Bacon and Games

Tag: app store

Trainyard Developer Plays Show and Tell

Matt Rix is the guy behind Trainyard, a puzzle game for the iPhone. Besides the fact that it’s on sale for $.99, it’s a heck of a lot of fun. If you don’t have it you should check it out. However this isn’t a review, he’s got enough of those.

Matt was nice enough to share his Trainyard story with the rest of us mortals down here trying to strike app store oil. Beware, Matt’s story is one of those dangerously inspiring stories that’ll make you feel like you too can make millions overnight if you have a good idea. Let me spare you the suspense; you can’t. Well, you probably can’t. As long as you go into his article thinking of it as less of a blueprint and more of a good story, you’ll find it interesting. Don’t get your hopes up if you’re looking for hard sales numbers. It seems yet another developer has been persuaded to keep their detailed sales data to themself. Surprise surprise.

One last thing before I close… Matt talks briefly about Cocos2d, the freely available framework for building iPhone apps. He described it as “similar to Flash”, which caught my attention. It comes packed with physics engines Box2D and Chipmunk, has tilemap support and includes hooks into all sorts of other iPhone and game related needs. I intend to look into it and based on Matt’s recommendation I’ll suggest that any other Flash developers interested in iPhone development go ahead and give it a look as well. Let me know what you find :)

Well That’s Just Peachy, Apple

Apple announced today that they would be lifting their ban on using 3rd party development tools to create apps for their store. It only took about 4 months for Apple to remove the ban, which was enforced in early April of this year. In their official announcement Apple wrote:

We have listened to our developers and taken much of their feedback to heart. Based on their input, today we are making some important changes to our iOS Developer Program license in sections 3.3.1, 3.3.2 and 3.3.9 to relax some restrictions we put in place earlier this year.

Whether their change of heart is truly due to developer backlash or if it’s a result of legal pressure is unclear. I think it’s important that we focus on the outcome. Developers can go back to building games with the tools they are most comfortable. Apple still holds the key to the kingdom, but they can no longer discriminate simply based on platform of origin.

A fun game that runs well is… a fun game that runs well. Whether an app has been built with Unity, Objective C or Actionscript is immaterial. The onus of writing reliable, efficient code is still on the developer. The patrons of the App Store should be allowed to decide what belongs on the store by voting with their dollars. And now they can.

To Apple, I say thank you.

To the developers, I’ll say this: When you’re cooking up your next app, keep the words of Jurassic Park’s Ian Malcolm in mind. “…your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” Make apps that fill a need, innovate or do something better than an existing app. Flooding the store with dress-up games and soundboards just because we can will only leave us with: I told you so.

As an added bonus, Apple also announced that they will finally be publishing their App Store Review Guidelines. Developers now have a clearer picture of whether their app has a shot at getting to see the wizard… before they make the long trek to OZ. TechCrunch put together a decent summary article that points out Apple’s casual tone. To me, Apple sounds like a parent taking a first cautious step with their teenager… “OK, I’m going to let you stay out past curfew just this once, don’t disappoint me.”… Let’s not get grounded again.

And no, I’m not apologizing for the title of this article…

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