Article by Perez Yeptho, Batch of 2019
Caricature by Sharanya Swain, Batch of 2019
Throughout our lives we are subject to activities that we take up for no better reason than the fact that other people are busy doing them too, and each of these fads and trends are more a waste of time than the previous ones. This past year has no doubt been the year of ‘Mini Militia’.
If you haven’t heard of it, kind reader, you are required to raise the rock under which you have been so quietly hiding for the last two semesters.
But even if you haven’t been an active participant in one of the several games that we also assume are happening as you are reading this article, you must have noticed groups of (generally single) males sitting around any open space, staring at their smartphone screens with fingers twitching ever so slightly, not unlike seasoned surgeons. Dear reader, stay around these groups long enough and it shall not be long before you too will hear the dying screams of tiny troopers followed by the expletives of recently defeated NSITians spoken for their victorious comrade who probably camped his way to victory anyway.
For the less enlightened, Mini Militia is a game where you play the role of a tiny soldier whose sole objective is to kill, as humiliatingly as possible, the opponents using the most destructive means available to you in the level.
Noticeably this game has become a phenomenal success in our campus and as we question why, let us also look at what you all had to say about this app:
“This game is a mix of several genres being adventuristic, action packed and very competitive. We enjoy this game because it gives us a very convenient way to vent out our anger and frustration and as our skills begin to develop in the game the experience keeps getting better as we learn new techniques and tricks.”- Nimit Bhatia & Nikunj Gupta, ICE-1, First Year
[During the course of writing this article, even the author himself has played a round of survival (albeit with a shameful score) highlighting the popularity of the game even more.]
The Alliance is also proud to share its exclusive interview with the developers of the game who so graciously answered our questions related to the game and its future:
1) What was the idea behind designing such a game and why do you think it has become so popular?
Before we created Mini Militia many players requested we add a multiplayer feature to the original Doodle Army game. We instead decided to design Doodle Army 2: Mini Militia to support a better online experience. We feel the best aspects of the game are the dynamic gameplay of the multiplayer features and the movement and control scheme.
2) Did you ever expect Doodle Army 2 to gain such popularity?
We certainly did not think a 4-year-old app would achieve any increased popularity. Also we did not market internationally so it was a surprise to us that it has become more popular in India.
3) Are there any plans to add new features in the game? If so when can we expect them?
We very much appreciate all the new players in India and to show our thanks we will continue to update the game and provide new content. We are planning to add a Windows mobile version, an online invite system, customizable games, new maps, weapons and avatar items.
We also plan to start Doodle Army 3 as soon as possible because we want to add features that will allow players to create their own maps, weapons, and avatar skins. It is difficult to keep up with constant demand for new content so we feel the best thing to do is let players design and create their own. These types of features however may not be feasible in Doodle Army 2: Mini Militia for various technical reasons.
4) As game developers what do you think is the biggest challenge in creating free content?
Any business that provides a service has to generate income or else they cannot support their product. An app developer is no different. We wish we could make the app completely free and still afford to work on it full time but this is not possible. A portion of our revenue comes from advertisements which support our server costs and allow us to provide a lot of free content without having to charge players directly. Even though we don’t like having them in the game and players don’t like to watch them they are still necessary to maintain our business.
5) Seeing the popularity of the game, do you ever want to venture into the e-sports arena? (We regularly have tournaments between classes and would be thrilled to have an organized official ranking system)
We would like to investigate e-sports in more depth but currently we too busy with bug fixes and getting out new content. Once we have our new account system in place we will be able to support things like having official clans and tournaments.
So, all jokes aside, why did this game actually gain such popularity? Well the answer is very simple. One can easily draw parallels between this game and Counter-Strike, a popular mod for Half-Life 2:
- Both the games are unparalleled in simplicity in their controls and there is very little depth in terms of gameplay mechanics, leaving it as a game that is easy to learn but difficult to master.
- Each game has a very robust LAN mode where it is very easy to join a game and does not burden the server device, avoiding the need for a dedicated server altogether.
- Both games have some of the least requirements in terms of specifications for their respective platforms implying that literally anyone can be a part of the action.
But here is where Mini Militia plays its trump card: it is a mobile game, and as the smartphone ownership has expanded in the Indian market, they have entered the realm of ubiquity. This with the advent of data sharing applications such as ShareIt, we now have a game that is easy to spread and share with our friends due to common operating systems. It takes no time to set up and play a match as opposed to using full sized console and computers. This is truly the age of mobile gaming and it’ll be interesting to see where we go ahead from here.
Meanwhile dear readers, thodi sharam karo, stop camping and go out and play some actual games. Finish those projects you promised you’ll finish the last vacation, that body isn’t going to get into shape itself and also, catch up on the lost sleep.
But then again, that high score won’t beat itself either.