Developer: Photics
Price: $24.99
Version Reviewed: 1.1

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★☆☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★☆☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

In the world of iOS development, there are those who have computer science degrees and those that don’t. Those who don’t know X-Code from an X-Wing use either GameSalad or CoronaSDK. I’m not going to get into programming languages/GUI’s here, but the basic idea of GameSalad is that it is a simplified interface for game design. Don’t be fooled by the stories of 3 year olds in the Middle East pumping out iPhone games, though; GameSalad won’t make the game for you and there is definitely a learning curve. More importantly though, GameSalad has definite limitations and certainly shouldn’t be used for every app.

With that said, there is definitely plenty of room out there for instruction books/tutorials. New on the digital shelves is An Unofficial GameSalad Textbook, a $25 app that will show you the ropes.

The real problem that I have with the Unofficial Textbook (I’m starting with problems today) is that when I pay $25 for an app (or anything considered in the upper echelon of app prices), I expect there to be little to no flaws in the text, high-quality examples (or possibly links to website examples), and a streamlined design. Instead, the app contains quite a few typos/grammatical errors, very few large picture examples, and an odd design that definitely needs some work. Scratch that. It needs a full redesign.

In its current form, each page of the book is a pile of text situated onto the left side of a very large width screen. Zooming into the text makes it look like a real e-book, but when you scroll down you’ll often find yourself straying to the right. Even worse is that once you get to the end of the page, you are forced to hit a little blue “next” button that will take you to the next page. In the modern world of e-books, it’s hard for me to do this when I spend a good deal of time swiping through realistic digital pages in my other book apps. An Unofficial Textbook just feels sloppy, and considering the price, it feels doubly sloppy.

As far as the content goes, An Unofficial GameSalad Textbook does a pretty good job teaching, but doesn’t offer much more than I can get for free on the web. If you’ve exhausted all free web resources and still want a nudge in the right direction, this may be your best bet, but put me on record for saying that it is not worth the high price and that it badly needs a redesign.

Posted in: Books, iPad Apps and Games, iPad Books, iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews

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