Interview by Vinny Fanneran
Peter Lynch is one half of Fierce Fun, a developer working out of a Docklands office in Dublin. Despite the imminent release of their most ambitious title to date, Peter was generous enough to speak with us about his extensive history in the industry, Fierce Fun and Mindframe Arena itself.
“For me, it really started in the mid-90s when I was involved in setting up the LUDO Training Course in Computer Games in Ballyfermot. I had worked in banking previously and this really got me into gaming. The head of the college at the time was quite a visionary, a man named Jerome Morrissey and setting up LUDO was his idea, the first of its kind in Ireland.”
“I then worked for Vivendi games who later became Activision Blizzard and while there I just had a hankering to make my own games. So I left and started my own company called Eirplay and we made games for the Nokia 3510i and other Nokia handsets for a few years but then I left the industry for a while. But three years ago I met my business partner from the previous company and we decided that with the increasing power of smartphones and our experience in the industry, the time was right to move back into mobile gaming. So we set up Fierce Fun.”
“From the outset, Fierce Fun wanted to concentrate on 2D games, they aren’t as taxing on players using touchscreens, they are just easier to play than a first person shooter. We made two quiz games to begin with, Big Bad Quiz and Quiz Time Trivia and we launched these on iOS, android and Facebook about 18 months ago and have reached over 100,000 downloads, reasonable successful we felt considering our marketing budget was exactly zero. But our experience in the industry helped us a lot, we realised that cross-promotion, linking to our other games and using Facebook would help us greatly.”
Fierce Fun’s success led to them being supported by Enterprise Ireland’s Competitive Start fund which allowed them to move toward the real mobile money-making genre, strategy. The pair were action game players at heart and wanted to make something they too would enjoy playing. The game mixes the two genres with collectible characters and upgrade paths in a mobile friendly touch interface. Mindframe Arena is a free-to-play game that combines board and card play and puts the emphasis on fast-paced strategic combat with a colourful array of over 100 characters or Tecs drawn by Peter’s partner at Fierce Fun, Mark Reid.
Reid is a fine character artist so it seemed natural that FF would seek to exploit this talent with Mindframe Arena. The characters in the game are somewhere between the Samurai Jack animated series and a Zing Pop doll, each one distinct yet uniformly ‘Mindframe’. But the characters themselves started off with a different purpose.
“We had twenty characters for this title that would have been a bit like Habbo, the virtual hotel. We never made it in the end but we wanted to use the characters so had some of the visual basis of Mindframe from there and we knew a board-game would show off these characters well. Some of the Tecs are based on characters or archetypes from pop culture while many are plucked straight out of Mark’s head. Our villain is called Metrix and he is creator of the virtual world that the Tecs battle in and like his name suggests, he is a far simpler geometric design and his art-style and world is more like VR of the 80s or 90s.”
“Mindframe was, in the end, inspired by chess, the classic board game and more recently, Clash Royale. We are huge fans of Supercell, they are a fantastic company with a great track record for fun, successful mobile strategy titles. But really, Mindframe Arena is unique in its mechanics while being rooted in digital board games. Mark and I researched tons of different board-styles and strategy types to try satisfy our action cravings and offer something that could be played strategically.”
“Showing off the Mindframe Arena to the public for the first time at PlayersXpo 2017 is exciting for us to get that sort of exposure but also useful to get feedback on the game. It’s a scale-up for us, we are a very small indie company with the chance to meet thousands of people so thanks to the Xpo team for giving us that chance.”
Mindframe is launching at the end of the year with a beta demo playable at PlayersXpo 2017. Attendees can sample two worlds, four Tecs and forty of the game’s spells over the two days with in-app purchase discount codes available for punters.
PlayersXpo, Ireland’s ULTIMATE gaming event is taking over The Convention Centre, Dublin on the 28th & 29th of October! Get your tickets here.