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Tell us about your games app! Tap To Play is a growing collection of casual games (currently 11), that players can play alone or against others. You can find and challenge your friends, play against random players, chat with your opponents, compete in leaderboards, share your results, level up, and more.
How is Tap to Play different from similar apps? Tap To Play borrows the social aspect from Draw Something, Wordfeud, Ruzzle etc, but instead of playing one game, players get the chance to play many different games. We also made the chat a more central part of the experience, and added many interesting statistics to keep the players engaged.
We're confident that we've created a very good app. The menus feel slick, the games are easy to get into but very challenging, and we've made the app very social. One thing we're really proud of is that all our games are original. They do borrow some concepts from other games, but we didn't set out to do a collection of clones. We wanted to offer something unique.
We've also made the decision to go easy on monetization, because we want to focus on having happy users. There's not too many ads, and even though there are in app purchases to buy coins which allow you to unlock new games, we've made it possible to do everything without paying. There are many ways to earn coins, so you can unlock everything without spending anything. Off course, if players want to support us, the option is there to buy extra coins.
What went into the icon design and UI? When we designed the UI for Tap To Play we were trying to go for a native iOS feeling, but still keep it fun and colorful so it felt more like a game than an app. Since Tap To Play doesn't only contain games but a lot of UI as well, we had to spend a lot of time and thought into every screen and the flow of the app.
When we initially soft-launched the game we had a very simplistic icon of our mascot Otto on a yellow background to make it feel fresh – since after iOS7, flat icons were the trend. We felt rather quickly that we could lose a lot of players browsing the store with that icon because it did not really describe what our app was about, so we changed it to make it look more game-like and fun, and we added the hand to tie in with our title and game mechanics.
What went right and wrong with the release? My HTML5 skills have definitely improved. I also learned how to work with Unity's 2D sprite system, which was new at the time we started developing our app. Development went mostly smooth. Off course we ran into issues and bugs, but we managed to solve them all.
Marketing an app is tricky though. With thousands of apps coming our each month, it's hard to get noticed. I managed to get some exposure on local television and in local newspapers, which has helped give us some nice spikes in downloads, but those die down quickly each time. We have some users that really love the app, but it's not enough yet.
I think our main mistake was ignoring Twitter. We didn't create a following of fans before we launched, a mistake we're now rectifying.
Who is on the team and what are your roles? The app took 6 months to develop, with a team of 3 people: Sven Magnus (that's me) took care of the technical side, so I did the programming, server set up, and I also wrote the music and came up with the concept for about half the games in the collection. Mikael Tyrsen was the creative director. He designed all the menus, implemented them in HTML/CSS, and came up with the other game ideas. James Sparkman did all character designs, graphics and animations.We also had some outside help for the translations, from my mom and dad (for German and French), and from outside contractors.
What were you doing prior to creating Tap to Play? I'm a freelance game developer from Belgium, who works for clients and on personal projects. Some years ago, I came in contact with Mikael (who lives in LA) through the internet. We've worked on numerous projects for clients together, but this is the first personal project we did together.
James has been working with Mikael for a while too. They know each other in real life, but since I live in Belgium, I've never actually met them. Off course, once the money starts rolling in, I'll go visit them!
What other apps inspire you? Definitely Facebook and Messenger. I do about 90% of my digital communication through Facebook, whether it's chatting with friends or with clients. On the iPad, I use GarageBand a lot to record bass and guitar for my band. I also play WordFeud a lot – and I always win 🙂
Head over to the App Store to download Tap to Play!