Thoughts Serializer

Computer graphics, Games, Personal

Flappy Herbie Saga: Trolls of the Forest

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Flappy Herbie: Trolls of the Forest iconFlappy Bird did it. The most simple game ever build at the top of every AppStore. How frustrating can that be to big game development companies that put hundreds of thousands of dollars into developing and marketing their games? It is so funny to follow this industry. You can never predict the future.

I was feeling so psyched about it! I needed to mock it, understand it, troll it, test it, everything at the same time. So my creative juices started boiling again, and I decided that I had to make a game that will express all that. Everything in it should be trolling some part of the situation. The game itself, the gamers, the appstores, the clone haters. So starting from the game name you can begin to understand what is going on. “Flappy Herbie Saga: Trolls of the Forest”. I used to name my games with short names. Not anymore. The game is also SO hard that it provides Zen relaxation services to the gamer for free. Even though I was tempted to make it a paid service at some point just to meta-troll it. When you feel frustrated by the game you can read beatiful Zen calming quotes, while listening to nice relaxing music. I am not going to dive into all satire points in the game as I will ruin it, but you will get the point for sure.

I had to make it in 1-2 days. Read the rest of this entry »

How the world looks with different app stores

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Below are the revenue maps for my apps, from Apple App Store and BlackBerry World.

 

Revenue Map for Apple App Store

Revenue Map for Apple App Store

 

Revenue Map for BlackBerry World

Revenue Map for BlackBerry World

As you can see with Apple the US is king, while with BlackBerry the king is Canada.

Hint: Combine the two and you got the whole north america ;)

 

Happy birthday Herbie!

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It is amazing how fast time can fly… is was exactly one year ago when FlyCraft was released on BlackBerry World. Herbie is turning one year old today! So much has happened in the past twelve months that sometimes it’s hard for me to believe that it was just one year ago today that Herbie did it’s debut flight.

And how we got to that day? The long month before the release. From the introduction to the October Challenge crowd, to some halfway progress report, to the actual revealing of our hero ladybug Herbie and finally the victorious release post. It was unforgettable times, that could only be topped by what happened after the release. It was crazy, the game was a success we never anticipated. FlyCraft managed to be “Game of the year” and then be everywhere in BlackBerry, from forums, to news, to conferences, to TV. It was a rollercoaster! Thank you everybody for this!

Late in January 2013, Thanasis Lightbridge withdrew from the project to focus his powers on his third and dark side music project that he recently revealed to the public. Despite this big loss development continued on the game, by bringing it to Z10 (and later to the square screen of the Q10 and Q5), bringing in replays, and an online system to publish and browse flight replays from all over world, and the organization of a championship with great prizes.

So what is on the timeline from now on you ask? Well, after the Herbie birthday cake we are cutting tomorrow with close friends, I am very excited to announce that FlyCraft will be coming to iPhone and iPad! Yes, thats right. Your voices are finally heard. I don’t want to hear another complaint about!

Right now the game can already run on the device, but needs some more work to polish it and make sure everything works as expected on fruit devices. If you are interested in the progress, or you want to be one of the few lucky beta testers, please be free to signup here:

http://flycraftgame.com/signup

I will start to send non public info on the progress and you will get to be one of the firsts to be notified its out.

So let see what this new year will bring! Happy birthday Herbie!

p.s. As a way to share the celebration with you, the price of FlyCraft was dropped to just $0.99… forever! Get it here. ;)

 

The numbers: The BlackBerry World and S4BB

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A “scandal” hit the news recently that caused a lot of discussion and even BlackBerry itself was forced to publicly respond. I am not talking about anything else than the S4BB story about the 47000+ it has published in the BlackBerry World store.

Since I have recently created an infrastructure that monitors the BlackBerry World for my SmartAppShopper app, I am in the position to have good insight of what is going on in the store. So how many apps does S4BB precisely have on the store? Are all apps for BlackBerry 10? What is the average rating of those apps? What is the distance in number of apps from the second most “productive” vendor? Brace!

It turns out that S4BB is one of the oldest vendor in BlackBerry world. Its ID is just 102. So there must be many apps from S4BB that are from the pre BlackBerry 10 era. Lets see how that looks. Read the rest of this entry »

FlyCraft: The success story

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Back in October 2012 I had the bold idea of taking part in Ludum Dare’s October Challenge. Having done game engine and game development projects in the past I knew what kind of huge challenge this was going to be. Nonetheless I still knew I wanted to do it.

Already being in a game idea research phase, after having completed the circle of my last game Pop Corny, I comforted myself by thinking that this was a cool way to take one of the many ideas in my head and really try it out. The worst thing that could happen was to add one more idea to the “crappy game ideas bin”. Read the rest of this entry »

FlyCraft got released, we have the dollar!

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That is right! We managed to do the release yesterday and we even got the dollar (we are actually #1 Top Paid Game at the moment I write! [boast]way over Angry Birds =D[/boast] . You can check out our October Challenge entry here:

FlyCraft – October Challenge Entry

It was a roller coaster ride to develop this game, you know, the crazy ones! Me and Thanasis managed to gain so much experience during this month than hardly any other process I can think of can provide.

