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Interview with Piasa Games Creators of the Upcoming App Don’t Eat People

Creators of the popular apps, "Grilly the Cheese" and "Hot Shot Santa," share with us the details about there latest project "Don't Eat People!"
This article is over 10 years old and may contain outdated information

Don’t Eat People is the newest app from the folks at Piasa Games. The goal of the game is to eat the cattle that are falling off a cliff without eating the people! You score more points the longer you only eat the cattle by holding a monster’s mouth shut at just the right time.

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I spoke with Piasa Games about their new project and what they expect from the launch. 

Q: All of your previous apps Grilly the Cheese and Hot Shot Santa have a similar cartoon style while Don’t Eat People has more of an illustrative quality about it. What was your inspiration for the visuals of this app?

A: “We wanted to try something a little different this time around since this game is fairly simple in comparison to our previous releases. There’s still a bubbly cartoony quality to the art in “Don’t Eat People“, but we weren’t living in a grid as much while designing this app. Since the only real thing we needed to keep in mind as far as sizing our assets was concerned was the monsters’ mouths and the people and animals hurling themselves off the cliffs, we were free to be pretty illustrative with the rest.”

Q: Don’t Eat People releases on Sunday, what are some of your goals for the app in terms of improving from your previous two apps?

A: “We’re still very new to this, so we try to keep our expectations reasonable.  With “Grilly The Cheese” there was a large burst of downloads the first week.  We think that it was because it was a free game, and had a cute sandwich for an icon.  We’d like Don’t Eat People to have the same initial download rate, and ideally for people to keep playing the game for weeks or even months.  We think that it’s pretty addicting!”

Q: This is your studio’s third app, what did you do differently this time around and how was the process different now that you’re more established in the app world?

A: “We’ve learned a lot in the last year.  We’ve gotten better at prototyping, and we think the artwork, sound design, and code has all improved with experience.”

Q: You’ve guaranteed that the app will be 100% free, with no in-app purchases. What played into your decision to do that? 

A: “We tried IAPs with Grilly, and that went alright… We make a little bit here and there, but nothing crazy.  With Hot Shot Santa, we wanted to see how things went by selling the game for $0.99.  It didn’t go over well, haha.  We quickly changed the setup so you could play 1/3 of the game for free, and then pay $0.99 to unlock the rest.  Sadly, I think we missed our window for those initial downloads.  We’re still a small company with a short reach, and we learned that asking people for any amount drastically hurts our chances at getting people playing our games.  We’re trying ads with Don’t Eat People.  We spent a lot of time figuring out how we could implement them into the game so they weren’t interrupting the gameplay, and I think we found the best solution.  You won’t see an ad unless you’re on the pause screen or get a game over.  Our players get a free game, we can make a little bit of money, and we’re not being annoying – everyone wins!”

Q: It states on your press release that it’s easy for kids and challenging for hardcore gamers. Do you believe your game will have some of the same success as some of the other top apps in the market right now? Why?

A: “We try to make our games fun for everyone by keeping the controls as simple as possible so anyone can pick it up and play.  With all 3 of our games we’ve had a high-score mechanic, so more experienced players can really challenge themselves. Think about classic arcade games like Pac-man or Galaga… kids can enjoy those games as well as adults.  It’s all about what you want out of the game.”

Q: Hot Shot Santa was created in about 6 weeks according to your blog and for that I commend you! How long did you work on creating and developing Don’t Eat People?

A: “We really challenged ourselves with Hot Shot Santa, and we think it was good for us.  We learned a lot in a short amount of time, and were able to push through the stress to hit our deadlines.  We were more relaxed during Don’t Eat People’s 3 month development – we weren’t trying to hit a holiday release and we had other projects going on at the same time (not to mention our full-time jobs!)  We really like what people are doing with game jams, where they sit down and pump out a few games in a few weeks.  That’s something we’d really like to try more, and maybe take some of our failed prototypes to the next level.”

Don’t Eat People launches Sunday the 25th! Thanks again to Piasa Games for taking the time to answer these questions. Head over to their website for more information about their future projects. 

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Miranda Kirk
Former member and Senior Intern of the JTP program, woo!