Interview with Ian Marsh


AppCraver recently heard from Ian Marsh, developer of apps such as Threads, Hanoi, and Scoop. He answered our questions about developing games for the iPhone and iPod touch.

1. When did you start developing apps for the iPhone?

Ian: I started developing for the iPhone when the SDK was first publicly available around 6 months ago, but didn’t spend much time on it until the last 3 months.

2. What was the inspiration behind your app?

Ian: My first app Hanoi was my “Hello World” app for the iPhone. Being a Computer Science grad I figured the Towers of Hanoi was a simple enough game to get my feet wet. Hanoi Plus simply adds more functionality and replay value.

3. How did you settle on your price point for the app?

Ian: I wanted as many people to play my games as possible while affording me to spend time developing, so I’ve been releasing them at $0.99.

4. Roughly how many units have you sold?

Ian: Hanoi (free) is up to 787,238 downloads, and Hanoi Plus ($0.99) is up to 13,547 as of 10/13.

5. How did you like the developer tools provided in the iPhone SDK? Is there anything missing?

Ian: The iPhone SDK is wonderful, it's just Objective-C that requires a little getting used to.

6. Is your company privately owned? Venture backed?

Ian: I’m a simple self-employed independent developer.

7. What are some of the other iPhone apps that you like?

Ian: I spend more time making iPhone games than playing them, but apps I regularly use are TV Forecast and Now Playing.

8. What kind of features should apple implement in future versions of the iPhone /SDK?

Ian: I think some neat official apps could be made if the SDK was opened up to allow access to the iPod functionality.

9. What’s the development cycle for iPhone apps like?

Ian: I’m a very visual person, so my development cycle starts in Photoshop getting my ideas 90% fleshed out and mocked up. Then I code away and request feedback from developer friends and family.

10. Are you working on any other apps that you will be releasing soon?

Ian: I’ve recently released the game Scoops and the free wallpaper / t-shirt browsing app Threads. I’ve taken a small break from new iPhone development to lend a development hand to my twin brother’s independent PC kart-racing game “Zero Gear.”

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  • Robbie Clarken

    I enjoy reading these interviews with developers but I think they would be much more interesting if you tailored the questions to the specific developer. Also, follow-on questions would be good in response to interesting points brought up by developers. I realise it would be more work but I think it'd be worth it as the current Q&A format is a bit dull.