Posts Tagged Books
Author: Will Luton
I just finished reading Will Luton’s new book, Free-to-Play: Making Money From Games You Give Away. It’s a $12.99 purchase in the iBooks store, making it a better deal than, say, the current paperback version, at $21.38 over on Amazon.
The book is a healthy roundup of what makes free-to-play (F2P) games tick, with sections on the economics, gameplay, monetization, marketing, and analytics–the underpinnings of any successful free-to-play game on any app store.
The examples he uses within the book are Farmville, naturally, Dungeons and Dragons Online, and Bejeweled Blitz. In this way, Luton is able to illustrate his points with concrete examples from real world games that use the principles within.
The author believes that free-to-play games are a win/win proposition, letting developers quickly and inexpensively release games that have a chance of making some money, and letting players who wouldn’t typically touch a $60 console “gamers’ game” experience fun for no money down. It’s a delightful ideal, and I hope most, if not all, developers take it to heart: free-to-play games should be good games first, and monetization engines second. Luton continues to make this point throughout the book, though the message tends to get lost in the discussion of variable reward schedules (the same type of reinforcement schedule slot-machines are built on) and how to analyze key performance indicators.
As a non-developer, I did get lost within the many industry acronyms and other such jargon, but Luton does a good job of helping the novice reader get through it all. The title is clear: this is a book on making games that make money, and the information between the front cover and end flap is focused on that part of game making.
The level of depth and detail that Luton brings to the explanation of how free-to-play games work is astonishing. While the gameplay section, for example, tends to focus on player retention, play sessions, and triggers to keep your players coming back rather than actual game mechanics, it’s an interesting read nonetheless. I’ve definitely increased my understanding of what a complex achievement successful free-to-play games have attained.
I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who develops games for iOS or other mobile platforms, as well as readers and writers who want to get a better grasp on the breakout phenomenon of the free-to-play genre. Luton has created a fantastic resource, here.
The book Free-toPlay: Making Money From Games You Give Away, by Will Luton, can currently be found on the iBooks store for $12.99.
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
instaPress allows you to create your own books from word docs, PDF files, and web pages. Once created, books can be ordered through the app in quality hardcover or softcover formats and shared as eBooks with family and friends.
This week at 148Apps.com, everything was about – what else? – the iPhone 5. Site founder and all-around iPhone guru Jeff Scott provided some much-needed advice for anyone interested in switching carriers when upgrading: “So you, like many, have decided to switch carriers with the iPhone 5? You could go data only but perhaps you still need the phone part of the iPhone. Let’s say for instance you are tired of the customer-hostile management at AT&T and want to move to Verizon. Just, you know, as an example.
Let’s rundown what you will need to make the switch and any pitfalls you might hit. It’s a fairly simple process, but there are some things you should know first, before starting.”
Meanwhile, GiggleApps headed to the Great White Way, courtesy of Amy Solomon’s review of Broadway Barks: “Broadway Barks is a lovely interactive story, written, narrated and sung by Tony-winning actress Bernadette Peters, based on the previously published children’s book with CD of the same name. Versions for both iPhone as well as iPad are available.
This is a cute and charming story of a dog who no longer has a home and is all alone in the park until he is discovered and given a chance to be seen at Broadway Barks – a charity event in New York City to promote the adoption of animal, ultimately finding a new home.”
Finally, 148Apps.biz featured a how-to for creating a better mobile app from Prince Arora: “You just came up with a great idea for a mobile app or you are working on a new feature to add in your existing app. You have laid out all the screens, primary & secondary actions, and interaction flow in your head and you get down to write the code.
Great! However, this scenario is the same as starting to build a house without a blueprint. Wireframes are like blueprints and visual design is like interior decoration for an app.
So before you start writing code, work on a blueprint — this includes writing down the features/user stories, designing the flow charts, defining the primary & secondary action and designing the wireframes. These sounds like a lot but I’ll walk you through each step to show you how simple it can be.”
And that, my friends, brings us to the end of a very busy and exciting week. Stay abreast of the latest news, reviews and contests by following us on Twitter and Liking us on Facebook, and be sure to meet me back here next weekend for a rundown of what you might have missed. See you next week!
“I’m sick of desktops, laptops, and netbooks. The iPad is lightweight, has great battery life, and I don’t have to take it out of my bag when I’m flying. Most of the work that I do is writing, covering iOS and Android, so it seems appropriate to primarily do this work from mobile devices, right? That’s what I want, but there’s still just so many shortcomings that keep it from being a regular reality.
“What I find is that for basic tasks, the iPad is great. I like the focus that the iPad’s limitation of running a single app on screen at a time provides, especially for writing. I use a portable Bluetooth keyboard, and while it’s not full-size, the benefits I get from being forced to focus on what I’m writing is a huge benefit. As well, with the customer support job I work with that uses Zendesk, I discovered that it’s actually quite easy to do it efficiently through Safari and the Zendesk mobile app. I didn’t feel like I was any less productive in working from the iPad than I do when I work from my Mac in this case. But it’s the exception to the rule.”
