Game developer interview with Andrew John Smith from Spilt Milk Studios [GTKYD]

by GamingBits on October 3, 2011

in General Gaming News Bits, Getting To Know Your Developers [GTKYD], iPhone, iPad, iPod touch Games



Who are you and what do you do in the video game industry?

I’m Andrew John Smith and I’m a Game Designer by trade. I founded Spilt Milk Studios about a year and a half ago, and we make games for whatever platform we think is a good fit. The only rule is that we make good games!

What are you working on currently or just released?

Our first game was a fun little (free) maths-based puzzler called Crunch – The Game, but more recently we launched Hard Lines on iOS to critical and commercial success. We’re about to launch it on Android too, and have some early plans to bring it to other platforms as well. We’ve got a couple more secret iOS projects on the bubble, plus a mega-secret PC project.

Hard Hard Lines is super addicting and has an awesome soundtrack. Where did those ideas come from?

That’s very kind of you to say! The core of the idea came from myself and Nicoll Hunt wanting to make a better Tron game than was already out there. After getting a small build up and running, and knowing we could rock its socks off, we continued adding, tweaking, playtesting and improving it over several months. It has since grown out of all proportion and become something of a hit! The soundtrack was created by a couple of my friends, DJs in Glasgow, who I’ve known since university. They are both keen gamers, and I knew they’d get the vibe we wanted to hit. They nailed it! So much so that we’ve launched an album with extended and original tracks, and we’re working on a remix album too! See

How did you get into developing iOS games and previous projects that you have worked on?

Well we launched Crunch – The Game a while back as our first game (I say ‘our’ – but I work with different collaborators on each game the studio launches) and this was commissioned by a client. It was a fun game to work on and meant we had some proven success and a bit of money in the bank. We’ve also, as a means to an end, worked on a non-gaming app. But the reason I got into iOS development were the lack of barriers to entry. Under a hundred quid for the rights to develop on the platform, couple hundred for the equipment and you’re good to go. Keeping costs low is important for a startup!

That said the touch screen interface and marketplace allows you to really try out some neat, and new, ideas. Having a background in traditional console game development meant that the change up was refreshing and challenging to me.

We have been seeing a trend with more and more games being released for free and selling in-App purchases. What are your thoughts on this and will Spilt Milk Studios be doing anything of the sort?

Yeah it’s certainly a pretty sensible way to make money on these mobiles platforms. It’s not the only way, and it’s certainly got to be handled correctly and fairly, but it’s a cool model. We’re updating Hard Lines right this very minute with the latest update – and that includes in-app purchases. Whether we go free anytime is currently up for discussion, but I would not be surprised if we did. Moving forward with future projects it’s certainly something we’re taking into account from the first day of development – but with Hard Lines we didn’t design it with this from the start so we have to be extra careful.

Working from home does have its perks. Playing anything for fun/research?

I actually do work and sleep in a shed, which gives me freedom to do as I please (working in slippers is always nice!) but on the flipside it means I live a pretty lonely working day existence 😀 . Radio 6 Music and Twitter make up my ‘office hubbub’! That said I do get to play some cool games in my lunchbreaks, and I’m currently tearing through a giant backlog of games I own but haven’t played much, as well as games I’ve never played but should have. Like Deus Ex (the original) and Super Mario World (on the SNES!). Both have recently been completed and I’ll be moving on to some other classics soon.

Is Spilt Milk Studios a single man operation?

Yeah it’s just me! I’ve got plans to expand to a small team, but right now I outsource everything that I can’t do myself. The good thing is I see that as the future of the business anyway so it’s all good practice… but I would like to have some in-house talent working for me too!


Do you have a child-like obsession with all things Tron like myself?  Because I get that vibe from several of the modes in Hard Lines.

Haha yeah Tron is a classic (and I actually really had fun with the recent sequel too!) and when done right I think it’s a fresh vibe. The sound, style, art, tone of the universe is all pretty unqiue. You’ve got to be careful when referencing it, but I think we did a good job.

Are you working on anything right now? Wish to tease us with something?

I’ve got two iOS games in development, plus a PC project on the backburner. Not to mention the continuing support of Hard Lines. Things are going well, and hopefully sometime before Christmas we’ll have another game out. We can hope! I’m not going to tease anything more, because I don’t want to show off anything without, well, having something to show off – none of the projects are at a point where we can show screenshots off… so you’ll just have to keep an eye on our Twitter feed (SpiltMilkStudio) and facebook page (!

Anything else you wish to share with GamingBits readers?

Just to say thanks to anyone who reads all the way through this, and keep an eye out for our games. We’ll never release anything that’s not at the very least great fun (or at least that’s the plan) so hopefully we’re going to be fairly reliable!


For more details and to download Hard Lines, visit the App Store here. Visit the Spilt Milk Studios website at Thanks to Andrew John Smith for making this interview possible!

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