Doodle Jump Creator Igor Pusenjak of Lima Sky the Past, Present, and Future of Doodle Jump, and the Upcoming Doodle Jump Race

Doodle Jump Creator Igor Pusenjak of Lima Sky the Past, Present, and Future of Doodle Jump, and the Upcoming Doodle Jump Race

Apr 25, 2014

Igor Pusenjak is the founder of Lima Sky, known for creating Doodle Jump, one of the most famous games of the iOS and Android era of mobile gaming. Out for five years now, the game is still going strong and has an online multiplayer spinoff, Doodle Jump Race, out now on iOS and coming soon to Android. Pusenjak took some time to speak with me about the past, present, and future of Doodle Jump.

Android Rundown:Is Doodle Jump still doing pretty well for Lima Sky?

Igor Pusenjak:

Yeah, it’s still doing really well for us. It’s been basically a top-50 game on iOS for the last 5 years. In a way, the big thing about Doodle Jump has been the timing to the market, and just of the fact that it’s such a perfectly-tailored app for a mobile device where you just pick it up and play for short bursts of time.

We basically call these apps digital snacks. You’re waiting for a bus, you need something for 30 seconds, boom, you can play it. Even waiting for a subway, same thing. So I think that’s been a big reason and over time it’s basically become one of those classic apps, kind of a must-have, for a mobile device.

Doodle Jump

It’s a similar thing that we’ve see with Flappy Bird and that whole craze, and I guess it gets back to what you were saying with the whole digital snack idea, that we’re kind of seeing developers get back to this point where they’re not making these big and bloated games, there’s a lot more developers that are putting out smaller games, that are snack-sized games, and it’s definitely something that Doodle Jump was there five years before the whole craze got out there.

Right, I think it was actually fantastic to see such a simple game did so well at this specific moment in time because a couple of months ago, it really seemed that in order to launch a game, you really needed to have 3 million levels, and 5000 items in the shop, and all the challenges and all that. And you know, while it’s great, it’s way more content than anyone can consume immediately. So you kind of get lost in that.

I think a platform like mobile is really more open and more captive of a process of a model where you add content over time. It’s sort of like a TV show where you have episodes and you start slowly introducing people to your game, to your plot, and you sort of grow the game along with your audience. Now the trick there obviously is not everyone gets in at episode one, at the very beginning. So you want to add more content. But you don’t want to overwhelm someone starting after a game has been out after two or three years with all the additional content that has gone into it. I think that’s been a big challenge for us.

And I think we’ve done quite well with the original Doodle Jump game where you can go in and press play and it’s not automatically visible that there are so many different worlds to play, so you’re not overwhelmed initially. And then as you start discovering more and wanting more content, it is still there.

Mobile has expanded so much but the game still has this kind of recognition even beyond people that might not have had an iPhone or an Android device, five years ago, three years ago. The game’s just kind of become this kind of mobile gaming cultural icon. How exactly do you cultivate and promote that?

We just continuously support the game. What we’ve been doing is trying to continuously add fresh content to the game, and more recently, we just came out with Doodle Jump Race, which is a similar idea, a digital snack, a really quick game, obviously very different gameplay, but featuring the same characters so thats one thing. The other thing we’ve been doing lately is trying to create some really high-quality consumer products, like merchandising toys and such that we’re planning on launching around this summer. So, just focusing on the quality of what we deliver and continuing to do so over time.

With Doodle Jump Race, it’s out on iOS already, and you said it’s coming to Android soon, correct?

Yeah, we’re working on an Android version. As I’m sure you’re very familiar with, the issues we’ve been having with Android is just there’s so many devices that we need to support. It’s been taking us a little longer to actually be able to create a version that supports all of them, especially because, we’re really trying to make sure it works great on pretty much everything that people have. On Android, it’s a variety of resolutions and processors, especially if you start to go outside the US, where the newest devices are not necessarily the most powerful one, but we’re getting there. Supporting the broad range of Android devices for is an ongoing challenge for us with no perfect solution but fortunately we’ve had partners like Intel, who provide support for independent developers like us. It’s important for us to optimize for new devices, not just quickly port them.

Doodle Jump Race

With Doodle Jump Race, why go with an online multiplayer game for this title?

We’ve been wanting to create a multiplayer title for a while, actually. The first iteration of that was the multiplayer ability that we had in the original Doodle Jump, which unfortunately hasn’t made its way over to Android just yet. It’s available on iOS. That was basically a two-person race, and that’s part of the idea, it would be really interesting to create something like Doodle Jump Arena where you compete in games with more people, in sort of a short burst dynamic environment.

It’s been taking us a while to kind of come up with what the basic premise would be, how it should work, and of course, you start complicating things and creating all these game designs that involve so many different things. And at some point in the process we decided, let’s scale these back as far as we can to the point where there’s absolutely nothing that we can take out of the game before we put it out. And that’s what we did with [Doodle Jump Race]. And it’s been very much going back to the roots of how the original Doodle Jump was created and how it was a very simple but captivating game that we continued to develop over time. And that’s the same premise behind this.

Thanks to Igor Pusenjak for his time.