My conversation with Ricardo Quesada, creator of Cocos2d iPhone Games Development Platform
It’s not every day that you get to talk to a top iPhone tools developer who also is a unicyclist. Ricardo Quesada is unique Argentinean who’s made digital innovation part of his professional life for more than 10 years. After leaving his post at a top security software firm called Core Security Technologies (founded in Argentina), Ricardo decided to jump into something he had always found fun, creating games.
After some jam sessions with some buddies who shared his passion for the Python programming language as well as creating games, a game development platform called Cocos2D began to take shape as an open source project. Though their initial focus was creating games for the PC, when Apple released the production version of the iPhone Software Development Kit (SDK) by 2008, Cocos2D had already been ported for that platform and was rapidly gaining fans all over the globe (e.g., US, Europe, Japan, China, Korea, etc.).
By the end of 2008 at least 40 iPhone games developed using Cocos2D were available with some of these hitting the Top 10 list. Around May of 2009, Stick Wars, developed with the Cocos2D framework was the number one selling app on the Apple App Store for three weeks making it one of the best selling apps. Fortunately, such successes have resulted in donations to the open source project from grateful developers.
Thanks to improvements that Ricardo and the active Cocos2D community continue to make, this framework continues to add functionality on top of an already impressive OpenGL graphics engine and developer-friendly design. In January 2009, The Registered voted Cocos2D the number one open source project for the iPhone.
All of this is a testament to Ricardo, a talented developer committed to following his passion, as well as a growing community of professionals (technical and otherwise) in Latin America who understand that the world has changed. The Internet is an instant onramp to a global marketplace of ideas and opportunities no matter where you happen to reside. Entrepreneurs like Ricardo realize that old paradigms of emerging world professionals being content with less interesting challenges are no longer necessary when you can instantly have access to the global marketplace.
Though is only at version 0.8 with the Cocos2D framework, he is working feverishly to get it to level that he feels will deserve the 1.0 designation. From a business perspective, it will be interesting to see where he takes the business model, which today consists of selling some sample code that he developed when he was creating his own games with the framework. For the moment, he is intelligently focusing on making sure he is attending to the needs of his developer users.
Nevertheless, one can’t help speculating the possibilities for creating a commercial version with strong collaborative features that could enable developers and non-developers at disparate locations to quickly brainstorm, prototype and develop new games. Another target audience, in the future, may even be digital agencies without deep game development expertise looking to quickly and collaboratively prototype game concepts for their clients within new marketing initiatives. Whatever develops, one thing seems to be assured: Ricardo will have a lot of fun.