[Interview] Mechanic Escape Launches, Supports Android TV

Introduction

Mechanic Escape is a game that has been critically praised on Steam created by Slak Games, and the French developer studio Playdigious has brought the game to Android with support for Android TV. This follows another game on the Play Store, Puddle+, which recently gained support for Android TV.

Mechanic Escape is a plaformer where you play a rogue TV set in an apocalyptic universe where tyrannical machines rule. You have to rescue your friends by traveling through over eighty levels.

I interviewed the team at Playdigious and they were very enthusiastic about turning the TV into a great device for playing games. In fact, several members of the staff decided to answer questions, so I will include the speaker in the response.

On Mechanic Escape

unnamed (2)
See that glowing blue guy? That’s you.

What was the original idea behind the idea?

Romain Tisserand: We have been discussing with the Steam publisher Plug In Digital to evaluate which nice game could have a good fit on mobile. We quickly came to the conclusion that Mechanic Escape could be a perfect first project together. We started from an unfinished mobile port from Slak Games (original developer) with the goal to bring it not only on mobile devices but also on Android TV, Fire TV, Apple TV and even OUYA.

Why did you decide to get involved with this game?

Romain Tisserand: The game has a very good rating on PC, a lot of players on Steam, and it fits with our editorial policy in terms of quality (90% positive user reviews in this case).

On Porting to Android TV

Mechanic Escape 2
Try not to fall through the lasers! Also gravity is being weird.

What made you decide to support Android TV?

Romain Tisserand: Adding Android TV support for us is very important when it fits to the game. It does not only help to boost the sales but also open significant third-party deals.

The publisher, Playdigious, also has the game Puddle+ available for Android TV. Why make Android TV a priority?

Xavier Liard: We strongly believe that Android TV is going to take more and more market share in the upcoming months and years. Our friends at Sony are doing an amazing job on BRAVIA models powered by Android TV, and we expect more manufacturers to support Android TV next year.

How much time went into supporting Android TV?

Romain Tisserand: Not that much since Mechanic Escape is built upon Unity. I would say 5 working days.

On Mechanic Escape’s Reception

Mechanic Escape 3
See that big angry thing? Avoid that.

How does the experience differ from a phone? Have you played on a TV?

Antonin Lohner: You have to rethink most of UI controls but you need to keep your game playable on any touch device, so you can’t change all of your UI. You need to adjust it in order to make it as simple as you can, this is a big challenge. Playing on TV provides comfort you don’t have on mobile.

You can play on a big screen without battery issue for example and you can play with your friends in your living-room. I play on my TV with my Xbox One so, it’s not an Android TV but it’s same way to play and it’s easy.

Has Android TV support affected the number of users buying the game?

Romain Tisserand: It’s way too early to conclude for Mechanic Escape. We did an specific deal with NVIDIA on Pix The Cat and we saw interesting results. The market is so crowded on mobile so that any smart way to get more exposure is good to take.

On Google Play Games

Mechanic Escape 4
You’re a TV, but you also have arms and legs, so you can swing

Why did you decide to use Google Play Games?

Romain Tisserand: This is a no brainer. GPGS (Google Play Games Service) has been improved a lot over time (I began developing on Android 2.2 back in the OpenFeint days) and is now a very polished, straightforward and solid component for Android games.

How does the game’s use of Google Play Games factor into the gamer’s experience?

Antonin Lohner: Google Play Games brings achievements to our game, some of players don’t need them but achievements provide more challenge for players and they spend more time on Mechanic Escape trying to unlock them.

On the Android TV Platform

Mechanic Escape 5
See that laser thing? Try to avoid that too.

What is your least favorite thing about Android TV?

Romain Tisserand: None! Android TV is a marvelous platform for developing quality games. We really enjoy how lean the experience is, it is really tailored for living-room and family usage.

Also, so far the Android TV device pool is pretty homogeneous compared to Android “mobile” world where device and OS fragmentation can become pretty complex to handle for developers.

What is the best feature of Android TV?

Antonin Lohner: I think that the best feature of Android TV is apps. You can do anything with apps including great games.

I really like GameStream from NVIDIA on Shield because with game streaming you can play every big game without further console or PC.

What is the biggest thing you’d like to see announced for the next version of Android TV?

Antonin Lohner: I’d like to see coming more interactivity between Android Devices, like second screen for example.

What’s the next thing for you and Playdigious? Are there more games coming soon?

Romain Tisserand: We have a very exciting line-up for 2016, both premium and free-to-play games ! We’re also working on a top-secret project involving a lot of R&D, we’ll disclose more when it’s ready (before end of year 2016).

Conclusion

There’s a lot of momentum growing behind the TV platform, and Playdigious is staying ahead of the curve by publishing high-quality games like Mechanic Escape to Google Play. Games that once were only capable of being played on a high-end gaming PC are now just as smooth on a high-end phone or even a mid-range STB (set-top box).

Unity’s continuing support for cross-platform games makes it easy to take these games and publish them both on Steam and Google Play. Android’s support for a variety of form factors means any game one develops can be played from a watch (hypothetically) to a 40-inch TV. This is an exciting time for game developers, and it’s exciting as a user to see these kinds of games be published for the devices I use regularly.

The game is on sale on Google Play for $2 instead of the regularly $3 in order to celebrate the 200,000 players who’ve bought and played the game on Steam.

Nick Felker

Nick Felker

Nick Felker is a student Electrical & Computer Engineering student at Rowan University (C/O 2017) and the student IEEE webmaster. When he's not studying, he is a software developer for the web and Android (Felker Tech). He has several open source projects on GitHub (http://github.com/fleker)Devices: Moto G-2013 Moto G-2015, Moto 360, Google ADT-1, Nexus 7-2013 (x2), Lenovo Laptop, Custom Desktop.Although he was an intern at Google, the content of this blog is entirely independent and his own thoughts.

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  • Kawshik Ahmed

    Great as always but can you guys interview ABC and NBC to ask them why they don’t release Android TV apps when they have all their apps on Fire TV and both are Android based.

    • ABC gave a non-committal answer when I asked.