Meanwhile, Amy Solomon at GiggleApps.com took a trip to the zoo via ABC ZooBorns: “My son, a fan of these other apps, was excited to hear about ABC ZooBorns, asking me about a list of his favorite animals, all of which are included – much to my son’s excitement. I too enjoy the list of animals included – be it more traditional zoo animals, such as tigers or zebras, but also including some unique choices such as Ural owl, wombat or quokka. We do love to look at these animals as babies, especially those are simply precious to look at such as baby Gorillas or Elephants.”
Released: 2012-07-24 :: Category: Education
Finally, AndroidRundown.com featured a story about a fascinating new KickStarter project named InstaCube. Joseph Bertolini writes, “It streams photos directly from any user’s Instagram account and displays them on a large 6.5″ LCD touchscreen. Display those photos from the park yesterday or randomly check in on some friends, because what good are those photos if they are stuck on a tiny phone screen all the time. Probably the greatest element of InstaCube is its ability to stay away from being one dimensional by including full access to Instagram. Doing this allows for photo browsing, ‘liking’ of photos, and InstaCube will even display live photos of sunrises and sunsets from around the world.”
Summer’s heading to a close, but we still have so much more to offer across the 148Apps network. Keep track of all the latest happenings, as well as reviews and contests, by following us on Twitter or liking us on Facebook. You’ll be glad you did.
Lately, there seems to be a Kickstarter project for everything imaginable. One new exciting project is Underground Kingdom.
The project aims to adapt the work of author Edward Packard, namely his Choose Your Own Adventure books made popular in the 1970s. These books have proved very important to many in the past, myself included, both encouraging literacy and demonstrating how much fun reading can be.
Much like the work of Tin Man Games, Choose Your Own Adventure books are all about taking part in an interactive story and making decisions that lead to many different inclusions.
Underground Kingdom isn’t quite under way yet, hence the Kickstarter project. While I for one greatly encourage getting involved with backing the project, we thought it only right to check in with co-founder and project director Felipe Mingo and creator of the Choose Your Own Adventure books Edward Packard and see how they feel about things.
We asked Felipe about the motivation behind bringing back this series of books.
“In (our) search for an app idea,” he explained, “we remembered the Choose Your Own Adventure series. We really loved these books as kids, and thought that it would be great to transport the concept of “gamebooks” to digital. When we looked for digital versions, we didn’t find any quality apps that would deliver a great experience. We wanted something different, with contemporary artwork, interaction, a map to guide your path… That’s when we decided to start working on it and contacted Edward, who was really helpful and licensed us some of his books.”
Asking whether the books, starting with Underground Kingdom, will be original conversions or if there will be any adjustments, Felipe explained that “The adaptations of the story are completely original from Edward Packard books. We made some minor changes to the text so it would adapt to today’s technology. The artwork is totally new.” As you can see from the artwork below, it’s pretty glorious to look at and a great re-imagining of the original’s style.
Edward Packard explained to us that he believes the “imaginative color art and animations…greatly enrich the adventurous experience” while also stating that he’s “delighted, and especially so about delivering them in app form,” as well as the “added interactive features [and] sound effects”.
While the project is still in the early stages, Visual Baker provided us with some examples of concept art and how the devs there plan to incorporate the feel of Choose Your Own Adventure books into app form. It’s looking pretty great, so far.
If you’re keen on backing the Kickstarter, check out the Underground Kingdom project page for details of pledge amounts available.
The hugely popular The Simpsons Bongo Comics have made their way to the iPhone and iPad, with an official app just released.
Simpsons Comics comes from the masters of all things iOS comic book related, ComiXology.
Much like ComiXology’s other apps, the initial download is free with new issues of The Simpsons based comics available, priced between $1.99 and $3.99. Recent and classic Bongo titles are included such as Simpsons Comics, Bart Simpson and Radioactive Man.
New Bongo comics will be available for purchase through the app within a month of their physical publication, with readers able to buy and download at least two digital releases a week, if they so wish.
Recommendations will also be available after finishing each comic book, so it’s an ideal way to steer new readers in the right direction for plenty of fun with Homer and the family.
Simpsons Comics is available now and it’s an Universal app.
The Assassin’s Creed franchise has been phenemonally successful since the release of the first game in the series 5 years ago. It has spawned numerous new games, for PC, console and iOS, novelizations and even the rumor of a forthcoming movie. The tales of Ezio Auditore have now spawned a spin-off comic book in the form of new app Assassin’s Creed The Fall.
