Six NTNU students, one real-time online game

(10.12.2012) It's a real-time, online multiplayer game. It's cross-platform, meaning that you can play it on your Android or your iPhone. It's free. And now, Fun Run, developed by six NTNU students, is number two on the US iTunes Top Free Apps list.

Released in September, the game enables you to virtually race (as a "forest critter") against three other friends or random opponents. While most smart phone or tablet games are turn-taking games, where you play and then send your move to your opponent, Fun Run is different because it is one of the first games available for your mobile phone or tablet that takes place in real time.
 

The future of mobile gaming
The students think this kind of real-time game is the future. It has also been a key to their success, says Nicolaj Broby Petersen, who with his fellow game developers was featured in an article in Dagens Næringsliv, Norway's largest daily financial newspaper. 

"The thing that is new with this game is that people play in real-time, with their friends. So it's really the users that are marketing the game for us, because they recruit all their friends to play with them," Petersen told the newspaper.

The game really began to take off in the first week of December, when it averaged about 100,000 downloads per day.

"We're working pretty intensely right now," Petersen said. "We don't have much time to sleep."

Fun Run is free, but players can purchase add-ons to equip their avatars or change their appearance. The students also plan to add advertisements to the free version of the game.  They told Dagens Næringsliv that it is difficult to estimate how much money they will eventually make from the game.

New company, awards and Christmas
Erlend Børslid Haugsdal, Martin Nybø Vagstad and Nicolaj Broby Petersen, all computer science students, created their own game company, dirtyBit, last year. Marius Giske, an industrial economics student, and Peder Aune and Martin Sangholt, both industrial design students came on board to help develop Fun Run.

In August, Fun Run won the "Best mobile game" and "Player's Choice" awards from the Norwegian Game Awards. The students  hope to keep the game on the top of the iTunes App Store list right up to Christmas, when they know that many people will be given new mobile phones or tablets as gifts.

Now, while most students are studying for exams, the game developers are keeping an eye on their game and making sure that they have enough server capacity, both in Norway and in the USA.