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Appstore clearout due….

I recently got an email asking me to renew my developer account, and noticed that it implied that not only did I require the subscription to submit apps and test on real hardware, but to continue sales of existing apps.

That means, when a developer subscription expires, their apps will be removed from sale.

Anybody not making money, or just bored will not renew, and as a result thousands of (cr)Apps will disapear from the Appstore.

This hasn’t shown much yet as the store is still <1 year old, and only a few thousand select developers got accounts approved before the store opened. However, in the months following the opening a gold rush started and every man and his dog started making whatever they could to push out in hopes of a lucky strike. After July, I expect mostsy in August/September a large number of these accounts will be up for renewel. I cant wait. I imagine the novelty of paying $99 a year in order to distribute free apps will have worn off. Also, anyone who has seen their sales drop so low they dont receive a payment will also wonder if they should renew. People who did it because it was new, for fun, during a gap year etc will all expire. I hear people saying, but wont it just fill up with new Apps from new accounts? I dont think so. The gold rush is over, the quality level has raised substantialy, and in order to sell an app you need to make a good one. There will no doubt be a constant influx of new developers, but I think it will decrease from the initial gold rush at the start. I also hope the new developers will be better, more experienced in coding and the quality level will continue to rise. In short, I see good things for the Appstore. Less chaff, more wheat. Good for Apple, good for developers, and good for customers.

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3D Project update

Ok, I managed to get all my 3D pic stuff including the new LCD and a nunchuck controller inside the tomytronic case!
Ive got the joystick poking out the top along with the buttons to almost mimick the original control method as well as the accelerometer still wired up inside for tilt sensing. Its all working off the original AA battery compartment too. 3AAs via a dc2dc to give me 3.3v which then feeds the PIC and LCD as well as a bluetooth serial transceiver for linking to another game, or to a pc for multiplayer action.
Check it out on the full page at
Modded TomyTronic

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Wii Nunchuk control over i2C

I decided to do something everybody else has done, and bypass the need to fiddle with input devices.
The nunchuk provides a nice joystick, accelerometer and 2 buttons all packaged up with an i2c interface. My new PIC24 board had the i2c pins free so I hooked it up, bodged together some quick i2c code and viola!
My 3D spaceship is now under the control of the wii Nunchuk. My next step is to dump the wired nunchuk I de-plugged and to use the wireless variety cheaply available. It was quite simply to get working with the Microchip C compiler for PIC24.

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Apple steal 3 months of dev time

Apple seem to have expired my certificates.
I should have about 3 months left.

So they told me to suck their balls, and apparently meant it. I can no longer re-submit my app because I dont have a valid developer certificate, despite only being 9 months or so into my ONE YEAR membership.
Apple so far have not even bothered to reply to my emails regarding their insults, personal rejections and now stealing 3 months of my developer time.
Im getting angry.

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Apple told me to “Suck my B*lls”

I submitted an app, its been repeatedly rejected for more and more bizzare reasons. During the last test Apple registered a Username of “Suck My B*lls”.

Should I put in a formal complaint to Apple? I am pretty sure now they are just finding reasons to reject it on some personal bias now.

One of their other reasons for rejection was that the support website listed in the info wasnt live.
Now, I may be a bit silly, but what has that got to do with approval of the binary? Why SHOULDNT I keep the site hidden untill after the release of the app. They never say beforehand that approval depends on a working live support website.

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Wireless Widget Update

I found a decent box!
I also integrated the synaptics touchpad with the widget, the plan is to fit the touch pad on the back of the widget box, allowing decent control and interaction with the firmware other than the three front panel buttons.

Gets a new home!
Gets a new home!

Check out the widget page for a full size image.

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Tech Adventure in Bristol

Oooh! Its a spider! A robot! A robot Spider!

