Gizmodo’s Developers Cubed series offers a behind the scenes look into Australia’s up and coming dev scene. This week: we talk the developer behind a new home-grown, Australian app that combines Draw Something-like gameplay and an old childhood favourite who think that current affair programs have it all wrong about Australian development.
Who are you and where do you work? My name is Anton Wintergerst. I work as a freelancer/independent developer and trade under the name of 3L Coding.
Why do we know you? What have you created? We've just released iSPY with my Eye for the Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. iSPY is a free iOS app. The app is a modernisation of the classic "I spy with my little eye" many of us have played as kids growing up.You may recall memories of playing this game in the car with the family on a long road trip.
The publisher, Baileys Projects, have many fond memories of this game as kids and wanted to share this experience with the next generations by having a social, mobile game.
In the app you can invite up to 4 of your friends and family from Facebook, Twitter to compete for a chance to be the Ultimate SPY. So far the reception of the app has been quite positive with well over 2000 games played.
Other than working playing our apps you may have also used one of the websites I've worked on. To pay the bills a lot of work contract work has been for large websites. Whilst I can't disclose which websites they are, I can say that chances are you've had a better user experience on said websites thanks to the code I've written.
What platforms do you develop for? Apple iOS and soon to be Android
What are you working on right now? iSPY version 1.5. This has a whole bunch of cool features we're eager to release to the public. There are several word packs on the way as well as talks of even further integration with Facebook and Twitter. We really want this app to be about reconnecting people and sharing a fun, positive experience. After all, it's better to play together!
Something may also be hitting the next version is a Word Smith feature. This feature will allow players to create their own words make it easier to share what you've been up to with your friends. Finally, another hot feature is a messaging system. Staying true with the iSPY car experience we believe that players should be able to chat amongst themselves whilst attempting to guess the word.
What do you think about the rise and rise of App Stores? How has it influenced your titles? I've always been a PC man and was set on never owning an Apple iPhone. Eventually the popularity of the App Store is what made me cave in and buy an iPhone. From there it was an iPad, Macbook and an iPhone for anyone who would listen.
Coming from a background of Windows & Flash development, iOS has been a absolute pleasure to work with. So the influences have actually come from success of 3rd-generation apps such as Instagram and Pinterest.
What’s your favourite app that you didn’t create? That's a tough one. I think the eBay iPad app has some really awesome design principals and is one of the most user-friendly to operate.
What phone do you use? Why? iPhone 4S. It just works.
What advice do you have for budding Aussie developers out there? It's not easy out on your own in the big open world of indie development. Don't let those current affair programs tell you otherwise. If you want a good product there's more to it than coming up with an idea and shipping it off to India.
A great app is one that you've built yourself and poured countless hours, love, attention and care into. Building the app locally and taking the time to learn all that needs to be done rewards you with more than just a functional piece of software. So, prepare yourself for an excruciating amount of patience and dedication. Let your friends and family know they won't be seeing you for a few months. Because if you want to succeed you will need to spend a lot of time learn things that are not necessarily just about app development.
Not only is there code to be written, there's a business to run (remember that part about paying bills), legals to create, Apple agreements to sign, support to provide, people to manage.
The most important thing to remember is never give up. Getting to the end of a project will always pay you in experience that you can cash in on the next big project. You can achieve anything given enough time. So if you want to create the next Tiny Wings, don't just come up with the idea, apply yourself and just do it!