• Revz 2.0 Update This Week – Awesome New Features!

    Revz 2.0 is here! The update will be released this week, bringing new great features to the game. If you already have Revz, grab the update from the iTunes App Store for free. If you don’t already have Revz, now is a better time than ever to get the game.
     
    Stars! You wanted more chances to get points? You got it. Now you can grab stars that fly by for more and more game points. Don’t forget to keep your finger on the boost button, though.
     
    Help! When you’re stuck, or you just can’t get the ball moving, you can now use the assist icon at the bottom of the screen. You can only use it once, so try to save it for when you really need it.
     
    Pretty! Everything looks better. Enjoy. :-)
     

    Revz Screen Shot with assist tool

    Check out the assist tool at the bottom

    Revz Screen Shot with Stars

    Look at the stars!

     
  • Sneak Peek – Simon Graham theme music!

    Simon Graham and the Extraordinary Timepiece is almost available…and here’s a preview of the theme music.

     
    Simon Graham is a young adventurer. He’s out on his own to piece together a strange mystery and figure out what happened to his beloved grandmother. This theme music sets the stage for Simon to begin his journey, which is both a story of physical travel and personal growth.
     
    I’ve really enjoyed working with Jeremy Maher, the game’s visionary, to help bring this excellent story to life. The music is written to pull you back in time to the age of rapid change in America when modern miracles such as the telephone were just beginning to take hold. It is inspired by “The Hero” by Richard Strauss, who was a composer of the Romantic period. I couldn’t help but feel that the title and the time period of Strauss’ work said something about young Simon. Very fitting, indeed. Enjoy!
     
    Simon Graham Title Theme

     
  • Let a Thousand Apps Bloom

    Let a Thousand Apps Bloom

    How a Cooperative Approach Encourages Success

     
    If ideas are a dime per dozen, then iPhone app ideas must be about one penny to the pound. The problem is that somewhere in that bulk of app ideas lays a handful of treasures. How do you find the good ones? You can gather up a long list of apps and try to pick the concepts you think will achieve success. You can also try to detect trends and build an app that floats on the market’s expressed preferences. Both of these options require above-average skill in selecting the right mobile software project. Good luck with that.
     
    Compared to full-scale software offerings, mobile applications are small projects. They have relatively small payoffs. Due to that nature, it doesn’t make much sense to conduct thorough market research like you would for a new business-to-business web portal. You’re going to have to use a more automated means of pulling flowers out of the hat so you don’t end up with a handful of fertilizer.
     
    An increasingly common mentality among angel investors is to “Let a thousand flowers bloom.” The gist is that many entrepreneurs working on a diverse range of projects will likely result in some successes. If you can afford the seeds, expecting a few blooms is reasonable. It’s funny that the “thousand flowers” phrase started in The People’s Republic of China as an initiative around 1956. It was called the “Hundred Flowers Campaign” back then and its aim was to have the bright minds of the nation bring their ideas forward so the best alternatives could be harvested. Many people feel that it was a trap to expose folks whose views differed from the established political direction. Now the phrase is used to represent a methodology in one of the most capitalistic processes of the West. Strange, isn’t it? No need to continue the history lesson, however. The floral investment method seems beneficial, as it is much easier to pick the flowers out of the weeds once everything has grown a bit. Let’s stick with that.
     
    The seeds are pretty cheap for iPhone apps. Apple provides a ready-made garden for you to plant them in, as well, called the App Store. The trick is to have enough app concepts circulating and to have a method of filtering out which ones should definitely not be developed. Then the remaining set of potential successes can be constructed and launched. Some will fail, some will produce good returns, and many will land around the break-even point. Pretty standard. Developing apps may be relatively cheap but they are not free. The average iPhone app project costs $7,500.00 when inexpensive resources are used. That makes the running total for 20 apps a substantial $150,000.00. Twenty is an arbitrary number, but you get the point. Unless you are very good at predicting successful concepts, you will need to get quite a few pieces of software out the door. Would you put $150k down on a variety of small software ideas today?
     
    A good idea would be to operate cooperatively. Gather more gardeners to share the burden. It’s not all about sharing financial outlay and risk, though. Do you have the ability to turn the app plans into reality? I am approached constantly by people with good ideas for iPhone apps but no clue how to make them happen. That makes perfect sense. Although these little applications seem simple, they are still software. They still require significant effort, and in many cases a complex idea cannot get off the ground if the app entrepreneur does not have at least some understanding of mobile technology. By operating cooperatively, skill sets are aggregated and ideas are vetted by everyone involved. This tactic is sorely needed. The public interest in making iPhone apps is amazing, exhibited by folks aged 12 to 70. Who would have thought that small-scale software projects could become a national fascination?
     
    With iPhone app ideas popping up everywhere, and the usual shortage of capital and industry know-how, it looks like we should all be putting our heads and wallets together. The array of seeds that a group can plant may yet result in the next major app success. Concepts will be filtered better and combined abilities will help tear down project roadblocks. Let a thousand apps bloom.
     

     
  • “Koei: RTK” – a Titan in Japan, a Tit-mouse in the US

    Here’s a paper I wrote for one of my favorite Stanford UG classes: The History of Video Game Design. I wrote the paper on Koei’s RTK series. I used to love these historical simulations. When I worked in China, I went by the name Guan Yu. Enjoy!
     
