Apple to sell Warren grad’s game

For a gamer, the release of a much-anticipated new game is like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

When you’re the creator, it’s even sweeter.

Warren High School graduate Doyle Daigle is set to have a game he created sold in Apple’s app store later this month.

“Crowman & Wolfboy,” is based on two characters who were the brainchildren of Wither Studio’s original owners, Steve Gavry and John Cobb. Daigle, 28, a 2003 Warren graduate, now works as a game developer at the Pittsburgh studio.

The team was discussing how they could use the characters Gavry and Cobb created in college and the idea for a game was born, he said.

“Crowman & Wolfboy” will be introduced at Nerdapalooza, a music and gaming convention, Oct. 18 in Orlando, Fla.

“From the get-go, we wanted to make it an iPhone game,” Daigle said.

He said he wanted it to be more accessible to the hard-core gaming audience on iPhones, where many casual games, such as “Angry Birds” are available.

“It’s an untapped market,” he said.

The developers relied on the website, Kickstarter, to get ordinary people to invest in the game’s development. They were able to raise $6,000 to start the project.

The website is available to anyone who wants to launch a project and find capital.

To include it on Apple’s app store, games are submitted to Apple, Daigle said. Within two to seven days, Apple evaluates the features of the game. It’s a back and forth process. Apple looks at things such as the icon and whether it has transparency and the wording of any text. Apple is very strict on touch controls it handles to keep it in line with other Apple products, said Daigle.

The game, in the works for about two years, is based on the adventures of Crowman and Wolfboy. It starts in a forest, a place of evil trying to find humanity. Crowman and Wolfboy are chased by a black mass through a variety of environments as they try to find the lights of the city, only things aren’t what they expect. The gamer wins by collecting light warps, Daigle said.

Daigle said he shot the trailer, portrayed Crowman in it, did the music and some art. In a small company, everyone pitches in, making it the hallmark of a indie game development company.

“I grew up loving Castlevania games,” Daigle said. “The platforms had a lot of influence on wanting to make a game like this.”

During the next year, Daigle and the team at Wither Studios will continue to market the new game and will continue to develop two additional parts.

Daigle is working in a booming industry.

The Entertainment Software Association, the authority of the video game industry reported consumers spent $20.77 billion on video games, hardware and accessories in 2012.

Furthermore, 58 percent of Americans play video games.

With that popularity rising, gamers are looking for the newest and best from the emerging wave of independent game developers.

“The indie gaming industry is coming on and making it huge,” said Derek Lang, senior game adviser at Gameworks, 227 Capt. Seeley MIA Drive, Marietta. “Especially because of the new systems, XBox1 and PS4, are fully supporting and encouraging indie games. Both are due out this holiday season.”

Lang said indie games used to be “underground” and not widely available, but now that the technology is catching up with it, Indie games are becoming popular, because they are something anyone can use.

Lang said the PS4 is expected to cost about $400 and the XBox about $500.

Daigle, who graduated from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 2007 with a degree in game design, said working in the industry was a long-time goal.

“I knew I wanted to go to the Art Institute of Pittsburgh for game design and was constantly working on art to prepare myself for college,” Daigle said.

He said he credits retired Warren High School art teacher Sylvia Young as a major inspiration to continue his art past high school.