So the sales figures for the Christmas game are in, and I thought it would be good to share our experiences, and reflect on what to do, and what not to do in future. 

This project from the start was pretty rushed to say the least; in about mid November we decided it would be pretty cool to release a Christmas game, obviously we would need to get this submitted to Apple ASAP to make it onto the store before the big day and have a fighting chance of actually making anything from it. So we had the deadline of 1st December for submission. After throwing together a simple game concept we set about making the game, and drafting in a friend with graphic design skills to help us out. 

The actual game its self is fairly simple, we designed two key levels and as we were aiming this at kids we thought keeping it simple would be best. The main work involved with the game went into the graphics design which Alex House did a great job of. This was our one and only expense as he couldn't afford to work for free which was fair enough. Everyone we showed the game to thought it was great (which of course we were likely to hear from friends and family!). So with it all finished and tested we submitted to the app store and went about trying to promote it. 

With this being Christmas we originally looked at this as a great opportunity: lots of new iOS device users = more downloads, right? Well christmas also has a flood of apps onto the app store. So actually getting noticed is no small feat! We tried all the main sites for handing out promo codes, submitting review requests and it became clear the only people who were downloading our app was from word of mouth from friends and family (with the odd random download from others). Whilst I knew it wasn't going to be easy, we hadn't realised it was quite this hard. 

The next strategy was to use some advertising, but with zero budget this wasn't really an option. But I had $75 of free inMobi credit, so created a nice advert for the app, and set it out there. Within 48hours all $75 was gone, but the advert had just under 1 million impressions, and 3,882 clicks! Surely some of those clicks had turned into app downloads!! No... in fact those clicks, generated approximately 2 sales! 

 

So in total, we generated approximately £25 sales (after Apple deductions). So lessons learned are that it takes a lot more than just putting an app on the App Store to make any money, it requires a lot of promotion and a good marketing strategy. There is still money to be made, but its tough out there and there are some excellent developers who manage to consistently reach the top of the app store. It takes time and a lot of effort to get there. 


Whilst I don't do a huge amount of web development I still try to keep up to date with the latest tech and one which keeps cropping up is jQuery, especially its use for improving the user interface on both full websites and mobile web.

The jQuery UI 1.8 book by Dan Wellman gives an excellent introduction to anyone needing to quickly get to grips with jQuery UI. Like many software development books it is well structured with clear code examples and highlighted warnings, notes, tips and tricks. 

The first chapter begins with an introduction into jQuery and jQuery UI with a brief look at the background of the libraries before going into a step by step guide on how to download and install. The first chapter gives you everything you need to get started with developing using jQuery UI. It is well presented with clear illustrations and explanations of how the library is structured. 

The book then goes on to give a detailed guide on how to use the framework including CSS, Widgets, and just about everything you would need to know about jQuery UI. It is all explained with step by step guides and clear code examples.   After each example there is normally an image showing what the resulting output should look like. Perfect to help you make sure you are on the right track. 

Each chapters from 3 onwards covers in detail a different component or widget from the framework. So this gives you the option of either following the book all the way through, or using it as a reference to lookup how to achieve something  with one of these particular features of the framework. 

Overall this is an excellent book which is beneficial for both beginners of jQuery or those looking for a deeper understanding of what it can offer. 

The book is available from Packt Publishing and on Amazon


Santa game on the App Store

Published 12/8/2011 by Admin

We decided a few weeks ago it would be a good oportunity to release a game aimed at kids for Christmas. So after a few late nights and some help from a graphic designer friend we created "Help my Santa".

This game follows the story of helping Santa pack the right presents into the boxes in the toy factory. There are however some bad elves who are trying to hamper the operation. The next level you have to throw snowballs at the bad elves to stop them from running off with the presents. Once the game is finished you get to enter your name and your Christmas Wish which is posted on the leader board. 

This is available now from the iTunes App Store for iPad, iPhone and iTouch. Get it here! 

Here's some promo codes: 

MKLYX4JXYKAE

6334MP9TWTML

4E4TNJ4M7JF7

 

 


I will soon be posting reviews of two new books from Packt Publishing on JQuery. The books "jQuery UI 1.8: The User Interface Library for jQuery" and "Learning jQuery, Third Edition" are available now from www.packtpub.com


Droidcon 2011

Published 10/28/2011 by Admin in Android | Software Development

So I'm a month into my second term of MSc Mobile Computing and its been a crazy few weeks... 

