Game of Fame: Bloons Tower Defense

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Stephen Harris is the co-founder of Ninja Kiwi, a developer and publisher of flash web games and mobile games. He started Ninja Kiwi in 2006 with his brother Chris. Ninja Kiwi recently acquired Scottish mobile gaming studio Digital Goldfish, which increased Ninja Kiwi’s number to 34 full time people. As a game-maker, here are some of Stephen’s insights into how Bloons Tower Defense was created.

Bloons Tower Defense is a flash web game. We made it when it was just myself and my brother in the company back in late 2007. We took our popular Bloons game idea and worked a tower defense game around it. It was pretty successful straight away so we made a sequel, Bloons Tower Defense 2. A few months later we made Bloons Tower Defense 3 – and that became the first mobile version which was simply called Bloons Tower Defense. This is where things get kind of interesting! Bloons TD4 took much longer to make than the previous ones, given that the competition for eyeballs in the flash gaming space was really starting to ramp up. Production value and length of play was increasing all the time. Add to that our pride to make BTD4 much much better than the previous ones. It took many months but our small team put it together and it was a massive hit. I did all the coding and most of the game design but by then we had a full time artist to help make it look awesome. When it went over to mobile we knew the strength of the brand “Bloons TD4” was so strong that we had to call it that on mobile even though it was technically only the second BTD to go to mobile. It was a huge hit on the  iPhone. I was somewhat creatively drained after btd4 so we waited a full year before starting on the next one (did other projects in between). The bar was pretty high at this point so there was huge pressure to make it bigger and better in every way. Luckily by then we had expanded our staff enough to be able to really get some quality in. December 2011 we finally got the web version out and it was again an instant hit. One year later it came out for iPhone, getting to #2 on the US charts inside of 9 hours ...

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