For one week only (until Tuesday, December 18th) CartoonSmart runs an exclusive offer for Learn Cocos2D readers:

You get 50% off on the Angry Ninjas, Wave Attack and Awesome E-Book Starter Kits Bundle!

The bundle also includes several Tutorial Videos plus free bonuses: the Isometric Pixel Art Tutorial for Photoshop, the royalty free Vector Art Collection and the first 120 pages of the interactive Cocos2D iOS Game Programming iBook.

The iOS App Development & Starter Kit Bundle normally sells for $100 but you can get it for $49.95 until Tuesday, December 18th.

This is an affiliate link – if you make a purchase I’ll receive a commission. It’ll help me pay off my new iMac (still working with a 2009 model). :)

Line-Drawing Starter Kit still 50% off

While I’m at it: my Line-Drawing Starterkit’s Xmas Sale (50% off to $49.95) still has some of the 100 coupon codes left!

I keep forgetting that if I don’t keep mentioning it, sales slow down dramatically. It’s called marketing (in my case: not doing enough of it). If you have a product that doesn’t sell as much as you expect – perhaps you need to mention it more? You would be surprised how much of a difference frequent blog posts or tweets can make.

So here you go. This new iMac is rather expensive. :)

In Newsflashes, link to articles that I found insightful. This one about Kickstarter Stats & Analysis was very insightful. They analyzed almost all Kickstarter projects, including the many hard to find ones (because they failed and it seems Kickstarter doesn’t want you to find those).

The result is the astounding infographic at the end of this text, but do read the article also to put things into context.

Continue reading »

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Cocos2D Podcast: Sparrow Framework

On August 25, 2011, in cocos2d, podcast, by Steffen Itterheim

A new episode of the Cocos2D Podcast is now live. This time we’re joined by Daniel Sperl, author of the Sparrow Framework Objective-C game engine for iOS which is based on the ActionScript (Flash) API design.

Note: the Sparrow website is currently reported as “possibly malware” by Safari and Google. The culprit has been removed and the site is safe to visit. Read this blog post for more info about what happened.

Daniel has a secret he shared with us even though he couldn’t really say any details until the official announcement in a few weeks. Cocos2D also gets a couple honorable (or dishonorable) mentions as we compare it with Sparrow Framework, and come to the conclusion that documentation-wise it is leaps and bounds ahead of Cocos2D.

Cocos2D Podcast: Daniel Sperl (Sparrow Framework Developer)

Cocos2D Podcast on iTunes

Previous Cocos2D Podcast: Marketing your App

I forgot to blog about the previous Cocos2D Podcast in which Azam and I talk about marketing your iPhone app.

Cocos2D Podcast: Marketing your iPhone App

Cocos2D Podcast on iTunes

Unrelated but important: Steve Jobs resigns

In case you haven’t heard, Steve Jobs has resigned as CEO of Apple on August 24th, 2011. Here’s Steve’s (short and to the point) letter to the Board of Directors. Tim Cook was named as his successor. Read the press release.

I never really cared for who’s boss of a big company, just enough to get the ridicule. But Steve Jobs leaving .. I can’t help but feel sad.

I believe this is for one reason in particular: very, very few CEOs actually have a vision and follow it through. Or have the (will)power to follow it through without being bent or influenced through challenges and oppositions by corporate and outside politics. Steve was able to retain all of the drive, dedication and willpower that you have when you just start out as a company or individual trying to make a really great product that you believe in and want to be proud of.

Most large companies are simply unable to create such products because too many people work on each product, and there’s lots of money and risk involved in the process which, more often than not, turns potentially great companies into conservative, boring companies making lackluster products, following consumer trends. Apple under Steve Jobs has been the exception. Steve has repeatedly anticipated consumer trends, even created them through the power that is the Apple brand.

The really, really sad part however is what hasn’t been said. Steve being unable to meet his duties paints a grim outlook on his health. Not mentioning his health in his letter and Apple’s press release even more so. I just wish for him that it’s not as bad as one can imagine it to be if it forces someone of Steve’s caliber to resign from his position. Good luck and all the best, Steve!

Linkvent Calendar, Day 13: Balloon Ride Postmortem

On December 13, 2010, in Cocos2D Linkvent Calendar, by Steffen Itterheim

Today’s Linkvent Calendar entry comes from David Sutoyo. His second Cocos2D game, Balloon Ride, was published on the App Store on Dec 1st. David took some time to write a postmortem about making Balloon Ride. He starts out by saying that programming in Objective-C is hard, game design is even harder but marketing is the hardest part. However, he concludes that the overall design process is fun and he is now toying with the idea of using Corona because programming in Lua is simpler than Objective-C.

David also wrote a mini-postmortem about his first Cocos2D game Memory Flash.

Watch the Balloon Ride gameplay video:

My eBook’s being pirated. I’m taking advantage of that.

On December 6, 2010, in book, cocos2d, Marketing, by Steffen Itterheim

Discuss this topic on Cocos2D Central.

My Learn iPhone and iPad Cocos2D Game Development book is out and that inevitably meant it would appear on websites offering download links to illegal copies of the book.

