Developer Interview: Medieval Merchants
GLOBAL – PhoneRPT spoke to David Wulff, CEO of rapidrabbit, and Sebastian Loose, the developers of Medieval Merchants, who revealed details of their game and plans for the future.
What does Medieval Merchants bring to users?
Medieval Merchants is a round-based trading simulation in a historic setting. As a player you take on the role of a medieval merchant, competing for valuable trade goods throughout the Hanseatic League and investing money and resources in the city of Lübeck to become its mayor. You build ships to sail the Baltic and the North Sea and have to capture the trade goods in demand, before your competitors get the chance to do so. The extensive singleplayer mode guides you through the historic development of the Hanseatic League with a character driven story, while the multiplayer mode is all about competition to go for the gold against up to three fellow players. Center of all player actions is the city of Lübeck – developing from a small fishing village to a mercantile metropolis.
How is it different from your competitors?
David: We decided to enter a niche in the App Store, which is basically undiscovered in the Apple ecosystem. We go deeper than all the casual games and we’re using iCloud for being able to switch a game seamlessly between Mac and iPad.
A big difference is the pricing model. A lot of developers are entering into “freemium” models, but we decided not to. We’re going into flat rate gaming: Pay once and play as long as you want to – because we believe a gamer doesn’t want to pay for every single step in a game. He or she should enjoy the gameplay, the story and have fun while playing, not paying.
What platforms does the game currently support? Will you be developing it for any other operating systems?
David: We’re currently supporting Mac OS (Mountain Lion) and iOS for the iPad. We want to bring this game to iPhone and iPod touch later on. Other operating systems are not planned right now, but if the demand rises, we’ll consider Android platforms and maybe a browser game.
How did you get the idea for this game?
David: We had the idea to develop a complex game for quite some time. The very first thoughts emerged around summer 2011. We had already developed Rabbit Sports and Yukendo at that point of time, but now we wanted to start something really big.
Sebastian: Our former colleague Peter Morczinek had the actual idea for Medieval Merchants. Fittingly, Stefan (another of our programmers) and I, needed a topic for our bachelor theses, so we developed a first prototype together and the idea assumed shape.
David: We wanted the adventures of the good old times, when we spent hours and days in front of our PCs with games like that, to continue. Simultaneously, we discovered that there hadn’t been a trading simulation like that for iOS before. Like we said before: There’s still a huge gap on the App Store. So we’re happy to provide a remedy now.
What can your users expect in future versions of Medieval Merchants?
Sebastian: Medieval Merchants is now at an early stage of development. As we are a very small studio with a low budget, we rely on the game’s success to add more features and fun. We’ve already prepared dynamic city populations and factories, which are producing the goods. We’re planning to pay more attention on the city development as well as on more interaction with your competitors and pirates.
What do you as a programmer specifically do?
Sebastian: There’ve been three programmers working on Medieval Merchants. Stefan, our colleague André and me. I’ve worked with the game’s graphics. That means, that I imported all the graphics, which our graphic designer Kai-Uwe had painted, into the program. I also made sure that they’re not too small or too big and that they are placed where they should be. André and Stefan have been responsible for the game’s model and for its logic. They basically made sure that every single sequence is working together smoothly. They have, at the same time, been responsible for troubleshooting and the integration of new functions.
In your opinion, what smartphone operating systems will rise and fall in the future?
David: Apple will still play a leading role in the innovation of mobile OS but Android gains a higher marketshare. Windows Phone and Blackberry are underdogs, but Windows Phone has a serious chance to get a bigger share of the cake in the future.