If you’ve been anywhere near Apple’s App Store in the last few days, you’ll have noticed something called “Double Cube” creeping up the charts. Made in Bangladesh, this indie game has been featured now for the second week running in “New Games We Love” in 80 Countries, which is rare; even more so for a game developer from Bangladesh. GameOver Studio has become the only second deshi company to be featured by Apple.
Let’s hear it from Zamilur Rashid himself, the founder of GameOver Studio.
Double Cube is an impeccably designed 1980s style 3D “double runner game,” where you control two cube-shaped blocks. The difficulty level appears to be much easier than the majority of other double runners currently on the App Store. Using simple “touch to jump” controls, you jump over laser beams, hollow gaps and more, as two blocks speedily dash along a neon path. It looks like it appeared straight out of the Tron universe!
The concept for Double Cube came from multitasking. As the player controls two cubes in space, one jumps upwards and another jumps rightwards to avoid various obstacles. The gameplay takes about two seconds to grasp but is addictively challenging, and with amazing visuals, it keeps the players’ eyes and fingers glued to the screen.
“It seems that it’s not just me who thinks this game is great. Double Cube has so far been featured in 119 out of the 155 regions of the App Store,” said Zamilur Rashid.
The last time a Bangladeshi company was featured in the App Store was back in 2009-10. The game “Tap Tap Ants,” by Rise Up Labs was the first homegrown game to be globally featured. Double Cube is doing very well in the top charts right now, placing itself in the top 5 positions in Strategy games in countries like Australia and Canada consistently, and is even ahead of Clash of Clans in some regions!
This is the first game published (and the 7th game made) by GameOver Studio. The studio has an intriguing story on its own. Fresh out of university with an Economics degree, the founder, Zamilur Rashid (Zamil), returned to Bangladesh from the UK in 2012 and started his career as a consultant for development sector organisations.
Right off the bat, as an IT consultant, he noticed a large gap in the IT sector. He founded Rupam IT Limited soon after and worked on several development projects. However, Zamil always wanted to work on specific products and he saw this potential for developing games in Bangladesh.
A developer working under him shared the same passion for games and they started discussing the possibility. After raising funds and creating the entity, GameOver Studio now has 13 employers and 3 investors, focusing on games for iOS and tvOS.
Not content with simply developing, the studio soon aims to be a game publisher as well, helping other homegrown games find their feet in the international market. GameOver Studio also has the first blog in Bangladesh on game development.
But how do they work? There are four leads overseeing each of the four operations arms - game design, game art, game development, and game marketing. All the leads have multiple talents under them. The process starts with brainstorming ideas and concepts, and fleshing them out using good ol’ pen and paper. These then go to the artists and get filtered. When the artists are done, the developers get to work on them. Finally, one or two ideas stand. The developers work up an initial version of the game and hands it over to a 30-person beta testing group. Based on the reactions and feedback of beta testers, more changes are incorporated.
After all that, the game is sent to publishers, who give their opinions. After more polishing, and with a good helping of blood, sweat and tears, the game gets published on various platforms and marketplaces. For Double Cube, Nanovation, an American company based out of Silicon Valley, acted as the publisher. The marketing department starts working when the game is at the publishing or later stages. Zamil personally oversees game design and marketing.
GameOver Studio may be just a year old, but Zamilur Rashid already has big plans for the studio. They are scheduled to release four more games in the next six months.
Talking about his switch from economics to game development, Zamil shared his experiences from the first few Hackathons he was involved with as a mentor. There were various game ideas, including ones looking to bring about behavioral change, but when Zamil set out to find the people capable of making them, he was disappointed.
“Game development is very different from traditional software development. Games are multi-dimensional. You need a perfect mesh of Coding, Art, Aesthetics and Human Psychology. The core difference between a game developer and a software developer is patience and perseverance. Most of the time, software development involves fixed requirements and as long as your code runs properly and does the job, it is fine. For a game this is just the starting point. At times you have to throw away entire features that are worth a few weeks of work. At times you have to scrap complete games. For example, the Double Cube you know is the 3rd version of the game. And each version underwent at least 15-20 updates! It takes a lot of dedication to perfect a game.”
Zamil believes there are plenty of people in Bangladesh who share the love he has for games and game development. He believes in the potential of homegrown quality games, and with the likes of Double Cube on the market, the future seems quite bright.