Author Archives: Sire

Learning iPhone Game Development

I put off moving over to iOS development for some time, the time consuming task of learning a new language (objective c) really did not fill me with enthusiasm. A good week later of reading and coding and I was on top of the language learning curve.

This was the book I followed, I was definitely a dummy at that point, it takes you through a step by step process from the very basics to the more advanced topics.

Objective C for Dummies

The Xcode 4 development environment on the mac is really very good, you will need at least snow leaopard to run it. It’s not up to MS standards but still very handy. I’m running it on a very modest Mac mini with 1 gig of ram! it certainly runs fine enough for my needs (not something you could say about MS visual studio running on 1 gig).

For games I opted to use cocos2d, which is a great library it saved me from messing around with openGL. I downloaded a kindle version of Learning Cocos2d to my iPad, which made for quick reference.
The book takes you through the whole development process from your first sprites to integrating your game with Apples Game Center. By the time you finish working through it you will have a fully working game!.

This book that I got recently has to be one of my best book purchases ever!  Worth every penny.

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The easy way to create sprite sheets!

Whilst perusing the internet for help on sprite sheets I found this gem of an app.
It saves the horrificly long and boring job of creating sprite sheets and their accociated info list. Thank god! Actually no, thank Robert Payne the developer.

This application is really so easy to use. It’s just a matter of dragging your sprites from the finder into the checker-board area, adjusting the sprite sheet canvas size (I start at the maximum size settings and work downwards) and clicking the apply button. Zwoptex will then arrange your sprites into the most efficient arrangement.

Sire Assembles App Development :Zwoptex

Zwoptex after arranging your sprites. Note the wasted space.

You will need to adjust the size of the canvas and click apply a few times, till you have as little waisted canvas as possible. Keep an eye open for sprites that could not fit into the canvas space that you allocated, these will appear at the top left of the checker-board stacked one on top of the other.

Sire Assembles App Development : Zwoptex

Too little canvas. Note the sprites on top of each other.

When each sprite has its own little space in its 2d world it’s time to publish.

The sprite sheet settings are easy to set, as it’s just a png, however there are various options for exporting the information list. I use Cococs2D so I just set cocos2d coordinate system, but there are others you can use, you can even create your own.

Once you have the png and the associated info list, all you have to do is import it into xcode and off you go!

There is a demo version try it for yourself, you wont be disappointed. I was an instant convert.

I hope this little gem saves some of your time. Let me know what you think or if you have found any other great apps to help cut down development time.

The great app advert comparision.

I’m running an app advertising comparison. Two sites one big and one medium in size and two identical adverts, which will come out on top? its $137 versus $20!! queue the rocky music…

Is anyone placing bets on this one? I say the $20 advert will win. what do you think?

HP TouchPad is back? WebOS not dead?

It looks like the great HP Touch Pad chase may be back on… Now where did I put my WebOS manual?

I was quite looking forward to learning WebOS app development but HP soon dashed my hopes. Now it seems there maybe a last production run for the now very popular HP Touch Pad.
I assume this is due to component stock still at the manufacturers but what happens if it’s a runaway success? will HP return for good to the tablet market?

I think the story will run for a while yet but I put my money on a permanent return. What do you think?


Spending money on advertising your app.

I’m currently running an advertisement on It’s something that I haven’t done on this scale before (it’s normally $25 tops). Being a developer means that I’m naturally averse to spending money on promotions for my apps. However that did not stop me from spending $137 on a 325 x 250 advert… gulp!

It all started well but after a few days clicks started to dry up at around the 27 click mark, way short of my hopes. To combat this I added two new banner ads each focusing on different aspects. let’s hope it keeps things ticking clicking along.

App advertisement statistics

App advertisement statistics

One thing I do recommend is, you can remove/add new creatives as you go and not necessarily for the same app. If you time your developments right you can have multiple apps ads rotating on the same paid advertisement space.

To be continued…

Have an app idea but can’t code?


You don’t need to be able to code to write mobile apps, a lot of successful companies / one man bands don’t know how to code or don’t want to code. There are literally hundreds of examples of successful apps that have been outsourced, many of them making considerable income for their owners.

