Red Nova Labs game developer David Howe wanted a way to allow players of his new iOS game Mystery Ball to be able to stop playing the game on one device – say their iPhone – and pick it back up where they left off several days later on a different device – let’s say the iPad. Apple has come up with the perfect solution, the iCloud, which launched last month just in time for Howe to make his vision a reality when his iCloud-compatible game hit the App Store today.
The long-anticipated iCloud gave users access to their music, apps, photos, documents and more on all of their devices. So if all of your music is saved to your computer, you now have the ability to sync it up with your iPhone or iPad, and vice versa. Until now, this sort of technology has been unavailable for iOS gamers, and most games will not be iCloud-friendly from the onset. Mystery Ball, on sale for 99 cents through launch weekend, will be one of the few.
“It’s actually very difficult and a lot of the games that are already out are thinking, ‘Why am I going to update my game that’s been out for a year and a half and sold all of the copies it’s going to sell?’” Howe said. “Really, it is going to be games launching from this point forward that are going to have it, and even then, half of them are saying, ‘What’s the point? Why waste my time programming for that when most people don’t have two devices?’ Most of our target audience does not own an iPhone and an iPad; it’s probably less than 10 percent who have both.”
That realization did not keep Howe from taking advantage of the new technology. Mystery Ball can be played on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, and Howe said he believes the transition from one system to the other should be a seamless one.
“I’ve tried to make the game run the same and be perfect on everything from the 3GS up, so 2 ½ years ago from what the technology is today,” Howe said. “I’ve gone out of my way to make sure everybody has the same experience.”
Mystery Ball, like most games, is a significant time commitment. The game has 30 levels, so the ability to pick up where you left off is a must. Howe said it was important to him that he catered to the small percentage of users who have multiple devices. For one, he’s in that group and has been pining for something like the iCloud for a long time.
Red Nova Labs has also set it up so that if you download the game on one device, you do not have to pay to download on it on a second or third device. Apple makes syncing those downloads though the App Store easy; however, programming the game so that it was iCloud-friendly was not an easy task.
“The hardest thing programming for iCloud is the synchronization of it,” How said. “Basically, it’s detecting whether or not a save is more recent than another one. How do I reconcile that difference and not make the player throw up his hands and say, ‘Hey, what happened?’”
Howe has programmed Mystery Ball so that the game seamlessly syncs up the save data behind the scenes as long as the player is logged into iCloud. To get set up with the iCloud, visit this instructional page.
Mystery Ball is the first title from Red Nova Labs Games, and is the work of David Howe, who created the art, designed and programmed the game. To read more about the game, check out the Mystery Ball website.