The numbers: The BlackBerry World and S4BB

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. Continue reading

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”. Continue reading

FlyCraft got released, we have the dollar!

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!

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

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. Continue reading

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

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

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. Continue reading

Porting your game from iOS to Android

So you created a C/C++ game for iOS that gives joy to iPhone and iPad gamers from around the world. How can you deny this joy from all loyal Android users? I can’t, so I had to port Pop Corny to the Android platform. It was a very interesting experience, full of gain as I say, and I think it would be nice to share some information and knowledge on the subject. Continue reading

Android & Pop Corny == true

Yeap it is true! Pop Corny is finaly available on Android devices. It was a huge effort trying to support all those diverse devices, but it is going better than I expected. Pop Corny is available since yesterday and until now I only had one complaint for not running. I consider this a success. 🙂

The game is a free download available from the Google Play Store. You may also scan this on your Android phone to get it:

Pop Corny QR Code

It is likely that I will blog about my experiences on bringing Sylphis3D and eventualy Pop Corny to Android here and on AltDevBlogADay, so stay tuned. Meanwhile download the game and enjoy it!

[Press release] Pop Corny comes to Android on July 15

Successful iOS independent game Pop Corny comes to Android on July 15, 2012

Larissa, Greece – NLOGN today announced that Pop Corny, the greatly successful indie game for iPhone and iPad, will be released for Android devices on July 15, 2012. Free to download, Pop Corny challenges players to test their reflexes, targeting skills and accuracy as they make popcorn by shoot corn kernels to feed Mr. Pop Corny’s eternal hunger. Set inside a theater or outdoors in the countryside, Pop Corny is a simple, yet highly addictive casual game with gorgeous cartoon artwork, and stimulating salsa beat music. Continue reading