…2012 is closing in; as Matmi look forward to new and exciting projects for 2013, we’re taking a look at what has made the Matmi story special this year.
Eating carrot cake with Warwick Davis is up there..then welcoming two new babies to the extended Matmi family (first christmas for Esme and Lily!), and some new faces; we have a new project manager (Ian) a new receptionist and social media assistant (Helen) and new developer (Tom) at matmi towers. There was some pretty crazy jet setting to San Francisco, Slovenia and more, and Jeff and Warwick’s talk at the Develop conference in Brighton was one to remember.. we have been pinball playing, going loopy at Alton Towers, breaking world records in big hairstyles, chanelling Zelda, getting closer to Nivea, turning 40…then there is Rollabear, who’s getting some finishing touches and ready to go live (whoop!)..finally a new website (thanks Rob, James and Nate - the most challenging project of the decade), deadlines and more deadlines, and some secret projects we STILL can’t mention (arrghhh!!) and finally, Jeff’s incredible appointment as a board member for Creative England. !
It’s been fun 2012, but we are all raring to go for 2013 now - with the amazing team of developers and designers we have inhouse who worked their pants off this year, we have high hopes for even bigger, more exciting projects in the new year and can’t wait to get started.
Meanwhile, mince pies, mulled wine, last minute christmas shopping and the big Christmas shindig on Friday night - christmas jumper themed - photos to follow (if they are fit to share)…
To HTML5 or not to HTML5, that is the mobile question
Mark Zuckerberg opened up recently about HTML5 and the difficulties that Facebook has faced in developing mobile apps. In a quote heard round the world, Zuckerberg called HTML5 “one of the biggest strategic mistakes we made.” Those are pretty strong words from the CEO of the most influential company in the mobile market today.
Facebook is experiencing slower performance with HTML5 compared to native apps on mobile devices and the diversity of mobile browsers, which leads to confusion among web hosting developers over which parts of the programming they can use—hence, the appeal of native apps.
A native app doesn’t need an internet connection to run; it’s much faster than loading an HTML5 web app; and, because native apps run directly from the phone, they have easier access to the microphone and camera, making them more capable than HTML5-based web apps.
Before you take Mark Zuckerberg’s HTML5 bashing as evidence that web apps are dead, remember that there are plenty of reasons why developers still like web apps in some circumstances….
HTML5 is still a baby, lacking in some core functionality, but I beleive it has a bright future. Native vs. Web app is a debate set to continue for some time. Atleast until HTML5 becomes a more settled, standardised language with improved functions, particularly relating to sound operations.
Monster Pinball has been HD’d and a whole lot more!
The game you know and love (and if you don’t you should) has not only been given new HD graphics redesigned from the ground up… its been given new life with a whole new array of goals and achievements, table lock-in and single table play modes!
We wanted to build upon the original and we spent more than a year doing just that. Our fans loved the original and now MPHD brings it flying back into your hands with great new features and a look and feel that we’re sure will bring a smile to your face.
AND THIS TIME IT’S ON ALL OS DEVICES. Out NOW on iOS (universal app) and Android. Windows mobile coming late 2012.
I’m having a total blast reliving my love for Monster Pinball in a modern package, and just hearing all the zany sound effects and music is taking me back to a time when I poured countless hours into this game. - TouchArcade
Stunning HD graphics and animations
New Achievements / Over 500 goals
Facebook sharing* / Games Center iOS integration
Landscape view for iPad and iPad mini
6 fun packed tables with interconnected table layout
60fps giving extra smooth gameplay
Realistic Physics engine developed specifically for this game
Accelerometer tilt function / Single Table Play mode / Table lockin
Hotball feature – Score multiplied points when active
Unique sound effects in stereo / Pause, Save and Resume
Meet the latest addition to the Matmi team, Ian Lawrence!
Before we get to meet Ian, I think a special mention is needed for one of our past employees; Mr Tibbs esq… or just James if you prefer. He started at Matmi 8 years ago, working on award winning campaigns such as Gorillaz, Lily Allen, Let It Flow and Optathlon.