Tech Adventure
What do you get when you mix lots of techies and Uni Students? Something like this, involving Robot spiders being hunted by automatic robot sentry bb guns.
I was very impressed by everything I saw, but the robots really took my attention. This hex walker was so cool. Seing it in photos and videos doesnt do it justice, watching it move in front of you is amazing. Click the Image for a youtube experience of the Spider moving about. Its called ‘Heximotional and comes from UWE (university of West of England).
Anyway, Thanks to all those that turned up! Check out my
Flickr Stream for all the photos.

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Are bedroom programmers being intimidated out of free market competition against big publishers in the iPhone market?

I am Pyrofer, author of Rockfall for the iPhone. It has been for sale on iTunes since early July.

I am not a professional developer, just a fan of Boulder Dash(r), who has a full time job and a family to support. I made a game in my spare time that is admittedly inspired by Boulder Dash(r), as I am a huge fan of that game. I had no idea that this would cause any problems, as I have used no code or graphics from Boulder Dash(r). but merely made a game of similar style. The video game industry is full of games that are quite similar in style and appearance. Also there are many imitations of Boulder Dash(r) freely available on almost every system. Most of them are much more similar to Boulder Dash(r) than my Rockfall game is.

First Star Software have demanded that I cease all distribution of Rockfall. They have not stated exactly how my game is infringing their copyrights, and what I would need to change to avoid infringement. They insist they are legally obliged to behave in this way. It seems an unreasonable request to remove the game totally without knowing which elements are at fault. However to avoid any costly legal action I will respect their request and remove the game from iTunes.

I heard that other Boulder Dash(r) inspired games have been removed from iTunes due to pressure from First Star. They mentioned that they are preparing an official Boulder Dash(r) game for the iPhone but it is not finished yet.

I wonder what other readers think of this situation. I am not aware of other video games companies that take such an extreme view of their copyrght. If they did, I think 99% of games in existence would be illegal. Do you think First Star are using their financial strength and legal resources to bully legitimate competitors into withdrawing from open market competition? Or do you think that they are legally justified to do this, and that other video game companies should do the same? Or perhaps you think current copyright law is in need of reform to enable legitimate competition? How can bedroom programmers know what is safe and what is not when writing games?

Note that Boulder Dash(r) is a registered trademark of First Star Software. Any other registered trademarks that may have been accidentally mentioned in this message are fully acknowlegded as beinging to their respective owners.

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App Store Madness, Blame Apple.

Apple, a global company have missed the point.
The Appstore, a unified single point of sale for all iPhone Apps isn’t global, or unified. Did you know that a review for an app is only visible in your own country?
Did you know that although all revenue goes direct to Apple in America, when paying developers they seperate every country into a seperate revenue stream and only pay out when its greater than $250 value?
Some devs may never see their sales even though they make $1000, because its spread accross the world.
I was unaware of bad reviews for my App, because they were in the American app store only. How does that help me improve the app to fix the issues raised when I never saw them.
Also, reviews can be nothing more than slander and the dev can do nothing about it. I have a bad review complaining that the accelerometer doesnt work and the user can’t play the game. The first line of my Instructions page says “Swipe the screen to move”. Its not an accelerometer game and Yet, People will see this bad review and think, “Hmm, I wont buy that if the controls dont work.”. So a single moron has ruined my sales because he is too stupid to read the instructions.
In essence, the Customers are being hurt because feedback via reviews is being missed 90% of the time as the Developer is native to another Country.
The Developers are being hurt by poor reviews they can’t see or do anything about. They may not even get paid for their sales in a region because its less than $250 equivelent.
Updates are taking weeks, two or three in cases. Bugs fixed in minutes can ruin sales as users complain for a month while the dev waits for Apple to approve an update. When the update goes through, the review complaining about the bugs sits there and the Developer can’t have it removed, so potential sales are lost because new customers think the bugs are still there.
Apple didnt even tell us how many we were selling for the first, and most crucial three weeks!
Apple, the AppStore is a total mess. Please fix it.