Tag Archives: apple

Why Being An iOS Developer Makes Me Feel Like Lance Armstrong

Is it because working at the cutting edge of a fast-changing new technology is a non-stop thrill ride? Like the nail-biting descent off the Col De Tourmalet, you never know quite what’s round the next corner. Just grit your teeth, hang on, and try and enjoy the ride?

Er, nope.

Then is it because you have to commit and be in there for the long haul? Plan ahead, cope with the many ups and downs, don’t let the smaller setbacks knock you off your game. Stay focussed and know that if you’ve put the groundwork in and prepared well and can hang in there your determination and persistence will win out?

Wrong again.

It’s because Lance Armstrong was a cheat.

And the excuse that he gave for cheating was pretty much that everyone else was cheating. Taking performance-enhancing drugs, though he knew it was wrong, was simply his way of being able to compete on a level playing-field – a necessary evil. The system was flawed and he was just trying to make the best of it.

Apple’s iOS AppStore is similarly flawed. It’s pretty much impossible for a small, independent developer with no marketing budget to speak of to cut through the noise – whatever the quality of their work. And as so many are resorting to the ‘performance enhancing drugs’ of app title/keyword manipulation, fake reviews, bought reviews/downloads and the like, it puts a huge amount of pressure on others to do the same just to level the playing field. The result is a dysfunctional, ugly mess that works neither for the developer nor the consumer. One huge, cancerous, cannibalistic peleton with ‘Flappy Bird’ and a few others at the head and everyone else desperately scrapping amongst themselves to get in their slipstream. Eventually it’ll disappear up its own arse like those cartoons of a snake eating its own tail.

So far I’ve drawn the line at buying reviews or downloads – when things sink to that level you may as well be spamming Viagra for a living. I have changed the title of ‘Floppy Frog‘ though. It’s now ‘Toss The Floppy Frog And Bounce Around The Spikey Lilly Pads‘. Ridiculous, I know. And I may have a ‘Flappy Bird‘ clone launching soon (just because I had it hanging around of course). If I was a pro athlete they’d probably have banned me already.

Give us a break, Apple. The drugs don’t work.

Lance Armstrong – The Bastards Must Have Spiked My Champagne!

Floppy Frog – Now Officially A Tosser

Floppy Frog – Don’t Flap, Hop!

Recently it has become abundantly clear that the JavaME platform, from which I’ve been deriving a living for more than ten years, is no longer going to be viable platform for a mobile gaming company to support, let alone rely on for a main income stream.

In Spring this year I decided to take the plunge and port all of my library code to Xamarin/Monogame so that, going forward, I can (in theory) develop across the Android, iOS and WinPho platforms with pretty much a single codebase.

There were a number of reasons for choosing Xamarin over other cross-platform solutions such as Marmalade, but the key one was the ability to code in C# which would make the porting of my extremely large (you may read ‘bloated’) existing codebase significantly easier.

I can’t say the process has been easy – there has been much weeping and gnashing of teeth, but overall I am pleased with the Xamarin/Monogame solution. The ‘single codebase’ promise is working out in practice and I find C# a great language to work with.

My first game built ‘from the ground up’ for Monogame has just been released on the App Store and Google Play. Floppy Frog is a deliberately challenging endless jumpy platformer inspired by the likes of Frogger, Flappy Bird, Doodle Jump and Paper Toss, though without being a ‘clone’ of any of these. It’s available for free, currently monetized with AdMob ads. The game is very simple but I’m very pleased with it.

Give it a go – download for iOS or Android. Any positive reviews/ratings are of course much appreciated!