Archive for August, 2011


Analytics – Localytics

Good article here to read about the various analytics options available for your iOS app:

Analytics For iOS Games

As it happens, this weekend we’re dropping analytics into the latest project, so this bit in particular caught our eye:

Localytics is a relative newcomer to the iOS analytics field, but it was love at first sight for me.

It has the same ease of integration of Flurry, and it provides very similar functionality. Localytics, however, is completely open source, so instead of a black box library, you get the source code and you can add it directly to your game. How much does it increase executable size? 4KB! You have to wonder what the other 496KB were for in the Flurry library…

Tiny and open source? Why yes, yes those sound like pretty compelling advantages. And the reporting appears just about as good as any other we’ve looked at too. So we went ahead and integrated it just now, and why yes it is just as easy as they claim, and the reports really do update every five minutes. So top marks all around to the Localytics folk for apparently delivering on all their promises. It’s so nice when that happens, isn’t it?

Now, there is a fairly significant cost involved here for all the bells and whistles: $95/month per app. There is a free option as well providing basic event tracking; not sure how the features there match up with Flurry or other free options — but hey that tiny + open source bit, that’s pretty well a decider for us!


Sincerely Ship Library

Hey, you can always use another revenue stream that doesn’t take too much work, right? Well, if you have a photo focused app, or if you think people might want to mail postcards of screenshots, check out

Ship Library for iOS

The Sincerely Ship Library for iOS makes adding photo printing and postcard functionality to your app as easy as including a library.

Sincerely will handle printing, delivery, billing and customer support. Your users will get a physical product they’ll love & you’ll extend your brand and monetize your app…

At first glance it looks pretty easy to integrate, and there’s no integration cost; the deal is that Sincerely takes the first 99¢ per card, and if you choose to charge more than that, the extra is split 70% you 30% them.

So basically, they’re opening up their Postagram service to everyone then. Well hey, sure beats setting it up yourself, doesn’t it now?

h/t: Inside Mobile Apps!



Here’s some seriously nifty stuff that apparently we all overlooked when it first came out:

Custom OpenGL UIView transitions

Few days ago I found nice class which handles custom OpenGLUIView transitions. I would probably stick to it and use it, but unfortunately I didn’t like the lag before the animation starts and few details (not working on all orientations …). So I decided to rewrite it from scratch, make it as fast as possible, and maybe a little bit easier (if possible) to use.

I ended up with HMGLTransitions which you can download from here. The biggest difference between this and previously mentioned implementations is that I use singleton object which creates OpenGL context only once. This can drastically improve starting lag of animation. Also I don’t resample textures and use exact size. Next “big” thing is that all device orientations are supported. Now everything works nice and smooth…

Pretty good looking too – check out the video at the link!

h/t: iphonedevelopertips, maniacdev!


Unreal Engine

If you’re interested in that Unreal Engine thing (and there is some neat stuff people are doing, yes) for your iOS development but aren’t quite sure where to get started, this GameDev question is worth a read:

h/t: Packt Explorer!



Here’s another option to consider for your backend production needs: Parse!

Screen shot 2011-08-22 at 10.34.22 PM.png

Once you get past the quite remarkably SEO-unfriendly name, there’s a pretty good collection of services there:

Data Storage

Our native SDKs for iPhone and Android provides a simple-to-use ORM for storing data to our platform. You code in Objective-C (for iOS) or Java (for Android), and our SDK will do all the hard work of sending and receiving data…

Push Notifications

Push notifications are a tricky endeavor for both the iOS and Android platforms. Parse simplifies push notifications…

User Management

With our user management system, you can quickly add user accounts to your app without having to code an full authentication system yourself … Facebook and Twitter account integration (coming soon!)

Looks like a nicely designed API judging by the documentation, so hopefully they’ll be able to find a sustainable pricing model to keep this one around for a while. But hey, if you’re a cutting edge kind of d00d(ette), sign up for the beta and let us know how it goes!


iOS Serial Cable

So, you got some piece of hardware that requires a serial connection and you’d like to connect up with your iDevice? Why yes, yes we do, a Kenwood mobile shortwave to be exact; and here’s just the thing for that:

New in the Maker Shed, the Redpark Breakout Pack for Arduino and iOS is the first general-purpose serial cable that Apple has approved for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. On one end, it’s got a dock connector to plug into your iOS device. On the other, it has an RS232 port that you can easily connect to Arduino or any other gadget that speaks a serial protocol…


Yes, that’s a pretty small niche product these days, but hey if you have a use for it, there it is!

h/t: @garethb2!



Now this looks like a massive timesaver if you’ve got a project with community-building in mind; the AppMakr folks are making the community layer of their platform open and free to everyone it seems:

Screen shot 2011-08-20 at 11.28.46 PM.png

Intriguing yes? So what is a “social layer SDK” exactly?

Socialize consists of six features:


When users click on an item, the bottom of the screen displays how many views that item has received. It’s validation for users, letting them they’re not alone in the app and making them feel rewarded for exploring something that many other people have too.


Your users can share the app’s content via email, to Facebook or to Twitter. It’s the power of viral: sharing across different media gives the content more exposure and connects the in-app world to the web and other social networks.


