# Category Archives: Game Development

## Number Sense Game

I programmed a new game recently!  And it’s even more fun than Pokemon Go!  Well, okay, fine, it’s only sort of a game.  It ultimately requires you to do mental math, so the web app itself isn’t much of a game.  The web app is more about displaying interesting data:

Here’s the game:  using each of the four digits at the top once, your goal is to construct an expression that evaluates to an integer between 1 and 20 via any combination of basic math operators.  So, for example, given the digits 1 2 3 4, one possible expression that evaluates to 9 is: 4 * (2 + 1) – 3.

This is based on a game that Magoosh recommends its students play as they study for the GMAT/GRE in order to strengthen their math instincts.  It seemed like a fun puzzle to solve, so I worked on it and found the results to be pretty interesting!

The program calculates all the possible solutions for each integer using the four digits, displays the total number of them in a bar graph (plus, it’s animated!), and you can also see a list of all the solutions when you click on any of the bars.  Give it a try here: Number Sense!

Filed under Game Development

## Tic Tac Tie

I can’t remember if I mentioned it or not, but I’ve been going through FreeCodeCamp’s curriculum as well.  I just finished a JavaScript Tic Tac Tie (because the AI should never lose, only win or tie) game.   And since it’s a game, I thought I’d post it here.  Give it a try!

This turned out to be a far more interesting challenge than what I had first imagined.  If you’d like to learn more than you ever cared to know about Tic Tac Toe, I’d recommend these links:

http://ibmathsresources.com/2013/11/24/game-theory-and-tic-tac-toe/

http://neverstopbuilding.com/minimax

I didn’t use the Minimax algorithm for my game.  (Hahaha, and… maybe that would’ve been easier in the long run!)  However, my computer opponent should be good enough to never lose.

(But if you beat him, please let me know.  Because then the game shouldn’t be named Tic Tac Tie!!!)

Filed under Game Development

## Frogger Clone for Udacity Nanodegree

I’ve been working through the Front-End Web Developer Nanodegree over at Udacity.  I’ve learned a lot so far and have enjoyed it quite a bit.  I just finished the project where you need to make a JavaScript arcade game like the old classic Frogger.

…Maybe I don’t want to go swimming today.

It felt great to be coding a game once again.  It felt even better to be coding a game where I didn’t have to design any of the artwork!!!  (Seriously, a huge thank you to whomever designed all the assets over at Udacity.)

I added some twists to the gameplay in the form of gems.  Different status effects occur based on the color of the gem you collect.  The game also gets harder (more enemies) the higher your score gets.

Filed under Game Development

## It’s a Dark Day for ThumbSnail Studios…

I’m sure you’ve already heard the amazing news about ThumbSnail Studios and how it finally broke even and met its goal of being profitable enough to purchase one Safeway Select Chicken Bacon Alfredo Pizza (estimated retail value: \$3.49 – \$3.99).

However…

In what can only be the saddest development of all-time, it appears that Safeway has discontinued the greatest frozen pizza ever made.  Now, it’s possible that my local Safeway store has just stopped carrying it.  But… since I’ve, uh, checked at three different locations that are rather far apart, I fear for the worst.

Thus, my one and only goal will never truly be achieved…

My only hope now is that ThumbSnail Studios becomes profitable enough to afford a time machine so that I can go back in time and buy my favorite pizza.  That, however, seems too lofty a goal because I probably wouldn’t have \$4 remaining after purchasing the time machine.  Therfore, the better course of action would be to go back in time and stop myself from becoming a developer in the first place.

The moral of this story is:

If there’s a frozen pizza that you like, do not become an app developer through Apple because the ~\$110 in fees could instead be used to stock up on ~30 pizzas, thereby eliminating the future need to create a time machine.

Sigh…

But, in all seriousness, a big thank you to everyone who has bought one of my games!  I loved making them, and I hope you love playing them.

Filed under Game Development, Super Hearts, Super Sevens

## It’s a Glorious Day for ThumbSnail Studios!

Yes, that’s right, the unachieveable has been achieved, the impossible made possible.

Not only did ThumbSnail Studios just break even, ThumbSnail Studios is in the green.

What’s even more impressive is that if I:

-ignore my own purchase of my own game on Amazon through the use of Bing dollars
-ignore my own purchase of my own game on Amazon with Amazon coins
-ignore my own purchase of my own game on iTunes with leftover iTunes cash

ThumbSnail Studios is STILL IN THE GREEN.

Thus, my one goal has been reached!!!  Not only was I finally able to cover Apple’s developer fees, I actually have enough extra to buy one Safeway Select Chicken Bacon Alfredo Pizza.  (Even if it’s not on sale this week!)

A sincere “Thank you” goes out to everyone who has bought and played one of my games.  I really hope you’ve enjoyed them.

It truly is a glorious day!

Filed under Game Development, Super Hearts, Super Sevens

## Calling All Disheartened Developers!

UPDATE:  Much thanks to everyone who has contacted me to include their app in my game.  I have already added your app to my background.  I’ve submitted my app for review and will keep you posted on the progress and when it will hopefully launch!  Thanks again.

In my new upcoming game Climby Charts: Buried Alive in the App Heap for iOS, you must battle flappy bird clones and one-star reviews on your quest to climb your way up the charts.

