The App Store Playbook - My Interview

Earlier this year I was glad to offer an interview with Shane Lee at Beginning iOS Dev while I making Lab Bunnies. He has packaged my interview, and 8 other indie developers including @DeneCarter Creator of Incoboto, @ADAMATOMIC Creator of Canabalt, and @davekalina Creator of Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor.

Here is an excerpt of the interview that I participated in:

Q: That’s interesting. So iOS Development started out as a sideline hobby for you. Did you bootstrap your efforts entirely?

A: Yes, my success in the Silicon Valley Startup scene helped me build up enough savings to launch my independent development company.

Q: What made you want to start your own independent studio?

A: Pursuing my own ideas and intellectual property were the main reasons I did it. I am a very motivated and focused engineer, so striking it out on my own was an eventuality that finally came around last fall.

Q: Do you have a process for going from app idea to full-blown development?

A: As you know, iOS games are a very hit and miss medium. While Skejo Studios was working on Operation: Eradicate, we continued to toss around many ideas for what we would create next.

We believe that you can't start that process by trying to determine what the market wants. If you do that, you will most likely get a mix of designs mashed together, as well as something that you aren't really passionate about.

A lack a passion in a game or idea usually leads to poor quality. Even if there is demand for the idea, if a game is done badly, it won't garner many sales.
So we start with our original ideas, stuff we know that will keep us motivated during the long months of development.

Q: Things often tend to go wrong or at least not according to plan when developing software. What’s your process and timeline allocated to fixing bugs and potential problems?

A: On the development side, we have a fix it now mentality. We don't tolerate bugs staying in the code, so we fix them immediately. So for our fix game, we had very few bugs in the code.

With that said, we did have some huge slips in the artwork coming in. That was my largest personal frustration. We coped with that slip up by adding more code features while we waited, but that isn't a long-term solution.

In our next set of games, we will have better communicated deadlines and hold each other more accountable.

Get the rest of the Interview and all the others at Beginning iOS Dev and check out the game we were making during that interview, Lab Bunnies