We love Master Pieces: The Curator’s Game iOS app here at theappwhisperer.com. The games within the app are based on over 350 details from 54 masterpieces. They challenge you to identify the artist of a detail with help from clues and the ability to view the full work. There are three ways to play. The first two do not require any background in art history while the third is for those who know (or, think they know!) all about the classics.
We are currently reviewing this app but in the meantime we wanted to interview the developer, Larry Ehrhardt to find out how this app came to be materialised and especially how he made it so addictive, fascinating and downright entertaining. Read this exclusive interview now…
Please explain how your app was originally thought of and what were your thoughts behind the marketplace, specifically?
I had a copy of Tom Hoving’s 2005 book Master Pieces: The Curator’s Game and, shortly after the iPad came out, immediately recognized the book’s concept as a good fit for the iPad’s interactivity and media capabilities. Tom, a neighbor of my in-laws in Pawling, NY, was always interested in technology and was an early adopter of every device available. Tom passed away before the app was released, but I know he would have loved it.
Explain the design, how you came up with the colors and themes.
We really wanted to let the art speak for itself, so the design of the game play screens are very subtle (translucent buttons, some reflection, and a black background) and designed to feature the painting and the details. For the other views we went with a total custom look using art gallery backgrounds and art details as buttons.
Who do you see as the main target market for this app in terms of age, genre and expenditure?
Our initial target were adults who had an interest in art and art history and wanted to refresh their knowledge (perhaps from long forgotten art history classes) or learn more about how to really look at art. Since we launched the app, we have been pleasantly surprised by how much kids (teens and kids as young as 6) like the app and how good they are at recognizing the details.
How long did it take from the original planning to the production process of this app?
We had our first licensing discussions in August of 2010 and the app came out in January of 2011. So, about six months.
How do you predict sales to be, is there a good solid market for this style of app?
The feedback on the app has been universally positive from early users and reviewers. Our most important metric is that buyers feel they get their money’s worth with the app – which they tell us they have. Sales will follow from good reviews and word of mouth.
What has been the hardest obstacle you have had to overcome regarding this app development?
I was lucky enough to have an excellent developer (Peter Stuart) and user interface designer (Jordan Languille) working me on the project so there really were not any hurdles. I’d say the one task that did take a long time and cost a lot of money was licensing the photographs and usage rights for the living artists. It was worth it, though, to get the quality of images that are now in the app.
Would you consider developing apps for third parties?
Yes, we already have a number of other projects in the works. We are always looking for great content that can be brought to life on the iPad.
What have you learnt from the App Store?
All the reporting, billing, distribution, and quality control are very valuable.
However, you need support of bloggers and independent app review sites to get the word out about one’s app.
Have Apple supported you well with your App development?
There is a great community of iOS developers who are sharing their approaches and libraries to help other developers.
What next, are you developing another app, would you go for the same genre again, if not which?
We have launched MyEnergyTips which uses the power and proximity of the iPhone to help users make smarter choices every day about how and when to consume electricity that will combine into to a very large yearly savings impact.
This app is currently priced at $2.99 and is available in the App Store, here.
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This app currently costs $4.99 in the App Store and is avaiable here.