There’s a long way to go before I’m in the Top 100…

The background consists of apps that have fallen by the wayside, buried by the ever-growing mound of apps on the store.  Right now it mostly consists of my own apps and some fake, humorous ones I’ve tossed in.  However, I’m opening this up to other developers who are proud of their games but were not fortunate enough to ever be noticed (or hardly noticed).  Please see that TouchArcade thread for a lot more information if you’re interested in submitting your app icon to be included in Climby Charts.  Thank you!

Filed under Climby Charts, Game Development

## Simple Sevens for iOS Update – Version 1.1

The latest version of Simple Sevens for iOS just got posted to the App Store!  Check out the new “Super Button” added to the title screen!

Pressing this button creates a random game with:

– 5 to 6 players (difficulty between Casual and Merciless)
– 6 as the midpoint card
– 6 or 7 suits

And this is just a small taste of some of the features in Super Sevens.  Check out the full version to play with up to 10 suits, a double deck, or a hearts-style survival mode!

Filed under Game Development, Simple Sevens

## How To Make A Profitable First App

More than likely your first app is not going to be profitable.  Actually, more than likely all of your apps are not going to be profitable.  The developer fees alone make this goal unobtainable.  So what’s a rookie developer gotta do?

First of all, you must spend absolutely nothing during the development stage.  Anything you spend here will not be recovered.  This means all the tools you work with need to be free.  This mean you need to do everything by yourself (or know people willing to work for free).  This means you already need to own a computer (or have excellent ninja skills to stealthily hide in your local public library beyond closing hours for late-night coding sessions).

I hope you can wall crawl…

Now that you’ve wisely concluded to develop your first game at no (monetary) cost to yourself, you must decide which app store you’re going to publish your app to.  This is absolutely critical.  This choice alone will likely determine whether or not your game is profitable.  Here are your best three options:

#3.  The Apple App Store

Signing up for a developer account here will set you back a hundred dollars as well as whatever tax they charge.  So let’s just say the total cost to you is:  \$110.  On top of that, Apple will take 30% of whatever you sell.  To put this into perspective, if you are selling your app for \$0.99, you are going to need to sell 160 copies of your game just to break even.  Or if you sell your game for \$1.99, you’ll need to sell 80 copies of your game.  That’s doable, right?  Hahahahahaha!  Sorry, I used to think like you.  But unless you have a hundred friends and an incredibly large family, this isn’t going to happen.

Signing up for a developer account here will set you back twenty-five dollars as well as (so I assume; I haven’t actually done this) whatever tax they charge.  So let’s just say the total cost to you is:  \$27.50.  On top of that, Google will take 30% of whatever you sell.  To put this into perspective, if you are selling your app for \$0.99, you are going to need to sell 40 copies of your game just to break even.  Or if you sell your game for \$1.99, you’ll need to sell 20 copies of your game.  That’s much more doable, right?  Hahahahahaha!  Sorry, I used to think like you.  But unless you have a hundred friends and an incredibly large family, this isn’t going to happen.

#1.  The Amazon Appstore

Signing up for a developer account here will set you back… nothing!  No taxes, no fees, no cost!  Woo hoo!  Now, keep in mind that Amazon will still take 30% of whatever you sell.  But to put this into perspective, if you are selling your app for \$0.99, you need to sell only one copy of your game to come away with a profit of \$0.69!!!  Finally, something that’s doable!

Thus, the only way to make a profitable first app is to:
-spend no money on its development
-release it on the Amazon Appstore
-find one person in the universe to buy it

Best of luck!

## Top Card Game Apps of 2015

Even though it’s early in the year, it’s safe to assume that the two apps listed below will be topping the charts for Best Card Game Apps of 2015.  Both apps are developed by ThumbSnail Studios, and both are available for iOS and Android.  Enjoy!

Super Sevens

Super Sevens was the underdog smash hit of the year.  With so many different game types and options, it comes quite close to legally being able to declare that it is endless fun.

Simple Sevens

Simple Sevens is the free “lite” version of the above game.  While not as action-packed as its brother Super Sevens, it’s nice to be able to try out the controls and confirm for yourself that it indeed plays smoothly.

## Failed App Marketing Strategy #1: Praying for a Spot on the Top Charts

Making money in the world of apps is truly an all-or-nothing affair.  If your app makes it big, you can actually afford to eat.  However, if your app is barely noticed, you won’t make enough to cover Apple’s developer fees… or worse, Google’s developer fees…

Yes, the situation is that dire.  If you release an app on your own, you should not expect to make even twenty-five dollars.  That is simply too lofty a goal.

So what separates “bags of money falling from the sky” from “gonna have to use Jack-in-the-Box napkins as toilet paper again…”?  It’s simple.  Those in the first group made it onto some kind of “Top Apps” list or “Popular Games” chart.  Those in the second group only hoped they’d make it onto one of those lists.

And I can personally confirm that the latter approach is not a successful marketing strategy.  Hoping and wishing does not make it so.  Now, to be fair, I haven’t literally dropped to my knees and offered up any supplications (Huh, maybe that’s what successful app developers do…), so that may be one course of action you’d like to try.  Let me know if it works.

Unfortunately, all this means that you must be resigned to the fact that you will not be topping any charts.  Heck, you’re not even going to crack any list.  But there’s one thing you can do:

New App Marketing Strategy #1:

Why try to make it onto some “Best App of All-Time” list when you can make your own?!