A couple of weeks ago we gave you the lowdown on the withdraw of Ow My Balls! from the iTunes market place by its developer Jetson Creative. We promised you then, we’d keep you informed of future developments. That magnificent day has arrived. Ow My Balls! has resurfaced at the app store and I set down (through e-mails) with head of development Josh Michaels to bring you all the juicy details.
How does it feel to have your, “balls” once again exposed to the gaming public?
It feels great to finally get My Balls out there after all this time. They were getting a little musty sitting around.
What was the inspiration for the creation of the, “balls” project? Possibly something traumatic, like a swift kick to the forbidden fruit from a loved one or an unexpected and embarrassing exposure to a large crowd of people?
There were a lot of different ideas and experiences that inspired the game. Looking at the big picture, we wanted to make an app that would make people laugh. You can look at iFart as a stupid fart application, or you can look at it as something that has brought humor and laughter to millions of people.
We figured if we could make something that would make people consistently laugh, even for 20 minutes, we’d not only bring joy to the world but hopefully have a successful application. We found validation in the fact that even after playing the game for thousands of hours we still laugh at it.
What issues were you able to correct with your recent abstinence of the App Store?
We discovered three crashing bugs in the game after we shipped. We fixed two of them. The other bug isn’t actually with our code, but relates to behavior of the UIImageView cache under certain conditions. We’re working on a work-around for that one which we’ll hopefully have out soon.
The really exciting thing about this release is the new sound effects recorder. This feature evolved back when we thought we were going to have to remove the word “Balls” to get the game into the store. We wanted to give people the ability to add the word back if that was acceptable for their personal tastes. In the end we were allowed to continue with the word “Balls”, so now people can use the recorder to add other words like “Nuts”, “Family Jewels” and “Bollocks.”
With the UIImageView cache not yet corrected, there’s still the possibility some players will experience a crash, any advice to those fans of the game when this occurs?
Yep, it’s pretty simple to avoid the remaining crashing bug. The crash only happens on phones that have been running for a long time (7 days+) and/or have a large number of background applications running. The easiest thing to do is restart your phone before playing. One step better is to grab an application like “Free Memory” and run it before you run the game. Doing either one of those should guarantee a crash-free experience. If you do experience a crash please let us know – we’ve got a good support page with instructions on submitting crash reports.
And to all developers out there, read this article . It describes in a nutshell what we’re dealing with and how to resolve it.
Having the sound effect recorder in the game, allowing individuals to create their own verbal phrase when your player, “takes one for the team.” Are you worried that some individuals will push the boundaries too far? Posting videos on sites like YouTube, bringing the wrong type of attention to your game? Possibly causing Apple to pull it from the market place?
I really hope people record hilarious sound effects and post videos of the game with them to You Tube. That would be spectacular. As long as we don’t make that content accessible through the game itself I assume we’re in the clear.
It’s hard to know where the line is for what is acceptable for the App Store. We definitely struggled with that on this game. I could spend hours talking about this, but I’d rather play with My Balls. If you want more details check out the “breaking my balls” section of our blog.
What are your future plans for the continued growth of your, “balls?”
We would love to do a new version for 3.0 that contains multiple levels and improved game play. We’ve got all sorts of ideas for it, but are waiting to see how the public responds to My Balls before digging in. We have a number of other projects in the cooker including one that was submitted for review last night.
In what ways do you feel you could improve game play?
We get a lot of feedback that the game is too short. There isn’t enough replay value. It’s interesting because most of the people reporting this didn’t find the actual end to the game, meaning we aren’t making the goal clear enough. When you’ve reached the end you will know it, believe me.
We designed the game to be short; we wanted it to be something that was funny for at least 20 minutes. I think we hit that mark, but we should have shot higher. A variety of small improvements could make this more repayable, from randomly moving the objects on each turn to varying factors like gravity and farts on different levels. We’re going to try out a bunch of stuff and see what works. The controls could also use some improvement.
What other locations would you most like to add to the game?
We’d love to have international locations in the game – Bangkok, Tokyo, Tel Aviv, Paris, Berlin, Moscow, Baghdad – all of these are candidates. We like the idea of having people kick balls around the world.
Any chance our readers could get a sneak peek behind the curtain on this new project you’ve submitted? Is it a game? Will it be similar to, “Ow My Balls?”
Sorry, no sneak peeks on this one It’s much simpler than Ow My Balls! but has the same general goal – make people laugh. We want to build applications that inspire humor and also make a point. So that should give you a sense of where we are going.
Thank you for the interview Josh. There you have it folks. Ow My Balls! is out now and keep your eyes peeled for Jetson Creative’s next project to appear on the market place soon.