GDC Mobile: EA’s Mike Pagano
Posted by ballightning on March 24, 2009
Mike Pagano has produced many of the mobile games for EA, including Spore Origins, and earlier today he gave a talk on the challenges of porting games to the mobile genre. Gamasutra were there, and they created this article.
On the first day of GDC Mobile 2009, EA Mobile game producer Mike Pagano gave a candid but useful lecture on the challenges of porting games to the iPhone, sharing the lessons he and his team learned during the production three recent titles – Yahtzee! Adventures, SimCity and Spore Origins.
The first point that Pagano wanted to hit home was that EA does not see these games as ports, quoting Zach Waibel of development partner Tricky Software: “It’s an adaptation, not a port.”
“We want something that translates from whatever platform we had previously to a new platform,” said Pagano, “but with content that only works on that device.” For Spore Origins, Pagano “took the original BREW version, tossed it away, and tried to build it from the ground up” to utilize the iPhone’s unique aesthetics and input schemes.
“We prototyped a lot,” said Pagano, “and after iteration after iteration, they came with the tilt-based control scheme.”
Adapting to the iPhone extends beyond UI and control, and affects game design and length. “When we’re looking at mobile games, we see them as shorter experiences,” Pagno continued. “We like to take that and expand on it. Spore Origins [for other mobile devices] was originally a two-hour game, and we took it to a five-hour game for the iPhone.”