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RetroSketch Postmortem

RetroSketch was born as an experiment— a distraction really. I had been working on my dream app for months, dealing mostly with audio. I was also juggling some consulting work, and I was becoming a bit unmotivated due to my lack of progress. Then the iPad was introduced. I knew I wanted to play with it as soon as I could. The thought of moving my dream app to the iPad didn't really make sense. So what to do?

The size and shape of the iPad reminded me of those sketching toys and an idea got stuck in my head. I wanted a quick project that wouldn't take me from my main work, but I didn't want something so trivial it wasn't interesting. Just drawing a line controlled with two knobs didn't seem like an interesting challenge at first. So I spent some time playing with a real toy, and thats when I got inspired. To make it more interesting, I decided to recreate the way the physical object works; I wanted to simulate all the moving parts.

Spending a lot of time dealing with CoreGraphics is what made the project really compelling to me. The plan was to draw the inside of the box as a background, the vertical & horizontal bars moving the stylus casting shadows inside, and of course a layer of aluminum dust getting etched out by the stylus as it moves around. I figured most people would never notice all of these things, But I still thought is was worth doing it just for the fun of it.

So I did. And I'm done. Somewhere along the process the project went from being an exercise to becoming my first commercial app. I have no clue how it will sell, but it has been worth it already. Turning it into an app has forced me to do all the things related to launching an app that you always put off until the end (at least the stuff that I procrastinate, I'm sure everyone does something different). I had do to a website, create a corporate identity, create Ad Hoc distributions, and think of marketing in more concrete terms, etc.

Now that I'm reaching the conclusion of this phase, and while I still have the experience fresh in my mind, I set out to write a couple of blog posts about it. I want to share some of my observations and lessons learned. Here is a jumping point for those posts:

  • A Tale of Two Knobs
  • A Comparison of Diverging Philosophies (Coming Soon)
  • Sensors: The Source of Wonderful Noise (Coming Soon)
  • Sounds Easy (Coming Soon)

When all is said and done, I have to admit, I'm very excited about the whole thing.

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