Ayngaran Vamatheva, the developer responsible for what is arguably the best Tower Defense game at the App Store in 7 Cities, took some time away from his busy schedule and answered some questions we had about the game, Neptune Entertainment and seamonsters.
Neptune is now the furthest planet from the Sun in our solar system: What sort of symbolism were you going for in choosing your company name?
Neptune is the God of Sea in Roman mythology, and equivalent to Poseidon from Greek mythology. He is truly underrepresented in the Pantheon in both mythologies, and he has a pretty cool weapon, the Trident. He represents a power that is unknown to most so those were the reasons.
How many people in your company? Do you all fit in the same office?
The company is owned and operated by me. The others, 4 in total, helped out in various roles throughout 7 Cities development and continue to do so now. We all have other full-time jobs so we do this as part-time on the side. We have no office so it is all virtual.
How many of you are pirates? Seamonsters? Aliens?
Actually I am a Ninja-Pirate-Alien-From-The-Future. The others might just be a figment of my imagination.
Can you give me a photograph to prove it?
Not at the moment. It might scare your visitors.
Have you ever seen a ship explode from a monolith tower?
Sure, happened all the time while we were designing the game. We get our designs from actual real stuff you know.
What is your goal for number of apps produced in a year?
To be honest, it is not the number of apps we want to make, rather we want to be successful in making quality apps that people love. So one good app a year is fine with us.
That many!? You must be stressed: how do you relieve stress?
Good question. Sleep I think.
Have you thought of teaming up with another developer?
Yes, actually we might be doing that for our next project. But I shall say no more.
If so, how would you cooperate with them? Would you want to take the lead?
Well, we would choose another developer who will complement our own skills. So it is not a matter of leading, but rather a matter of doing what each of us can do best. Play to your strengths!
What age group is your target audience?
13 to 40
Do you think you are hitting that target?
Yes I believe so.
Are you a Mac or Windows user? Linux? Other OS?
I like both Windows and Mac. Each has its own unique qualities. I never really played around with Linux to comment on that.
How do you want 7Cities to be remembered 20 years from now?
I would want it to be remembered as a launching point for our studio. If it ends up being the crappiest game we ever made, I will be happy.
What edge do you think 7Cities has now over its competitors? What edge will it have when people look back at the iPhone platform in 20 years?
I think it is unique in its own way (strategy, upgrades), and has tons of features. There aren’t a lot of games with the old historical style or have pirates in their game. In 20 years, people might recall it as trying to push a genre and could provide inspiration for other developers to make better Tower Defense games.
Do you have any other portable gaming platforms?
I had a PSP, and others on the team have DS.
If so, how is the iPod/iPhone a better/worse gaming platform? In what ways do you want it to improve?
Personally, what I like about the iPhone/iPod is that its an all-in-one device, and its always there with you. Once they add actual buttons to the iPhone/iPod, there should be no reason to choose DS over these, except for game exclusives. Without buttons, it does seem limiting for some type of games. I also want Apple to improve the App Store to help and support developers who put quality above all else.