Handygames: “Now’s the best time for wearable gaming”
If you plan to develop apps using wearables for gaming, you’re about to enter an exciting new field of innovative user experience. This post lets you in on some of the secrets to why HandyGames made a success using SmartWatch 2 as a controller for their mobile game Aces of the Luftwaffe.
In October this year, our colleagues at Sony’s News blog met up with Christopher Kassulke, app developer and CEO of HandyGames, for a talk on the future of wearables in gaming. Check out their HandyGames interview on Sony’s News blog. Here on Developer World, Kassulke shares some more information on how he and his colleagues develop for wearables like SmartWatch 2.
HandyGames, based in Giebelstadt, Germany, is a pioneer in the mobile gaming area, and has developed and released some 150 mobile games on the market. Although developing for wearables is a new field with new challenges, the company early saw the possibilities coming with a wearable like SmartWatch 2.
– The big publishers have not really discovered this field yet, so now is the best time to establish yourself as a developer for wearables. As an independent developer you can still set standards and produce new innovative applications, says Christopher Kassulke, developer and CEO of HandyGames.
The Aces of the Luftwaffe is a free arcade style game developed by HandyGames, where you fight waves of Axis planes and panzers until you meet your worst enemies – the Aces of the Luftwaffe. After a short brainstorm around the office trying SmartWatch 2 out, HandyGames decided to develop a unique navigation, within Aces of the Luftwaffe. In this game, you can navigate your plane by simply moving your hand wearing SmartWatch 2. Being a partner to Sony, HandyGames could also develop this navigation for SmartBand, as they got partner access to SmartBand APIs.
– It’s important to showcase new technology and we have received a huge interest in this new kind of gaming, says Kassulke.
New features brings new possibilities
The developers at HandyGames are generally very interested in device to device communication. For Aces of the Luftwaffe, they used the accelerometer of SmartWatch 2, but they have also implemented other wearable features in other games.
– I like features that can be used to combine your real life with your virtual life, says Kassulke.
In HandyGame’s Vegas Fruit Slot, for example, your real life steps can be exchanged for coins in the game, and in Guns ‘n’ Glory Heroes – Wear, one of their most popular games, you can refill your lives by walking in real life.
– A lot of features are already out there, we just all need to make use of them, Kassulke continues.
Tools and resources
When developing Aces of the Luftwaffe, HandyGames used the Smart Extension API and specifically the Smart Extension Utils, a utility library for the SmartExtensions API, to create the connection between the phone and SmartWatch 2, and to access the different functions. They found the development surprisingly easy and used Developer World for getting detailed information regarding SmartWatch 2 development.
Normally when working with wearables, HandyGames develop native apps, not using any middleware.
– If you want to develop fast and offer your products before the devices are officially released, native is the best way to do it, says Kassulke.
He also points out the importance of doing thorough research before starting to develop.
– We try the devices out a lot to make sure we have the best user experiences. But this is just the beginning. Be creative my dear development friends!
It’s easy to get started
Christopher Kassulke’s advice to get started is simple – get a SmartWatch 2, come up with a great idea that the consumers want, and develop it. It’s really that simple, Kassulke says, and again he stresses the fact that now is a perfect timing for trying out new concepts.
– Think differently! Try out new concepts and cooperate close with your consumers and partners. Play with the wearable yourself and you will get ideas for a lot of missing products. It is a fantastic new market so be a pioneer and go your own way, says Christopher Kassulke.