Ever wonder what it's really like to develop your first app? Meet Lauren Foster and Christine Tseng from CatFoster Media. In this interview, Lauren Foster and Christine Tseng answers our questions and offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into what it was like to create Zombie Burst and get it released into the App Store.
AC: Tell us a little about your or your company. What is your background?
Lauren Foster and Christine Tseng: Christine worked as an editor/producer for television and new media. Lauren worked in mobile and entertainment before pursuing her MBA. We combined our backgrounds to form CatFoster Media in May 2011 with Christine in charge of Technology and Lauren in charge of the Business side of the company. Our goal is to develop and publish innovative, fun and interactive apps while giving back to the world.
AC: Why did you want to start developing for the iPhone and iPad?
Lauren Foster and Christine Tseng: Apple’s iPhone was the first touchscreen product that became a phenomenon. Since then, we have used and loved Apple products daily. So it’s only natural that Apple’s App Store would be an excellent choice to launch our first game, Zombie Burst, into the worldwide marketplace.
AC: Tell us about Zombie Burst. How did you get the idea?
Lauren Foster and Christine Tseng: Lauren has a love for horror movies while Christine is mostly terrified of them. But together, we were able to sit down and watch Splice starring Adrian Brody. Towards the end of the movie, Lauren lit up and shouted, “What if we made a game where you had to squeeze zombie heads in order to kill them?” Excited by Lauren’s enthusiasm, Christine added, “Yes! And brain goo should splat onto the screen with each skull burst!” The idea was born and we ran with it.
AC: How is Zombie Burst different from similar apps?
Lauren Foster and Christine Tseng: With over 500,000 apps in the marketplace, it would be bold to say there is no other app like it…but we’ll be bold and say, “There is no other app like it!” Players use a pinch motion to crush zombie skulls causing goo to splat onto the screen, impairing your vision thereby forcing you to wipe the brain goo away! Our goal was to make a casual point and shoot inspired zombie game where kids and grandparents alike could play. We also based many of the level backgrounds on real Chicago locations.
AC: How did you choose your pricing model? What influenced your decision?
Lauren Foster and Christine Tseng: There are some really great zombie games out there. In order to stay competitive, we felt we needed to enter the market at $0.99 for our iPhone version and $1.99 for our iPad version. We chose to steer clear of an ad-based model for our first game because we wanted people to stay locked into the action without interruptions.
AC: How long did it take to get your app from idea to App Store?
Lauren Foster and Christine Tseng: The game took 11 months from concept to completion.
AC: What was the biggest challenge you faced while creating this app?
Lauren Foster and Christine Tseng: Having a specific vision and making it come to life is no easy task. We faced several technical hurdles along the way from choosing the right tone to choosing the right programming team. Patience was definitely our biggest challenge.
AC: What was the best advice you received while developing your app? Where did it come from?
Lauren Foster and Christine Tseng: The best advice we received while developing our app was from our friends and families. They were very supportive throughout the entire process and reminded us that nothing is perfect and we should learn and grow from our imperfections. This grounded us to drive the project to completion without harping on the “what if’s”.
AC: Looking back on this experience, if you knew then what you know now would you do anything differently?
Lauren Foster and Christine Tseng: Our only regret is that we did not join the app development community sooner. We have loved the entire process and we are taking this past year as a learning tool to challenge ourselves on future apps.
AC: Do you have any future plans for this app? Where do you see it a year from now?
Lauren Foster and Christine Tseng: A year from now we hope to be releasing the second installment of Zombie Burst. We love this game and want to continue the story. We also have big plans to develop and publish other exciting new apps.
AC: Besides your own of course, what is your favorite app right now?
Lauren Foster and Christine Tseng: Plants vs. Zombies is definitely our favorite app at the moment.
AC: What apps do you consider essential to your day-to-day life? Why?
Lauren Foster and Christine Tseng: We consider Flipboard and Camera+ are our essential day-to-day apps. We can’t start the day without catching up on the latest news and tech stories on Flipboard. We use Camera+ to add depth to shots that are often used as the inspiration for the backgrounds in our games.
AC: Do you have any new apps in development? What can we expect to see from your company in the near future?
Lauren Foster and Christine Tseng: We have the second and very ambitious installment of Zombie Burst in development. We also have two upcoming family friendly games. One is based on a very clumsy original character and the other is based on a fussy but oh so cute rodent.
AC: Any last words? What else would you like our readers to know about your company?
Lauren Foster and Christine Tseng: When we started our company, it was important for us to never forget the core values that serve as our foundation. We love being creative but we are equally committed to giving back. We have pledged two weeks of community service and 2% of gross profits to charitable 501(c)3 organizations per app.
Lauren Foster and Christine Tseng from CatFoster Media offered some interesting insight into their development process. Please take a moment to thank them by sending a message on Twitter or share this article with a friend to spread the word about their apps. If you have additional questions, ask them in the comments and we'll get you the answers!
Contact Lauren Foster and Christine Tseng of CatFoster Media
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