Your first stop for getting a mobile app built is to signup with a site such as These sites put you in contact with developers from all over the world and allow you to submit a proposal for any kind of work, most importantly though, your mobile app design.
Once you have your proposal and you have committed some funds to elance (or whichever site you are using) you will receive tenders from developers.
You will more than likely receive varied prices for the completion of your project and from very disparate locations around the world. The one to choose is not always the cheapest, there maybe other considerations to take into account such as face to face meetings, continuing development, specific project requirements etc.

I have outsourced many tasks over the years mainly due to staff shortages.
Getting your designs and ideas across can be a tricky process, especially if the development team are half way across the world.

There is a nice set of resources that will help you navigate the waters of your first app. Click Here! These guides will take you through a step by step process, from the creation process through to marketing your app after it gets approved.

Build using a wizard site.

There are now sites out there that offer a service where you can build your app utilising a wizard or a web based design environment.
One of these companies is called They allow you to create a limited type of app that runs on Android, iOS and HTML5.
It’s a five step process.
Firstly you select your functionality by selecting tabs. These cover the likes of ‘Home tab’, ‘Messages tab’, ‘Restaurant reservations tab’ and ‘RSS feed tab’ there are many others but they are of a limited type (basically to design a leaflet style app).

The second step is where you add the content for the app. Such as business details, menu information etc. It’s all done via a WYSIWYG HTML interface that most of you are familiar with.

Next you alter the appearance, changing the colour of the control, image buttons, background etc.
Once you have finished tweaking you may then preview your app in the flash preview page.

Finally you can publish. Here you upload the tiles and app description. This will be the information that appears in the respective marketplaces.

The price at the time of writing this is $39 per month plus $10 for each platform you wish to deploy to.

This system is great if you or you client just want a leaflet style app but for more complicated functionality you will need a coder.

I’d love to hear what you think so feel free to comment. Or come and say hi to me on my Facebook Page. I’ll respond to all comments, I look forward to meeting you!


Planet Cracker for iPhone hits the App Store in record time.

Planet Cracker for the iPhone is on the App Store!
It seems that Steve Jobs has little to do these days and has approved a few iPhone apps during his now substantial spare time. It took only 3 Days for my app to be approved!
Planet Cracker game for iPhone
I seem to be having a lot of luck with the time it takes apple to approve apps and contracts. The Apple gods must be with me.

Go check it out! If you like it spread the word.

I’d love to hear what you think so feel free to comment. Or come and say hi to me on my Facebook Page. I’ll respond to all comments, I look forward to meeting you!


Learning Mobile Game Development

Coming from a background of web development using Microsoft systems, my obvious target to start mobile development was Windows Phone 7. This uses the amazing Microsoft development applications, in my mind these development tools are the pinnacle of mobile development. I recommend using them if you are new to mobile app development.

I purchased this book and found it very useful.

Game Studio 4.0 Programming

My advice for developing your first app is keep it simple. Planet Cracker was my first app and its very simple code. Don’t start out with a massive grand design in mind as you will inevitably get things wrong as you progress and have to recode areas. The bigger the app the bigger the changes you will have to make.

I’d love to hear what you think so feel free to comment. Or come and say hi to me on my Facebook Page. I’ll respond to all comments, I look forward to meeting you!


iPhone Planet Cracker on its way!

Planet Cracker for iPhone has been sent to the appstore. So with a bit of luck from the giant omnipotent finger we should have it up and running next week.

A world exploding new game for iPad!

We are not alone in the universe, far from it we are overrun by pesky aliens! They are everywhere and it’s your job to reduce their numbers!

Use your giant god like finger to set off an interplanetary chain reaction and destroy as many of their worlds as possible.

Don’t let any escape in their flying saucers! Take them down or they will just multiply again!

You are our only hope, may the giant omni present finger be with you.

  • 10 Crazy waves of ever increasing pesky alien planets to terminate.
  • Crazy UFO destroying fun.
  • Explode your way to the top position in game center.

Get your copy now and crush those pesky aliens.

App Store :