Posts tagged with iPad

Find out which of your Facebook friends use iPhones, iPads and Android devices

So you've made a great iPad app, and you want to tell your friends about it. However, you can't remember which of your friends have iPhones, iPads, or Android devices. It's annoying to send your friend a link to an app which they can't run!

Facebook recently announced that the Graph API now includes a new field for users called "devices". This looks something like this:

"devices": [
{
"os": "iOS",
"hardware": "iPhone"
},
{
"os": "iOS",
"hardware": "iPad"
}]

It's an array of objects, each with a "os" (iOS or Android) and optional "hardware" (iPhone or iPad, for now).

I threw together a quick Facebook app called "Friends With Devices" using the Facebook Javascript SDK which will scan through your list of friends and sort them into three lists: iPhone users, iPad users and Android users.

Check it out: http://apps.facebook.com/friendswithdevices/

Flockwork Free now out on the App Store

Haven't tried Flockwork yet and missed our recent promotion with Free App A Day? Well, you're in luck - we've just released Flockwork Free to the App Store!

Flockwork Free is ad-supported, and gives you a nice taste of the full experience. Free should still mean fun, so we've included 20 great levels, and 10 Game Center achievements.

After you're hooked, pick up the full version of Flockwork for 80 levels, 35 achievements, bonus levels, and beautiful retina graphics! And let us know what you think in the comments ;)

Flockwork for iPad: now available on the iTunes App Store

After nearly one year, the day has finally arrived: our iPad puzzle game Flockwork is now live on the iTunes App Store!

In case you missed our previous posts mentioning Flockwork over the last few months, here's a brief synopsis:

In the game, you control lots of sheep, trying to get them to reach the target. The 'flock' moves together when you swipe your finger on the screen, so you have to keep an eye on each sheep so they don't escape or end up in harm's way!

The game starts off easy but gets tricky, with stars to collect, puzzles to solve and wolves to avoid. If you've played games like Angry Birds, Where's my Water or Cut the Rope, you'll instantly get the idea.

And here are a few screenshots (click to enlarge):

Check Flockwork out now on the App Store! And tell us what you think in the comments :)

What do all top-selling iPhone games have in common? It’s the controls, stupid.

How do you make a game which will be highly successful in the App Store? It's a question thousands of developers ask themselves daily. Is it the graphics? Is it the level design? Is it the emotions your game engenders? Is it the time-delay before you prompt the user to rate your app? Is it birds and pigs? Is it integrating with Facebook?

No. It's the controls, stupid.

Take a look at the apps which have topped the all-time bestseller lists.

Angry Birds. Fruit Ninja. Doodle Jump. Cut The Rope.

What did all these games do brilliantly? The gameplay of Angry Birds is not original. Throwing projectiles at enemies protected by collapsible structures had been done before, in games like Castle Clout and Armor Games's Crush the Castle. Those games were fun, but not mainstream.

It was primarily Angry Birds' intuitive slingshot controls which made the app into the multi-million dollar franchise it is today. The controls were very easy to grasp, and the act of dragging, releasing, and watching the ensuing destruction is satisfying and cathartic.

The core action of Fruit Ninja is a slicing action to chop fruit. The combination of the slicing gesture and corresponding "juicy" effects is also highly satisfying. It's the digital equivalent of popping bubble wrap.

Doodle Jump uses the iPhone's accelerometer as the controls. Tilting the iPhone side-to-side moves the character. It was a clever (and at the time of release, quite novel) use of the device hardware that made the game simple to pick up. If the game had used buttons instead, it would have been much less successful.

Cut the Rope also uses slicing controls, but for a puzzle game. A sign that a level-based game like Angry Birds and Cut the Rope is well-designed is that even replaying the same level again and again is still fun, because performing the core game actions is satiating.

So what do all these game control systems have in common

  • 1. Easy to pick up
  • 2. Satisfying to perform

What doesn't work so well? Games ported from other platforms often use 'virtual joysticks' or buttons.

Players need to feel that their touches are having a direct effect on the action, after all this "direct manipulation" is a key part of Apple's iOS experience. Playing a football game, I don't want to use buttons or joysticks to move the players, I want to feel like I am directly controlling them.

Grand Theft Auto III is one of the best reviewed console games of all time. It has a complex plot and a massive open world. But on iPhone and iPad it just feels fiddly. You have to poke at virtual buttons on the screen. It ranks reasonably well in the App Store, but is easily beaten by games with better controls.

Other games are over-reliant on taps. One-touch controls can work really well (see: Tiny Wings) but other games which follow a "touch everything which moves!" metaphor aren't so interesting.

So: want to make a top-selling iPhone game? Make your controls easy to pick up and satisfying to perform. If you can do that, AND do something unique, you could have a hit. (Of course you'll still need great graphics, music, integration, level design, and so on: but if you don't have great controls, all of those may be in vain)

When developing our new game Flockwork, we think we've created a control system which is easy and satisfying, but also unique.

Everyone quickly understands how to drag their finger on an iPad screen.The twist is that in Flockwork, when you drag, you don't just move one sheep character, but all the sheep at once. This turns a simple puzzle game into something much more interesting - since you can't control the sheep individually, you have to use all the objects in the game environment to help get the sheep to the targets. Watch our trailer below for more:

And if you'd like to sign up to receive an email when Flockwork is launched, visit our Flockwork microsite.