Ben Dodson

Freelance iPhone & iPad Developer

I've been looking forward to this day for a long time

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Today has seen the culmination of several months of work and several years of planning. I launched my latest app, WallaBee, which I like to call “The ultimate collectables game”. It’s a mixup of several ideas from things such as Gowalla, Pokémon, PackRat, and Baseball Trading cards (or Football stickers if you’re in the UK).

I’m not going to do a big post about it now as you can find out all the details at wallab.ee (or just download the app) but I did want to give a few shout outs.

Firstly, this app wouldn’t be possible without Alan Shaw and Simon Wicks who have both invested a huge amount of time in this project. They’ve put up with my constant changes and demands as well as suggesting many great ideas that I wouldn’t have come up with on my own. I’m proud to be launching this app with such great co-partners.

Secondly I’d like to thank Andrew Cameron of Karate Grafika who designed the beautiful icons you’re hopefully collecting today. We spent a lot of time searching for the right designer and we’re overwhelmed with the amount of positive reviews we’ve received for Andy’s work. Andy is the ‘secret sauce’ of our app and we’re very lucky to be working with him.

Finally, I’d like to thank Eric Longstaff who has taken on the role of Community Manager and is replying to people on our support forum almost has quickly as they can submit questions! It’s great to have someone with so much charisma on our team who believes in the project and wants to make sure that everybody else is enjoying it.

It’s been a wild ride getting to this point and I really hope that people see the amount of time and effort we’ve spent in trying to get the little details right. We know that there is further work to be done and we have an ambitious roadmap. Version 1.0.1 (coming soon) will add localisation support for 5 languages and a big v1.1 update at the end of March which will introduce a heap of social features. We are essentially a startup but I want to make it clear that our entire focus is on delighting our players - we’ve invested in the most expensive package GetSatisfaction had so we can keep on top of our community and we’re absolutely committed to getting things right.

A few people have pointed out that we’re just using the ideas of Gowalla and PackRat and putting them together. I want to confront that issue head on. Yes, their are similarities, but we believe the devil is in the detail.

  1. We are focussed on a single thing; items. We have a location database (built up from data aquired from Gowalla for my Highlights app - incidentally, this database is not a wholesale copy but something that has been carefully curated and augmented with data from a number of other platforms over a period of 12 months) and we allow players and developers to add to this database but it’s not our key focus. We are fundamentally not a check-in service.
  2. We don’t just want to build a community of players, we also want to build a community of developers. That’s why we launched 3 full APIs with our app that you can interact with today. These include real time notifications and access to all of our high-resolution item artwork. If you build something on our platform, we’ll promote it. You can find out more in our Developer Portal
  3. The most important thing, the item that is at the core of who we are, is that we are dedicated to the player. We promise to listen, adapt, and make changes that the community wants rather than just blazing our own trail. We will never fundamentally change our product on a whim when we know that it’s not what our community wants. We built this app because it’s the app we wanted to use. We will never deviate from that course or that core belief.

I sincerely hope that you’ll enjoy using WallaBee. It’s been my dream for the past few years and, whilst this this is just the start, I treasure it as the biggest moment of my career.

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