The fact that the game we made was so well received by the gamers was the topping of the cake. Such a great feeling, after a month of long nights of work! A few hours after the release, we were receiving this kind of reviews on AppWorld:

“Fun game, gets your creative mind going.” 5 stars
“This is a fun game if you have a few minutes to spare & want something to do. At $1.99 you can’t go wrong….now if you will excuse me I have got to get back to the game. I’m trying hard to get “Herbie” to fly further then 200cm….I keep getting so so close lol BTW that reminds me. This game comes with Scoreloop integration so you can compete with your friends :) 5 stars
“This is a great game and logs of original fun. Looking forward to more materials to smash on the landing pad. Great original concept!” 5 stars
“Fun game, gets your creative mind going.” 5 stars

The list can go on and on! We are so humbled by these people.

We have updated the game’s website with the launch trailer. We hope you will like it as much as we do.

The plan from now on is to add in the game all the cool features we left out due to the time constraint of the challenge. Some of the things we left out with a cold heart were the instant replay system that will allow you to view your flights again but also to share them with friends, the ability to save multiple crafts and challenge friends to fly your crafts and do better, and lot more stuff that I will not reveal at the moment! ;)

Thanks again everybody it was a great experience we all shared here! Good luck to all the contenders!

Introducing FlyCraft for the October Challenge 2012

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Good day everyone! I am so glad to announce to you that I am taking part in the Ludum Dare October Challenge 2012! Me and Thanasis will be creating a new game from scratch in just 30 days, and make a dollar (at least hopefully!) out of it. Please have a look at our announcement post over at Ludum Dare’s website, and send us some love!

Porting your iOS game to Blackberry Playbook (and future BB10 phones)

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Continuing after my latest post about porting existing iOS games written in C/C++ to the Android platform, here I am again writing about my latest porting endeavor that brings Pop Corny to the third platform! Ever thought of porting your iOS game to the Blackberry Playbook? Well, here I will share some insight of what to expect.

The basics

If you are like me you will probably think that the Playbook has something to do with the tech that used to run Blackberry’s phones. This misconception was so strong in me that I didn’t even consider a port to it. The truth is however, that the Playbook is based on the new platform that Blackberry is creating based on the QNX operating system, and will also be used on the BB10 phones. Things started to look better on the porting front with these info, but there is always a fear that Blackberry could be Google and force everything to Java and only support native after a long time has passed. It turns out that things are much better than I expected. Not only Blackberry allows you to write native apps, but its Native Development Kit (NDK) is a complete solution for developing on the platform. Not like Android for example, where the NDK is just a crude exposure of the native Android’s build system, supports minimal functionality and requires Java calls for most stuff. On Playbook you can write a full native app and never look at Java again. The NDK will provide C level APIs for all that you are going to need. From screen handling and input, to in-app purchases.

The Blackberry provided development environment is QNX Momentics, which is based on Eclipse, but also you can easily do everything with command line tools if you prefer. I chose to go with Momentics even though I find Eclipse slow and sluggish, because it is very nicely setup for native C/C++ development (with debuggers, profilers, etc) and I wanted to see how far it will get me until I started missing the command line. Surprisingly, it did all the way. Had no problem with it, which is a first for me and Eclipse.

You also get an emulator for trying out your, code which is based on VMWare. This didn’t strike me a good thing because you have to buy VMWare to run it. Sure there is the VMWare Player version that is free, but you can use that only on Windows and Linux. The Mac users, like me, will have to use the 30-day trial of VMWare Fusion, or buy it.

Next I will go through the major porting areas to keep this consistent with my corresponding article for Android. Read the rest of this entry »

Impressed by the new Blackberry OS (or how iOS ate dust)

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Since my last post you must already know that I was porting Pop Corny to Blackberry. I can’t hide that I was really impressed by the way the platform is engineered. You know you have done something right when it allows a developer that had never even used the platform, come in and port his game in 2-3 days. But that, coupled with the fact that the game actually runs better than it does on the platform that is was originally written for, makes for something really impressive.

To showcase what I mean, I recorded a video with the game launching in parallel on both my iPad 2 and my Playbook. Since on both platforms the game actually achieves 60fps its hard to notice the difference in game, but the launch sequence really shows the difference. The bottom line is that given 2 devices with almost identical hardware (the same Dual-core 1 GHz Cortex-A9), running the same game, with the game optimized using the iOS device and only later ported to the Playbook, the Playbook manages to launch the app (load all textures, decompress them and upload to GPU, load sound effects, etc) 30% faster! In my book.. this is a huge achievement.

What is also amusing is how that 30% is calculated including the time the Playbook wastes doing “pre-launch” animations like pulling down the other app icons, pushing the app thumbnails left and the launching the actual app. And still managing to launch faster! It looks as it is mocking at the other device…!

Below is the actual video, and if you would like to get Pop Corny it is now available on App World here.

Porting my game engine to the Playbook

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The last few days I am a happy owner of a BlackBerry Playbook. The device was offered to me by RIM (thanks to Luca Filigheddu) in order to port Pop Corny to it. To tell you the truth I never owned a Blackberry device before, not to mention develop for it. It was a totally new experience, where I had no idea what to expect.

It turns out RIM has done an awesome job with Playbook and probably with its upcoming phones (just speculating I don’t know for sure). The system is based on the QNX operating system and it has strong support for standards and open libraries. I found myself right at home with it! I am going to come back with more details about the process (probably with an altdevblogaday article), but by cutting the long story short, I was able to port the engine with only native code (no java glue code like on Android) with OpenGL, OpenAL (even ALUT), freetype, etc all coming bundled with the system. Read the rest of this entry »