Developer Interview: Arthur Ham, Developer for Run!

mzl_dfcdfifc_100x100-75 Recently we had an opportunity to interview Arthur Ham, the developer of Run! the popular reaction game that was recently reviewed by The Current Gamer. Link to Review

This is the second in a series of Developer interviews. Learning more about Arthur Ham’s story helped me appreciate even more just how much the iTunes app store is changing the landscape of the casual and mobile gaming market. I really enjoyed learning more about Arthur’s story, and I think you all will as well. I think after reading this you may, like me, feel good about the direction the casual and mobile gaming space is headed.

Here is my interview:

The Current Gamer: First of all, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started as an indie developer for the iPhone/iTouch?

Arthur: I’m a fresh college graduate who likes making simple, high quality games as a hobby. The story of my entry into iPhone development doesn’t actually begin with Run!, but with a virtual pet app called Pet Playpen that I co-developed with a friend. This was back in December 2008 while we were both still in college and incredibly ambitious. Determined to make the next big and original app, we often secretly discussed our ideas in the middle of class, blatantly ignoring vital midterm material in the process. Ultimately, we ended up creating Pet Playpen since we thought it was simple and knew the demand would be high, judging by the phenomenon of the Tamagotchi years ago. Because I had such a blast making Pet Playpen, I knew I wanted to continue making games in the future.


The Current Gamer: What made you decide on the iPhone/iTouch as a platform for your games?

Arthur: Everyone has probably heard how easy it is to start developing and getting something in the App Store, but it doesn’t really register until you personally know someone who’s already done it. When I found out a classmate of mine had already published several apps, I was convinced that this was the best platform for someone like me with very little real-world software development experience. After getting past the initial hurdles of learning the iPhone SDK, everything started clicking and I found myself learning more and more about some of the neat ways I could create games on such a great little device.

I also believe the iPhone platform is perfectly suited for the simple and casual games I plan to make. Everyone carries their iPhone around, and as a result, they carry around with them a library of games that they can quickly pick up and play whenever they have a couple of minutes to spare.



The Current Gamer: Based just on what I can see in the credits for your game, it looks like you developed Run! as a one man team aside from one other person for QA. How did this impact the development of your game, and what are the positives/negatives of working on a game this way?

Arthur: Working alone has the obvious drawback in that it takes much, much longer to complete a game. On the two-man team for Pet Playpen, we split the game evenly into two parts. We each only had to worry about our own portion of the game. If one of us ran into a problem in the other’s territory, we simply gave it to the other to solve and continued on. When I couldn’t figure out why my virtual penguin laid four times the amount of poop it should have, I ran this by the other developer who instantly knew where to look to solve the problem. You don’t get that kind of luxury as a sole developer.

On the flip side, working alone on a game means you don’t feel guilty letting your team down when you take 5 or 6 days off from work to play Rock Band instead. You can work anytime and anywhere. You have the creative freedom to do whatever you want with your game.


The Current Gamer: How did you come up with the idea for Run!?

Arthur: The idea behind Run! came from a mini-game I was developing for Pet Playpen called “Frisbee Fetch”. In that game, your goal is to flick a frisbee in the air and have your pet chase and catch it within a certain distance. To simulate the chasing of the frisbee, the pet runs in place while the environment moves behind it. I thought this was a neat idea and began to think of ways to turn this concept into a full-fledged game. As I was trying to fall asleep one night, I started coming up with the basic premise of the game. I was so excited about it that I started working on it the very next morning, just to see if it was a feasible project. I almost missed my afternoon class that day!



Frisbee Fetch mini-game in Pet Playpen


The Current Gamer: How long was the development process for Run!?

Arthur: The development process started in April and concluded in August. I created a working app in about two days, using randomly colored blocks as placeholders for obstacles. The brick walls were brown, zombies were purple and the person was green. To animate punching, I simply extended and retracted the right side of green block. When I showed this to a few close friends of mine, they thought I was nuts.


Looks familiar doesn’t it?


However, I soon placed its development aside because graduation was fast approaching and I had my eyes set on another app I was developing. When I realized how time-consuming my other idea was, I picked up where I left off with Run! in July. I spent the next month and a half working on it full-time, creating the graphics, developing the achievement system and creating my own custom global leaderboard.


The Current Gamer: Right now Run! is #18 in the top 25 paid apps in the iTunes store, and your game has received very positive feedback from the iPhone gaming media. How do you feel about the publics reaction to your game?

Arthur: I’m glad that people are not only enjoying the addictive gameplay, but also appreciating the humor of it all. Despite being such a hectic game, I tried to inject as many entertaining bits in as possible, such as adding in an evil-looking walrus and the ability to punch sharks out of your way. I’m also very surprised and honored that some people are comparing Run! to some of the best simple games like Doodle Jump in terms of addictiveness. It’s comments like these that motivate me to put in a little more effort each time I work towards developing an update.


The Current Gamer: What has the fast success of Run! done for you as an indie developer?

