Post news RSS Rocket Mail launched!

Put your spatial insight and worldly knowledge to the test! Rocket Mail is a company that delivers packages to anywhere in the world – by rocket!

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It's December! The month of presents. But for me, also the first month as a fulltime indie game developer. To celebrate, I'm releasing Rocket Mail today!

Rocket Mail screenshot Rocket Mail screenshot

For those just tuning in, a brief history of the game. I came up with the concept during a long flight across the Atlantic, looking at the in-flight map and noticing how the shortest path from A to B doesn't always translate into a straight line on a map. Typically these flight paths look curved, often in unexpected ways. Maps distort our sense of where places really are.

This idea turned into a prototype I called Doomsray, in which you used your smartphone's compass and accelerometer to point it at cities anywhere in the world, straight through the Earth. This proved to be somewhat fun, but hard to explain and pretty counterintuitive. With lots of player feedback, Doomsray eventually turned into Rocket Mail, where you don't point through the Earth, but rather just across its surface.

I picked this game to start with because it seemed technologically very simple. There is no need for high framerates, fancy rendering tricks or large numbers of sprites. And yet, somehow, it took many evenings and weekends over the course of five months; I estimate it adds up to between one and two months of fulltime work. I lost some time on developing elements that I didn't end up using in the game, and also on interfacing with compass and location hardware, which turned out to be less trivial than the API documentation made it sound.

Although there are always ideas that I had to discard because there wasn't enough time, I'm really happy with the result. It's free to play, so if you have an Android device, go and get it already!

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