Meet the Developer: Tic Tap
For many mobile game developers, working solo on a game is a common reality, one not unknown to Jadd Zayed.
Founder of Tic Tap, a mobile game studio just shy of a year old, Jadd has already released two titles which have seen international success. Homa Games sat down with Jadd to discuss the story of Tic Tap, the challenges of working as a solo developer and his processes when it comes to creating a hit hyper-casual game.
1. So let’s start by getting to know your studio a little better… how did Tic Tap first start?
Tic Tap was founded in 2018 as a studio dedicated to bringing players mobile games which are engaging, polished, and most of all – fun to play! After developing and releasing two worldwide Apple featured games with other studios, I felt I had built up the technical skills and confidence to deliver successful mobile games on my own.
2. So you’re a one-man team… what are some of the benefits and challenges of working solo in game development?
The main benefit of working as a solo developer is that I have direct control over the development cycle of my games. I’m ultimately responsible for the design, programming and support of my games, so it’s important for me to work in a way that allows me to maintain a high standard of quality, while delivering to both players and partners in a timely manner.
Being a one-man team definitely has its challenges though. Depending on the scope of the project it can be difficult to juggle all facets of game development at once, especially during crunch times or near release. I work around this though by planning ahead and keeping projects tightly scoped.
3. Were you always interested in mobile gaming? What motivated you to create a studio and get into this industry?
Absolutely! I’ve been a huge gamer since I was a child and always wanted to create my own games for a living. As a solo developer I wanted to create simple, high quality games that could be enjoyed by everyone, so the accessible nature of mobile gaming was an obvious choice in that respect.
4. So your latest published game was Ping.io – can you tell us the inspiration behind this game?
Ping.io was heavily inspired by a multiplayer game I used to play a long time ago with friends. I believed that the simple controls and competitive gameplay made it a great party game, and felt that same feeling hadn’t really been captured in a mobile game.
However, Ping.io in its essence really takes the tried and true gameplay of Pong and flips it on its head by adding more players, more balls and fiercer competition!
5. Generally speaking, what is your thought and design process when it comes to creating a game?
I always try to design games that are fun and accessible for everyone, but more importantly I just want to create games that people want to play!
When I have an idea for a game, I’ll often ask myself “is this a game that anyone, regardless of gaming experience or skill level can pick up and play?” If I firmly believe that answer is a yes, I’ll spend time experimenting and coming up with ways to make that game both challenging, and satisfying to keep players coming back for more. One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned in game development is that you can never underestimate the power of iteration when it comes to building upon game ideas.
6. What programs or developing engines do you use to create your games? Is there a secret recipe for game making that you’d be willing to share with developers?
I use primarily use Unity 3D due to its robustness in creating any type of game, and its support for almost every platform. Unfortunately, there is no secret recipe when it comes to game making that I can share other than to start making games right away (as cliché as that sounds!)
The games I first started to make were terrible, unpolished and had no concept of game feel. But like anything, you naturally develop your skill set through repetition. The more games you make, the more you will develop a knack for what makes a game polished and fun to play. You will learn techniques and workflows which you can use throughout every game you make, whether that be in a technical, or design sense. Game development is always a learning process.
7. We noticed a number of games you’ve created on mobile fall into the category of “hyper-casual” games… do you anticipate that this is a category of mobile games that will continue to trend among mobile developers?
Definitely. Nearly everyone has a mobile device, but not everyone is necessarily a gamer. Hyper-casual games bridge that gap and can make gaming accessible for everyone.
Of course like any trend, hyper-casual games are becoming more, and more saturated so it’s important for developers to be innovative, and take risks to offer players something new in the increasingly competitive space.
8. What does Tic Tap have in-store for 2019?
Throughout all of 2019, Tic Tap will be working hard to deliver hyper-casual games that offer players a fun and unique experience. Aside from other projects in the works right now, I’m incredibly excited to work with Homa Games to make Ping.io a success in the hyper casual space!
9. Do you have any advice for developers starting out in mobile game development?
Start small! The beautiful thing about mobile games, and in particular, hyper-casual games is that they are inherently supposed to be simple. A complex game doesn’t necessarily mean a fun one and so I encourage developers to focus their efforts on polish and discovering what makes a game feel fun to play. Throughout my journey in game development, I’ve often found that it’s best to effectively nail a game that is both simple and polished, rather than a game that’s large in scope, but functional.
Thanks so much for your time today Jadd and for the insights shared on your work processes.. Could you be one of our next featured developers? Or have a developer you think we should interview? Get in touch with Homa Games today or submit your game directly here to begin a collaboration.