Interview with Jim Warhurst of Blackbeard's Assault

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AppCraver recently spoke with developer Jim Warhurst, creator of Blackbeard's Assault, about his process for developing apps.

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

Jim: This is my first app for the iPhone, I started development Aug 20th, 2008.

2. What was the inspiration behind your app?

Jim: Certainly I was a fan of other games in the genre. I thought I could add some gameplay twists to the marble popper mechanic. Blackbeard’s Assault is actually a sequel to a web game I made a few years back called Blackbeard’s Island. I knew nothing about programming games when I started on Island, so it was really done just to prove to myself I could pull it off. Once I finished Island, I had all kinds of left over ideas and features that I wanted to do so that’s why I eventually made Blackbeard’s Assault.

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

Jim: Right now I’m selling at $2.99. When I first started development I thought I would have been selling at $4.99, but then prices seemed to drop all over the store. I feel that $2.99 is a really fair price and is right at that thresh hold of not being too expensive for impulse buys.

4. Roughly how many units have you sold?

Jim: I’ve sold about 1,300 in two weeks.

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

Jim: I’ve had a pretty good experience with the SDK overall. By the time I started developing the simulator supported opengl so that helped a lot. Apple has lots of example apps for you to download which I love. As far as missing items, I remember being annoyed with some of the XML support although there are some open source libraries that fill in the gap.

6. Is your company privately owned? Venture backed?

Jim: The company is just me. It’s not venture backed.

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

Jim: Motion X Poker – very polished game. Trism – I think everyone knows this one. Topple – Makes great use of the iPhone. Mouse House – a great puzzle game. Koi Pond – My 16mo old daughter loves this thing, although I don’t like when she takes off running with my phone

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

Jim: My cycle is probably not too typical. Blackbeard’s Assault was originally written in Flash. A month or so before the Flash version was released I started porting it to the iPhone. Now, I had never done any Apple or openGL development so I had a lot to come up to speed with. I started out reading everything I could find online about objective-c and openGL. Then I studied all the openGL sample apps from Apple like ‘Crash Landing.’ That helped jump start development and I was able to complete the game in about 2 months.

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

Jim: I’m still working on Blackbeard updates and features. I’ve had a lot of customer feedback on things I could improve and should be releasing a update next week addressing many of those things. After that I’m planning an even bigger update which will add a new mode plus leaderboards and achievements.

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