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LinenLady49 beats the world!

LinenLady49 Scores BigHuge congratulations to LinenLady49 for holding the best Axl & Tuna score


I mean, look at those 22,174 points! The highest I’ve managed to score was somewhere around 2,000. LinenLady49 has bested both me and Dean many times over. For that, and for being such a staunch supporter of our game, we hereby award her the title of “Most Awesome”.

As a way of saying “thank you,” we’re sending her a gift package containing a signed Certificate of Most Awesomeness, an authentic can of TUNA*, and an iTunes gift card to support her mad gaming skills. Please join us in cheering LinenLady49 into even greater heights of Awesomenessdom.

* No Fuzzbots were harmed in the production of said TUNA can.

 Prize Package

Axl & Tuna a Winner at PocketGamer’s BIG Indie Pitch!

BIG Indie PitchThis week, I attended PocketGamer’s BIG Indie Pitch event in Seattle and I’m super excited to share that:

Axl and Tuna was the 1st prize winner!


Here’s a big Thank You to the judges and organizers of the event which was a total blast. And huge congrats to all the other indies presenting their awesome games! Pitching your app to a series of judges with a 3min timer ticking in the background can be a nerve-wracking experience and I was very impressed with how polished people’s games and presentations ended up being. It’s been truly an inspiring and humbling evening to be surrounded by so many creative minds of the indie world. Thanks again, stay in touch, and for those of you who couldn’t make it, check out some of the pictures below.


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10582820_550188711759630_1187404134146531830_o 10571946_550190931759408_2666512479498753697_o
10562646_550188988426269_1475729504939946353_o 10537208_550189205092914_1438582709519105764_o
10548101_550190081759493_804367621227201811_o 10537490_550188921759609_3927591374972699089_o
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10286920_550190468426121_8608735456001546496_o The Venue

Check out more images at the official event website here.

Interview with Steve Paris

Steve ParisAxl and TunaI’ve recently had a chance to virtually sit down with Steve Paris and chat about Axl and Tuna. Steve writes for MacWorld UK and he was kind enough to write about the game and the story behind it. You can read the interview on his site here.

Bobo Makes a Facebook Debut

Bobo and Social Media

Bobo the Robot is now so cool that he has his very own Facebook page.  Check it out and learn all about where he came from, where he’s going, and what he’s up to this very moment!  Have you ever seen Bobo’s year book picture?  Log onto Facebook and take a peek right now.

Apple Design Awards and Airport Security Don’t Mix

Airport SecurityAs I was heading back to Seattle from WWDC, I was only traveling with a small backpack.  I bundled the Apple Design Award into a t-shirt when I packed that morning, shoved it into my backpack, and forgot all about it when I got the airport.  The backpack went through the x-ray machine and showed up as containing a perfect, black square.

The guy watching the screen from the x-ray machine called for another guy, and another guy, and pretty soon there was small crowd scrutinizing the image.  The backpack came out, I sheepishly admitted to being the owner, and I was taken aside.  When the TSA folks pulled the cube from my bag, it glowed.

Whispers passed over the crowd.  After I explained that the cube is from Apple, the security folks reverently placed the futuristic artifact into its own plastic bin and ran it again through the x-ray machine.  This time, the other passengers got a glimpse of what the commotion was about and, once again, it was the glow of the cube readily visible as it entered and exited the x-ray machine that sent a wave of whispers through the sizable gathering.

Apple Design AwardEventually, the cube made its way back into my bag, but the curious gazes kept coming.  I suspect I will be reading about “intercepted alien technology of unknown origin or purpose” on the blogosphere soon.  What can I say?  Apple knows how to design their products.

Apple Design Award

Apple Design AwardA little over a year ago, a picture of a robot was scribbled on a piece of brown craft paper.  He was named “Bobo”. Last September, that same little robot made his debut exploring the science behind light and delighting children and adults around the globe.

At WWDC Apple recognized the mountain of work and polish that went into Bobo’s adventure with an Apple Design Award.

Bobo would never have become a reality without the incredible support of Apple’s platform and without the excitement and endorsement of the thousands of kids around the world.

Thank you.

Every day, they adopt Bobo and invite him into their lives. Excitement builds curiosity, curiosity powers learning, and learning drives us all forward.  Keep learning.  Keep thinking.  And most of all, keep exploring!

Q&A with GeekWire

I recently had a chance to connect with John Cook from GeekWire who asked me about Game Collage, Bobo, and the startup world in general.  He just posted our conversation online – check it out at GeekWire’s Startup Spotlight.

One for the Kids!

Way back when, when I was still a wee-little iOS developer about yay high, I created my first interactive book of Hans-Christian’s Anderson’s fairy tales called “The Little Mermaid and Other Stories“.  It came out only a few weeks after the iPad was released and I remember working round-the-clock on the project to get the book out.  Because it was my first interactive book, I needed to spend a lot of energy developing the basic framework – general code structure, run-time page layout, dynamic loading and unloading of assets, etc.  I was working alone on this project so, in addition to the coding, I spent well over half of my time creating illustrations, designing sound effects, editing the content, and, at the very end, creating a short video trailer – definitely not my forte.  Nonetheless, I was happy with the results.  I submitted the app to the App Store and, once it was approved, I watched it go live one sunny Friday morning.

