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 IPHONE NEWS

Far Cry 4 designer by day, indie dev by night - Sean Noonan launches Jack B. Nimble on iOS

Switching gears

Product: Jack B. Nimble | Developer: Sean Noonan | Genre: Action, Adventure, Endless running, Retro
For: iPhone   Also on: iPad, Windows Phone
 
Jack B. Nimble iPhone, thumbnail 1
By day, Sean Noonan works as a level designer at Ubisoft Montreal, and has created environments for massive console games like Watch_Dogs and the upcoming Far Cry 4.

But in the evenings and weekends, he works on tiny indie projects. His first for iOS is Jack B. Nimble: a cute endless runner, presented with chunky pixel art sprites and painted in just four colours like an old Game Boy game.

As he runs, Jack must not only jump over pits to stay alive but also whip candlesticks in midair to boost his score.

This mashup of Canabalt and Castlevania also has top notch presentation with weather effects and a catchy electro-gothic soundtrack.

Jack B Nimble

Noonan says he was introduced to the idea of solo game development through game jams - coordinated events where aspiring developers all create games in tight time constraints and under other limitations

Jack B. Nimble, for example, was originally made during the Game Boy Jam, where indies had to make games in 10 days, and within the limitations of the Game Boy hardware. (The game went through months of polishing for the iOS version).

Before finding jams, "I'd never even thought it possible for a 'designer' to singlehanded create a game," says Noonan. "The game jam experience opened my eyes to smaller, more agile game engines like Construct 2, Unity, and Game Maker and in turn gave me a taste for smaller productions".

"The quick turnaround times and the excuse to make games I wouldn't ordinarily get to basically opened the door and tempted me through to develop games in my free time".

From his day job at Ubisoft, he's learned the importance of deadlines, "and when to know the time to 'stick a fork in it', so to speak. You can tweak and poke forever, but you'll never get it perfect and you'll miss your time to shine".

And, likewise, his indie design helps him at work too. "Having to think technically at almost every point in my indie development keeps those technical brain muscles exercised when my day job may be more art oriented".

Jack B Nimble

I ask the double life developer if he prefers making indie games like Jack, or 'triple A' console games like Far Cry. "I really enjoy the control you get with indie projects, you don't need to make any compromises for audience, sponsors, ratings boards," he says.

"However I'm not sure I could do it as my day job. Not having people to bounce ideas off, staying motivated, financial instability -it just sounds scary to me. I think I'll be AAA for the foreseeable future",
 

Reviewer photo
Mark Brown 1 October 2014
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