This week we have been talking to indie developer AppChogie who currently has almost 10 apps on the app store with lots more in production. His latest release ‘Doodle Bomb HD” for the iPad is a strangely addictive tap game with have kept the guys in the office busy. We discussed with him his past, present and future and tried to gleam some tips for other budding indie developers out there who want to start creating games.
– Tell us a bit about AppChogie and how/when you started the company?
I am a Soldier in the British Army but I used to be a programmer as a young boy writing code for the Psion Series 3, 4 and 5 in the OPL language. I soon landed a job as a programmer for Unisys in Amsterdam untill I joined the Army. I started AppChogie officially two years ago but I have not really stopped developing, AppChogie has enabled me to distribute my apps under a unified name.
– What attracted you to get into app development for the iphone?
I have always continued to keep my hand in programming on and off and when the iPhone SDK was announced I decided to have a go. I started writing some utility apps in xcode and that’s when I found an advert for GameSalad on the internet. I have been developing games for about a year with GS and it is fantastic software with a thriving community. The iPhone and in fact all the iDevices run on the same software so it is very easy for me to port my applications to each device with only minor adjustments and for a developer that it outstanding. Apple has created such range of fantastic devices that everyone wants or owns one at least and through the AppStore it enables me to distribute and get feedback from my customers directly.
– What software do you use when creating apps?
I use GameSalad for creating my games and a mixture of Pixelmator and Adobe Photoshop CS5 for graphics. Once the game is created I use xcode in conjunction with GameSalad to make a game file that I can upload to iTunes connect.
– What was the inspiration behind the Doodle Bomb HD?
I have always had an idea for a game that my wife could play. It had to have simple controls and be addictive enough that she would not loose interest, once I understood the requirements I decided to make it a bomb defusing game that would be never ending providing that the player could keep up. The game starts off at an easy comfortable speed but soon progresses to be quite demanding on your fingers and concentration. I liked the look of some of the current doodle games and decided to break out my sons coloring pencils and have a go.
– What games are you currently playing and is there any you are looking forward to?
I am a true gamer and I am in between a few games at the moment. I am currently playing Alan Wake on the XBOX 360 but as for iPhone/iPad I am playing Monkey Island 2 HD, N.O.V.A, Archetype and Outer Empires.
– What have you found really helpful during development?
The GameSalad community that are always on hand to answer my silly questions. The community is such a fun and interesting place to hang out online and many of the members are so talented and I am always amazed when I see the games that they produce as it inspires me to try harder and learn. I owe a thank you to Tshirtbooth who’s YouTube videos have saved me hours and to my friends Debug Design, Quantum Sheep, and Stormystudio for there continued support and friendship. I have also found friends and family helpful as they help me test my games and find bugs to fix.
– What problems did you encounter creating it?
Doodle Bomb was quite easy to develop however the drawings took me ages. I had to draw different artwork for the iPhone version (Doodle Bomb) and the iPad version (Doodle Bomb HD).
– What has been the biggest challenges you have had to over come?
The biggest challenge was to make it easy for people to play but not too easy and that is a hard balance to strike because if you get it wrong then people will stop playing it for being easy or likewise too hard.
– How did you go about marketing your app and what do you expect to have the best return?
I have done my normal marketing package, I have tweeted on my twitter page, facbook advertisement and sent various emails and download codes to review websites such as AppTrawler.
– What hints or tips would you give to budding developers?
I would say to new developers have fun developing your apps or games, try not to take the process too seriously because you will make better products. Listen to your customer in whatever for that takes like the feedback on the AppStore or via your website, twitter and try to implement changes that best suits your user and the game. Lastly design and create games that you yourself would play! now that’s a big deal because if you don’t want to play the game you will not want to continue to create it, and you will not be enthusiastic about promoting it.
– You have a varied selection of Apps at the moment, are you going to focus on a particular type or continue casting you net wde?
For now I am focusing on games as a whole and developing my knowledge of GameSalad to bring even better games to my customers. I like to think that I create games in all genres with different art styles as it allows me to explore my creativity as a developer.
– What can we expect in the future from AppChogie?
I have many games in development such as Farmyard Abduction for the iPad due soon and Undead Fred for iPhone and iPad which in fact has been in development for nearly a year. I am also working on some apps with other developers and a government scheme for troubled young people through Youth at Risk to bring them an app to the iPhone/iPad. I have a continued commitment to updating my games with new features and content. I have enployed artists in Italy, Suffolk and Japan to help bring the production value of my future games to the highest it has ever been.
Visit the AppChogie website at http://www.appchogie.co.uk