And then I paced.

I was very tired from the effort of the previous six weeks; I squeezed every ounce of creative juice I had in me. I was excited, and very, very nervous.  I don’t even know why.  I do know, however, that I spent most of the afternoon pacing – I just couldn’t stand still.

Yet nothing happened.

The week just before the app went live, I sent dozens of emails to newspapers, review web sites, and popular bloggers announcing the upcoming launch, but every time I refreshed my inbox, I was greeted with a message telling me that I have “no new messages”.  At that point, a wise man suggested I should step away from the computer and go for a walk.  Before I did, I literally hit the refresh button one more time and was rewarded with the following message:

We love your apps.  Thank you!
Zoe age 5,
William age 8 

I almost lost it.  Unbeknownst to them, Zoe and William had given me the justification that I so desperately needed.  I peeled myself away from my laptop to go for the walk and I couldn’t stop smiling.  Mission accomplished.

Since that time, I’ve heard from many more kids and parents and grandparents enjoying the apps and offering me their feedback and suggestions.  I’m always thrilled.  Each time I receive such an email, I’m excited to read it and respond as quickly as I can.  For me, it’s one of the most rewarding reasons of why I do what I do.  And both Zoe and William have a very special place in my heart, because they were the first to let me know that they cared.

Today, out of the blue, I sent an email to Zoe and William’s dad and let him know how much the original email from his kids meant to me.  Soon, he replied:

Thank you so much for the email. William just turned 10 and Zoe is now 7. Each of them now has their own iPad with your app installed. They even take turns reading your app to their little brother Levi (2). Now you have three customers for life. I will make sure they check out your new app [Bobo Explores Light], and I will send you their review (in their own words).
I think you have also inspired William to start working on his own app. He is currently working on his artwork and game rules. I will let you know how he progresses.
Keep up the great work. You have provided hours of enjoyment to William, Zoe and now Levi through a mixture of technology, art and science.

Once again, I am grinning ear to ear and want to send a huge thank you to William and Zoe and Levi and their dad Scott.  You guys rule and inspire me every day!  And, William, I look forward to seeing what you come up with.  Keep it up!


Doodle Blast! HD Makes an iPad Retina Debut

After seeing the new iPad with over 3 million (!) pixels, I couldn’t help but take a break from what I was doing and dust off an old favorite – Doodle Blast! HD – to get it ready for the new device.

In theory the task was simple enough.  I had saved most of the original images as vector files, so re-scaling them, while tedious, was fairly straight-forward.  However, the poor codebase was very outdated and in desperate need of a fresh coat of paint.  It took me over five days of round-the-clock work to rip out the old scoring system, add Game Center support, iOS5 Twitter support, replace Cocos 2D v0.7 with Cocos 2D v1.1, and implement selective retina image loading for high-res devices that supported them.

The results, however, speak for themselves.  The pixels on the new iPad are so tiny, that this game more than any other literally looks like a sheet of graph paper that came to life.

Take a look at the following images for comparison.  The first is a 100% scaled version of the tank from the original iPhone game.  The second is that same tank, also scaled to 100%, as used by the new iPad:


Enhanced for new iPad:


The game is now available for only $0.99 (a far cry from all the $7 games for the new iPad) and as one of the DB gamers put it – “Stills don’t do this game justice – you have to play it and control the awesome firepower to really appreciate it.”  Click here to check it out at the App Store!

iPads and Bathtubs Don’t Mix

A friend forwarded me the following story that Ingrid Simone posted on Common Sense Media website entitled “My Kids’ First iPad”.  I had to laugh and repost a part of it – Bobo was almost responsible for a minor disaster that was only narrowly averted.  You can read the entire post here.

– – –

Establish some ground rules. Introducing an iPad (or any tablet) in your home the first time will require setting some ground rules. Even if you have other electronic devices the kids use, you’ll want to think about the questions the iPad will raise. A few examples:

How does iPad time figure into overall screen time limits? In my house, we don’t have hard-and-fast screen time limits. But maybe you’re a one-hour-a-day max family.

Is iPad time now included in that hour? Is it OK to make in-app purchases? We have tips for how to approach this question.

Is it OK to use the iPad without asking first? For us, no. Always ask first.

Is it OK to use the iPad while also watching TV? I encourage my kids to do one screen at a time.

Is it OK to take the iPad into the bathroom? I didn’t think I needed to address this until my 6-year-old son took the iPad into the bathroom so he could continue with the Bobo Explores Light science book app while taking his bath. The iPad was resting on a bench outside the tub, and he reasoned “but my hands are dry.” It could’ve been a disaster, and I could’ve avoided the close call by establishing that rule up front — and of course by making better use of those eyes in the back of my head. (Side note: Clearly this is a thoroughly engaging app! A 5-star keeper!)