Comments tell other users that the content is valuable and worth starting a conversation about. To put it quite vainly, content looks better with comments. It makes the app look active, worthwhile and liked.


When users like an item, Socialize saves it as a favorite. The activity pane shows a list of likes, shares and comments. Users will then take note when one item has a steady stream of likes.

Activity Pane

With a quick flick of the finger, users access Socialize’s backbone: the activity pane. This view prioritizes user-generated content, listing what other users have shared, liked and commented on. It’s not just the app showing users what’s available—it’s other users telling them what to click on.


Profiles are a way users can stake a claim inside an app. It gives them a space to briefly say who they are, and this presence makes them feel more connected to the app.

Yes, that’s quite a bit of functionality, isn’t it? No doubt worth taking a look at if you’ve got an app that could benefit from a community, indeed. Signup page to get your API keys is here, documentation is here, SDKs for iOS and Android on github here.

And hey, if you’ve got a somewhat appropriate app already … you can make yourself three grand by implementing it! No, seriously, you can, they’re running a contest:

We are offering a $2,500 cash prize to the developer who can install the Socialize SDK in an iOS or Android app the fastest. If you win and your app is live in an app store by the end of the contest period, we’ll throw in an extra $500. That’s a total of $3,000. You could buy a pony with that kind of money.

Here are the ground rules:

Contest runs 8/1/11 until 11:59 p.m. PDT on 8/31/11

- You must screencast your desktop as you implement the Socialize SDK (we recommend iShowU or similar) and share the video link in the form below…

The current best time is 1:09 apparently, so hey there ought to be lots of room to beat that, yes?

h/t: @Hardip_Singh via @mariozullo!


iOS Scene Graph Library

So there’s a new option out there for your 3D engine game needs (you may recall our NinevehGL post a little while back rounding up a bunch of other ones):

iSGL3D : iOS Scene Graph Library 3D

iSGL3D (iOS Scene Graph Library) is a 3D framework for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch written in Objective-C, enabling the creativity of developers to flourish in a 3D world without the complexities of OpenGL.

With its rich set of features, iSGL3D provides the necessary tools to develop 3D applications in an incredibly short time frame, even with a minimum of experience in 3D graphics…

And very pretty looking, too.


Google Code page here, with links to API documentation and tutorials and a reasonably active looking newsgroup. MIT-licensed open source, always nice, and what looks like a good list of features:

  • Simple 3D scene construction
  • Lighting and shading
  • Camera manipulation
  • Multiple views with independent viewports
  • Meshes and built-in primitives
  • Particle systems
  • Billboards
  • Color, texture and animated texture materials
  • Support for PowerVR compressed textures
  • Optimised performance with OpenGL ES 1.1 and ES 2.0
  • Hardware accelerated matrix calculations
  • Scene and model importing from PowerVR POD files
  • Bridging to Bullet physics library
  • Real-time shadows
  • Animation by Tweening
  • Skeleton and mesh skinning
  • Keyframe vertex animation/morphing
  • Integrated accelerometer support
  • Touch-screen events and interactive 3D objects
  • Occlusion transparency
  • Basic user interface creation

So hey, if you have any actual informed opinion on how this compares to the plentitude of other options, let us know!

h/t: maniacdev!



Ever tried to adapt CoreTextArcCocoa to iOS and decided in short order “nah, the artists can sort this out?” Yep, us too. For next time that situation comes up, there’s a good-looking port of it to be found in this Stack Overflow question:

I adapted the CoreTextArcCocoa sample project, above for my own use, and thought I’d share it here.

I added a few other features as well, such as the ability to set the arc size to something smaller than 180, and the text color and offset shift as properties (so that you don’t have to have a huge frame to show the whole text).

File: CoreTextArcView.m (iOS version)

Abstract: Defines and implements the CoreTextArcView custom UIView subclass to draw text on a curve and illustrate best practices with CoreText…

Yep, that’s some handy stuff. Grab it from the link and give it a voteup!

h/t: @juggleware via @mariozullo!


W3i Games Platform

So those W3i people we’ve previously mentioned as having a well worth reading freemium game design series, and a pay per install campaign worth looking into if that’s in your marketing plan (still; the $500 credit mentioned there has been extended on what appears to probably be a permanent basis) are seriously stepping up their engagement levels, it looks like:

W3i opens Games Platform beta for iOS developers

W3i continues to innovate in the mobile space by announcing availability in its Games Platform beta project. The project responds to some key challenges iOS games developers face when embarking in freemium game development.

Interviews with a number of games developers revealed common challenges with freemium game development include: server set-up, maintenance and security, the development of a storefront, and actionable analytics…

… So what are developers doing today to manage all of these challenges? Unfortunately, most are bearing the expense in dollars and resources by themselves and for the analytics, they are simply doing without. W3i can remove these burdens for developers that choose to participate in their beta program. In exchange for feedback on the system, these beta participants receive the service at no charge. To request access, … complete the form and a team member will contact you with details. The number of available openings is limited so act soon!

Screen shot 2011-08-17 at 10.12.07 PM.png

Looks interesting, and hey FREE is always a good price yes? If any of you give this a shot, be sure to let us know what you think!