iPhone Developer Spotlight: Mark Andrade, Sputnik Games

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sputnik-gamesAppCraver recently spoke with Mark Andrade, of Sputnik Games. He shares his experiences developing for the iPhone and iPod touch.

When did you start developing apps for the iPhone? Did you have previous experience as a developer?

I started developing for the iPhone in July 2008. The day before my annual trip to the east coast, I received the confirmation email from Apple to sign up. I bought a cocoa book and for two weeks learned how to code in Obj-C. When I came back, Cowabunga, my first app, was finished a couple of weeks later. I've been writing online games since the mid 1990's for companies like Disney and Nickelodeon.

What / how many apps have you made so far?

I have several games; Cowabunga, Soccer Kickoff, Aerolite, Bubble Bee, Poker Solitaire Free and one entertainment title, Gotham Prime.

What type of apps/games/software inspires you? Where do you get your ideas?

Old Nintendo NES and Gameboy games are always an inspiration. I get a lot of ideas when I drive, listening to music, hanging out with friends and cartoons. My kids have been drawing a bunch of ideas lately and that's a lot of fun to get ideas from too. In fact I got one game idea from those drawings.

How do you settle on the price point for your apps?

My initial goal was to introduce free ad supported games and sell ad free or deluxe versions for $1.99. 1.99 quickly changed to .99 due to the culture of the app store. As it turned out the free ad supported versions are doing extremely well and also drive the sales of the paid versions.

What has been the best thing about designing for the iPhone?

When you write an app for the iPhone/iPod touch you're essentially writing for one device and therefore everyone has the "same" device. It's like a mini console. The device specs stay relatively the same across the user base.

What has been the biggest challenge about designing for the iPhone?

At first it was learning Obj-C quickly. Now it's trying to push the system and see how many sprites I can display without losing performance.

Is your company venture backed or privately held?

It's a private company funded by a lot of hard work. Sputnik is making enough money now where I can focus on it full time. It's mostly due to AdMob revenue in my two most downloaded games; Cowabunga and Soccer Kickoff now at one million downloads each.

Do you have any other apps in the works?

I have a couple of games and another entertainment title in the works. On paper I have dozens that I hope to release in the future.

What apps do you have on your iPhone?

I have a ton of games. I give my son my iPod touch and let him go nuts. It's interesting to see what games and entertainment titles I end up with. My personal favorite in CameraBag.

What do you like to do when you're not coding for the iPhone?

Hanging out with my kids and taking pictures.

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