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Creating a mobile application game; Jumble Zoo – Idea concept to reality… Article

Creating an App studio start-up to be taken seriously in this day and age isn’t an easy task when you have a separate full time job!

My name’s Ben Kane and my good friend and co-founder of AppTrix, Ricky Gorringe decided almost two years ago to the day that we’d embark on a challenge that we hoped would change ours and our families lives. 

Over a few drinks discussing some stressful free-lance work that we were both engaged upon together we decided rather ambitiously to try our hand at creating a mobile application game, we brain-stormed several ideas and concepts. Ricky already had several up his sleeve and we sketched the very design that formed the heart of our soon to be launched app on a bar napkin! (see Evolution diagram, image 1!).

Ricky, a senior Graphic Designer by trade and me a General Manager of a business centre figured we would have some of the necessary skills that would be needed for the business start-up and app design.  

Taking inspiration from reading several publications, most notably; ‘App Empire’ by Chad Mureta (which became our start-up bible and we’d highly recommend to anyone in the same position!) we took off looking for developers to bring our ideas to reality. We found a fantastic UK based development company and we started out by designing a storyboard which after a few months ended up at version 12.0 and was eventually signed off! The real magic then commenced!    

Stepping away from the development process momentarily, the concept of our game is rather niche. The principles can be found in a host of games, however the content is completely unique for gaming and we’re hoping that it catches on like wildfire! Throughout testing we’ve seen such excitement and enjoyment, which is very humbling for game creators I must say.    

Jumble Zoo is the world first hybrid animal picture guessing game in which a selection of the planets craziest, cutest and rarest animals have been Jumbled for the users amusement! The idea is to guess the animals mixed into the ‘Jumble’ within the time, watch out for that timer! There’s a host of bonuses that can be swapped for in-game bananas for when the tougher ‘Jumbles’ start appearing, these feature 2,3 and 4 animals mixed into 1 or 2 hybrids! It does get tricky!  

We encountered our first real problem around 12 months into the development process. We’d primarily decided to develop the game for iOS, in the midst of testing the initial phases we decided to diversify into the Android market. Without a seconds hesitation we gave the green light for Android development and made the terrible mistake of not scanning the market for the potential product name. We put this down to our work-load at the time but retrospectively we know it was down to naivety. 

Much to our dismay we found a game on the Android market with the exact same product name, insert big sad faced emoticon! After reaching out to the people responsible for developing the game we were unable to reach an amicable deal to purchase the name so we had to rebrand the whole app and every single asset we had!  Nightmare, however, Jumble Zoo was born! (we like this name much better than the original so I guess things happen for a reason!?).

After many hours rebranding, the game now looked great and the game engine was playing well but something was missing….     

We decided we needed a host/game guide, someone/something to guide you through the game that was very easy on the eye. Boy did we select the right Monkey! Possibly the most famous monkey in the whole wide world!!   

Ever seen the monkey who took his own selfie on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi?? The Monkey that has made global news in over 4 countries due to an images right battle with the very photographer whose camera he used to take his own picture…!  

Inadvertently we started the ball rolling on the IP argument globally!! The photographer:  David J Slater, (a very nice man) was at a loss as to people using ‘his’ famous image without paying any royalties. We paid him for the licensing of course but many hadn’t. We shared with him a drag and drop image location finder and he allegedly located a rather large media outlet using the image against his will and the rest there shall we say is history: We’d already started affecting global news! To our anguish, it wasn’t for the quality of our game!

So, back to the development…. With famous game guide now in place, some stunning visuals including over 300 animals mixed into loveable ‘Jumbles’ and some really humorous sounds we were almost ready to go!  

Nobody however could have equipped us for the sheer workload that went into testing the game. Any start-ups looking to test their own game needing advice, please do touch base, we can probably save you a huge amount of time!!

We fully tested over 200 iterations of x2 different versions (Lite and full) over the two-year period. This equates to around 1200 hours of sheer testing effort between two people. We could have easily been sponsored by an energy drinks supplier! 

2 years on and after successful testing we’re finally in a place to release version 1.0 to the AppStore with Google Play versions to follow in a matter of weeks!

We considered many options for the launch of Jumble Zoo, however there was only one winner. Apps World, London. Come and see us at stand 401 for fun, games, laughter and a play of the most unique and quirky game of 2015!

We hope you love it as much as we do!!  

For those of you who would love to see the game but are unable to come to Apps World London please do reach out via our social channels below or the ‘notify me’ section of the website, we’d love to hear from you!!

We’d just like to take the opportunity to say how helpful and welcoming people have been with supporting us through the development process and it’s been a long time ambition for us both to make games, hopefully this the first of many!

VERY special mentions to; Carter Thomas and Mark Nagelmann of Blue Cloud, Mike Amerson of WET productions, Keith De Alwis of Creation Application and Soren Houe of Apps Gone Viral. Without the advice, motivation, help and support of these great people we wouldn’t have been able to make it through the process! Thanks guys, it’s been a pleasure so far. 

Please check out the website and sign up to the ‘notify me’ section to be emailed upon launch; 

lastly, tune into our growing social media pages on both Facebook and Twitter to join the fun! 

Much more to come from Ben & Ricky of AppTrix and Jumble Zoo!


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