AndroidPIT – Hi Diego, tell us a little bit about your story. What did you do and what do you intend?
Diego – Last summer, after five long years, I finally finished my computer course. During my time at university, I was not very busy with game design, but the field I enjoy working the most. After my degree I applied to several game companies, but they don't hire anyone with no experience in the business. I take the opportunity to give a message to these companies: if they need any, I'm here!
AndroidPIT – How did you start your career as an application developer? Had you programmed before?
Diego – It all started with Super Mario Bros. on my Nintendo when I was five. It may sound funny, but that was my first date with electronic games. The first game I developed was really bopbop. I was inspired by Betaworks' great work with the iPhone Dots game – just recently the game was released for Android. Too late, in my opinion.
I liked the style of the game: simple and with huge addictive factor. So I created my version to test my skills and slightly change the gameplay mechanics of the original. The result was good, I created the game very fast and released it on the Play Store, so that Android users also had their version of Dots. But for me bopbop is not a Dots clone, but an exercise.
AndroidPIT – When did you first get in touch with Android? Was there a special reason?
Diego – Before bopbop I had already developed an Android app, but it was not a game but a clock widget. At the time, I had bought a Ziiiro watch, and I was annoyed that there was only a digital version for the iPhone. So I decided to create a widget for Android and the result turned out to be very good.
I use the widget today on my devices. I also contacted the Ziiiro iOS app developers and asked for permission to launch my app for Android. But the answer never came. So the widget will never be released on the Play Store.
AndroidPIT – Your bopbop app has had many downloads on the Google Play Store. Did you have problems in your creation? Got any interesting stories?
Diego – Of course, problems occurred during the creation phase. The first version of the game I built on a native Android framework. It is designed for Android 4.0. Until it was not difficult, even being my first game. The problems appeared in the following phases. I noticed that the framework was not ideal for optimizing graphics, effects and functions like memory allocation. These are exactly the aspects that should be given priority when developing an application. For these reasons I looked for a better framework and chose libgdx, a well-developed multiplatform.
The transfer cost me two weeks and the results were very good for gameplay. The app worked well even on weaker devices.
An interesting story yes, there was a bug in one version of the game. The points disappeared without reason. I checked the source code several times and in the end the error was not in the code, but in the animations I had developed. I needed to rewrite the animation system from scratch.
AndroidPIT – I found your app on the XDA forum. Could you talk a little bit about your experiences with XDA-Developers?
Diego – XDA is a very cool community that rene many people, not just developers. At first I was a simple user on the forum, and was looking for updates to my devices, themes, ROMs and custom functions.
As a developer I appear there for the first time. I was encouraged by a friend, Mirko Dimartino. I met him during the development of bopbop and he said he should present my work in the XDA community. And after I did that, the downloads skyrocketed, thanks to XDA!
AndroidPIT – When you introduced the app to XDA, it was still called dotdot – why did you change the name?
Diego – I changed my name after Betaworks lawyers contacted me saying that I was violating their clients' rights. They claimed that the similarity of the names would confuse the users of Dots. I agreed and decided to rename it to bopbop.
AndroidPIT – Did you have any other issues with Betaworks? Are you still in communication?
Diego – No, everything was forgotten after I changed the name. There was no more communication with Betaworks.
AndroidPIT – Was their attitude predictable?
Diego – Yes of course. But in their place I wouldn't do the same. I think if my app were copied or cloned, I'd see what users think of the copy. The user at the end must decide which version he prefers. But this is a market issue that must also be respected. In that sense, I can understand Betaworks' position and reaction.
AndroidPIT – When we played both apps, we noticed that you used up to the same source as the original. Seriously now, how big was the influence of Betaworks' work on yours?
Diego – Well, the font is not the same, but very similar to the original. I used the same interface as Dots, but modified it a bit, and changed the mechanics of the game. In my version you can also join points diagonally, there are other bonuses and different game modes, missing in the original. My intention was not to copy or clone the game. I used it only as a model to test my skills.
AndroidPIT – In your opinion, copy or clone applications a legitimate attitude on the part of developers?
Diego – I respect intellectual property, but I also have my own opinion on the subject. Clone an application exactly like the wrong original, as this does not render any service to the user. Besides, it's just ridiculous to invent the wheel again. On the other hand, using something that already exists to develop new ideas is perfectly legitimate, as the theme is shown from another perspective, and the result may be better or worse than the original.
AndroidPIT – Is Android a kind of Wild West where all developers can take whatever they want, or should there be stricter regulation?
Diego – I love the freedom that the Android platform allows, and I think it's good that my work doesn't have to pass an evaluation before it becomes user accessible. I am open to user opinions about my app, reviews and suggestions for additions are always welcome. After feedback, I will change the app and employ many of the proposed ideas.
AndroidPIT – Do you plan on developing other Android apps?
Diego – Sure! In the coming days I will start a new project, an idea of my own. Be something in which plants will play an important role (yes, those green things that grow). Besides, I still want to do something with spaceships for Ouya, but that's another story.
I develop apps with pleasure for Android, because I have a smartphone with this OS, but I also consider programming for iOS.
AndroidPIT – What hardware and software do you use for Android app development?
Diego – I currently work with a Macbook Pro Retina and use Eclipse IDE. Also, I used the genymotion virtual machine to test my app on my pc without having to install it on my smartphone.
AndroidPIT – Did you get funding to develop your app?
Diego – This is a complicated subject. In the last app update I decided to insert in-app purchases. I hope users will buy something to support my work. But for the next games I would like to go a new way. Maybe a demo version and a full version. As a player, I know how important it is to be able to test the game before you buy it.
AndroidPIT – Thanks so much for the interview, Diego!
(tagsToTranslate) interview (t) app (t) diego rodriguez (t) app (t) bopbop (t) game (t) game