AppCraver recently spoke with Mobeen Fikree, the developer behind Geomex. He answered our questions about developing apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch.
1. When did you start developing apps for the iPhone?
Mobeen Fikree: I started developing apps for the iPhone the day I got accepted into the developer program. This was a week before the App Store launched.
I contemplated starting earlier, but decided it was too risky to start developing an app which I would potentially never be able to distribute.
2. What was the inspiration behind your app?
Mobeen Fikree: Geomex was inspired by my love for puzzle games. Puzzle games interest me because they have simple mechanics with a seemingly infinite amount of replay ability. The other aspect of Geomex is that it’s spatial. Most puzzle games ask you to think in terms of colors, but not much else. I wanted to explore how a spatial puzzle game would work. So in Geomex not only is color a factor, but the shapes are critical too, and the way the shapes will fall on top of each other. I’ve only scratched the surface of spatial puzzle games with Geomex, I definitely want to explore this further.
3. How did you settle on your price point for the app?
Mobeen Fikree: My desktop games sell for $10, so I knew Geomex had to be priced lower than that. Typical mobile games tend to sell for $5, but the iPhone is a bit different as it demands higher production values. There’s a big jump in graphics quality when writing games to run on tiny 172×220 screens versus the iPhone’s 320×480 screen. $10 was too high, $5 was a bit low, so I settled on $7.
The other aspect is that Geomex packs in plenty of value for money. There are five game modes in there and puzzle mode is especially notable as it has 24 “hand made” levels. Additionally, the game is incredibly polished all around. All this lead me to believe $7 was a fair price.
Update: The price has been lowered from US$ 6.99 to US$ 4.99.
4. How did you like the developer tools provided in the iPhone SDK? Is there anything missing?
Mobeen Fikree: I’ve worked on a lot of embedded devices, and I’ve got to say the iPhone SDK is one of the best. It integrates very nicely with Xcode, the API is well documented and the debugging tools are very useful. My only complaint is that deploying an app to the device takes a very long time. Overall though, it’s been a great experience.
5. Is your company privately owned? Venture backed?
Mobeen Fikree: I’m actually a hobbyist developer, or an indie, if you’d like. So I guess I’m privately owned.
6. What are some of the other iPhone apps that you like?
7. What kind of features should apple implement in future versions of the iPhone / SDK?
Mobeen Fikree: Access to the iPod API would be pretty useful. I’d love to be able to figure out what song the player is listening to and have that effect the game in some way.
8. What’s the development cycle for iPhone apps like?
Mobeen Fikree: Pretty similar to the development cycle for a typical game. The big difference here was the learning curve involved with Objective-C and the iPhone API. This wasn’t a big deal though because most of Geomex is written in C anyway. I also had to take a bit of time to optimize my rendering code, which was fun. When you’ve been writing games for desktop computers, you don’t really have the need to optimize code, so it was refreshing to sharpen my optimization skills for a bit.
9. Are you working on any other apps that you will be releasing soon?
Mobeen Fikree: I’m working on a couple of apps whose progress range from “doodles in my notepad” to full-on prototype. Nothing I want to talk about just yet, but I’ll be sure to get back to you guys when I’m ready to talk.