Metro-based Web designer James Warner saw an opportunity to meld an iconic time waster of the past with the highest of high-tech time wasters of the present when he adapted a Rubik's Cube to the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch.
The game is called "BrainFreeze" and utilizes the iPhone's touch screen to maneuver colored blocks on the screen to join them with their similarly colored blocks. The game is not three-dimensional like a Rubik's Cube, but flat, making it more like a slide tile game. Any iPhone user can download it for just $1.99.
Oddly enough, Warner had never envisioned himself as a game designer.
"The game market has never been something I'd been really interested in," he said. "I don't play games, I don't follow games, but had an idea of something that might be fun. I'd always been into strategy, so I thought about a Rubik's Cube, but obviously on a phone, that would be difficult."
Warner said he designed 80 percent of "BrainFreeze" in Microsoft Excel in just one day. Over the next three months, he managed to create the graphics, flesh out all 12 levels of the game and successfully apply to have it included in the Apple iTunes' app store.
He said developing a game for a mobile device, as opposed to a computer or a console, is deceptively difficult because of the smaller amounts of memory available.
"You have to be diligent on how you use the space available on the phone and put in what is most effective and what you have to have," he said. "The phone not only has to be able to work the game, but it also has to be pleasing to the eye."
Getting the game developed was only part of the challenge. While researching the process, he read about other game designers that spent time and money developing their own game for Apple, only to have it turned down. There are no specific guides to what Apple will and will not accept, so Warner decided to just make the game for his own gratification.
"When I started the process, to be honest, I didn't care if they accepted it," he said. "I'm glad they did, it has been rewarding to see, but I was more driven by the accomplishment, building it from the ground up and seeing it evolve and watching my friends and family play and enjoy it."
The game is currently available in several other languages. After the exclusive contract with Apple runs out in three months, he hopes to expand it to other mobile devices.
Since his first foray in game design, he has started work on a shooter game set in outer space, although he said that this is still just a hobby for him.
"This is not my full-time job; this is just to do something I enjoy," Warner said. "Ultimately, it very well could be full-time job, though. I could see myself doing something like this on a long-term basis." "Charles Martin