Tag Archives: iphone

Too Good to be True (So Far)

So yesterday I started using a beta version of MajicRank by the most excellent David Frampton of Majic Jungle Software. MajicRank is a tool that scours the App Store for your apps and checks to see if they’re in the Top 100 in any of the categories on the App Store. It’s pretty awesome.

Yesterday being the launch of the iPad in the US, and I having Chromodyne HD available along with the launch of said iPad.

However, whereas the iPad launch was hugely successful, Chromodyne HD? Not so much.

Now from my frantic Twittering, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell… as for most of yesterday evening Chromodyne broke into the Top 100 in Arcade and Puzzle for iPad games. That felt great let me tell you!

Great right up until I got the daily sales summary this morning, that is! Apparently that slight surfacing into the top 100 amounted to 1 sale. Kinda sucks, hey?

I suspect the reason I’m ranking so high in those categories is that there aren’t that many games in those categories (yet) and that Chromodyne is near the bottom of the pile, but the bottom of the pile is so close to the 100 point that a single sale will do something like this. This is quite possibly also why Apple is hiding category views for iPad apps in iTunes and only showing the Top 50 on the device itself.

What sucks for me, with my currently lousy non-existent advertising budget and lack of coverage due to bigger titles getting the spotlight yesterday, is that I can’t actually take advantage of that placement in those categories. Nobody can actually see that my cool little game is in the Top 100!

I'm at the top, of the bottom!This is what excitement looks like.

It’s still early days yet and my porting of Chromodyne to the iPad was a fun experience, which effectively didn’t cost me anything except a few days of time. So I’m not upset or anything, and I wasn’t expecting miracles. There are a few pending reviews of Chromodyne so I hope they come out eventually, and that should help :)

In the meantime, I do want to thank everyone who shared my (misplaced) excitement last night, at least I can say that Chromodyne made it into a Top 100 list!

Thoughts on the iPad

Well, Apple finally released their oft-speculated-upon tablet, the iPad, today. The response I’ve been seeing across the interwebs has ranged from comments reminding me of the hubris inducing pessimism surrounding the launch of the iPod, to the completely ridiculous sort of grandstanding that comes about whenever the press catches hold of something that’s “going to change the world!”; like, how it’s going to kill the mouse and keyboard or something. That’s like saying the computer will kill paper and pens, or the Segway will kill walking, or… ingesting pop rocks and soda killed Mikey. See what I’m saying?

What about me? Small game designer/developer guy you probably haven’t even heard of until now? I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle, and the iPad is balancing on a knife-edge between success and failure.

Stick with me here.

I think where the iPad’s potential lies is as a beefed up PDA/planner with the capabilities of an eBook reader and some of the power of a laptop, like editing documents and viewing large videos, while still being in a small form factor with an amazing battery life.

The problem with the iPad, at least as far as I can tell, is that Apple has actually created the iPad’s worst competitor. By placing the iPad as a device in between PDAs and laptops, Apple believes that they are competing with inexpensive netbooks, but in reality, I think that the iPad’s biggest barrier for growth will be it’s older, yet shorter brother, the iPhone!

Look at it this way: the iPad instead of being a small laptop without a physical keyboard, ports, etc., is more like a large iPod Touch or iPhone without the phone and camera parts. People are going to look at their iPhone and think “why would I want an iPad? My iPhone does practically everything I need it to do and more, and it’s more portable to boot.” It’s an even worse value proposition if these people have laptops already. The problem is that by making the iPad behave more like an iPhone and less like a laptop, many people, I think at least, will view this as an iPad vs. iPhone question rather than an iPad vs. netbook or laptop question.

Don’t take this as me completely writing off the iPad. I don’t think it’s going to be a Segway, but I’m not really sure if it will end up being an iPhone or iPod. I do think it will find it’s place in the market, but I think that iPhone OS and the hardware may need to go through a few revisions before it can really get a proper foothold.

I suppose I should talk about gaming and the iPad while I have you here, seeing as that’s kinda my thing.

First off, I think that we’re probably going to see a divide between gaming on the iPad and the iPhone/iPod Touch. Nothing huge but because of the iPhone’s phenomenal success, I think that there will still be a massive demand for small form-factor games that specifically target the iPhone. On the other side of that coin I think that the iPad, by being larger with more power and having a higher resolution will allow more freedom of expression for game developers. But this is good! More choice is never a bad thing when it becomes trivially easy to port your software between these devices, you just have to make sure you design your software with an eye towards running on many devices (this was a good idea before the iPad, in case you didn’t get that memo).

Earlier today I read an article suggesting that the iPad was going to be end of the sort of small developer that found success on the iPhone because it allowed for small teams to produce small games but reach a large audience. I definitely don’t see that as an lesson to take away from the iPad. I do agree 100% that developing games on the iPad, specifically to take advantage of the iPad hardware, will be more time and money intense, however it’s not like the iPad is going to kill the iPhone. Hell, I’d even go so far as make the rash and wildly assumptive statement that most small iPhone devs can blissfully ignore the existence of the iPad and still be able to make a comfortable living selling their wares to iPhone owners (as they are legion).

