Category Archives: iPhone / iPad Apps

The Next Angry Birds

Angry Birds creators Rovio have been valued at 1.2 Billion dollars. So what will the next Angry Birds look like? Will it be Rafter’s Loot? Star Chase? Probably not.

We ask ourselves every time we start on a new game. Is it the artwork? Is it the gameplay? Is it the puzzles? I don’t think every great game has to look like Angry Birds, but it would be silly to ignore the phenomenon.

One great thing about Angry Birds is that everyone can play it. It only takes a few moments to learn the controls. Rafter’s Loot (our latest release) has two buttons and a menu, and in Beta testing kids could pick it up. On the other hand, Star Chase is a complicated space physics game so it was harder to build something accessible to everyone, but there’s more to it than that.

Part of me thinks that advertizing and marketing our games is where we are missing the ball. We have no marketing budget, so we try and do it all ourselves. I know we’re not alone since I get these emails every time we release a new game saying “great game, let me sell you my marketing services”.  Angry Birds was published by Chillingo which had experience marketing games and bringing them to #1. If we had a few thousand dollars to invest in the problem we would, but we don’t. For now, we plan to continue doing this ourselves, and keep our focus on making quality apps.

In the meantime we’re just settling into a new groove for the fall semester. We’re expecting another child soon so we’re winding down full blown game development mode idle to focus on support for our existing apps, and new non-game apps, perhaps related to pregnancy or kids….

So while we keep hoping to build The Next Angry Birds, we’d happily settle for 1% of their success.

Rafter’s Loot Submitted

We just submitted for review to the App Store the full version of our newest game Rafter’s Loot.

Screenshot from iPhone of Rafter's Loot

This game is probably our best game so far. In it you control a raft and try to collect as much valuable loot as possible. Using a great physics engine, original artwork, and inspiration from our childhood, we know this is our best game yet!

As your stack grows it may become unstable and you lose loot! If you manage to keep organized then any groups of 3 disappear and you score them, a handy way to make more room in your boat. Some items are good, others bad, and the shadows that tell you what come next are only a hint, since two square boxes with different contents have similar shadows!

We’re taken inspiration from our childhood gaming memory and applied our collective experience to try a build a great game. Classics like asteroids and Tetris influenced this game as well as Mario Brothers (in artwork and menus). I hope you enjoy it when it hits the store later this month!

Oh. A Free version will be along shortly, so you’ll probably hear about that before we get approved.



Bitsy for Sale

Bitsy the Spider Iconavailable on the app store

Bitsy the Spider toddler game is now for sale in the App store!

In the game bitsy the spider moves towards wherever the child touches (palm smashes are handled too) and she collects fruit, saying the fruit name as she touches it.

The game uses a physics engine, so collisions between objects look real. Rain collects on the rooftops, and pours off the edges of the house.

Our son touches the screen and says a few of the fruit names. He likes the music too.

We may introduce more objects/fruits or something in the future depending on feedback.

Check it out free if you’re the first one here…


The above code will let you download Bitsy for you kid – free! The link at the top will take you to the iTunes store.



Bitsy Spider Coming Soon

Now that we’ve built a couple of adult games, and some novelty apps, we’re finally returning to our original plan to make some kids apps/games.

Keep a lookout in the next week or so for our newest game Bitsy the Spider.

Bitsy will be a simple game for early gamers, that will act out the classic song of the spider named Bitsy. You go up the spout, and then rain washes you down all with music and artwork to make kids smile. Our son likes the music and artwork, and we still haven’t finalized Bitsy herself, but like I said stay tuned…

As we build a larger set of apps on the app store, we hope to get a feel for the market, gain experience, then focus our efforts on the most lucrative area.  I’m hoping the most lucrative area is space themed adventure games, but I’m worried it will be novelty apps…

Stay tuned!

Voodoo Boss Promo Code

So the big surprise is here. Voodoo Boss is now available in the app store. This little app lets you vent your frustrations on a little voodoo doll, and the doll will react with some clever sayings, and as you put more and more pins the saying s start to become less mean.

Perfect for a Friday morning. Let’s just hope your boss doesn’t figure out a way to make you work all weekend.

Here’s a promo code for whomever redeems it first!


CryptoQuip Apps updated

So we just finished updating and submitting CryptoQuip and CryptoQuip free for review.

UPDATE: CryptoQuip 1.3 was released Friday afternoon.

This round of fixes includes:

  • Improved memory management (when moving to background)
  • some pretty important bug fixes,
  • the ability to play on a white screen instead of the brown paper image,
  •  support for retina displays,
  •  and 150 new puzzles (to replace the old ones),
  •  and 15 new puzzles in the free version

It’s always frustrating to realize your last version had any bugs at all, but we’re excited to improve our apps and fix bugs whenever we find them.It’s also kind of neat to add new features based on requests from users, like the white screen feature we added this time around.

If you have any bugs or feature requests send them our way and maybe they’ll appear in the next update!



Star Chase Submitted

We just submitted our latest apps to the app store. Star Chase and Star Chase Free.

These original games are designed around the premise that you have to guide planets into orbit around stars using the tilt of your device. It’s actually fun to play, and after playing it for 2 months non-stop I hope that’s a good sign. I’ll tell you, creating 40 levels was quite a challenge and I understand why some game development companies hire people exclusively for that purpose!

We decided tentatively to price our new full version of the game at $3.99. With 40 levels that’s less than 10c per level, and it took a lot of our effort to write, so we hope that will be a good price point. There’s alot of pressure to make everything 99c, but we figure you can always play the free version before deciding whether to spend the 4 bucks.

We’re not 100% sure what apps we will be developing next. What we do know is that using Chipmunk physics engine and OpenGL graphics has been a successful approach so far, and we hope to try and build more apps using those technologies.