Sunday, December 7, 2008

Rebound Released

Rebound v1.0 hit the App Store today! You can check out the iTunes page here. To celebrate its release, I am giving away 25 free copies! To redeem one, simply go to the iTunes Store, click on "Redeem" under the Quick Links section to the right, and enter one of the following codes. Once you do, please leave a comment on the blog so others don't try the same code again. Unfortunately, these codes only work in the US store.

*UPDATE* All of the codes have been used. I didn't leave them posted, as it would be a waste of time to enter them all into the store to check.

After trying out Rebound, I would appreciate an honest review on the iTunes page!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Rebound Development: App Store Story Part 2

Right now, ideas for iPhone apps are in no short supply. It seems everyone, upon hearing that I develop for the iPhone, has a new idea to pitch me. Some of them are quite good, some of them aren’t, many of them are taken. I personally don’t put a great deal of value on ideas. Take a look at this post, by Derek Sivers, which pretty much sums up the worth of ideas quite nicely.

When brainstorming for my next project I decided early on it had to be simple. With school going, it had to be a project I could complete on weekends. It would probably be a game, and would most likely be shooting for the $.99 impulse buys. I played around with a few existing apps, and talked a lot with some friends, and decided to make a bouncy ball app. It would be a simple diversion when standing in lines or to distract small kids.

It wasn’t hard to plan the gameplay. A swipe would send the ball on the direction of the finger, and it would bounce around in the world responding to gravity and such. To make things more engaging, of course, there would be several objects to choose from. The user would experience different behavior (falling, bouncing, rolling) from each object. In addition to a bouncy ball, there would be a balloon and a mace. For a good laugh, I decided to throw a cat in there too (Sorry, cat people).

Of course, like I said, ideas are worth nothing without execution. On the same day of conceiving this idea, I jumped right into code. It took less than three days of coding to get my first prototype together, primitive as it was. You can download the source for free here. At this time in its life, the app still had the name “Bouncy.” The interface is pretty plain, but hiring a designer doesn't come until next post. ;)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rebound Development: App Store Story Part 1

The iPhone App market has treated me very well so far. As soon as the SDK was announced, I immediately downloaded it and started poking around. The timing couldn’t have been better either, as I had just finished my first Cocoa project. Within a few months I had a working iPhone puzzle game, Lumen (App Store). Lumen was already a desktop application (although not written in Cocoa) that has had mild success, so I thought the iPhone version would sell reasonably well, especially because it could access all of the online puzzles created by other Lumen players. To make a long story short, here are my sales up to yesterday:

In the pdf I have many of the significant events marked. For example, you can see the spike in sales when TUAW did a review of Lumen. Also, Lumen was featured as a "Staff Favorite" on the App Store, which had a huge impact on sales. A price change, although it doubled the original price, did not seem to have a noticeable effect on the download numbers. One of the scariest trends is the definite downward slope though. The sales have all but bottomed off, but I would say the total income so far has made the after school coding time more than worth it. Certainly not a bad job for a high school senior. Of course, I haven’t given up on Lumen. I will try paid advertising and such, but it is time to get another app on the store.

Getting an application all the way from development to the App Store is a daunting process. There was ton of stuff I had to learn to get Lumen out there from caveats with the developer program to finding a good designer. That is why I have decided to blog every aspect of developing and selling my upcoming application, including the daily sales numbers. Keep an eye out for more updates!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

AppStore Clerk

When Apple added the ability to see sales and trend reports for the App Store it finally made it possible to see how many people had downloaded your app. However, the sales reports in their raw form contain a lot of data and are difficult to read. For the first few days I was adding up the download numbers manually. However, this is time consuming and can be almost impossible once you have more than one application on the store. That is why I wrote a little utility I call AppStore Clerk to help me out.

Simply place AppStore Clerk in the folder where you keep all of your saved sales reports (you have been saving your sales reports, right?) and it will take care of the rest. You can then take the data and paste it into a spreadsheet if you want to make charts or other fancy things.

AppStore Clerk is freeware, so go ahead and give it a try.

Shameless self-advertisement: If AppStore Clerk saves you a minute or two each day, perhaps you could try out my puzzle game, Lumen.