My personal goal is to see Celsius Game Studios games on the PS3 and 360, so I’m not dreading the iPad. Quite the contrary, I view it as yet another exciting platform with a potential audience for my games.

Also, much like “Wii” humanity will somehow come to terms with “iPad.” You can quote me on that.

Decemberos Updateos

So, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything to ye old blag. I just wanted to let anyone concerned that yes, I am still alive!

Since I last wrote to you, Chromodyne has gotten two more positive reviews from TruthBombers and AppGirl Reviews, which is always very encouraging.

My Real Job(tm) has been rather hectic as of late, so I’m a bit behind on the first update for Chromodyne, but most of the madness has passed so I’m getting back into the swing of things there.

Speaking of madness, and my Real Job(tm), after quite a lot of deliberation I’ve finally decided that I’m going to follow my dream and try and make Celsius Game Studios into my Real Job(tm)! I have a lot of work ahead of me in the coming months, but I think I have some great ideas to work on that could only be realized by a creative effort with more than just myself working at it. Luckily I’ve got the support of my family, friends and current employer so I think this might lead to some amazing things. Stay tuned for more exciting news as time permits :)

A Trio of Reviews!

More shameless horn tooting lies ahead! *toot toot*

DIY Gamer implores the world to “Buy Chromodyne, Now!” I couldn’t agree more! :D

Touch iPhone Games gets so addicted to Chromodyne that they kill their iPod battery after playing it for longer than expected!

And finally, Keri Honea from Examiner.com says “Fans of this sort of puzzle game should all give Chromodyne a try.” Difficult to argue with, I say.

I’m so excited that people seem to have mostly good things to say about Chromodyne, and that the few negative points will eventually be dealt with as I continue to hone Chromodyne into the best puzzle game I can deliver.

148Apps.com Review

Woohoo! “Our Rating: ★★★½☆ :: WORTH A LOOK”

Another review from another iPhone site, this time it’s 148Apps.com. Some very positive comments about the game, graphics and sounds. A respectable 3.5/5 stars, and they basically say that the game can only get better. Which is true, and I’m making it better right now! :O

The 1.1 update should be ready in the next week or two, I hope. The primary focus is to bring Leaderboards and some social networking integration into the mix, plus some other fun things that will hopefully make it in for 1.1, if not 1.2.

Merchandising!

A discussion with some friends about marketing Chromodyne lead to the following madness. With many, many apologies to Mr. Brooks.

Zarlax: “Merchandising, merchandising, where the real money from the game is made. Chromodyne-the T-shirt, Chromodyne-the Coloring Book, Chromodyne-the Lunch box, Chromodyne-the Breakfast Cereal, Chromodyne-the Flame Thrower.”

*FWOOOOOOOOOOSH*

Gary: “Ooooh!”

Zarlax: “The kids love this one.”

Zarlax: “And last but not least, Chromodyne the doll, me.”

*pulls string*

Doll: “Go die in a fire!”

Zarlax: *throws the doll behind him* “Adorable.”

Hot Man-Program Love and Completing Projects

It’s too bad I’m already married, because I’m seriously in love with the Guard Malloc feature in XCode (don’t kill me Eva!)… it totally saved me having to step through every malloc in Chromodyne trying to find an insidious memory corruption bug :o

As some may have seen, I recently (last night!) submitted Chromodyne to Apple for approval. This is a pretty big deal for me, as I’ve always wanted to run a videogame company, or at least work in the industry. So I guess I’m doing both now and it’s a huge dream come true. I don’t know how I’m going to do on the App Store, and frankly I’ll just be happy to make back the dev fees and the cost of my iPod Touch, but hopefully this is just the first in a long line of titles from me to you. Thanks for your continuing support and I hope that lets me keep doing what I love doing.

Anyone Out There?

I suppose people might actually be reading this thing, at least after PocketGamer.biz oh so graciously interviewed me for a feature on one-man/woman iPhone developers, so I should probably update a little more often!

I’m about… oh… 98% done Chromodyne so that’s pretty exciting! Once that’s done, it’s time to start The Next Big Thing™ and work on some stuff I’d like to see in v1.1 of Chromodyne.

I’d kinda like to do one of those “Questions for the Developer” things infrequently… so if you’re out there and have questions about iPhone development, I’d love to hear them :)

’til next time!

Optimizing for OpenGL ES

If you’re trying to get your OpenGL ES code to run really fast on the iPhone you have to take one very important piece of information into account: writing to memory on the iPhone is expensive. To that effect, I just got another >10fps in my 3D engine by precomputing vertex, normal and texture coordinate buffers for all my 3d models instead of writing to a generic buffer in my drawing loop as I had been doing. So basically when I call gl*Pointer calls, I point to the buffer in my model object.

It means I’m using up a tiny bit more memory per model (not per object, as they reference the models) but the performance increase is amazing and totally worth it.