First off I was lucky enough to be invited to Droidcon 2011 on a student ticket to start the first week back at uni. This was probably the best way to start a term where the main focus was Android development. We spent 2 days attending talks from some of the best in the industry, making connections, and learning things about Android and mobile development in general which would usually take months to find out. 

Day 1 was the barcamp day, which after an opening introduction from the Droidcon guys and a bit of networking with the people around us, everyone was invited to propose a talk they had in mind.

If the audience agreed then it was added to the schedule. There was a great array of topics from how to make money with in-app ad's, to tips on creating the perfect UI.

In the evening the event changed to the Democamp where developers had the opportunity to show off their creations to the rest of the conference. 

Day 2 was the main conference day which was packed full of talks from all areas of the industry. Again some really interesting talks and a good insight into the future of Android. 

For those who weren't able to make droidcon; I would recommend checking out their site, along with the skills matter site as they video all of the presentations from the 2 days and make them available for free. 


iLineup Festival App BETA Tests

Published 8/16/2011 by Admin

 

Over the last couple of months we have been BETA testing the iLineup iPhone app at a number of live music events with a select group of people to get a real idea of how it performs. 

The feedback so far has been extremely positive, with some good feature suggestions and bug reports we have then been able to produce updates to further improve the app. 

I am keen to make sure that the first version we release to the public is as polished as possible. 

Full details about the app can be found Here


OK, So here's an update of my first experiences of submitting an app to the Apple App Store. 

After a week of being in the status "Waiting Review", it then went to "In Review" for approximately 7 hours before being Rejected. 

The reason being: "2.13: Apps that are primarily marketing materials or advertisements will be rejected". OK, so I know there isn't a huge amount of functionality but the app does act as a valuable tool for all of the students attending the school to provide them with up to date information regarding the training schedule and news about the school. 

It does make me wonder whether part of the issue is down to the fact the app was free. I can understand why Apple would be keen to keep the App Store clutter free, and perhaps they don't want to pick up the bill for hosting lots of app's which wont be making them all money. However it does cause issues for businesses looking to provide some added value to their customers who are getting app's rejected for these reasons. 

So back to the drawing board for this app. Hopefully I will be able to find a way to make the app more appealing to Apple. 


On Monday 18th July I submitted my first app to the App Store.

The submission process was relatively pain free using the new Xcode 4 as this allows you to upload the app directly from Xcode. There are plenty of guides out there for this process which consists of adding the details for your new app on iTunes Connect within the iOS Developer Portal, taking an Archive of the working version of your app, then selecting Submit from the Organiser view in Xcode. One thing to watch out is that the App Bundle you have in your Applications info matches the one you provided when entering the app details in iTunes Connect. 

Once uploaded the app goes to the status "Waiting for Review". I have checked around and it can be like this for anything from 1 to 2 weeks before moving "In Review". 

I will update this as and when the status changes. The app I have uploaded is fairly simple and hopefully shouldn't cause Apple to reject it, but we will have to wait and see! 

 


iPhone App BETA Testing

Published 7/12/2011 by Admin in iPhone Apps | iPhone SDK

 I have just created an account with TestFlight which allows anyone with an iOS 4.0 or higher device become a beta tester for my apps. 

To participate please follow this link: http://bit.ly/nZY1kk then follow the instructions and await the builds to become available.

The first app in testing is the app designed for School of Black Belts in Oldbury. Give it a try and see how you get on. 

Thanks, 

Fraser


Typeaholic is the latest edition to the iPhone App Store. Developed by a fellow MSc Student at London Metropolitan University, Typeaholic combines a typing game with physics, the words will fall from the top of the screen, player needs to type them before a word reaches the top of the screen.

After starting off fairly easy, the words start to fall much quicker and the challenge is on to type the words as quick as you can. The gamecentre integration makes this quite an addicive game as your high score is compared to others. Battle mode is great fun with the quicker typer making life much harder for their apponent. 

Check out Typeaholic now on App Store:http://itunes.apple.com/app/typeaholic/id436702956?mt=8&ls=1

Facebook page and Game Trailer video at:http://www.facebook.com/typeaholic