Bifrost Studios, an emerging Australian gaming development company, has just released Zombie Juice ($0.99) – an interactive iOS game that has hit the App Store running with up to 200 downloads daily. The game was recently ranked 11th on the Australian iPad Arcade Chart and 63rd on the US iPad Arcade Chart, in addition to a handful of other industry accolades. Macworld Australia chats to Bifrost Director Danielle Chaney and the team to find out how they got started, what’s next on the cards and what it’s really like to work in the Australian gaming industry.
Can you tell us a bit about how (and when) Bifrost Studios was formed?
Bifrost was actually formed under the name Valhalla Studios in 2007; we changed our name in 2010 to Bifrost studios. We started as three people in a garage in our spare time. Figuring we were young and had time to make career mistakes we held onto our passion for games and took the leap to chase our dreams. We are now a studio with eight full-time staff and 150 part-time/casuals.
What role does each member play in the development process of an app?
Danielle – Director: I make sure everything runs on time, that there is money in the bank to continue production and inspire the team to reach for their dreams.
Adam – Dev/Team Manager: I manage the projects by building the project plan, assigning tasks and monitoring progress and quality of work. I’m also the programmer so I code and build the games from the ground up.
Zanda – Dev/Team Assistant Manager: Mostly I concentrate on the game art. I also make all the sound effects and music for the games. I like to spend bit of time pondering fresh gameplay ideas.
Jacinta – Artist: I create visual art for the games, including 2D and 3D art.
Rhys – Artist: I create 2D and 3D assets for our games, and develop animations and concepts for the characters.
Al – Artist: I create 2D and 3D assets and take care of all the poster art.
Olga – Office Manager: I take care of all the accounts and daily paperwork.
Simon Banks – Team Support
Part time/casuals – work on assets, art and game test.
What is it about Zombie Juice that you think separates it from the pack when it comes to the zombie genre and iOS games?
Zombie Juice is different to other zombie games as you can interact with the zombies and kill them with your touch. Zombie Juice’s gameplay and controls are what sets it apart in the market.
What response has Zombie Juice had from consumers?
Consumers are loving the game so far. They are loving that they can interact with the zombies and the competitive nature of the game. We’ve had 10,000 downloads in the last 48 hrs.
What makes a great iOS game?
I think great gameplay, controls and competitiveness.
How does iOS gameplay stack up against other gaming platforms like video games and PC gaming?
I think eventually the industry will grow bigger than video and PC gaming.
Can you tell us a bit about any upcoming projects that you are working on?
We are dipping our toe into the world of 3D for our next release.
What is the Australian gaming/app development industry like to work in? Is it a growing space? How do we compare to others around the world working in the same field?
The gaming/app industry in Australia is fun, exciting and full of friendly competition. We are really lucky in the way that the government supports us and wants to build the industry. Queensland Games (government organisation) helps us with getting spots at international conferences, and even helps pay for part of the conference.
Compared to other studios around the world we are a small indie studio but I would bet my team has more passion in their little finger that most would have in their whole body! With this passion we are now putting our games on the world stage and so far our consumers are loving our games.