Newton North Student Creates App for iPhone
Eli Bock, a Newton North sophomore, recently designed and created a game for the iPhone called "Space Kiwi"
Curious as to what teenage ambition and talent looks like?
Well, as they say, "there's an app for that."
"I have always wanted to get a game going on the (Apple) App Store," says Newton North sophomore Eli Bock. "It seemed like a lot of fun and a great way to put my artistic abilities to use."
Bock, 16, launched his game Space Kiwi for the App Store on December 13. The single-person shooter game uses the iPhone/iPad/iPod gyroscope to move the character back and forth as it dodges asteroids, villains and cherry bombs dropped by space ships.
Since the game went live last month, Bock says nearly all the feedback he's received has been positive.
"[Space Kiwi] is a pretty simple concept," Bock says. "It's accessible and attractive to all ages."
The process of launching the game consisted of hundreds of hours of drawing, Bock explains, as well as saving up money from the hours he works at the Newton Squash and Tennis Club. The money would go toward paying for things like freelance programmers and a license to sell the game in the App Store.
Bock designed all the artwork for the Space Kiwi characters, items and backgrounds, and animated the app using Adobe Flash.
Aside from the countless drawings and complicated animations, Bock also scored all the music for Space Kiwi -- a rapid mix of synthesized melodies that mimic the fast-paced nature of the game.
Once he finished the drawings, animation and music, Bock then reached out to a number of freelance programmers to help him put the finishing touches on the game. That process, he says, took another hundred hours as he had to oversee every part of the project to make sure the game was developed just right.
All the hours of work and tedious animation, though, didn't weigh Bock down.
"It really was a labor of love," Bock says.
The process of getting the app into the App Store was actually the easiest on the to-do list; Bock purchased a license for the app and just a week and a half after submitting the game, he received the OK for Space Kiwi to sell in the App Store for 99 cents.
Each time someone purchases the Space Kiwi game, Bock says Apple receives 30 percent (or roughly 30 cents) and he receives the remaining 70 percent. (A "lite" version is also available for free.)
Since starting the development of his game, Bock has trademarked his company name, Orro, and is ready to do some more apps in the future.
"I definitely have a lot of ideas and a lot of art for whichever [app] I choose to do next," he says.
Bock also creates comic strips and books gigs doing commercial animation -- all the while balancing school, work and wrestling.
As for post-high school plans, though, Bock has one focus:
"I know in the future I’m going to be drawing -- definitely."