This week we interview Rob, from Sherbert Marketing, another author using Kwik. He is behind the The Zoophabets app, soon to be available at AppStore.
1) Tell a little bit about you and your company
My wife and I are co-owners of Sherbert Marketing LLC. We started out as an e-commerce business and now own several niche e-commerce sites, but we are both huge nerds who love gadgets and gaming. I’ve been a hobbyist game developer for a decade toying with everything from Blender and Torque to Ogre and Unity 3D. However, it was always a hobby because there was just too much involved in delivering a full-fledged game on most game engines. I set the game development hobby aside for a time to focus on our business, but as the App Store evolved I saw a tremendous opportunity to combine my passion for games with the potential for profit.
I started researching game development environments for the iOS and that research kept bringing me back to the Corona SDK. The language it uses (Lua) was easy to understand and the APIs in Corona make it very simple to rapidly prototype games. I felt confident that I could build a game myself with Corona, but what I soon realized was that there was a lot more to the business of marketing apps then I’d anticipated. Ultimately, for the first game developed by our company I hired a graphic artist and a Corona developer to do the heavy lifting. My focus was on the concepts, execution and marketing.
2) What is The Zoophabets about?
The Zoophabets are 26 adorable animals, one for each letter of the alphabet. The concept for the app evolved out of our first game project. We felt like the educational game apps was a genre where we could compete and since we have kids in elementary and preschool, it was something we were passionate about. The first game we started developing was an alphabet memory game. Our artist created these wonderful, whimsical animal characters for each letter of the alphabet. We loved them and felt that they could be more than just a part of that one game.
I started to imagine how we might build around these characters to create a brand and arrived on the name “The Zoophabets,” a combination of “zoo” and “alphabet.” My marketing research suggested that the really successful app studios have multiple apps that promote other apps within their own app network. My plan was to create a simple e-book app to market the games our company was developing using the Zoophabets characters.
3) How Kwik helped you to build it?
Kwik allowed us to take what was supposed to be a simple app that would help us market our games and take it to a whole new level. I discovered Kwik through Ansca Mobile’s Corona SDK site and I started experimenting with the trial download. I’m pretty proficient in Photoshop but I use it as a web designer not so much an artist. I had our illustrator create some of the story book pages based on the concept I had for the Zoophabets first book. I then went to work narrating the book, adding animations and making it an interactive experience.
It took me a day or so to learn the interface and then I was off to the races. Kwik made it so easy to bring the story to life. The book has alligators riding on airplanes, vultures playing the violin, raccoons running in a race and many other animations that look terrific but were really simple to create with Kwik.
The entire book took less than a week to build once the artwork and sound effects were complete. It was incredibly fast and we actually ended up finishing the book well ahead of our first game. We’re so happy with the results, we’ve decided to release the book as a paid application instead of a free app. We feel like the quality stands up to the competition in the interactive kid’s book market and Kwik made that possible.
The experience has been great. The developers of Kwik have been very active and we saw a number of new features released in rapid succession over the last month that made the product even better. Alex and his team work very hard to keep the users up-to-date on the product road map, help troubleshoot issues quickly and have some great ideas in store for version 1.6 that we’re looking forward to incorporating into future projects.
5) What is next for you and your company?
“Learning Your ABCs with the Zoophabets” is currently in review by Apple so should be released to the App Store in the next week. The Zoophabets Memory Match Game is in final stages of testing and should be released in early October. We have two more interactive books with the Zoophabet characters in development. One will teach kids to count and other will help them learn their shapes and colors. Beyond that, we hope to build the Zoophabets brand with games and books that both teach and entertain children. I’m definitely looking forward to creating new interactive adventures for the Zoophabets and Kwik will be a big part of their journey.
Thanks a lot Rob! At Kwiksher, we are looking forward to have other Zoophabets installed in our iPads!
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