He moved from being a simple coding monkey, to lead programmer and finally to project manager. A big thanks to James for all his hard work over the years and we wish him well on his freelance adventures.
But time stands still for no man. Taking over the hot seat of project manager, please welcome Ian. I managed to find 10 minutes to sit down with him (no rest for the newbie) and pester him for some personal information.
What did you do before coming to Matmi?
I was working on a project sponsored by the BBC and Arts Council England called the Space. We were focussed on the Literature & Spoken Word section.
Introducing the biggest little celebrity on the planet…
Matmi are very excited to announce the launch of PocketWARWICK, the brand new app for international actor and all round good guy Warwick Davis.
Matmi were approached by technology investors Offficial, who are producers of the app, and Warwick Davis to develop Pocket Warwick. Working alongside Warwick and Offficial over the 7 month development time was incredible, providing more laughs than any other project.
Warwick loves his gadgets and saw PocketWARWICK as a perfect extension to his onscreen persona, allowing his creativity to flourish. The aim of the app is to give his fans a brand new, unique way of interacting with him; and having fun while doing so. It is a great showcase for bridging the gap between celebrities and gaming.
Within the first 3 DAYS, PocketWARWICK had reached number 14 in the iPhone free games chart and number 1 role playing game.
Matmi are exactly the kind of company I enjoy working with, Jeff and his team are so creative. Whilst making ‘Pocket Warwick’, I’d call up Jeff and say, “I’ve got a great idea”, and he’d say, “Yes, and here are three more ideas”. It was so amazing to see all of those new ideas incorporated in the next beta version of the game only a day or two later. I was so impressed by the way Matmi work, that I went straight back to them for my next project, an autograph and collectables website for my company, The Signature Shop. – Warwick Davis
Have your very own Warwick in your pocket!
Warwick Davis fans can get closer to their favourite celeb than ever before with this new free-to-play app. Combining elements of The Sims and Tamigotchi, PocketWARWICK features the star himself -feed him, tickle him, dress him as frog, take him to auditions, send him to the Gym – whatever it takes to keep him happy. Be part of and help him along his journey from Z-list to A-list celebrity status. At launch, the game will contain 100s of tasks to take part in with more added over time.
The Matmi team worked very closely with Warwick to ensure his personality and unique sense of humour was accurately conveyed via the games AI system- over the months of development he visited and chatted to the team constantly about how his character would react to certain events, his favourite foods (chocolate biscuits!) likes and dislikes – so we feel we have digitally captured his characteristics to a tee.
This system enables us to keep adding to the app new elements, updates, novelties, costumes and auditions – it’s a perfect way to keep a user engaged on top of keeping the game fresh and up to date.
The app was created using Unity 3D, a development engine that Matmi has been working closely with for some years (we were one of the first games company to publish on android).
Unity is free to download, has a fantastic following and allows a developer to simply and easily port a game to multiple platforms – we are huge fans.
As PocketWarwick is the first game that Offficial have produced we were entering the unknown somewhat when we started the project. Matmi have managed our expectations and offered advice guidance throughout which has led to a successful relationship from our perspective. We’re already actively seeking out opportunities for other projects we can take to the talented team at Matmi! – Offficial
Celebrity culture and mobile apps
Celebrity apps are revolutionising the relationship between celebrities and gaming.
Matmi has already worked with a number of music industry celebrities (Lily Allen, Gorillaz, Iron Maiden) producing great games with fantastic results; and have been championing bridging the gap between the digital and celebrity worlds; turning film, TV and music stars into app stars. Celebrities will have an increased presence in this digital form, representing a whole new platform, audience, branding opportunity and revenue stream.
