posted by Kroc Camen on Thu 19th Nov 2009 20:19 UTC
IconJacob Moller*, founder and CEO of Kiloo, the maker of the Commodore 64 emulator in the Apple App Store has kindly answered a few of my questions regarding App Store controversies, and most importantly, porting to other platforms and future projects.

(*Møller—our publishing system does not allow Unicode in the teaser)

Hello Sir,
Thank you kindly for agreeing to answer some questions. The readership at OSnews do not shy away from technical details at all, and prefer the opportunity to "talk to the programmer", rather than read a press release that has been dumbed down enough for managers and marketeers.

Kroc: Firstly—an apology. The last time we mentioned your C64 app being pulled, I incorrectly stated, jokingly, that it [access to the BASIC interpreter] was a not well kept easter egg. Could you please correct me and tell us the technical reason why this 'bug' was accidentally left in? (How long did you wait between submitting the app, and it appearing on the store; and therefore why was the bug not discovered in that interim?)

Jacob: Hi Kroc! Allow me to start out by introducing myself before we get down and dirty ;-) My name is Jacob Møller and I am the founder and CEO of Kiloo. The company was brought to life just about ten years ago in my very old flat when a few of us were fiddling with computer graphics and games in our spare time… Hmmm, saying that made me feel very old!

Anyway, the access to the Basic interpreter in the previous version of our Commodore 64 application was obviously not intentional. The bug actually slipped through both our internal QA processes and Apple’s QA processes. I think the issue was fixed within a few days and then we resubmitted the application. It took a little while to get back on but it has been well worth the wait.

Kroc: Can we also emulate the cassette drive, so we can re-create the interminable wait for any game to load? That was an important part of the experience! (I remember some of the great disk loaders, too!)

Jacob: Personally, I was really happy when I got my first C64 floppy drive. Then I didn’t have to wait forever – I am sure that our developers can create a load-slowdown version specifically for you if you really want to re-experience the interminable wait again ;-)

Kroc: Now that Palm have announced that they would not interfere with people wanting to develop software on their platform, and the general scaling back of restrictions that other platform vendors have been doing in light of the constant stream of App Store woe news—have you thought about developing for other mobile platforms?

Jacob: We are certainly working on converting our Commodore 64 emulator for other mobile phones although I can’t say which platforms at this stage. Basically, I think that everybody with a mobile phone should have the option to relive the golden days of C64 gaming. And we will do what we can to make this happen!

What do you feel is the inherent problem with these platforms?

Jacob: The challenge is definitely the huge handset and mobile platform fragmentation. Supporting several thousand of mobile phones is a solid challenge in terms of development, testing and deployment. You really need to have a thorough logistics setup and a robust bullet-proof development framework in order to make it work.

Kroc: Do you think your publicity has won you any favours at Apple? I’ve read many instances of a good uproar on the ’web helping nudge Apple along in resolving a submission problem.

Jacob: To be straight up and honest, I don’t think Apple handout any favors to their partners. Selling games and applications is a top-professional business for them perfectly in line with selling their computers. We have a good relationship with them but I don’t feel we have received any extraordinary treatment just because of the massive press coverage on our products.

Kroc: Is this your only job, or do you have a day job?

Jacob: I am the full time CEO of Kiloo and have been in that position for just about ten years now leading just about 15 people. We have a great environment in here so I really enjoy my job. It is always a pleasure to work with skilled, highly motivated and driven people.

Kroc: Has the legal and rights side of things been difficult? The history of Commodore 64 rights and ownership is _almost_ as complicated as the history of Amiga. Where does one even begin in tracking down the rights to a 25 year old game, when the original company in question has passed umpteenth times, and may not even exist!

Jacob: Kroc, you are spot on here. It is actually quite tricky to identify the current owners of the Commodore 64 games. We have been working really hard on this and can present our first fully licensed a game line-up in our upcoming mid-December 1.2 release (which includes Bruce Lee!!). We hope that the C64 fans out there will really enjoy our first batch of games.

Kroc: Have you had interest from the SID scene? As a fan of SID music, I know how large the scene can be.

Jacob: We have thought about including a SID player inside the C64 application. To be honest, I don’t quite know where we are with that. Personally, I think it would be really cool to assemble the best SID tunes and include that in the C64 content package for free download. Let me look into that! If there are any SID composers out there reading this – please feel free to get in contact!

Kroc: Are you working on any other iPhone apps right now? In addition to this question, have you considered or would consider the emulation of other systems, such as the Spectrum or Amiga for example?

Jacob: We are working on quite a few new games and other emulation projects for iPhone. It is slightly too early reveal them but so far they all look pretty cool IMO. Stay tuned for more info on this ;-)

Kroc: Let me be brutally straight with my beliefs—Apple could put you out of business at any time and without any reason. What would Apple have to do to get you to stop developing for the iPhone (as other notable developers have bailed)? On a more positive note, what could Apple do to help your relationship with them thrive?—it is in their best interests that your popular product is on their store.

Jacob: I guess that puts Apple in line with any bank right now… Haha ;-) No, seriously – we certainly intend to build on the good relationship we have with Apple right now and grow in line with their customer base. I think they are doing a really good job and have a quite unique position in the mobile phone market that we would like to help them exploit further for our mutual benefit. Our core goal is essentially to build games and applications that people like using. This is what we strive for everyday.

Thanks again for volunteering your time.

Kind regards,

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