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Gunslugs Developer Orange Pixel Talks About the Challenges of Porting

There is no denying that mobile gaming is becoming increasingly popular. It’s projected to grow to $54 billion in earnings by next year and almost double that, $108 billion, by 2016. Add to that the increasing popularity and demand for mobile only games to be ported over to other handheld gaming devices such as the PlayStation Vita, and you will soon find a developer with enough drive and ambition to satisfy the handheld gamer’s needs.

Indie developer OrangePixel is doing just that: taking one of their bestselling mobile games and porting it over the Vita. Currently holding a 5 star rating just four days after launching on the PSN and holding a 4 ½ star rating on both the Google Play and Itunes stores, it’s pretty obvious why the popular mobile game Gunslugs is making the transition to the Vita.  Being touted as a crazy, chaotic and challenging action game, the retro 8-bit graphics and sounds are reminiscent of days spent at the controls of our favorite arcade games.  Coincidentally, several levels in Gunslugs pay homage to cherished classics like Donkey Kong and the handheld platforms of our childhood like the Gameboy.

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Breaking into the mobile gaming niche since 2004, a time when the idea of a mobile gaming market was laughed at; they worked hard and kept following their passion to prove the naysayers wrong.  Fast forward ten years, and OrangePixel is ready to conquer the next level in the world of developing by porting to another system. When CEO Pascel Bestebroer started to think about porting the popular Android and iOS game Gunslugs to the PlayStation Vita, he realized he needed a bit of help from someone more knowledgeable and skilled to that system.

The first challenge arose to find that someone who could help bring Gunslugs over, and Bestebroer said that “Abstraction Games is the team who said ‘we love to help you!’”. Now teamed up with the developers from Abstraction Studios (who helped port other big named games such as Angry Birds and Cut the Rope), Bestebroer set out to conquer the many challenges of porting.

With the “original version of Gunslugs for mobile platforms and various other devices like the Ouya and Gamestick,” one would think that the game’s programming would have to be rewritten and re-developed to make it work and still be visually appealing to the Vita’s system. In this case, OrangePixel didn’t have to start from square one.

“The Vita combines a great screen with actual buttons which is a much better way to play Gunslugs than with virtual touchscreen buttons,” Betebroer said of the handheld. Thankfully for OrangePixel and Abstraction, the orginal game had the ablity to be played across a wide array of screen sizes and button controls and only had to add small aspects such as leaderboards and trophies.  When that was done, Pascel said that “all I had to do was test the game, which is fine cause I still like playing the game”.

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Although OrangePixel has overcome the challenge of porting, he said that to describe the experience is “best compared to translating a book. When you port a game from one platform to the other it’s really translating the story from English to Spanish. It’s not just translating the words, but also making sure it stays a sentence and is readable by the audience.”

Gunslugs may be their first on the PSN, but certainly not the last. Their Heroes of Loot is confirmed to come to the Vita and plans for more of their games to come over in the future.



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