iPhone App Developer Spotlight: Brandon Bogle, Bill Trost and Koi Pond

There are a lot of very cool applications in the iPhone application store, but few offer such a delightful reaction from people than the simple, but beautiful Koi Pond app. You kind of have to see it to appreciate what they’ve done, but I’m really glad to have Brandon Bogle (the programmer) and Bill Trost (the designer) share their experience writing this slick little application….
Q: You wrote Koi Pond, How long did it take you?
[Brandon Bogle] We started some early shared development when the iPhone SDK was initially released, so we were somewhat familiar with the development process, which ultimately saved us some time.
Unfortunately, we soon realized we weren’t going to be one of the luck few accepted into the beta developer program (which meant we couldn’t develop using the actual hardware), so we put iPhone app development on hold. Development on Koi Pond was started just after the app store went live.
Q: The iPhone Software Development Kit has been written about quite a bit, but I’d like to know your opinion: was it easy to get up to speed with this SDK? Is it sufficiently complete that you weren’t stumped as you developed your application?
Apple iPhone Application Store App Utility Koi Pond[Brandon Bogle] It was pretty straightforward, even having no prior experience with the Cocoa framework or the Objective-C language. The Cocoa framework itself is very complete with good documentation, and Apple provides enough sample applications and instructional material that we really didn’t have any problems at all.
Q: Tell us about the experience of submitting your program to the iPhone Application Store and how long it took to gain approval. Did you have to demonstrate that you weren’t accessing external data like the Address Book? What else was required for your app to show up in the public store?
[Brandon Bogle] Once again, we had no problems submitting our app. We were a little surprised there was not a definitive submission checklist detailing what you can and can’t do, best practices, etc…
We did some basic profiling, checking for memory leaks, things like that. The approval process itself is still a complete mystery. Koi Pond was in the queue for about a week until it was approved for sale.
We didn’t receive any feedback during or after the submission process other than the email notification that it had been approved.
Q: Did you develop all the graphics in the app yourself or contract with a designer to create the look-and-feel of your application?
[Bill Trost] Kurt Klockau created all the graphics for Koi Pond. Kurt is a very talented, experienced, illustrator/digital artist and is a core member of The Blimp Pilots team.
Q: How much is your application, and how did you decide on a price-point?
[Bill Trost] Koi Pond sells for $.99. We just thought that was a fair price for a quality mobile application. We really didn’t want price to be a barrier to purchase. We hoped that Koi Pond was going to be an application that iPhone owners would want to show off to their friends.
Q: Are you inspired to write more iPhone applications? What’s in the pipeline?
[Bill Trost] Most definitely. We have several in the pipeline, some more ambitious than others, but we are taking our time with them and can’t really talk about them quite yet.
Q: If you’re not a full-time iPhone application developer, what’s your day job?
[Bill Trost] We are professional PC/Console game developers by day, working for Trion World Network Inc. in San Diego. We love what we do there, working on the cutting edge of server-based gaming. We all just totally dig our iPhones and thought it would be a fun hobby to make applications that really show off its unique capabilitiies.
We are totally stoked that Koi Pond seems to have struck a chord with so many people.
Thanks a bunch, guys, for this interview. Even at $0.99, I have a sense that your hobby of writing iPhone applications is starting to pay off too as you deliver popular, high quality applications.

3 comments on “iPhone App Developer Spotlight: Brandon Bogle, Bill Trost and Koi Pond

  1. Thanks for getting an interview with the Blimp Pilots team. Koi Pond was the first iPhone app I purchased and I really love it. It’s very soothing and realistic especially after a meeting or after driving in L.A. traffic! As the owner of a small Koi Pond in my back yard, I wanted to bring the pleasure I get from the real thing with me on my iPhone. The $.99 price point is an absolute bargain and the team has already made a few improvements that make it even better. Koi Pond gets oohs and aahs whenever I show it off and I can’t wait to see what the BP’s have up their sleeves.

  2. Can you help me? I received notice of an update on Koi Pond but was not able to complete a download from Apple. Is there any way I can complete this. I have 2 Koi Pond icons on my iPhone. Thank you.

  3. I actually have a real Koi Pond here in my place. But when I heard about the application, I installed it right away. Because Koi really makes my mind peaceful, so no worries now if I am far away from home, I can easily have my remedy for stress. Thanks to the developer/makers of the application.

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