Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

10-year-old helps create PopCap's latest iOS game

1:00 PM on 07.29.2011 // Tara Long

When I met up with a few of the guys from PopCap Games a couple weeks ago, it was nothing but smiles all around. Not really understanding how anyone could be cheery before I've consumed my daily intake of coffee, I chalked it up to the unseasonably warm San Francisco sun and kicked back with my deliciously refreshing French beer that you’ve probably never heard of.

As I chatted with PopCap’s Senior Producer, Matthew Johnston, about their new experimental label 4th & Battery, and its latest collaboration with 10-year-old Owain Weinert, my disposition improved and things quickly started making sense.

Forged from a desire to cultivate creativity from within the company, 4th & Battery was established two years ago to act as basically an island of misfits for some of PopCap’s edgier and less mainstream titles. Their first game, Unpleasant Horse, was a simple side-scrolling jumping platformer for iOS originally conceived during of one of PopCap’s annual in-house game jams, where developers create a working game from start to finish in 24 hours. Although Unpleasant Horse is actually pretty adorable, its hilariously gruesome combination of ponies and meat grinders doesn't necessarily make it suitable for a wide release.
Their second title, Candy Train, began as the side project of an employee in PopCap's accounting department with lifelong aspirations to design a video game from scratch. Through self-determination and encouragement from her superiors, her game saw a full release on the iPad this May and secured her promotion to a full-time video game developer at PopCap.
4th & Battery’s third and latest release, Allied Star Police, is the game I really met up to discuss. I had briefly heard the story of Owain Weinert, the 10-year-old boy recently diagnosed with pre-B Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia, whose wish to help create a real video game was sponsored by the Make-a-Wish Foundation. After reaching out to PopCap Games, who were more than happy to help, but weren't quite sure what to expect, Weinert was brought in for a visit to their studio.

"He walks in with his laptop, plugs it in, and proceeds to give us a 25 minute PowerPoint presentation on his game design," laughs Johnston. A decidedly precocious young boy, Weinert already had every single aspect of the game planned out in extensive detail. Though originally planned to be a first-person shooter, that would've required much more development time than the week PopCap had initially designated for it. They eventually compromised on a side-scrolling shoot-em-up.
Every other day for the first week, Weinert popped into the studio to check up on his game’s development, offering plenty of criticism and advice - the kind that could only be considered adorable when given by a 10-year-old. After a solid week of programming but with work still needing to be done, PopCap decided to extend development two weeks until they had a playable prototype of the game. Two weeks later and still not satisfied with the overall product, they commissioned two full-time employees who had coincidentally just ended other projects to finish the game in two months.
Pleased with the final result after months of hard work, PopCap threw a party at their offices, complete with pizza, a limo ride for Weinert and all of his friends, and a complimentary iPad for him with Allied Star Police pre-installed.
With his friends gathered around him, an excited Weinert played the first ever run-through of the videogame he’d been wanting to create his whole life. Suffice it to say, he was already an expert.
"I think the game turned out exactly as he expected," said Johnston, "except for that fact that it wasn't a first-person shooter." A small price to pay for a dream come true, I’d say.

The premise of the game is simple. Flamions are invading every planet in sight and it's your job to take them out with a fleet of tanks. Each enemy ship you destroy earns you money, which can then be used to upgrade your weapons and defense. The ultimate goal is to take out your enemy’s base, a job which is made relatively easy with the near unlimited ammo and money the game offers you. Along with regular artillery, you also make use of a few special weapons, such as bombs and missiles.
Allied Star Police was released for iOS devices on July 21 and has since garnered a huge amount of attention, receiving over 800 reviews in the week since its release. (All five stars, of course!) The game, which is free, includes an optional button that takes the player to the donation page for the Make-a-Wish foundation.
If you want to hear more about Owain’s story, you can visit the website that 4th & Battery created to tell his story. Take my advice and download Allied Star Police from the App Store immediately, or better yet, donate to the Make-a-Wish foundation to ensure that more heartwarming stories like Owain’s can be read on Destructoid in the future.
Photo Gallery: (4 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys

Tara Long, Queen of Video Things
 Follow Blog + disclosure Tips
I like bunnies. more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Was anybody else here extremely disappointed by the ending of Assassin's Creed 2?
Parismio avatarParismio
Just tried Fallout 4 on my PC Via my Cousins steam account and nope, it does not run for me very well. Buying the PS4 version it is!
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
You know who never took any shit from anybody? Dr. Blight.
Terry 309 avatarTerry 309
Am I the only one who has to pull up their sleeves to play competantly at videogames? When my hoodie's sleeves are down I play like a piece of shit but when i pull them up, I have more flexibility.
Shinta avatarShinta
PSA: Just picked up Falco amiibo at Best Buy. They had about 20 Tom Nook, 10 singles of Splatoon Boy/Girl, the Splatoon triple pack, about 30 Marths with a big sign saying "Look Who's Back!," Dark Pit, and probably about 15 others. Not too shabby.
Fenriff avatarFenriff
I long for the day that people get over their weird circle jerk hatred for FFXIII related things and just ignore things they don't care about.
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
I'm upgrading my PC on the cheap and I'm going with AMD, out of these two CPUs, wich one is better?, A8-7650K or FX-6300?
Logeon avatarLogeon
Huh, I think we broke LightningFarron19, you guys.
Archelon avatarArchelon
KeithTheGeek avatarKeithTheGeek
Being a video game-focused website, it's not often I get to gush about Godzilla. So have a link to one of my favorite tracks in the entire series:
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
Fallout 4 really does bring back memories. Specifically, memories of finding unlikely loot on a animal's corpse. I'm just grateful that Bloatfly didn't know how to use that 15 pound flamethrower it was apparently carrying in its bum bag.
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
I no longer require seasoning for my Thanksgiving dinner because between the Lightning post here and Undertale beating Fallout 3 in the "best game" vote on GameFAQs, I have all the salt I need. (Image) [img][/img]
Sir Shenanigans avatarSir Shenanigans
ikiryou avatarikiryou
Pfft, who needs context. [img][/img]
voex avatarvoex
Yeah...fuck the NES Castlevanias! Think I'll skip straight to Symphony of the Night.
SirDavies avatarSirDavies
No more heroes. Wii or PS3 version?
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
Thanks for that Mother 4 article yesterday I've been listening to nothing but GBA-era soundtracks, truly my golden years of gaming.
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
If you stop to think about it, Thanksgiving is basically #Darksiders2: The Holiday.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Your daily reminder that my band can beat up your band.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Hoping more character customization options come of the next Smash-centric Nintendo Direct. Playing as Wrong-Hair, Wrong-Face Robin feels weird. Female Robin Amiibo, too. And let 3DS users download the whole OST. My wishes are reasonable, I think.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -