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Page last updated at 07:09 GMT, Friday, 6 March 2009
Brit writes iPhone app in bedroom

By Dan Whitworth
Newsbeat technology reporter

Image of Rolando app
The Rolando app came to the attention of US developers on YouTube

Since the launch of Apple app store, the number of applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch has boomed.

There are now 15,000 different applications which have been downloaded more than 500 million times.

But the success of these apps is not just limited to Apple. For people like Simon Oliver from east London, it has changed their lives forever.

The 31-year-old said: "I'd been looking to make games for consoles or handhelds for a while but for platforms like PSP and Nintendo DS there are a lot of restrictions as to who can make games for them.

Financially, I'm in a better position than I've ever been in before and that's in a short amount of time thanks to the success of this game
Simon Oliver on the success of his Rolando app

"When Apple announced they'd allow anyone to make applications for them I jumped at the chance."

In March 2008 Simon Oliver sat down at his computer in his bedroom and started developing an application that would turn into the game Rolando.

"With all the figures made to look like little heads it was kind of inspired by the 1980s kids TV show Terrahawks," he said.

"Then I was looking for an illustrator to give the game some charm and character and found someone in Finland called Mikko Walamies."

America trip

The two of them got together to create a one-minute demo which they posted on YouTube.

"It did really well. We got 100,000 hits in a couple of weeks," he said.

The demo then attracted the attention of a software company in America.

Simon Oliver
Simon Oliver gets 70% of the cash from every download of Rolando
"I got a phone call from a company in the United States called Ngmoco," Simon Oliver said.

"They really liked the game, so they flew me out to San Francisco to meet them and we decided to work together to make Rolando as good as it could be."

After that he came back to the UK, set up a company and started working on the game full time.

Priced at 2.99, the deal means that Apple gets 30% from the sale of every app, with the developers getting 70%.

"It's been an amazing success, beyond my wildest expectations," he said.

"When I started working on the game my goal was to sell several thousands copies, but it's already sold hundreds of thousands and is still selling.

"I had a mate fly out to New Zealand a while ago and when he got back he told me three people on the plane had been playing it.

"It's great when you hear about your own work spreading around the world like that."

Eric Jue, a spokesperson for Apple, says a wide range of people are behind the thousands of apps available for download.

He said: "We have major companies that we've all heard of. But we've also had tremendous interest from small one man developers and even kids in their bedrooms."

Simon says it's completely changed his life.

"It doesn't feel like work," he said. "I'm just sitting down, making games, being as creative as I want and it's very much a dream come true.

"Financially, I'm in a better position than I've ever been in before and that's in a short amount of time thanks to the success of this game. It's been an incredible year."

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