Dan Nelson is based in the UK and is a first time iPhone app developer. He has managed to produce and create the most amazing gaming app and one that is going to be hugely popular, I am sure. I wanted to touch base with Dan to find out more about his background, his iPhone app development experience and most of all, more about this incredible game, BATAK Duel. Read this informative, revealing, descriptive and down right intriguing interview, now!
Hi Dan, first off can you tell our readers how your app was originally thought of, what were your thoughts behind the marketplace, specifically?
Sure Joanne, well BATAK Duel has an interesting background, the game is based upon the ‘real life’ sports equipment known as BATAK (see www.batak.com) which my father (David Nelson) invented. I know how much people loved to exercise on the BATAK sports machine and so I thought it would be a great idea to convert this concept across to the iPhone and iPod touch platforms.
What about the design Dan, can you tell us how you came up with the colors and themes ideas, design?
Joanne, I’ve always loved playing the ‘Mortal Kombat’ style games and they inspired me to create the ‘opponent ladder’ which features 10 deadly opponents. I worked with a digital artist in the USA who created 10 amazing characters who I think add real presence and atmosphere to the game. Another artist helped create the background graphics for the tournament levels. I did some of the game artwork myself including the Introduction, Menu, Information and Credits screens.
Who do you see as the main target market for this app, Dan?
I see the target market for BATAK Duel as being pretty much everybody Joanne! Anyone can pick up and play the game and use it to test their reaction and co-ordination skills. It’s a very easy game to get into and becomes more challenging as players go up against tougher opponents.
Dan, how long did it take from the original planning to the production process of your app?
Joanne, from planning to final release it took about 5 months. I was completely new to the Mac and had to learn a new programming language (Objective C) and a stack of other important stuff.
How do you view your sales Dan, is there a good solid market for this style of app?
Sales were a bit slow to start off with but are now picking up as we begin to roll out our marketing campaign. We generally find that most people who find out about the game end up buying it which is very encouraging.
What has been the hardest obstacle you have had to overcome regarding this app development?
Well Joanne, It was the steep learning curve surrounding iPhone and iPod touch development. There are just so many details you need to be aware of. Coming from a PC background made it more difficult since I had to learn so many new things including how to use the Xcode compiler for the Mac. The list goes on…Sound Engine integration, OpenGL ES, Cocoa Touch, C and Objective C programming languages. Not to mention all the Apple stuff, including how to set up Provisioning and Distribution profiles and how to use iTunes Connect to manage your apps.
…And then there is the integration of the game with third party frameworks.
For BATAK Duel we integrated a couple of these frameworks including OpenFeint and Pinch Analytics. Now that I’ve gone through the entire game creation process from concept to completion I have a tremendous amount of respect for other iPhone and iPod touch developers out there. It’s all quite an effort but well worth doing if you are determined and just stick with it!
Would you consider developing apps for third parties Dan?
Of course Joanne, I’m always open to new ideas from potential partners.
What have you learnt from the App Store since you launched your app?
I’ve learnt that it’s extremely tough to get your app noticed in such a crowded marketplace and it’s only going to get tougher. You have to put everything you can into your marketing activities. Every day keep plugging away at promoting your app and don’t rely on the App Store to do this for you.
Have Apple supported you well with your app?
Hopefully, following this interview they might consider running a feature for BATAK Duel (hint to Apple guys and gals: we have high quality artwork prepared and are ready when you are!
What next, are you developing another app? Would you go for the same genre again, if not which?
Yes, we are developing another game but this will be in a different genre. I cannot give too much away at this stage but I will say that it’s going to be a large, multi-player game involving arcade action, puzzle and strategy elements. Several other gaming apps are also in the pipeline.
The Apple Tablet – what are your thoughts about it?
I definitely think it will be the next big thing and would love to develop for it. The bigger screen will open up so many new possibilities for games and other apps. I’m very excited to see what the new Apple Tablet will be capable of.
BATAK Duel is available in the Apple App Store for $2.99 – there is also a Free Lite Version available if you would like to try before you buy.
Thank you Dan for this really great interview, I know a lot of our readers are going to be interested in what you have to say and will consider buying this superb game. Many thanks, Joanne