This new app has many of its own applications as a language learning device. It can used for vocabulary acquisition, improving spelling and for practicing word associations. It also other educational qualities in that it has multi-cultural benefits.
I chatted with Auckland based Dave Roberts the developer of Snap That.
How did you come up with the idea for the App?
A friend and I were brainstorming ideas for a fun iPhone application idea. We both loved the camera phone applications Hipstamatic and Instagram and felt we also wanted to do something that utilized the iPhone’s camera but with a twist.
So we decided that a game would be a fun thing to try. Using the iPhone's camera we designed a game that could be played with friends from anywhere in the world.
How did you come up with the idea for the game?
My friend Julian Phillips came up with the idea for a game based on the classic 'Eye Spy' we used to play as kids. I remember long road trips in the car with the family and 'Eye Spy' keeping the family peace. Each taking turns to guess what the other had seen.
How do you play Snap That?
The players or learners take photos of everyday items and then share them with friends. They have to guess the item in the image using a selection of possible letters to spell it out.
I suppose the format’s similar to ‘Draw Something' except with photos. Children can play it with their friends on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch and they take turns and can stop and pick up and resume the game whenever they feel like it.
We also have a random player option that allows you to play against new friends from around the world. Players can learn vocabulary and at the same time share their realities through photos with their opponents in their spare time
Have you made many game design changes or updates?
Originally players were given a list of three words to pick from and take a photograph. We quickly saw the limitation this posed if the three objects were unavailable, so we added a third option to add your own word.
This proved much more popular and a large portion of players use this option to take photos of everyday objects, buildings, and scenes they come across on a daily basis. They then send them through to the other player who has to guess the photo using the letters supplied.
Who did you have in mind when you designed the game?
This game appeals to a broad range of players but where I think it has the most potential is for children, visual learners and those trying to pick up a new language.
Using the 'add your own word' option, players are sharing images from their everyday lives. I am quite a visual learner and find a hands on learning approach works best and if all that learning can be hidden inside a game, all the better. With more and more schools using iPhones and iPads in the classroom, Julian and I hope we can be a part of the learning revolution.
Do you have any programming or program design experience?
No, we don't have programming experience, so we found a programmer we could trust as well as a friend who does graphic design to create the icons and graphics for the game.
Was it easy to design and produce?
Not exactly, but it was fun. There were many revisions before our first release and we still make minor tweaks but are glad we launched it when we did.
We’ve found the best way to improve it is by seeking feedback from real live people. Friends and family gave some initial feedback but tended to be a little soft on us.
What kind of response are you getting?
It’s quite new but we‘ve got some good feedback and are looking forward to sharing it globally as well as thinking up our next app. Kids and language learners seem to be getting the best experience from playing and for us this is great because we see it as a fun tool that can help the learning process for learners that may otherwise struggle with language learning.
Have you developed any apps before this?
No, it is our entry into the world of iPhone Apps, so to say it was a steep (but fun) learning curve is an understatement :P
For more information about ‘Studio 53’ based in Auckland, New Zealand and Snap That: