October 29th, 2012
Pota-Toss Blends Zombie Potatoes with Location-Aware Levels for an Exciting New Gaming Experience
Pota-Toss is a stunning new Parse-powered game with location-aware levels, killer zombie potatoes, and social integration for playing your new favorite game against your favorite real-life opponents. Pota-Toss was created by Saborstudio, a Costa Rican based studio that specializes in developing innovative location-aware games for mobile devices. With all the mobile games on the market, the team at Saborstudio had to get innovative to make a game that was a standout in the mobile gaming world. Pota-Toss recognizes a player’s current GPS location and sets one of 100 custom levels from cities all around the world as your gaming location. With the backdrop being the closest city, Larry Potato, the game’s main character, must defend his home city from an evil gang of zombie potatoes, called Spuds. Using social integration with Facebook, you can play friends from across the world with each of you seeing your current, closest city as a backdrop. Pota-Toss received more than 71,000 downloads in its first week.
We sat down with Saborstudio CTO, Phillipe Casorla Sagot, and chatted with him about how Parse helped in the development of the wildly addictive Pota-Toss game.
Where did the idea for Pota-Toss come from?
My co-founder Jose Cayasoo had this idea about creating a multiplayer artillery game. At the time, people were playing Angry Birds a lot but there wasn't a way to play with your friends. We proceeded to create a campaign in Kickstarter to validate the idea and see if people were really interested. We called this campaign our first minimum viable product and in the end it was a major success. We ended up collecting more than $14,000, making us part of the 5% of projects that were able to double the original goal.
If you had to name the most important benefit of using Parse as the backend for Pota-Toss, what would it be?
The biggest benefit of working with Parse is definitely speed. Parse gave us the opportunity to focus 90% of our time on creating a stunning game without worrying too much about server overload or security problems. The other 10% was just spent integrating with Parse. Thanks to Parse we were able not only to create an awesome game, but a metric-driven multiplayer platform where hundreds of users are playing from different locations all around the world.
What Parse features are used in Pota-Toss?
We are using ALL of the Parse framework features. Without Parse we couldn't have built this game in 7 months with a team of just two guys; I am the only coder and my friend Jose is the only designer.
That is awesome! How are you using Parse Push?
The game is asynchronous, just like SongPop or DrawSomething, so users receive a push notification every time it’s their turn in a match. Also we have included a feature where we send a push notification every time a new friend from Facebook is playing. For example, if you have a friend named John who just downloaded the game, you will receive a notification such as: "John is now playing Pota-Toss. Challenge them NOW and earn some extra Potato Chips."
What about Parse Social?
After completing the tutorial, users are able to log in using Parse or Facebook, which is all done using Parse. A user is the main entity in our game and we needed the ability to retrieve chips, current matches, and get a lot of data from Parse for each of the game’s users. With Parse Data together with Parse Social, we were able to achieve all of those things.
How does Pota-Toss use Parse Data?
Thanks to the Parse Data feature, we are able to download levels on demand. We have created a custom Mac Application for our design team so they can upload new level textures to the backend at any time without modifying the game.
I love the idea of location-aware levels. Can you tell us more about how you’re using Parse-powered geolocation?
We have attached a geo-point to every level in the backend so we can run queries against the current user position, which allows us to determine the top 5 levels nearest to the user.
We just launched Cloud Code less than 6 weeks ago so we’re excited that you’ve already incorporated it into Pota-Toss. Can you give us an overview of how Cloud Code is being used?
Absolutely. We are using Cloud Code to count user impressions for each of the paid advertising banners in each level. We believe iAds are annoying and intrusive and many users seem to agree with us, so we are integrating a new method of advertisement in Pota-Toss that is based on a real-world, GPS-based recipe for success.
You mentioned Parse allowed you to launch Pota-Toss much faster than originally anticipated. Do you have an idea of how much faster?
It would be almost impossible to develop our current platform in less than a year, especially with a team of two. We were able to launch the app in only 7 months with just one developer and one designer. Parse will continue to be our backend for a long time.
As a developer, what do you love most about Parse?
Parse tutorials are superb; you can't deny they work a lot on that. It’s impossible to miss it. Another plus is the website - I love the design! Very clean and well done. Also, the integration is seamless. You can integrate your app with Parse in just 5 minutes, literally.
Today, Pota-Toss posted an infographic on their blog detailing their amazing growth trajectory boasting 4,032,271 potatoes thrown and 1,990,912 spuds killed! Pota-Toss continues to see rapid adoption of new users per day and with coverage on TheNextWeb, TechCrunch, Business Insider, CNN, and more, that growth doesn’t look like it will be slowing down any time soon. Download Pota-Toss in the App Store and let us know what you think.