Gizmodo's Developers Cubed series offers a behind the scenes look into Australia’s up and coming dev scene. This week: We chat with the Melbourne indie dev team, Ruma Studios, about Android, App Store pricing and going from Lego to Windows Phone 7
Developers! Developers! Developers! It's not just Steve Ballmer’s favourite sweat-laden catchcry! If you'd like to be featured in Developers Cubed, shoot a note to danny.allen at gizmodo.com.au. We'd love to hear from you.
Who are you and where do you work? My name is Luke Kellett and together with Troy Hoath and Andrew Wood-Rich we form Ruma Studios, an independent Melbourne based game development company founded in 2010.
Why do we know you? What have you created? We started out in the Android world, and one of the first projects we worked on was the open source Tram Hunter project which is an Android version of the Tram Tracker app that's available on iPhone. In terms of games, we've released a couple of titles: Ninja Splat for Android and our latest creation RAMPage Soccer for iPad, which is a fusion of foosball, pinball and shooting games.
What phone do you use? Why? I own a Google Nexus One running a Miui ROM. I bought it because as a power user I prefer the flexibility and control I have in an open source system as opposed to a closed system. That said I also like iPhones and used to use one as my day to day phone, but I just prefer to tinker.
What advice do you have for budding Aussie developers out there? If you're going to do something, do it 110% and dont rush it. It's the polish that will set you aside from your competition…
- Cut the fat, less is more. Build simple, well executed software. - Associate yourself with talented people. - Get user feedback, and listen to it. - Work hard and take pride in your work!
What platforms do you develop for? We're really focused on mobile devices for our development and as such we currently develop for Android and iOS. We're also putting considering to other mobile platforms such as WP7 for our next titles. But it really depends on consumer uptake on those devices. Right now our main focus is Android and iOS, as they hold majority market share and it looks like it will stay that way for a while.
What are you working on right now? We've just released RAMPage Soccer, so most of our time and energy is being focused on getting it known.
How did you get into development? As a kid I was always interested in making things; first it was Lego; then wood/metal work in school. When I got my first computer at 14, I spent time playing games but I spent even more developing games, tools and programs to do all sorts of things. I guess I was lucky, I knew what I wanted to do at a young age and I've been developing software ever since.
What do you think about the rise of App Stores? How has it influenced your titles? I think they are great. Sure the gold rush is over, but fart apps are only funny for so long. What they really do is level the playing field between large companies and independent developers by allowing easy cheap distribution. Talent and creativity is what now separates the good and the bad.
But there is also a downside to the app stores: the trend that because apps are so accessible it should also be really cheap or free. This is very evident on the Android platform, with a large portion of software being ad driven. I think the console app stores such as Xbox live and the PS3 network seem to be more mature in this area, and I think the mobile app stores will go this way. If they don't they might find a vacuum of developers moving to other platforms to earn their income.
What's your favourite app that you didn't create? I would have to say Springpad, it is by far the best note taking app I've used. It leaves the competition for dead, and allows me to write stuff down no matter where I am.