Part-Time Developer David Dennis Makes a Full-On Addicting Game App
Begin playing The Rescue game app, and you’ll notice some similarities to the classic English folklore, Robin Hood. Your character is dressed in green attire with a small green hat—bow and arrows in hand. The character’s mission is to save the princess.
But it’s not Robin Hood that you’re playing for in this addicting game app. It’s more like a long-lost relative, Roger Hood, perhaps, explains the app’s developer David Dennis. The part-time app developer based in Adelaide, South Australia took his love for classic gaming, including the Commodore 64 and Hunchback from the 1980s, and integrated similar game-play features into The Rescue.
The Recapp caught up with David Dennis to talk more about his inspiration for The Rescue, as well as to gain insight about his road to app development and the helpful resources he shares with other app developers.
- What was your inspiration for The Rescue? (We sense some Robin Hood admiration here.)
You’re definitely on the right track! The main character in The Rescue doesn’t have an official name, but he’s clearly a long-lost relative of Robin Hood. (Roger Hood, perhaps?)
As a youngster in the 1980’s, I spent countless hours playing games on the Commodore 64, so it’s inspired by an era of gaming that I really remember fondly. Back then, games were usually uncomplicated and didn’t rely on graphics or high polygon counts to hook players. They were addictive and kept players captivated with their gameplay, the challenge of completing the game (which was often near impossible!) and the bragging rights that came along with that achievement.
One game that clearly stands out when I recall that era is a game called Hunchback. The basic concept in Hunchback is definitely the underpinning for gameplay mechanics in The Rescue. It’s all in the simplicity of the design. The player can see their objective on screen at all times: They just need to run along a castle wall from the left side of the screen to the right side of the screen while avoiding a variety of obstacles. But as anyone who has played either Hunchback or The Rescue will tell you, it’s not as easy as it sounds!
- What was the biggest hurdle to overcome during The Rescue’s app-development process?
The Rescue was my first venture into creating games for the iOS platform (my previous experience was only in playing them), so the hurdles I had to overcome in producing the app were largely based around learning the Objective-C language and also the cocos2d framework that The Rescue utilizes.
- What kind of feedback have you received from your app’s users? How does user feedback play a role in your app-development process?
The feedback I’ve received has been overwhelmingly positive. It comes in many and varied forms, from emails and app reviews from all over the world to comments from friends and family that play the game. I’m thankful to everyone who has gone through the effort of writing a review or emailing his or her thoughts about The Rescue.
The role feedback plays in the development process is twofold. I find that positive comments spur me on to continue developing and keep me working harder to produce products that people will enjoy and find useful. On the other hand, comments and reviews offering criticism are just as important because they provide an opportunity to improve the app in specific ways that are positive for the user.
- What’s your go-to resource for app-development help?
There are so many sites on the Internet that provide amazing services for app developers. Some of my personal favorites are:
The website of the cocos2d framework. It has a very active forum filled with helpful users.
Ray Wenderlich and his team provide weekly step-by-step tutorials for all sorts of iOS apps, with full source code and clear explanations of code samples. This is my number-one resource for iOS beginners, but it’s useful for developers at all levels. I’m in awe of the work that Ray does both in app development and for the development community. He gives so much of his time assisting fellow developers while also producing amazing-quality apps of his own. I definitely owe Ray a beer if I’m ever in his neck of the woods!
Stack Overflow is an online community for developers that operates in a Q & A format. It’s a great place to post a question if you’re stuck in a jam with a coding problem.
- What advice do you have for young app developers?
I think the best advice I can give to young app developers is in two parts. First, make apps that you are passionate about, and second, be persistent.
There are so many apps and so much competition that it’s easy to get lost in the crowd, so don’t be discouraged if your app doesn’t take off right away. Persist with it, work on promoting it as best you can and keep improving. Your audience will find you.
Besides The Rescue, what’s one of your favorite game apps and why?
I have to admit to being an NBA Jam addict! I think, like The Rescue, it has that real nostalgic feeling to it. Whenever I play NBA Jam, it’s like I’m being taken back to the arcade as a kid, pumping all my pocket money into the machine and trying to remember the secret code for Big Head Mode.
[Electronic Arts] really nailed the controls for the iPhone version and it’s an easy game to pick up and play for a few minutes when you have some time to spare.
Apps I Love
Eating Healthy is a Snap with Dr. Oz’s App Pick
Photo credit: Getty Images
Dr. Mehmet Oz, famous cardiac surgeon and star of TV’s The Dr. Oz Show, spends much of his time giving nutritional guidance to his show’s viewers and patients. But we bet he never thought advice could get as simple as “take a picture of your food.”
Dr. Oz told USA TODAY that he likes the Meal Snap app. Just use your smartphone to take a photo of your food in front of you, and the app calculates how many calories you’re consuming. Bam—food recording is done.
Of course, the app is not always 100 percent accurate, but we still think the simple act of recording our food helps us be more conscious of what we’re eating. You can share your meals on Twitter, Facebook and foursquare if you want some extra motivation, and you can even view your eating patterns over time.