Clash of Clans evolution Chart
In a year full of competition, it would be hard to argue against Supercell being 2012's breakout developer.
It hadn't released any iOS games until June but since August, it's had two games stuck at the lucrative end of the top grossing charts. Apparently, the company's now generating over $500, 000 a day.
And while its FarmVille evolution Hay Day has performed well, it's Clash of Clans, its 3D city-building and PVP title, that's really done the business.
We caught up with product lead Lasse Louhento to get more information about the game's genesis and its future.
Pocket Gamer: What was the original inspiration for Clash of Clans?
Lasse Louhento: We had many sources of inspiration along the way. For gameplay, the most important were Travian and Backyard Monsters.
As for visual style, we wanted to create a unique fantasy setting that would make the game appealing to a wide variety of players, not just strategy game fans. Some of our main art references are from old SNES and arcade games, such as Advance Wars and Gauntlet.
How much did Supercell's previous experience with Facebook game Gunshine influence the game?90 percent of the battles are multiplayer battles, but the single player missions are still very meaningful.Lasse Louhento
Actually, more than you'd think. Gunshine taught us how to balance a multiplayer, combat-oriented game.
Also, from a technical standpoint Clash of Clans has quite a few similarities to Gunshine, for example in the game's client-server technology.
Did the concept or gameplay change radically during development?
Not really. We had our first company-wide playable demo in just two months from the get-go. All basic gameplay elements except clans were there.
After playing it for a full weekend and seeing the how much everybody at Supercell got into it, we knew we were onto something. However, we couldn't have imagined just how much players would love it.
Was it always a 3D game and how important do you think this has been for its success?
The main goal with Clash of Clans has always been playability over everything else.
Our camera angle is a lot higher than in similar games to make building and editing of your village as easy as possible.
The game art is pre-rendered 3D. One big advantage of 3D models was that they made it really easy for us to render them in retina resolution for the launch of the new iPad.
How long did development take and what tools did you use?
Six months from start to the first release. Originally we had only five members in the team, but towards release we scaled the team up to eight.
All client code is written in Objective-C and C++, and server code in Java. The game's graphics are produced using 3ds Max, Photoshop and Flash. Note that I'm using the present tense. Clash of Clans' development is far from over, so expect some really cool updates in the future!
Where there any major problems you had to overcome?
This has been an exceptional project in many ways. One of them is that there have been no major problems.
It has been a big effort, especially for such a small team, but we were able to focus on the most important task and deliver on our original vision of a multiplayer strategy game that we ourselves want to play.
How did you balance the single player and multiplayer aspects, and what's the breakdown between the time players spend between the two?
At heart, Clash of Clans is a multiplayer game but after some focus group testing it became quite clear that having just multiplayer battles wouldn't be enough, especially in the very beginning of the game, so the single player mode was added at a pretty late stage of development.