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Developer Spotlight: BorderLeap

Posted by Jennifer Allen on January 22nd, 2013
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: COLOR ROLLING FUN :: Read Review »

Powering ahead with plenty of interesting updates for traditional yet challenging test of reflexes game, Blendamaze, we thought it was about time we got to know more about developer, BorderLeap.

Who makes up BorderLeap?
A one-man band, BorderLeap is solely Nate Dicken's work. A 15-year veteran of web and mobile site design and development, as well as work conducted on Flash games, Nate has been going it alone since the summer of 2012. He does, however, plan to partner with other developers this year.

What is BorderLeap most famous for?
Currently, Blendamaze. We reviewed it in October 2012 and admired its twist on an old classic. Players have to manipulate colorful marbles in order to cross over paint palettes and blend colors appropriately. It's a pretty challenging game but the tilt controls work well making it quite satisfying.

What's next on the horizon?
Nate explained to us that Blendamaze is just the beginning. While he plans to add new levels and features, with a free version offering a unique set of levels, there's also going to be a learning-focused version of the game, aimed at kids. Besides Blendamaze style games, there are also plans afoot for a multiplayer puzzle game, plus a few productivity apps, too. Looks like it's going to be a busy 2013 for BorderLeap!

Anything else I should know about BorderLeap?
You bet! We took some time to get to know more about Nate's plans for the company.

148apps: What was the inspiration behind Blendamaze?
Nate: When I was a kid I had one of those original wooden labyrinth marble games that we’d play often to see how far we could get. Early last year…I came across it in storage. With my love of drawing and painting, I’d been contemplating creating a color-theory game. Memories of playing the labyrinth game began to mix with ideas of how I could combine it this color theory component. In my dream to create something completely unique in the App Store, the idea behind Blendamaze was born - a unique combination of labyrinth board and artist’s paint palette. The difference with Blendamaze is that you actually want to drop your marble into the holes as each hole is filled with paint. Drop your marble into the hole and…whatever color was on your marble blends with the color in the hole. The concept is simple but the end result is a beautiful, yet challenging puzzle game that both adults and children enjoy.

148apps: What's your favorite thing about iOS development?
Nate: I love the ability to create whatever you want and see it come to life. There’s a smaller, more defined set of variables in designing for iOS/mobile rather than building for the web in general and this creates a unique challenge. The market, while crowded, has a massive potential customer base ready for you and it’s fairly simple to publish apps into the App Store. What is truly exciting is to see that really great apps and games are regularly featured, even those developed by small studios or individuals. This…creates a pretty exciting framework for someone like myself to develop in.

148apps: As a relatively new iOS developer, is there any advice you wish someone had given you beforehand?
Nate: I wish I had a better grasp earlier on how competitive the market is and how important it is to build your network well before launch. Long story short, after I left Modea to start BorderLeap, I needed to pick up consulting work to help pay the bills. This left little time to build the game, so I had to focus 100% on development and push off all marketing efforts to launch time. While this led to what I believe is a great game, it’s been a struggle to market it post-launch. Friends had told me that launch day was vital, yet to a degree it was too late - I had to launch and strive to build up marketing efforts after going live.

Secondly, I wish I had a better perspective of really how different releasing an app into the App Store is than releasing a web site…there’s such a tremendous emphasis placed on the first version of a game and especially launch day. With so many apps in the marketplace, your app or game must stand out so there…is little to no room for launching with an app that is not fully ready to make its debut…within the competitive iOS space an app or game must be as full-featured as possible as an app’s early presence in the App Store is so important. While I’ve been able to integrate features since the game went live in September, there are times I’d wished I’d pushed it out a few more weeks to bring the game farther along before launch. Good examples are upgrading the app to be universal for both iPhone and iPad, and adding a rewards system along with the Painter's Toolbox - items that help you solve tough levels. These have been time-consuming to add, but well worth it.

Where can I find out more about BorderLeap?
A few different places, besides here, of course. There's the BorderLeap website, the official Twitter account, as well as Nate's personal account where he keeps people up to date with developments.

Blendamaze is out now and is currently on sale at $0.99.

Blendamaze Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on October 19th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: COLOR ROLLING FUN
Blendamaze takes traditional wooden gaming elements and mixes in some all important color theory to create a challenging tilt focused title.
Read The Full Review »