The world of celebrities and games are becoming closer all the time and we wanted to take this even further. PocketWARWICK attempts to blend these worlds together more than any app before. Fans are already used to being able to interact with their favourite celebrity through social networks; PocketWARWICK is a mere extension on this. We expect the trend of celebrities getting more heavily involved in the digital world (and games in particular) to grow and we look forward to being part of it. – Jeff Coghlan, Matmi MD
Warwick already has a huge online social presence, with Pocket Warwick we hope to extend this audience reach and encourage fans to find new, fun ways to interact with their favourite celebrity.
For Matmi, PocketWARWICK is just the beginning…an exciting one at that!
With the recent rumours surrounding Apple’s iPad mini along with the Kindle Fire HD release in the UK, we thought we would take a quick look at the other main competitor in the mini-tablet market….the Google Nexus.
Google’s unfortunate crash in the market place, relating largely to drops in banner advertising revenue (read this for an alternative to ineffectual banner ads), means their tablet division has taken on an added importance to the company. The question is, will the Nexus go the way of the HP TouchPad or can it challenge Amazon and Apple for mini-tablet supremacy?
The whole Matmi team have had a play on the tablet, testing Matmi’s latest apps. Tom even went out and bought one for himself the day after he saw Matmi’s. So the following review is based upon our own real world experience with the Nexus tablet.
Browsing the internet and running apps is as smooth as the hands of the fairy liquid lady, with the quad-core Tegra 3 processor handling the load easily.
The smaller screen size does have some obvious limitations, especially for people like me with eye sight no better than a short sighted bat. However, like most tablets, the zoom function works seamlessly to solve any visual deficiencies. The touchscreen is very responsive (as you’d expect) making it easy to navigate the system or control any app you may be running.
Price vs Quality
At under £200 (£194 for the 16 GB version) you might expect some corners to be cut regarding build quality. This is not the case with the Nexus. It has a nice solid feel to it and the round corners do make a difference when cradled in your hand for hours at a time. The hardware is top notch, displaying no stutters or slow response times running the Android jelly Bean platform.
Get your gaming on!
Games, games and more games. Mobile gaming is massive and an obvious interest to Matmi with the release of Pocket Warwick on the 25th October, along with the upcoming Rollabear and Monster Pinball HD apps. The Nexus tablet has been a joy to play games on. The smaller, hand-held sized device feels just right in your hands, almost akin to holding a PS Vita.
The 7 inch screen is crisp, bright and displays games rich colours extremely well. Tom he has lost many hours at home to gaming on the Nexus with a particular favourite of his recently being Triple town (Jeff: Rollabear looks absolutely stonkingly beautiful on the Nexus).
Yet to really establish a strong foothold in the online gaming world, HTML5 can still cause divisions amongst developers. That being said, we have run our own HTML5 game we did for Nivea through its’ paces on the device along with Tom’s little side project Ricochet. Both ran smoothly with no noticeable lag. Being able to play games within the tablets browser, and full screen them, is a fantastic ability and may yet see HTML5 rise in popularity as a games developing platform.
In short, we love the Nexus. It’s powerful enough to run even the most resource intensive apps, perfectly sized for lengthy gaming sessions, tears up the internet with smooth browsing, responsive touch screen, great OS in Jelly Bean and just looks so darn pretty.
Would we recommend you buy one? Yes. If only to enjoy Pocket Warwick, Rollabear, Monster Pinball HD and all our other apps in wonderful 7-inch glory.
For more information on what Matmi can do for your digital design needs:
Introducing PocketWarwick. A ‘little’ celebrity that you can nurture, manage and turn into the ‘biggest’ ‘little celebrity on the planet. You’ll need to feed, dress, train and educate him in this unique ‘sim’ game.
PocketWarwick stars real life pocket sized celebrity, Warwick Davis. Real Warwick is the star of Life’s Too Short, Willow, Star Wars, Harry Potter and Leprechaun. Looking after your very own PocketWarwick involves sending him out to film auditions, charity events, personal appearances and many other jobs - with the aim to take over the movie industry one role at a time!
PocketWarwick has the opportunity to star in such movies as Back Splash, Small Runnings, Low Noon and Admission Impossible.
PocketWarwick, a little bit of Hollywood in your pocket!