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Developer Interview with Darius Portilla of 12 Fingers Studio

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Darius, hank you for participating our interview. Please tell us a little about yourself.
Until December of 2012 I was working as an Interactive Director and Lead Developer at SixFoot LLC, a company specializing in interactive experiences for global brands and Fortune 500 companies. Feeling I was ready to venture out on my own I decided to dedicate myself 100% to my own venture, 12 Fingers Studio.

How did the idea for your app come about?
Last year I developed an educational app for a well known children’s brand. The app was extremely well received and won numerous accolades and awards. After incorporating my company I decided the first thing I’d do would be to create an educational game. Many moons ago I was a high school Math teacher. That experience and my love for comics, games, and super heroes led to Math Heroes vs Dragons.

And how long was the process from the original idea to the release of the app?
It took my 4.5 months to release the game. I’m quite pleased with that time frame considering I had to create everything myself and I had numerous other projects going on. It has taken about 7 months to get to the current version, 1.3.

Did you hire a developer or do it yourself?
I did everything myself: graphics, sound design, 3D animation, programming, video, concept, etc. I did use a few pieces of stock audio and some great 3D software. Tony Medrano (SixFoot LLC), Cynthia Stipeche (Curious Creative) and Amina Foccazio (5th grade teacher) provided excellent feedback. I also had 3 voice actors for the few hero sound bites through out the game.

What has been the hardest obstacle you have had to overcome in the development process?
The hardest obstacle to overcome would be the testing. The game has quite a big of moving parts and there is a lot of functionality. Making sure everything worked as it should for all stages of progress was certainly a daunting task.

Have you had much support during the development process (from family, peers, Apple Inc.)?
Support from friends, family, and colleagues has been great. They really kept me inspired and confident.

What are your plans for the future? Will you be developing any more apps?
I’ll definitely be creating more apps. There will be another Math Heroes game, Math Heroes vs Ninjas. It will be designed for a slightly older audience. I’m very excited as I can use the lessons I’ve learned to really make it shine. I’m also working on a desktop app for indie developers. The app will assist in the organizing and submission of app reviews. I haven’t found anything like it and after recently going through the laborious review submission process I’m certain there is a market for it.

What sort of feedback has your app been receiving so far?
To be honest, when I first released the game I didn’t quite feel it was perfect. Thus I’ve only started submitting it to review sites and marketing it as of the current version. From friends, peers, and users the feedback has been great. The iMums review was very inspiring as well.

And finally, what advice would you give to anyone considering creating their own app?
I think the best advice I could give would be to make sure you’re developing something you’re extremely passionate about. Keep your goals high and your expectations low. If you put your heart and soul into the app you’ll be pleased no matter the results.

Thank you so much for talking with us today and sharing a bit about your company. We really appreciated the chance to get to know you!

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