Wide Sky by Marcus Eckert

Pick of the Week #83

This week’s pick is Wide Sky by Marcus Eckhert, an iphone game app.

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Marcus Eckert is a freelance iOS Developer and Motion Designer. He describes Wide Sky as “A game and experiment in design”. The objective in Wide Sky is to bounce and swing your hedgehog from clouds using a rope, in order to to smash orbs hanging in the sky. As you progress in the game, your hedgehog gains new powers and new challenges to complete.

 

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“I wanted the experience to go beyond just playing a game… It might even be an experiment and then a game.

It’s a game but it was also my playground for a year to hone my skills in design, code and animation. I’ve always liked installing a new version of Windows just to see how the interface changed. I just loved to play with that and I wanted people to also like to play with the game, when they’re not in the game, but in the menus… To be surprised and hopefully a little delighted.”

 

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Eckert’s website explains “Wide Sky uses some parts of cocos2D but the stand-out features and heavy-lifting is done by an early version of Meek, a native iOS engine I wrote to allow for smooth, performant animations and 2D/3D drawing.”

“I originally used a framework to build the game, but I felt very restricted, so I looked at the code, expanded it and made it my own. Then I fused my knowledge as a motion designer with my code knowledge and this way, I think, Wide Sky has animations like no other app. It also has some weird interfaces just to play with. They’re not necessarily designed to be the most straight-forward, since it’s not a productivity app, but they’re playful and there’s quite a bit of attention to detail in this game.”

 

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“I’m originally a motion designer and from time to time I would have to mock-up a fake interface for a video. And I was always a little disappointed with myself to never have coded anything substantial. So, I thought it’s the right time (in my life but also in the app ecosphere) to make something where I could just experiment and roam free creatively…

I did it because I didn’t want to be dependent on anyone else and wanted to make my own thing. No client, no focus-group.”

 

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“I would love to keep on coding and designing and expanding my horizon. But money does play a role, and it’s a bigger one than I had anticipated, frankly. You will have to be quite the businessperson if you want to live off of your apps, but I’m not really complaining about that, it’s just the way things are.”

 

Wide Sky will be available on iPad on March 7th.

 

Get Wide Sky on the App Store here for £0.69

See Marcus’ Website here 

Marcus’ Twitter can be found here

Full Interview Below

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1. What inspired you to make Wide Sky?

I’m originally a motion designer and from time to time I would have to mock-up a fake interface for a video. And I was always a little disappointed with myself to never have coded anything substantial. So, I thought it’s the right time (in my life but also in the app ecosphere) to make something where I could just experiment and roam free creatively.

 

2. How did you build it, and how is it different from other apps?

I originally used a framework to build the game. It’s basically a lot of code someone else wrote to facilitate making games. But I felt very restricted so I looked at the code, expanded it and made it my own. Then I fused my knowledge as a motion designer with my code knowledge and this way, I think, Wide Sky has animations like no other app. It also has some weird interfaces just to play with. They’re not necessarily designed to be the most straight-forward, since it’s not a productivity app, but they’re playful and there’s quite a bit of attention to detail in this game. I wanted the experience to go beyond just playing a game.

 

3. You describe Wide Sky as a Game and experiment in design. Is this how you would situate it?

It might even be an experiment and then a game. I did it because I didn’t want to be dependent on anyone else and wanted to make my own thing. No client, no focus-group. It’s a game but it was also my playground for a year to hone my skills in design, code and animation. I’ve always liked installing a new version of windows just to see how the interface changed. I just loved to play with that and I wanted people to also like to play with the game when they’re not in the game but in the menus:) To be surprised and hopefully a little delighted.

 

4. Who inspires you?

As a designer I love www.kellianderson.com . Her work is stellar but she also comes across as just a nice person. I also think Saul Bass created very timeless, minimalist designs. Charles and Ray Eames also come to mind. But I usually get inspired by lots of folks.

 

5. Have you been affected by funding cuts in the arts, and have you noticed a resistance in the art world to apps and creative coding?

I personally have not been affected by funding cuts since I never had funding other than my savings:) I also wouldn’t really know about any resistance in the art world to making apps and just that there would be a distinction between art world and people who make games/apps seems odd and out of place. The definition of art will change as the mediums change. There’s no way around that, in my opinion. So if there is resistance, it’s futile.

 

6. Would you ideally like to create apps and use creative coding just for arts sake – What part does the money play in creating an app?

I would never really do anything just for art’s sake. Rather I see art as a way to make people think, to trigger feelings and thoughts and that’s what I want to do. I also don’t really know if I would describe anything I do as art because it comes so laden with meaning and aspirations. I’ve always felt that the term art is used to elevate things and by implication denigrate others.

I would love to keep on coding and designing and expanding my horizon. But money does play a role and it’s a bigger one than I had anticipated, frankly. You will have to be quite the businessperson if you want to live off of your apps, but I’m not really complaining about that, it’s just the way things are.

 

7. What’s next for you?

I’m wondering that myself. I have some cool offers and my ears are always open. I won’t give up coding and I’m just trying to make that work:)