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Interview with “Sparky” Mark Newell

You probably have seen (and I hope bought) it already. “Sparky, the Shark” is in my opinion the most amazing app made with Kwik so far (I hope other authors don’t be offended with my humble comment here but, I really think Mark and his team nailed it). Saying that, of course I need to chat with Mark, from Biscuit Interactive in Australia. Mark is also kindly preparing another guest post with a few tips and tricks from his arsenal.

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Alex) Tell a little bit about you and your company
Biscuit Interactive® is a design, web and interactive studio located in Australia, 1hr from Melbourne, owned and operated for over 11 years by my wife Paula and I. Paula and I are responsible for all innovation, design, development and production work created in the Biscuit studio. A small but formidable creative duo.

I have worked full time in the Graphic Design industry for over 17 years. Before starting Biscuit® in 2000, I worked on character development with Mars Confectionery (including the famous M&M characters) as well as with many significant brands in Australia and overseas. I have always thrived on technology-driven disciplines of web development, flash animation, 3D modeling/digital illustration, and I am equally at home with traditional art and design.
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What is the “Sparky” about?
Sparky the Shark – A Frighteningly Funny Adventure, is an interactive storybook for children including 33 vibrant illustrations, interactive sound and animation, ambient music and a whole bag full of laughs.

In “A Frighteningly Funny Adventure” Sparky, a friendly vegetarian shark sets off to discover Magneto Island, an Island close to his underwater home. Decked out with his own special water breathing bubble (invented by his brainy penguin friend Dax) they embark on a belly-laughing escapade to find Sparky a “friendlier”, more acceptable identity, so people won’t fear him. Along the way, Sparky learns that he just has to be himself in order to be happy. Join Sparky on this frighteningly funny adventure as he searches for acceptance, despite his scary teeth.

Sparky the Shark has been more than 15 years in the making and only until a couple of years ago did I feel that Sparky had to be brought to life through electronic devices. I was responsible for most of the creative work and vision including: Character development, characterizations, illustrations, storyline and plot, animations and interactivity, sounds and music, production and graphic design. I was also responsible for all the App development using Kwik and Corona.

How did Kwik help you to build it? Any favorite features?
Coming from a visual and graphics background, anything that lets me focus on the visual end product and doesn’t bog me down in code is always a winner in my books. When I found Corona I thought this is great, but when I found Kwik plugin I knew I’d hit the jackpot!

My favorite feature of Kwik was it’s ability to quickly bring my project to life along with the ease of making fast refinements. Some of the pages in Sparky the Shark were very complex involving many layers and scripts, but Kwik handled everything with ease.

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Any trick/tip you would like to share?
My tip would be to carefully map out your project before starting. Sparky the Shark was first hand sketched, then we worked on layout and composition, storyboards, written scripts and then each of the 33 pages were illustrated and separated onto layers before constructing in Kwik or testing on Corona. I think that helped the project run smoother and the end product was something we are very proud of.

What is your overall experience with us (product and services)?
Alex is super responsive, any questions or queries are answered fast and along with being a genius, Alex genuinely cares. With customer service like that and the committed development of future features, Kwik is set to take ePublishing to a new level allowing Indie developers like me the chance to show our creative talents. Thanks Alex!

What is next for you and Biscuit Interactive?
We are looking forward to releasing new additional features to Sparky the Shark in 2012 and we have a swag of new characters ready to be unleashed on the world soon!

Thanks Mark for this great work with Sparky. I am really proud of, somehow, being part of it!

3 comments

  • I just bought the app, it’s great!
    I am curious to know, did you use Corona or just Kwik 100%? I am planning to start using Kwik but not Corona, as I am not comfortable with programming. thanks!

    • I hope Mark answers by himself here. However, after talking to him, I know he made almost everything with Kwik 1.6, having to code manually only the camera button (which is included now in version 1.8, coming next week) in the disguise page. All the rest was pure talent and Kwik.

  • Hi Rafael, yep all done with Kwik and Photoshop, apart from camera code, although you will still need to download Corona to compile the end code for iTunes connect 🙂

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