    The_History_of_Video_Games

     
  • The App House pays your mobile phone bill contest (press release)

    The App House announces “Let The App House pay your mobile phone bill contest*” to coincide with REVZ game launch, exclusively available on iPhone and iPod Touch

     

    Chicago, IL, February 6th, 2010

     
    Chicago, IL – The App House, a start-up mobile application development firm founded by two University of Chicago Booth School of Business students, announced a special promotion today to coincide with the launch of REVZ, its first mobile gaming application release for the iPhone and iPod Touch.  As of today, REVZ is available for download at the iTunes App Store. To help promote the launch of REVZ, The App House is offering to pay one month of someone’s mobile phone bill, up to $100, for a selected downloader of REVZ who also signs up on their Facebook fan page.
     
    Jeb Ory, co-founder of The App House, said: “Revz is an incredibly addicting, arcade-style game that you won’t be able to put down. We are launching the “Let The App House pay your mobile phone bill contest,” concurrently with the REVZ launch, to give one lucky fan who downloads REVZ a chance to get a get one free month of mobile service on us. Our mission is to empower players and non-players alike with fun and exciting new ways to get involved in the mobile application phenomenon! One free month of service is a great place to start!”
     

    REVZ offers players a novel, first-of-its kind interface and playing perspective, challenging game players to keep a ball moving as long as possible by picking up power-ups along the way. REVZ is simple to learn how to play but challenging to master, offering hours of replay-ability. High-scores can be tracked on the worldwide scoreboard (leaderboard). REVZ will be available for download in the iTunes App Store and at The Revz Download Page for 99 cents.
     
    On or before March 6th, 2010 The App House will announce the winner of the “Let The App House pay your mobile phone bill contest,” through the company Website, www.theapphouse.com, and at the Facebook fan page, www.facebook.com/theapphouse . The winner needs to provide proof of download prior to February 15th, 2010 (iTunes receipt in PDF form) and be a fan of The App House on Facebook to be eligible to win.
     
    REVZ joins the iTunes App Store as the latest title that will capture players’ attention across the world.
     
    System Requirements:
    * iPhone or iPod Touch 2.1 or later
     
    Pricing and Availability:
    REVZ 1.0 is only $0.99 (USD) and available exclusively through Apple’s App Store.
     
    Buy Revz in the App Store Now
     
    www.facebook.com/theapphouse
     
    Located in Chicago, IL, The App House is a mobile application development business dedicated to building the world’s most innovative and addicting software for the world’s best mobile platform. The winner of the “Let The App House pay your mobile phone bill contest” will receive $100 and will be randomly selected and certified by an independent third party. On or before March 6th, a person who is a “fan of” The App House on Facebook will be selected. If they can provide proof of download on or before to February 15th, they will receive $100 from The App House and be featured on The App House’s Website. Copyright (C) 2007-2009 The App House, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone and iPod are registered trademarks of Apple Computer Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries

    

     
  • Revz Release Coming Soon

    Revz will be available for download in the iTunes App Store soon.  Get ready!

     

    You will also be able to purchase the game directly from The App House website on that date.  Just follow this link:
     

    www.theapphouse.com/revz
     
    Remember there is a contest through the month of February.  On March 6th, one lucky person wins the prize…The App House pays your mobile phone bill!  A press release will be posted soon with more details about the contest. Stay tuned!

     
  • Playing your own music in Revz

    When you’re playing Revz, you can have your own music playing instead of the game music track.  It’s really easy to do.  Just start your iPod touch or iPhone playing the music you want to listen to.  Then start playing Revz.  Your music will play instead of the game music.  You’ll still hear the sound effects over your personal choice of tunes.  Pretty cool, huh?

     
  • Revz – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    Revz can be quite a challenge!

     
    Here are some common questions and their answers:
     
    1. Does the red moving line slow the ball down?

    Nope.  The ball goes right over it.  The red line is your speedometer.  You can see it moving when you play.  It’s telling you how fast the ball is moving.  When the meter goes past the skull and crossbones line, that is a bad thing.  It means you’re going too slow.  You don’t need to watch the speedometer to play Revz well.  It can help you, though, because it lets you know whether or not you need to fire the boost cannon at the moment.

     
    2. I die right after the 5 second countdown.  Do I have to move my iPhone around really fast to get the ball moving?

    Moving your device around really fast can actually make it harder to get the ball moving.  Give yourself a few practice runs and try slowly tipping the device downward and around in a circle.  You’ll see that the ball “falls” when you tilt the phone.  Get the hang of this and you’re on your way!  Don’t expect the ball to move too fast during the countdown.  The real speed comes from your boost cannon.

     
    3. I keep running out of boost.  What am I doing wrong?

    You might be firing the boost cannon more than you need.  See if you can let the ball go around a little without boosting it.  That buys you more time to catch a green orb.

     
    4. I am pretty good at keeping the ball moving, but I still don’t get a very high score.  What gives?

    Even if you don’t need any more boost, try grabbing every green orb and see what you get.  Higher score?  You’ll have to find out.

     
    5. Is the ball supposed to move in any particular direction (clockwise or counter-clockwise)?

    It doesn’t matter which way the ball goes.  It’s a personal choice.  I’m always moving it counter-clockwise.  Maybe because I’m left-handed?  It goes just as fast in either direction.

     
    6. How do I change the name when I post my score to the leaderboard?

    Just tap the name and the keyboard will pop up.  Then you can enter whatever you like.