Mat Dickie, independent game developer known for his work in the wrestling niche, has taken his retro-style mobile and tablet game, Wrestling Revolution, to the console. Created using Adobe Game Developer Tools and downloaded more than one million times across Android and iOS, Wrestling Revolution offers players the biggest wrestling universe with more than 350 characters – and dozens of them in the ring at one time. Now available on the new OUYA console, Wresting Revolution can now be enjoyed by fans on their TV, the genre’s natural home.
OUYA provides an open development experience so that, like Dickie, any creator can publish a game for a console to be played on TVs.
“I was excited about bringing the gamepad-controlled, multi-player experience to consoles. Wrestling games have a proud history on consoles from the NES and SNES to the N64 and PlayStation. But those doors can be hard to open for an independent developer like me,” he says. “Consoles are the genre’s natural home, so on OUYA I’m reaching new audiences that don’t typically play PC or mobile games. What I like most about it is that I have a stable platform for the first time in my career, and I know that players will have the same experience as me.”
In taking Wrestling Revolution to the OUYA platform, Dickie made sure that it wasn’t just a mobile port to the console. The game fully supports controllers of all kinds—right down to analogue sticks for precise movement. The multi-player modes are also exclusive to consoles. There’s an option to play in either “Versus” or “Co-Op” mode, which will involve up to four human players.
“Wrestling Revolution is just one of the first Adobe AIR games on OUYA,” he says. “Some perceptive AIR developers had everything in place ahead of OUYA’s launch which helped me get going quickly.”
Wrestling Revolution climbed over 200 places in OUYA’s O-Rank in its first week of release and jumped into the top 50 games in its second week. The game is being downloaded hundreds of times per day with 10% of players opting to purchase the full game.
“The OUYA audience is obviously a lot smaller than on established systems, where over a million people are playing my mobile apps. However, the conversion rate is higher. The OUYA audience likes to invest in games and support their evolution,” says Dickie. “That ensures that my first game won’t be my last.”
We recently caught up with the solo game developer Mat Dickie who created the wildly entertaining mobile game Wrestling Revolution for iOS and Android. The game was downloaded more than 50,000 times in its first month on Google Play alone and has 300+ 5-star reviews. Mat’s YouTube video has been viewed nearly 80,000 times since its debut and really gives a sense of what Mat has created with Adobe Gaming technology. See the full Q&A below and see his formal success story here.
What is your name?
MD: I release games under the name of Mat Dickie, which is often abbreviated to the signature “MDickie”.
Where is your company based?
MD: London, England and Chengdu, China.
How long have you been creating games?
MD: I have been creating PC games since the turn of 2000, but only recently side-stepped into mobile gaming in the past 6 months.
What are you known for?
MD: I am known for specializing in wrestling with the popular “Wrestling MPire” series on PC and the new “Wrestling Revolution” series on mobile devices. I am also known for accomplishing these things on my own rather than working in a team.
Why do you think people will be drawn to the game?
MD: Wrestling has not been very well represented on mobile as yet, so fans of that genre are starving for something to play. With Wrestling Revolution, those fans also have an innovative new way of playing to get to grips with – and with up to 10 characters on screen, it’s more fun than the one-on-one matches most fighting games are limited to.
How did you come up with your idea for the gameplay?
MD: I spent half of my time in China, where I noticed that tablet gaming had been widely embraced. It convinced me that the format had a future and it was something I wanted to be a part of. I specifically sensed that touch-screen technology had a lot to offer a physical genre like wrestling. I knew the mainstream companies would never try anything new, so I took a chance on it myself and created the first truly touch-screen wrestling game – where you tap, pinch, and swipe for intuitive control.
How did you build the game? MD: It was my first major project for mobile devices, so I had to put a lot of effort into learning how they work and adapting my way of doing things for a smaller screen. I had to go out and buy a whole range of devices so that I could see how well the game worked on each one and figure out solutions to any problems. I deliberately made the game 2D so that it could handle more wrestlers on screen. The fun comes first.
What platforms are you developing for and how do you choose which ones to target?
MD: I develop for Android and iOS primarily, but also release PC and Mac versions of my apps. I aim for the most popular devices that Flash can reach so that more people can play.
Why did you choose to use Flash?
MD: Not only could I simultaneously develop for both Android and iOS, but I could also stay true to my roots by releasing PC and Mac versions of my creations. And they were more reliable builds that I could be sure would function properly because all you need is Flash Player. To hit more platforms and have less issues was a win-win situation for me and my players. Flash is also capable of manipulating sprites on a grand scale, which allowed me to introduce an innovative new way of animating my characters.
How do you see the game growing over time?
MD: All I have released so far is the gameplay, which is in the process of evolving into a sophisticated RPG where you can live the life of a professional wrestler. I think we have to continue to embrace touch-screen technology and other new control methods. I like to joke that “real wrestlers don’t use buttons” so neither should my players!
Anything you want to add about working with Adobe Gaming technology?
MD: I made an important discovery in the early stages of my project, which is that Flash can be fed a high quality image and then be trusted to scale it down and use it as though it were a low quality image. And yet if you play the game on a larger screen, the original quality remains intact and is right there to be appreciated. This has been a blessing when releasing the same game on so many different sized devices. Flash automatically displays my sprites at their best – whether large or small. The resource management is astonishing.
Anything new in the pipeline for your company?
MD: 2012 has been a very exciting year for me already, so I am optimistic about the future. I will see Wrestling Revolution through to being the sophisticated game that I intended it to be, and then from 2013 onwards the game engine will be right there to drive other innovative concepts forward. I have more ideas than I could ever make in one lifetime!
Anything else that you want to add?
MD: I’d like to thank all the fellow developers who shared their stories and advice on the Adobe forums and all over the Internet. Whenever I get stuck, I simply run a search and somebody somewhere will have the answer! I’d also like to encourage people to follow the progress of Wrestling Revolution as it happens on my Facebook page.