Monday, July 27, 2009

iPhone piracy - the cold hard figures

After the first release of my iPhone game 'the little tank that could', I was very excited. I thought the game was fun to play, and could possibly do very well on the appstore. That turned out not to be the case. For the first 5 days on the store, it sold 20, 10, 5, 2 and 8 copies. A total of 45 copies sold. That was disheartening.

Now, my game has an online leader board. The players with the best times show up on a ranking. The leader board is consulted when you play the game, so that it can be displayed on the phone. When I took a look at my server logs, I was absolutely astonished. There were 1114 different people in the logs!

So how can a game that sold 45 copies, have 1114 players? That does not make any sense? I have no reason to believe that Apple's sales reports are faulty, so the answer is piracy. Very quickly after the release of 'the little tank that could' the game got cracked, and distributed via torrents. Those crackers are a weird bunch, even taking pride in their work. Proudly tagging my game with 'cracked by Hexhammer'. Well screw you Hexhammer. If you had any talents yourself, you would make your own game. Cracking one is petty.

So here they are, people, the cold hard facts: for every game you sell on the appstore, there are 24 pirates playing a bootleg copy. Out of 25 people, only one will choose to pay. So how much money are they saving anyway by pirating? Well... that would be a whole 1 dollar 99. A sad bunch really.

The whole experience of iPhone publishing is frustrating. But there is one part that I really liked. There is a great place for developers to meet up with players. I got some excellent help from the people over at the TouchArcade fora. They will tell you what needs improvement, and they came up with ideas for new levels for the next update. I did put in an update, but looking at the sales, it may be the last. Let me conclude with a video of the game.


The pay-rate grew to over 10% rather quickly. The 4% measurement was done shortly after the crack got released. The updated (version 2) of the game has so far not been cracked, and there is a 100% payment rate for the players on the leaderboard of version 2.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Constructing a vector basis

This is a blog posting targeted at my self. Every time I need to construct a vector basis in 3D space,I can't remember the argument order to the cross products, and each time I have a hard time finding a reference, making me write test code to find out. So here it is, recorded for my future references. If you mess up order, you are likely to end up with a left handed coordinate system. As a mnemonic, you can use the rule that the arguments are in alphabetical order, except for the Y axis. This will give you the following argument orders for the cross products:

X = Cross( Y, Z )
Y = Cross( Z, X ) // NOT Cross( X, Z )
Z = Cross( X, Y )

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Brüno gets 10 out of 10

Bram gives Brüno 10 out of 10 stars. Sacha Baron Cohen went far beyond Borat with this one. It's pretty offensive, which makes it all the more fun. Even TV's bad ass number one, Eric Cartman, does not come close to the political incorrectness of Brüno.
So when reading about a Brüno iPhone application on a Dutch website, I thought I would download that application. Well, what do you know.... I guess this application is too offensive for PC Canada. Dutchies with an iPhone can consider themselves lucky, as they can download the app for free with iTunes.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Kayaks in Deep Cove

I recently went on a kayak trip with Amy and my colleagues Sandro and Goran. We rented some kayaks at Deep Cove. The kayak always reminds me of the classic Monty Python joke: what is the similarity between American beer and making love in a canoe? You can find the answer on youtube's recording of Monty Python at the Hollywood bowl (1982).

Anyway, back to the kayaks. It was a strenuous undertaking for which I did not have the upperbody strength. It was still fun though. T
he kayaks were fitted with a rudder, quite similarly operated as aircraft controls, which made things a little easier. I think rowing would suit me better, as it leverages your leg muscles, not just arm and torso.