Assassin’s Creed The Fall follows the story of assassin Nikolai Orelov, providing a completely different look into the Assassin’s Creed Universe. The stunning artwork and writing comes courtesy of DC Comics artists Karl Kerschl and Cameron Stewart so readers are guaranteed quality throughout. With easy to browse navigation designed specifically for the iPad, it should prove to be a great hit for comic book fans and fans of the game series.
Assassin’s Creed The Fall is out now and priced at $0.99 for the first past. The subsequent two parts are purchasable for $2.99.
Storytelling is a great way of teaching kids things about other cultures, while still making them feel as if they’re having fun rather than just learning stuff. The Magnificent Travelling Palace is one such app that both educates and entertains.
The app follows a magical adventure story through the eyes of four children. Throughout the tale, the book embraces the splendour of Indian culture while remaining fun for kids. It comes with a recipe for an Indian dessert as well as interactive elements allowing kids to join in with the storytelling experience.
Visually, children can enjoy the 26 3D computer illustrations and animations, while their ears will enjoy the delightful musical score.
Created by a mother who knows what it’s like, The Magnificent Travelling Palace should prove a fun yet educational app for every keen young reader.
The Magnificent Travelling Palace is out now for the iPad and priced at $1.99.
Parents know that the iPad is a fantastic resource of storybook style apps, ideal for young children. They’ve probably already read the tale of Peter Pan to their kids, either through an app or through a traditonal book. So what makes It’s Me! Peter Pan stand out? It allows kids to get right inside the action.
Parents are able to customize the app to use photos of their child’s face to replace Peter’s, thus throwing them right into the story.
It’s Me! Peter Pan continues the fun theme with the addition of child friendly puzzles and the ability to explore Neverland by touching and tapping on various objects and characters scattered around the story. The ability to paint and color in images rounds off the package.
It all makes for a cute and beguiling tale that should entertain many a young child.
It’s Me! Peter Pan is out now with a free version to try and the full app available for $3.99 via an in-app purchase.
Once upon a Friday evening, as I sat here, email reading,
Over a many quaint and curious letter of reviews implored,
While I perused, nearly napping, all the while my fingers clacking,
Pausing not their steady tapping, tapping on my old keyboard.
“ ‘Tis a slow night,” I muttered, “little use for my keyboard;
Only spam, and nothing more.”
Deep into my malaise drifting, long I sat there, fading, staring
Doubting, seeking apps few mortals ever dared download before;
Then my boredom was disbanded, by the news of an app branded,
A collection handed to a more than willing App Store.
I noticed when I checked the store. And I found, it offered more.
Not content with mere wording, these three stories feature moving,
Not just moving but reacting, with a touch we’ve seen before.
“The Tell-Tale Heart,” said I, “has piqued my interest.
“As has The Oval Portrait and The Masque of the Red Death.
Let’s see if interaction makes them better, better than they were before.”
iPoe, with interactive stories, still is sitting, still is sitting
Lurking in the category for books found on the App Store;
And we all can start the reading of this dark and twisted dreaming.
And the price is of a number that in dollars orbits four ($3.99);
And my goal for this here story has been met with much fervor
Download it from—The App Store!
Released: 2012-03-26 :: Category: Books
This week at 148Apps.com, everything was hopping in celebration of Easter weekend. We started with Jennifer Allen’s Five for Friday feature, showcasing an array of Easter-themed apps. Allen writes, “Happy Easter folks. No matter how you may celebrate it, and whether you do or not, we’ve got some fun Easter themed apps and games to cover in this week’s Five For Friday. Much like the event itself, the apps are a little geared towards families but there’s still fun to be had for all.”
Released: 2011-03-04 :: Category: Games
Meanwhile, Amy Solomon from GiggleApps reviewed a new interactive children’s book – Nedi the Yeti. Solomon says, “Nedi the Yeti would make a great first app for babies and toddlers as the animals are friendly looking and engaging as well as not so well hidden that children of all ages could not find these creatures with ease, as a drag of a finger will coax these animals from their hiding places and a tap will trigger a speech bubble and a fun animal sound, be it either cartoony or realistic as is the case of the included bird or owl sounds found within.”
Finally, 148Apps.biz writer Kevin Stout explored ways for developers to acquire new users for their apps. Stout says, “Getting recognition and acquiring new users for mobile apps has gotten harder and harder as the app ecosystem has grown. This week, at the VentureBeat Mobile Summit 2012, strategy was discussed about the rising cost of user acquisition by three people close to the issue: Gabriel Leydon, chief executive of Machine Zone (free MMO developer of iMob and Original Gangstaz), Maria Alegre, CEO of Chartboost (app promotion solution), and Chris Akhavan, VP and GM of Strategic Partnerships at Tapjoy (app discovery and sharing platform).”
Thanks for another great week! If you want to keep track of the latest reviews, news and contests, there’s a great way to do it – just follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook. It’s just that easy – promise! See you next week, law-abiding citizen!