Co-Founder and COO Sebastien Borget of Pixowl graciously gave us a few minutes out of his busy schedule to talk about current projects they are working on along with his thoughts on the mobile development landscape. Pixowl has one app submitted in the Share Your App Project, Greedy Grub, and is also responsible for the wildly addictive The Sandbox, a unique world-building game available all major app stores.
Tell us about your background.
Sure, here is my bio: My name is Sebastien Borget, I’m 29 years old, and the Co-Founder and COO of Pixowl. I manage the operations of Pixowl's 25 people international team. I’ve supervised the production and marketing of the studio's most popular titles: Doodle Grub and The Sandbox (10+ million players in total). My work was awarded by the nomination for 2 consecutive years of The Sandbox in App Store Best Games of 2012 and 2013!
Prior to Pixowl Games, I co-founded Wixi.com, a Web 2.0 social network startup for sharing media files, which received multiple prizes as "most innovative startup of the year" internationally. I forged myself a strong Web 2.0 culture and worked as consultant for several other Web 2.0 Startups around Social Media and online communities.
I hold a Computer Science Engineer Degree from Telecom SudParis, one of France's leading graduate school of engineering in Information and Communication Technology.
What got you interested in coding and development?
To be able to reach people and create something of value. Hopefully something fun!
Tell us about Pixowl.
Founded in 2011, Pixowl is a mobile game company headquartered in San Francisco, with development studios in Buenos Aires. More about our team of dynamic innovators: Arthur Madrid CEO (Serial Entrepreneur, previously sold his 2 first companies), Sebastien Borget COO (Industry Speaker, co-Founder of Wixi.com), Adrien Duermael CTO (King of Code 2011 on VentureBeat). We strive to build games blending exciting gameplay, comic book art and character-driven storylines.
Key advisors include Randy Breen (CEO of SGN, VP LucasArt, VP EA), Ed Fries (co-Founder of Xbox), Eric Hautemont (CEO of Days of Wonder) and Sunil Gundera (ex-VP Disney mobile)
With the success of our four iOS games: The Sandbox, Doodle Grub, Safari Party and Greedy Grub, Pixowl has already established itself as a leader in casual mobile games.
What are you currently working on?
The Sandbox is a unique world-building physics game offering infinite creative possibilities in crafting, pixel art, chiptunes music, contraptions and much more! Available in Google Play and the Apple App Store.
We are actively working on additional updates of The Sandbox, one per month, for the next 12 months at least! We will add new controllable elements such as the controllable human or ninjas with various powers. The goal is to offer new possibilities in term of games and levels creations inside our world-crafting game!
What Intel tools/SDK did you use to develop the app?
We received support from Intel for optimizing the performance of the app, thus pushing even further the limits of physic effects we can apply into our game engine.
The Intel X86 NDK compiler is also a tool we use as standard on all our builds.
What do you think are the standout features about your app that everyone should know?
The Sandbox game provides a unique combination of puzzle solving through 13 campaigns, over 165 levels in total, where the player should combine creative thinking, problem solving logic and skills to resolve the challenges based on physic interactions between elements. It also offers infinite possibilities in terms of crafting universes or works of art like pixel art, music, contraptions, chain reactions or much more! Players can share their creations online, we now have over 500,000 user-created worlds in the Online Gallery.
In many senses, The Sandbox is more than a game. We are actively promoting is as a Social & Educational platform for K12 classrooms as it combines all the 4 areas of STEM plus Arts as well and actually is a fun way to learning science! The Sandbox is a game that allows students to directly interact with STEAM concepts by solving problems, responding to scenarios, constructing or deconstructing environments, creating art, designing machines, tinkering with the elements, creating condensation & evaporation, and anything else you can image a digital sandbox of elements and tools would you let you do.
What programming language did you use for The Sandbox and why?
We developed the game in C++ with Cocos2dX framework, so we can simplify the porting efforts and still keep performance in control.
What IDE or development framework did you use and why?
Cocos2DX as it is open-source and widely supported across several platforms
Tell us about your experience Intel technology while developing your app – SDK, compiler, etc.
We love the support from Intel and how they keep us pushing for making the most of the future devices. The SDK are clearly documented and worked like a charm!
What project(s) are you most proud of?
The Sandbox and Doodle Grub, the first game from Pixowl, a remake of snake game based on accelerometer with tilt controls.
What is exciting for you right now in app development?
Pixowl is excited about the opportunity to establish The Sandbox as a leader in world-building games for the next 10 years to come. We want to turn the game into a social & educational platform and embrace EdTech!
What trends are you seeing right now in app development?
We are particularly excited that devices incorporate more processing power, this allows us to go even further in terms of physics simulation and interactions in our The Sandbox game!
At Pixowl, we're also looking closely at the new connected objects as we believe these devices could really become mainstream thanks to gaming!
What do you think has been the biggest challenge for you personally in app development?
Definitely having to work around all the device fragmentation, but things are getting better in this field over the years :)
Have fun with our games! Don't hesitate to try The Sandbox with your kids (or just yourself), it's FREE and don't hesitate to get in touch with us with your feedback to improve it further!
Thanks again to Sebastien Borget for taking the time out from a very busy schedule to give us a glimpse into the life of a development studio!