Last year, we ran into the 2-man team that is Mediocre at E3 2011. We were able to bring you guys an early look at Sprinkle, their hit game being ported over to Android, courtesy of Nvidia. After a brief time as an Nvidia Tegra exclusive, Sprinkle was finally made available to all in the Google Play Store (then, Android Market) and the title ended up as one of our Top 20 Games of 2011. For good reason, it was a blast to play. After all this time, we’ve finally been able to sit down with the developers at Mediocre and talk about where they came from, what they’re up to, and where they’re going.
Phandroid: Tell us a little bit about Mediocre. Are you guys a big development company? Or small group of indie devs?
Mediocre: Mediocre is a small studio made up of only Henrik and myself. We use an external contractor for sound effects and music. For our new project, we brought in a contractor for level design. Otherwise, we do everything ourselves. Henrik does all the graphics and I do all the programming. The game design is something we both contribute to equally. We have known each other for a long time and used to make games together back in the old days on Amiga computers.
Phandroid: Amiga, huh? That predates my beginnings with PC’s. How did you guys get started in developing for Android?
Mediocre: I have former colleagues working for Nvidia and they basically convinced us to release Sprinkle on Android. They also supported us with hardware for the port and technical support, so overall it was a very smooth process. Sprinkle was already running on iOS, MacOS and Windows at the time, so, supporting another platform wasn’t that complicated.
Phandroid: That’s right. I remember meeting you and Henrik at the Nvidia/T-Mobile’s booth inside E3 last year. Now it’s coming together. Seeing as how you’re newest to Android, what do you love most about developing for Google’s mobile OS?
Mediocre: Android has a much more active community than iOS. Most of the activity on our Twitter and Facebook fan pages, as well as through email, comes from Android users, even though the install base is substantially bigger on iOS. We also like the openness around Android.
Phandroid: Funny. That’s something we’ve been hearing a lot of from developers. Android users certainly love to voice their opinions whether positive or negative. Sometimes we read negative feedback from devs who no longer want to support the Android platform. What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in developing for Android?
Mediocre: There is a fair share of technical support, of which most is related to Google Play and not the game itself, which is rather frustrating. Also the fragmented Android Market with dozens of different app stores makes it really hard to reach out to the widest audience.
Phandroid: Given you guys develop for more than just Android, which platform do you prefer developing for the most, and why?
Mediocre: We develop for iOS and Android. We will not release on Windows Phone until they allow native C++ code running on the device. We have released on Amazon App Store recently, but Google Play is still our main marketplace for Android. It is hard for a small team to cope with all the different app stores. We rather spend our time developing new games.
Phandroid: Sounds good to us. The more games, the better. Going back to your frustrations with Android, what are some of the ways you think Google could do to make things easier on developers?
Mediocre: Our biggest issue is billing and delivery on Google Play. Almost all of our support is related to Google Play and not the game itself. On iOS for instance, Apple handles all of this, which of course is much more convenient for the developer.
Phandroid: I can totally understand a developer not wanting to deal with billing issues. Anything to make publishing apps to the Play Store, Google should be taking notes on. Okay, moving on. Give us a list of the Android devices you’ve personally owned, and what device (even if it isn’t Android) is currently in your pocket.
Mediocre: My main phone is an iPhone 4S, but I sometimes use the Samsung Galaxy S2 for traveling. Henrik uses a Samsung Galaxy Nexus. I have a bunch of tablets and other phones for testing, but I’m not using them extensively. I think the Eee Pad Transformer is quite an interesting piece of hardware, but we don’t have one ourselves yet.
Phandroid: Henrik sounds like my kinda guy. Is he single? Wait – don’t answer that. Before you leave Any future projects you’re working on that you can clue us in on?
Mediocre: We are just finishing up our second title “Granny Smith”. It is a physics-heavy platform racer where you play an old lady, racing apples thieves to collect apples through a series of stages. Our original ambition was that our next project would be smaller than Sprinkle, but it turned out much more ambitious in the end. We’ve switched to full 3D rendering, integrated a 3D physics and fracture system. The variety and details in the graphics is much greater than we first anticipated. Preview trailer of this project is below!
Phandroid: ZOMG! That looks amazing. It’s easy to see the Sprinkle-flavore design, mixed with a whole new genre. You guys really are a talented bunch. Before we leave, tell us a random/fun fact about yourself or some kind of personal or business achievement you’ve accomplished.
Mediocre: When we first started working on Sprinkle, our goal was to sell 1.000 copies and then go on a vacation. The game to date has been downloaded over four million times (that also includes the free version).
Phandroid: That’s awesome. I knew the game was a hit from the start. I have special eyes… Alright, lightning round. Favorite food or dish. Go!
Mediocre: Both Henrik and I are interested in food and every time we meet (we live in different cities) we do two things: make games and go to nice restaurants. My personal favorite would be fresh seafood in any form, but raw seafood in particular. Henrik is crazy for Galician octopus and the traditional Swedish dish known as “kropppkakor.”
Phandroid: Favorite cartoon you watched as a kid?
There was a bunch of local Swedish cartoons I enjoyed, but of the more internationally known I’d say Dr Snuggles and Donald Duck. Henrik’s favorite was the Italian “La Linea”.
That concludes our interview with one of my personal favorite developers, Mediocre. I want to wish Mediocre continued success in their future. Granny Smith is shaping up to be yet another feather in the hat for the Swedish devs. You can keep up with all the happenings at Mediocre by following them on their social networks linked below.
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