MDM Student Launches iOS App as Part of Venture Internship
MDM student Chris Lee launched his iOS app, Sprout Up!, last week making it in the Top 25 in the Apple Store's Canadian Paid Apps section.
Co-developed by MDM faculty Dr. Kimberly Voll and UBC Computer Science student Byron Henze, Sprout Up! is a game about Daisy, a hungry plant. Players need to help Daisy grow by feeding her sun and raindrops. The trick is balance—feed Daisy too much sun and she’ll dry out, feed her too much rain and she’ll drown.
The gameplay is simple, but the flower makes it all worthwhile. The expression on her face while she’s catching the rain and sun is hilarious. The animation for when she gets hit by lightning, dries out, or gets too wet is also entertaining. Playing the game is only half the fun. The other half is watching this silly flower.
Before the Master of Digital Media program, Chris Lee graduated from ACAD with a Bachelor’s in Visual Communication Design. Chris originally started developing the app two and half years ago under his own company Coffee Digital. The app was 50% developed when the other parties lost interest and the project got put on hold.
When Chris began the MDM program in September 2012, he met Kimberly Voll, got in touch with his old contact at UBC, Byron Henze, and decided to take over the company from his partners.
Sprout Up! is part of Chris' Venture Internship to complete his Master’s Degree. Learning about a successful product launch and seeing a (hopefully successful) product through to market, is the goal of his internship. With Kim and Byron as the core design team, Chris outsourced the sound and music.
The app was submitted for review in the Apple Store at the end of October and made it into the Top 25 in the Apple Store's Canadian Paid Apps Section last week.
According to Chris, it’s been a tough project.
While it wasn’t an unfamiliar a process (I've already released two other games), it's been tough working on the game when it’s not my—or my team members’—full-time job. Figuring out problems, discovering aspects about the game—all things that benefit from group work—have been done remotely. It's been tough but I see it as a huge accomplishment, regardless of the outcome. Just completing the game after such a rocky development process is huge. At least there’s quite a story to tell.
When asked about his experiences in the MDM program, Chris said,
I started my company when I was 19 and there was a lot of trial and error. The MDM program was a maturing process and helped me really come to grasp with what it takes to be an entrepreneur. MDM does a good job of creating a stepping stone for people who want to become entrepreneurs. When I was on my own I was literally shooting in the dark. I didn’t go to business school and everything I learned was from the internet, books, and cold, hard experience. I wish I had access to the MDM program’s business, legal, and mentorship resources when I first started.
Chris is waiting to see how Sprout Up! does before he decides his next steps. With his internship finishing up next month, ideally, Chris wants to hire a few people to join his team, (right now everyone is contracted) and get enough traction to put his studio into full-fledged production.
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