Arthur: It has definitely proved to me that I can at least make a decent and entertaining game. Hopefully, whenever my next game comes out, people will remember Run! and continue to support all the hard work and effort I put into making it.


The Current Gamer: Are you planning continued support for Run!?

Arthur: Definitely. I’m currently working on the next update as we speak. There are still many features I originally planned to have in Run! that I’m hoping to add in the future, including power up items and other wacky obstacles. I also have a growing list of great ideas that fans have already submitted. Like our bathroom-sign shaped hero in Run!, there is no limit as to how far this can go.


The Current Gamer: What can we expect to see from you in the future? Do you have any new projects coming up?

Arthur: Updates for Run! will be my main concentration for the time being, but expect to see other dead-simple games like Run! in the future.

Published in: on September 24, 2009 at 12:07 pm  Comments (1)  
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Review: Run! from Arthur Ham Score 5/5


   – Review by Robert N. Mullen

There are certainly more than a few reaction games available on the iTunes store. Run! is another reaction game, but don’t let this keep you from taking a look. During my time with the game I quickly became hooked, and found more substance than I would typically expect from a game in this genre.

  The controls of Run are simple, but work very well. Simply swipe up to jump, swipe down to slide. You can also tap on certain obstacles such as brick walls and boulders to shoot and destroy them. Tap the sole action button in the game to pull off a running punch, or in the air for a flying kick. The controls really make this game. The controls are exremely well adapted to the device, and feel very natural. I found sliding under a barricade, or fly kicking a zombie to be quite intuitive and very enjoyable.

  You will find a variety of obstacles as you run including metal barricades, the aformentioned brick walls and boulders, sharks, walrus, zombies, springboards and more. As you progress forward, new obstacles are added into the mix as you level up.

  The music in the game is fun and fitting. I also noticed there are some really nice subtle touches such as a scenery change in the background changing from day to dusk, to night after each retry.

  As with any truly great iPhone game, you will find global online leaderboards, and achievements, adding replayability to an already addicting title. Another fun feature is a page with additionaly tracked stats such as your average score, total score, and a “death by” chart that shows you just how many times you have been killed by some of the games main obstacles and enemies.

  The developer has already posted some details for the next update that include an additional gameplay mode, new achievements, and, best of all, new obstacles.

  Overall, Run! is tons of fun, and quite addicting. I can enthusiastically recommend this game as the next must-have addition to your iPhone gaming collection.

 I give this game 5 drop kicked sharks/ our of 5

The Current Gamer

The weekend starts now for iPhone gamers with a ton a great new releases

 Apple’s approval team must have been very busy last might as there are quite a few great new games available today. Here are a few notable titles worth checking out:


Hybrid: Eternal Whisper from Gamevil Inc. A high energy action title with RPG elements – $5.99




  Super Shock Football from Chillingo. A very unique football game based on a remnent of the past – $1.99



 Robocalypse from Mobile Mayhem. An RTS brought over from the DS with online multiplayer – $4.99




 Unify from Zach Gage. A stylized block drop puzzler. – $0.99



 iBlast Moki from Godzilab. I very neat physics puzzler with a level editor for sharing your own levels online – $1.99


The Current Gamer

Published in: on September 18, 2009 at 4:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Gamevil’s new release Hybrid: Eternal Whisper is out now!

Hybrid: Eternal Whisper

Fans of the popular iPhone RPG Zenonia will be happy find find Hybrid is now available on the app store. Hybrid is quite a bit different then Zenonia, but is still a title for the more hardcore gamer. The gameplay is more similar to Ninja Gaiden or Devil May Cry then Zelda.

   We are preparing a review for Hybrid now, and will have it up for you as soon as possible. The game has a TON of content so it is taking some time to get through before we can staart writing up the final review. One interesting little tidbit I’ll share is that this time Gamevil has implemented online leaderboards for thier game.  Hybrid is available for $5.99 

Published in: on September 18, 2009 at 2:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Dungeon Hunter by Gameloft Available now



  Dungeon Hunter, Gameloft’s version of Diablo is available on the iPhone today for $6.99. Here is a trailer recently released for the game:

 Fans of Diablo and action RPG’s should should check this title out.

The Current Gamer

Published in: on September 17, 2009 at 5:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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I Dig It Sequel coming this Holiday Season!



   The fine people at Touch Arcade ran into InMotion Software at GDC Austin and got some great information on InMotions next game: I Dig It Expeditions. Here is a link to thier full article with details on the sequel:

 It looks like the sequel, due out this holiday saeson will feature multiple levels in various exotic locations around the world. With a recent update, I Dig It now features 2 different locdations, but it appears the sequel will have quite a bit more content. There also appear to be new power-ups in the works as well. Personally, I’m most interested in all those new diggins they must be adding….mmmmm diggins…..

 What? Oh sorry I got distracted…. Anyways check out the full article on Touch Arcade at the link above for more details. Hopefully we can get some additional details from InMotion for you soon!

Published in: on September 17, 2009 at 4:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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