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Stories Behind the Apps

Powerslyde Profiles: Stories Behind The Apps – Arena Of Heroes


It's been an amazing road for the team at Sneaky Games.  The global launch of Arena of Heroes back in June 2013 landed it as a featured app on the App Store.  Fast forward to seven months and boom – Arena of Heroes is back in the App Store limelight.  Tell us about the app. Arena of Heroes is a free to play game that is the first of its kind – the first ever Turn-Based MOBA and the first completely Cross-Platform MOBA.

Players can battle in realtime or asynchronously against friends and foes in turn-based MOBA style, or test their tactics against the A.I. in fierce single-player modes. And if they're are up to the challenge… players can climb the PVP Ranked Leaderboard to become a champion of the Arena!


AoH is currently on 7 platforms, namely iOS (iPad and iPhone), Android, PC, Mac, OUYA, and even on the web! A player’s account can be used across all platforms, meaning that if you make progress on one platform, it transfers wherever your account goes. You can also start, stop and restart the same exact battle on any and all platforms you wish. That is, you can play two or three turns on your iPad, and then continue the game on your iPhone or Android if you want.

Marshall Adair, Studio Head for Sneaky Games

Marshall Adair, Studio Head for Sneaky Games

Seven platforms – wow!  Who is the team behind Arena of HeroesYeah, we have a bad ass team. We've been working together for years now, and have an inspiring outlook on production.

John Wussow, our Director of Technology, heads up the programming team and works brilliantly with Jon McClure (Lead Engineer) and Chris Jones (Senior Programmer). It is from their minds that we are able to play a MOBA in realtime turns or asynchronously, and on any platform we wish. They make the magic work (or break… depending).

Eric Hart, our Creative Director, gives life to game's vision and artistic areas. He works both directly on the game and art within it, but also directs Drew Johnson (Lead Concept Artist) and outsourcing artists to produce amazing work.


As for our production and design, there is myself, Marshall Adair, and I'm Sneaky Games' studio head and cheerleader. Also is Keith Brown, our Associate Producer and Designer, as well as our MOBA guru and Community Manager, Compy (Dave Quarles).

Tell us more about the design and UI.  Our game is a sci-fi themed MOBA, and so we wanted to make sure it felt like you're in the future while you play.  Our UI is themed as if it was created by intergalactic agency, which acts as the proctor for the Arena of Heroes.  As players battle, they'll notice the UI to have lots of classic MOBA design elements and information, but with the added layer of information required for a Turn-Based game.

Map Layout

Arena of Heroes UI.

What tools did you use for creating the app?  Mainly Xcode, git and AWS.

What lessons did you learn building this app?  Building software is hard.  Having great tools is very helpful.  Having used Xcode for quite a while, I’ve seen it go through some interesting transitions.  Xcode 5 has made a lot of progress and I commend Apple for doing it’s very best to deliver developers awesome tools.  We especially like the new basic profiling tools that are built right in.  Very helpful.

What went right and wrong with the development and release?  One of the most difficult things an engineering team will face is shipping a product. Shipping a 1.0 is the hardest by far. It’s so easy to find reasons why your product isn’t ready yet. “We can’t ship because it doesn’t have feature X or feature Y.” But when you look at the big picture, product development is iterative and you really have to come up with a set of requirements for a 1.0 that is viable and achievable. Sometimes that just means saying no to some features and prioritizing others. I joke that I’m “Chief No Officer” at Mustbin. But seriously for every hundred nos, there’s a yes that makes total sense.

Steve Jobs once said “Real artists ship.” And I couldn’t have put it better myself. This is the guy who shipped iOS (then iPhone OS) 1.0 without Copy/Paste! But when Apple finally came around to doing Copy/Paste, they nailed it. We have the same philosophy. We have brilliant, very creative people here that come up with amazing ideas every day. All of those ideas are welcome and are encouraged to be captured in our backlog. We then review our priority regularly and focus on the set of features that makes sense and deliver them (in 2 week sprints). We ship, sometimes not everything we want, but we ship!

Sentry Tower

How is the team holding up post launch?  Good.  Our team is awesome.  We all came from varied backgrounds, some startups, some consulting, and some big companies.  I feel fortunate. It’s an inspiring group to be around.  

What are some of your other favorite apps? I like Apple apps a lot. I use the iOS 7 camera app daily.  I love the simplicity and free texting of the Messages app which helps me stay connected with my wife and my son.  Calendar and Reminders keep me sane.  The Remote app for our Apple TV is the best for movies and Netflix (which I love to watch with my 2 year old son.)

For third party apps, Twitter is basic but gets the job done.  Facebook’s design is OK but I mainly use it to help me stay in touch with family and friends that I normally wouldn’t be able to regularly communicate with.  Instagram has awesome UI (even though I’m no longer an active user).  Finally Uber is a well-built app with inspiring UX and UI.  Love that simple minimalist design.

Hey you!  Wanna be featured like our friends at Arena of Heroes? Be sure to check out www.powerslyde.com/developers.

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