Category Archives: Game Development

Activision Party Continued

EminemHere’s a more thorough (although somewhat pessimistic) run-through of the acts at the Activision party, from my favorite game website, Kotaku. Also, I forgot to mention earlier one of the best parts of the evening: free beer, wine, and concession stand food! You could just walk up to any counter, order what you want, and they would ring you up for it. But then you could walk away without paying, with no fear of being tackled by a security guard! Later in the evening I think the Staples Center staff was anxious to charge Activision for as much food as they could, because they were literally walking up to people and handing them pretzels and boxed candy.

Activision E3 Party 2010 and UsherLast night’s Activision E3 party in LA was pretty freakin’ awesome. Usher,, a bunch of renowned DJs, Tony Hawk, Jane’s Addiction, Soundgarden, Travis Barker (the drummer from Blink-182), the lead singer from Tool, an intense set from Eminem, Rihanna… and those are just the artists I recognized!

They also presented the best game trailer-watching experience I’ve ever had, with massive real-life pyrotechnics accompanying the gunfire and explosions as a helicopter blew stuff up on-screen for Call of Duty: Black Ops (all to a riveting score performed by a full live orchestra).

But the best experience of the night was shaking hands with LeVar Burton, famous for his role as Geordi La Forge on Star Trek and as the host of Reading Rainbow!!! We knew he would be at the show from a Tweet he posted earlier yesterday, and while at the show we found him standing on the dance floor directly in front of us! After causing enough ruckus, he came over and gave us handshakes and fist bumps. When we failed to take a picture with him due to the iPhone’s lack of a flash, he hand-signaled FOUR-POINT-OH to us as he melted back into the crowd (the soon-to-be-released iPhone 4 will have an LED flash built into its camera). Amazing.

Reading Rainbow

Exciting Placement For Javaground Mobile Games

This is really old news, but it’s still pretty cool, so I wanted to throw it up here anyway. During the Apple iPhone 3.0 Firmware/SDK unveiling, one of our testers noticed that Apple had our Wheel of Fortune game installed on their demo iPhone. Projected on the big screen and everything! Here’s the screenshot that the tester captured:


Also – and again, old news – Kotaku had posted a brief article about the mobile titles 007: Top Agent and Ghostbusters coming to the iPhone. Ghostbusters was ported by one of my dev buddies at Javaground, and of course Top Agent is my baby. They’re both available now, but it’s still cool that Kotaku had announced the impending release of these titles.

Zombieland Success!

Coinciding with the Zombieland DVD and Blu-Ray release, the iPhone game I developed, iZombieland, is soaring on the charts! It’s currently ranked at #18 on the Top Paid Apps list (that’s out of ALL apps!), and my friend at Sony told me it reached #12 at one point! The game is getting some amazing love – there is an insert in the DVD advertising the game, and Apple will list the game in the “What’s Hot” section later in the week, which should boost it even higher! I feel like I need to buy the movie now, just to get the insert…

Also, this is the perfect opportunity for me to show off the Zombieland poster that our Javaground artists made for the game. It looks great, and features some of our favorite review quotes!

Zombieland Poster



Zombieland is a horror/comedy zombie movie now showing in theatres. It’s also a side scrolling gore-fest mobile game that I developed! It has recently been released on all major carriers, including iPhone.

Zombieland Screenshot 1So far it’s getting pretty darn good reviews, which is exciting. It has a four-star rating (out of five) on the iTunes App Store. And Touch Arcade incredulously labeled it a “fun movie game.”

For more information, you can check out the Sony Pictures page for the game, or for a more loving treatment of the game, see the Facebook fan page, which was created by the producer of the game.

Zombieland Screenshot 2Now bear in mind that if you’re going to check out the game on iTunes, it’s listed as iZombieland there. The original Zombieland application is a simple free app developed strictly for marketing purposes, and unfortunately has not received very favorable reviews. So don’t get it confused with our zombie-slaughtering action game!

All the screenshots here are from the iPhone version of the game, which has the highest blood-to-zombie ratio. Hooray for headshots!

Zombieland Screenshot 3

Zombieland Screenshot 4

Zombieland Screenshot 5

Zombieland Screenshot 6

Zombieland Screenshot 7

UniWar Now Available on iPhone!

Javaground’s first independent game, UniWar, is now available for purchase on the iPhone and iPod Touch through the App Store. We plan to charge $7.99 for the game (believe me it’s worth it), but to boost awareness of the game, we’re currently only charging 99 cents. Golly, that makes me want to go get an iPhone just so I can buy UniWar for a dollar!

If you missed my feature post on the game, you can read it all here. And if you do buy the game, feel free to challenge me to a match. My player name is ‘jason,’ and even without an iPhone, I have my own means of playing the game. 😉

We also found another preview of UniWar, which is noteworthy because it refers to Javaground as the developer of Wheel of Fortune for the iPhone. It looks like working on such a well-known game may pay off through name recognition!

Additional versions of the game, which will allow you to play with any other players, including iPhone users, will become available soon.

UniWar Logo

Wheel of Fortune and iPhone, Together At Last

My latest project, which I finished right before leaving on my Kenya trip, is rather high-profile. Wheel of Fortune is one of the most popular TV shows in America, and the iPhone is all the rage right now. I had the honor of programming the mash-up between these two giants, the Wheel of Fortune mobile game for iPhone and iPod Touch, which we affectionately refer to as “iWOF.”

iwof-01Now don’t let me take too much credit here: I didn’t write the whole game, just the iPhone version. The biggest task for this project was to create flashier, higher-resolution art that matches the latest season of the television show. Plus there were a number of minor rule changes, the most noticeable of these being the addition of the Million Dollar Wedge. Yes, you can win ONE MILLION DOLLARS on Wheel of Fortune now, but meeting all the requirements is statistically impossible. Still, that didn’t stop this woman. We also added trophies. Because, y’know, you gotta have trophies. Even Sony agrees now.

As for the mobile game itself, it’s been a roaring success. We watched the game’s sales ranking rise daily after its release. I had heard that at one point, it reached #13 on the iTunes Top Paid Games list. Currently it’s hovering in the middle of the Top 50 list at a respectable #29.

iwof-03The reviews for the game have been exceptionally good as well. Everyone seems to praise the gameplay and art, while only criticizing the same small list of shortcomings: no Pat Sajak or Vanna White (Sony would bankrupt themselves trying to license their likenesses),?no multiplayer. What’s been funny is people who complain about the rules of the game, without understanding how the latest season of the show works. I’ve seen people criticize the wheel layout (it’s copied directly from the design layout for the show itself), and the biggest complaint is that when you select “Normal Mode” it starts with Toss-Up Rounds. Normal Mode is meant to replicate the game show experience exactly, and the show starts with two Toss-Up Rounds! Overall, though, it seems like most people who like the show love the game, and that’s a great feeling.

There are also some more in-depth web-based reviews that are worth checking out. I love this guy’s mocking criticisms of some of the puzzles. I agree that some of the puzzles seem totally random, but they came directly from the show’s writers, so I don’t know what the deal is with that. And this guy supposedly has a video review of the game, but it’s actually just a silent video of him playing, with some jazz music overlayed to spruce things up.

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Wheel of Fortune Title Screen