps: Wordspionage


Hey there Sean and Shannon, what is WordspionageWordspionage is a crossword-style game with innovative spy-themed moves that let you gain advantages and mess up your opponents. A few examples of these moves are: Surveillance where you spy on your opponent’s letters, Misdirection where you shuffle the multipliers on the game board, and Double Agent where you steal your opponent’s points. You can set game options such as standard or random placement of multipliers, the time limit per turn, and the word guess limit per turn. You can play against up to three players in one game and play up to 30 games simultaneously, so you can challenge many of your friends at once.


Sean Mann and his wife Shannon Ahn, founders of Napland Games.

Who created the app and what are your roles? Napland Games is made up of me, Sean Mann, and my wife, Shannon Ahn. I code, design artwork, maintain the server, provide tech support, and do everything in between. Shannon manages our marketing efforts, contributes creatively to the game, helps test games, and keeps me in line. We came up with the idea for Wordspionage together, and we collaborate on every aspect of our business.

How is Wordspionage different from similar apps or competitors?  At first glance Wordspionage might look like just another crossword-style game, but there’s so much more to it than forming words on a board. With our unique features, Wordspionage forces you to be on your toes and strategize beyond your next word. Even if you put down a high scoring word and feel confident about being in the lead, your opponent might use Sabotage to take half of your points away from you. The ‘Z’ you were planning to use in your next turn might be snatched away by your opponent using Switch. A triple word multiplier that you were eyeing might get blown away with Flash Bomb. All of this keeps the game exciting and unpredictable.

iconHow were the UI and logo created? We wanted the user interface to reflect the spy theme, so we made it sleek, dark, and minimalist with muted colors. The Wordspionage logo and the app icon are static representations of the animated logo we created, which has a white flash light moving back and forth behind black letters. You can see the animated logo in our trailer and gameplay demo videos and within the app.

04_35_retina_misdirection_640_960What tools assisted you in creating the app? I used App Game Kit (AGK) to program the game and Blender to create some of the game sprite images. I received a lot of help from folks at The Game Creators, especially those who actively participate in its game development forums. I used Stack Exchange a bit for non-AGK-related questions.

What lessons did you learn creating the app?  I’ve found that there are a lot of developers out there who are willing to help and answer questions. Even though the app business is extremely competitive, there’s a lot of information sharing between developers which creates a supportive environment.


What went right and wrong with the release? The development process took longer than we originally anticipated. Even though we went through many rounds of beta testing, various small bugs cropped up after the game was released. Since then we’ve fixed all the bugs and added new features that players have requested.
What were you two doing before WordspionageBefore starting Napland Games, I worked in the financial industry, and Shannon worked in nonprofit fundraising. A little over a year ago we decided to pursue our dreams of moving to sunny Florida from frigid Upstate New York, making video games, and running a business together.
What are some of your favorite apps? I can’t live without Feedly; it gives me all the news I care about in a friendly format. Shannon can’t live without Netflix; she loves binging on TV shows.
Head over to the App Store or Google Play to download Wordspionage.
Hey you app devs!  Wanna be featured like our friends at Wordspionage? Be sure to check out

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