An Interview with Alastair Maggs from Chaoscreated

1)Have you developed Apps for any other platforms before? If Yes What are they?

I began developing add-ons for the Creatures series of PC games back in the late 1990s/early 2000s.  I began as a third party developer, and the developer of the game approached me about doing some games as a “1.5” party developer, using their tools, and they sold it on my behalf.  Following doing my degree, I got involved with creating some educational software for UK schools for use on interactive whiteboards (http://tes.iboard.co.uk), and dabbled with a bit of mobile app development last year creating a Hangman game for Windows Mobile 6.5 and later on an as-yet unreleased film app for the iPad (which may never see the light of day, due to their restrictions and approval process).

2.Why did you choose WP7 as a platform of your choice?

Well, the project was conceived as an iPhone/iPad app but we struggled to get another video heavy app through the approval process and, to be honest, their developer suite is pretty bad so the idea of doing Timedancer for the iPhone was a daunting one.  We looked at Android but the market there is so fragmented with different handsets with varying capabilities and, for us, the various number of screen resolutions was a problem as we were dealing with video content.  When Windows Phone 7 was announced, it was a dream come true for us.

3.Which one do you think as the single most feature you liked in WP7?

The development suite is so nice, and Microsoft in the UK were extremely helpful.  I love the fact that you can develop for one handset and the app is guaranteed to work across the board on all release and future devices.  From a user point of view, the hubs are fantastic.  Having one place that brings together all of that content, without the need for apps, is brilliant. 

4.Are you satisfied with WP7 Platform development tools?

I’m very impressed with how far Microsoft has come with their developer tools.  It outshines all the other platforms, in my opinion.  Having a suite that is geared towards the platform, unlike, say Android development, is beneficial.  And xCode was pretty hideous when we were developing for iOS, so count me happy!

5.What are the Apps you are developing now in WP7?Details on the Apps?

Well, Timedancer is our first app and it’s planned as a series, during which the story unfolds.

 http://www.timedancercorp.com

So we’re planning out the production of episode two right now.  In fact we have one final special effects scene to film on episode one over the weekend, then we’re done on that.

Beyond that, I’m setting my sites on some XNA games.  Using the Timedancer team, which includes 3D artists, I’d love to build an old school point and click adventure… Something funny, like the old Lucas Arts games.  But I think Timedancer will keep me busy enough for a little while!

6.In what way Microsoft can improve their WP7 or What does WP7 lacks from?

I think Microsoft has done a great job.  It’s good to know that the baseline for the hardware is up there with the greatest phones already out there, and that’s just the baseline devices.  As the hardware is already so functional, there’s a great deal Microsoft can roll out through software updates.  For me, right now, it would be nice to see Twitter integrated into the phone better, rather than a separate app.  Other than that, it’s a wait and see, I guess.  I hope they build in more of their services… Messenger would be nice, and better SkyDrive integration, but hardware wise, and the potential the hardware offers, I’m very happy.

7.Future Plans of you?

I’ll be working on Timedancer for a little while yet!  Then it’ll be onto the next thing.  We already have a great idea for another app that combines video and interaction, but with far more humour but, to be honest, I’m looking forward to the Timedancer mythology unravelling…  The co-creator of Timedancer is a film writer, and so I think we have a great story to tell…

Thanks Alastair for sharing with us.Expecting more creative work from your company.

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