An Interview with Smiles Game Developer Mike Kasprzak from Sykhronics

Have you developed Apps for any other platforms before? If Yes What are they?

I’ve actually been making games professionally for the past decade. I have a long list of licensed games I’ve worked on, including many kid and casual franchises (Disney, Mattel, etc), for systems from GameBoy to PlayStation, as well as the PC and numerous mobile platforms. So as far as platforms I’ve worked on, not quite everything, but pretty close. 😉

Several years ago I left my comfortable game industry job and started my own company (Sykhronics Entertainment). At most game jobs, you don’t have the luxury to make the games you want to make. You either end up being part of a large team making some small contribution to a big AAA title, or a smaller team building a game based off a brand. I did that for several years, saving up money so that one day I could quit and do my own thing, which I did.

After a rough start on a different project, at the end of 2008 I released an iPhone game called "Smiles". In 2009, Smiles went on to be named a finalist in the Independent Games Festival Mobile.

It didn’t win, but being a finalist was still a big honour. I was given the opportunity to exhibit the game at the Game Developers Conference in March of 2009, which was a lot of fun.

Since then I’ve been tweaking, tuning and improving a PC version of the game. With that, earlier this year I won a contest run by Intel, though Smiles is still only in limited availability on the PC (something I hope to remedy soon). More recently, I started working with another developer to bring the game to Windows Phone 7.

What are the Apps you are developing now in WP7?

Another developer and I are currently bringing my game Smiles over to Windows Phone 7. That is all at the moment.

Here’s a video of PC version of the game.

We’re not yet ready to release screenshots of the game running on WP7, but we expect it to be nearly identical to the PC version. It is up and running now, but we’re still stepping through and fixing bugs.

Smiles features 2 core games, "Drop" the arcade matching mode, and "Zen" a solitaire-like game mode. Between the two modes, it has numerous difficulty levels and variations (14 total). The game keeps high scores and statistics for you, and also features its own list of more than 150 achievements and goals for you; This is unrelated to Xbox Live Achievements, but is very much the same idea.

Why did you choose WP7 as a platform of your choice?

I like what Microsoft is doing bringing the Xbox Live and Zune experience to their phones. They’re in a unique position with their existing Xbox user base to create a unified experience for the players across Xbox 360 and Windows Phone 7 devices.

Which one do you think as the single most feature you liked in WP7?

Definitely Xbox Live Achievements. As a gamer myself, I modelled my Achievements/Goals system in Smiles based on that. I have a lot of respect for what Microsoft has done with Xbox.

Are you satisfied with WP7 Platform development tools?

Regrettably, I’ve not yet worked with them myself, but I will be soon.We’re making the Windows Phone 7 version of Smiles with XNA.

Future Plans of you?

At the moment our goal is to bring the game to Windows Phone 7, but I did hear about some pretty interesting things at the event; I’ll definitely be looking in to those. I’d like to follow up the WP7 version with an XBLIG version. I already have 1080p art assets ready to go, we just have to find the time to make it.

Thanks Mike for sharing with us.Expecting to see Smiles on WP7 soon..