We have had a long standing working relationship with Ted Bendixson the founder of Snow Dice and watched it grow since its acceptance to the iTunes store. With version 6.0 about to drop and a complete lack of any snow related content for the site Ted gave us a little interview on some of the new features.
Avran LeFeber: So for those who don’t know about it, what is Snow Dice?
Ted: Really simply put, it’s an iPhone app that comes up with random tricks to try on jumps, rails, halfpipe, or an entire slopestyle course of your choosing. It’s got difficulty settings so you can progress from beginner to whatever level of craziness you want.
Avran: How long has it been on the App Store?
Ted: Right about now, we’re at our two year anniversary of the initial big release. Pretty gnarly to think that it’s been selling steadily for that long.
Avran: And now there’s a new feature? Care to describe it?
Ted: The new feature we’re adding is a multi-player game of S.H.R.E.D. that you can start with any of your friends. It uses Game Center to connect you with anyone who has Snow Dice installed on their iPhone. So you can start up a game, and it will keep score as you’re riding with each other. It’s a last-person-standing-thunderdome sort of thing, very much inspired by the game of S.K.A.T.E. at the Berrics.
If you want, you can even start up games with people who aren’t right there riding with you. It all works off of the honor system, so you’d probably only want to play against your good friends. Really, you can play anyone in the world if you want to. Just don’t be a fucking claimer, because I will shoot flaming bolts of karma through my phone and destroy you.
Avran: It’s been two years since you’ve done anything major with Snow Dice. What inspired it?
Ted: I’ve wanted to build this particular feature for about a year now. It’s just been a matter of finding a cool and practical way to go about doing it. We played around with trick notifications in one of our updates, but I thought it kinda sucked and really felt like we needed to go back to the drawing board. What I really wanted was the game of S.K.A.T.E. , and it took me until June of this summer to find the right tools to build it. Once I knew what I wanted to build and how to build it, I gave up a solid chunk of my social life and set to work.
Avran: You’ve certainly seen your fair share of copycats over the years. Switch Dice is the obvious example. How do you deal with them?
Ted: I’ve learned something from watching the way they move, and they all have one major weakness. They don’t do the software development themselves. They hire it out to someone else. Now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’re some company trying to handle something about which you know nothing, but it does come with a cost. You can’t move fast. If you want to build a new feature, you have negotiate rates with your developer. You have to fit yourself somewhere into that person’s schedule.
So by the time our competitors find an idea of ours to steal (looking right at you Dane Homenick and your “Create A Line” feature taken directly from our Skate Dice), it’s really too late for them. They’re playing a game of catch up.
I also think our team is far more passionate about the product. We’re not doing this as some half-hearted marketing ploy to sell bindings. We’re doing it because we want to make a really cool game that will connect you with all of the shred buddies you’ve met over the years. We want to create something really awesome that simply doesn’t exist yet.
Avran: What do you think goes on in the minds of your competitors when they shamelessly copy your ideas?
Ted: I think a lot of decisions are made out of this crazy notion that everyone needs to have an app these days (just like every idiot with money thinks they can start a snowboard company). People who really have no business being in software are creeping into it because it’s this sort of trendy gold rush thing. So developers will copy someone’s idea because that’s what their client wants, and the client can pass off the developer’s work as if they had no direct involvement. (Still looking at you, Dane).
We own our work. We split the revenue amongst the team. When things are setup that way, you just have a different relationship to the product. This thing is our child.
Avran: Why should people pay more for your app?
Ted: We broke new ground with the first version of Snow Dice for the iPhone. Now we’re breaking new ground again. We are the first to build a legitimate multiplayer version of the game. We did it. It was hard as balls to pull off. I got sick for an entire weekend from screaming at my computer. I destroyed a printer with a set of 9 irons because of some stupid PC Load Letter error.
But after all of that suffering, even I couldn’t have anticipated how cool this turned out. You can play as many games as you want, simultaneously, with up to four people per game. You can play against random strangers if that gets your rocks off. Game Center will keep track of all the games you’ve won and lost. Eventually, we’re going to build in achievements you can unlock as you progress. This is shred candy to the extreme.
Avran: When will this go on sale?
Ted: The multiplayer feature is already available on our Skate Dice product (Skate Dice : Skateboarding). Snow Dice 6.0 will probably get approval from Apple before the 20th of September. The new feature will be sold as an in-app purchase for $1.99