I sat down with Jairo from Halfmagnet and asked about his latest app, DISPATCH! scheduled to release on March 14th…
Whats your background and why did you start making apps/games?
I am a self taught programmer from the Dominican Republic (right in the middle of the Caribbean). I have a degree in Civil Engineering and Land Surveying.
In 2010, I was halfway through my engineering studies when an AppStore phenomenon was taking place. A little game called Angry Birds was all over the place, getting a lot of press and media coverage. I remember saying to myself “Is there any reason why you can’t do something like this?” I reminisced back to my childhood when the idea of creating a computer program that did anything I wanted sounded so incredibly interesting to me, but I didn’t have a clue of how programming worked.
So after some googling here and there I picked up a book called Objective-C for Dummies by Neil Goldstein. You wouldn’t believe the long nights I put into this book. My parents had bought me a MacBook for my studies and I had spent months of savings in a 4th Gen iPod Touch. This was my Starter Pack. I just put in time and effort to eventually become the iOS Developer I am now.
DISPATCH! looks centered around a lot of social features; What made you decide to do this? Has it worked in the past or is it something new?
Yes, I integrated these social features in DISPATCH! because there is a clear benefit for both the player and the game. The player is able to easily share awesome things like wins and highscores, and the game gets more exposure.
From previous experiences with apps I have found this social shares to be very effective in reaching new people, as well as being fun for the users. So, from the beginning, I knew social was important.
I see there is a testflight beta available for DISPATCH!; What have been some of the benefits of using this?
This is one of those things you do because everyone recommends but you’re not sure of how exactly it’s going to help you. But boy has it been helpful!
Beta testers are people that come to your game with a clean slate, unlike you or your team (which may be working on the project on a regular basis). Testers, therefore, report back the experiences your end users WILL have and how to improve on those experiences.
This feedback has helped DISPATCH! get a lot better by adding or removing minor components in ways I didn’t even think about during development. I totally recommend beta testing your apps/games before launch.
What are the most important steps for you to do prior to launch? post-launch?
I don’t have a lot of experience in this area, mostly because I’d rather handle the development and coding and not the promotion and marketing. However, there are some steps that have been beneficial to the launch of this game: 1) Having the website up and 2) Having the beta available.
I’m now in the process of emailing mobile game websites to spread the word about DISPATCH!
What has been your biggest lesson learned in your game development career?
The number one lesson I have learned in my 5 years of experience is Commit to ONE thing.
There’s a well known barrier in the game development process known as “The Wall”. The wall is this point in the project where you feel like you don’t want to continue working on it. Instead you’d love to start anything new and work on that instead. This partly happens because you glance at the pile of work ahead of you and realize the fun part or this project is over, all that’s left is the chores. At this point you have to commit to your project like it’s the only existing thing in the world and push through the wall to finish your game. Articles and books on how to achieve this very thing are available all over the web.
DISPATCH! launches on March 14th. You can find more information about DISPATCH! here!