Since there’s really nothing that can be done about it that actually works, and because I understand (but not necessarily condone) the reasons for downloading ebooks illegally, I wanted to take a different stance. And so I’m posting my thoughts on the matter on forums and websites, where a link to an illegal download of my ebook is shared.

That way, I hope to convert a minority of the downloaders to buying customers. But my actual goal is to use their websites as marketing instruments. Shamelessly placing my links on their websites and asking their users to come here is just fair and square. If they enable illegal downloads the very least they can do for me is to allow me to enable users to more easily come here, or on rare occassions to actually buy the book. Who said that illegal downloads can’t also be a mutual relationship?

Here’s what I’ve been posting to “warez” and “free ebooks” websites offering downloads or download links of my book:

My Response on Illegal Download Sites

I’m Steffen Itterheim, author of the Learn iPhone and iPad Cocos2D Game Development book.

I see that my book is offered here for download illegally, either directly or via linking to an externally hosted file. I wanted to share my thoughts on this matter.

1) I’m not offended, disappointed or furious.
Why should I be? It’s to be expected. I’ve been working long enough in the software industry to have come to accept piracy as something that shouldn’t affect you at all.

2) I don’t judge you.
A lot of people download(ed) things from the Internet that they shouldn’t have. For some, it’s part of their culture. For others, it’s the only way to take part in a world that they couldn’t otherwise afford to join. For a few, it’s simply a hobby, or a habit. Some claim it’s for research and trying things out before buying, but quite honestly I think they fall in one of the aforementioned categories. Or they’re merely being pragmatic about their spendings, cutting corners where they can.

3) I won’t lecture you either.
Piracy is a fact. It’s not even a market because if piracy wouldn’t exist, most pirated products wouldn’t be selling noticeably better anyway. Only very few pirates would ever buy a product they downloaded.

Those are my convictions on piracy. I think it’s pointless to complain about piracy, and it would be especially stupid of me if I did so in the lion’s den, so to speak. :)

I’m a realist. I understand that some percentage of you will download the book just to have it. You’re the collectors, you may skim over the book before you set it aside in your amazingly well-assorted, categorized archive of eBooks. Enjoy it. Then there’s a percentage of you who download the book on a hunch that you might need it soon, or that it might spark your interest (again) in game development or programming for iOS devices. You probably wouldn’t buy it either. Except for a select few for whom the book did spark a flame – but how could you know beforehand?

To everyone else who truly want to read the book, I can only encourage you to buy the book in hindsight, after the fact. I know it costs quite an effort to pay for something you have already used, or read in this case. I still hope some of you will, I’d be grateful for that.

And what I’d really like you to do, regardless of where you got the book from and what your intentions are, is to stop by and visit my website Learn & Master Cocos2D Game Development:

http://www.learn-cocos2d.com

I also want to make it very convenient to those who *might* consider buying the book, to actually do so. I know that one aspect of piracy that shouldn’t be neglected is merely convenience. So for that reason I’ll give you the links that lead you to Amazon and other websites all around the world which carry the book, as well as links to eBook versions of the book The Learn iPhone and iPad Cocos2D Game Development:

Purchase the print book via Amazon:

Amazon.com (United States)
http://www.amazon.com/Learn-iPhone-iPad-Cocos2D-Development/dp/1430233036/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1284664414&sr=8-1

Amazon.ca (Canada)
http://www.amazon.ca/Learn-iPhone-iPad-Cocos2D-Development/dp/1430233036/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1284664526&sr=8-1

Amazon.co.uk (United Kingdom)
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Learn-iPhone-iPad-Cocos2D-Development/dp/1430233036/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1284664462&sr=8-1

Amazon.de (Germany)
http://www.amazon.de/Learn-Iphone-Ipad-Cocos2d-Development/dp/1430233036/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books-intl-de&qid=1284664401&sr=8-1

Amazon.fr (France)
http://www.amazon.fr/Learn-Iphone-Ipad-Cocos2d-Development/dp/1430233036/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=english-books&qid=1284664539&sr=8-1

Amazon.co.jp (Japan)
http://www.amazon.co.jp/Learn-iPhone-iPad-Cocos2D-Development/dp/1430233036/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=english-books&qid=1284664550&sr=8-1

Purchase the eBook:
From Apress (PDF): http://apress.com/ecommerce/cart?act=add&bid=1524
NOTE: the Apress PDF eBook has no DRM, it is not copy-protected or password-protected. It’s probably the exact same file that is being shared here.

From Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/Learn-iPhone-Cocos2D-Development-ebook/dp/B004E0Z4YY

I hope you understand that if you offer my book for download illegally, it’s just fair to reply to that with promotion of my websites and making it a bit more convenient for the few people who tend to download books exactly because it’s convenient. At least this way I’m getting something positive out of it.

Thank you for your time and for allowing this message to be posted.
Steffen Itterheim

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The Cocos2D Linkvent Calendar 2010

On November 20, 2010, in Announcements, cocos2d, Marketing, by Steffen Itterheim

You may have heard about the Appvent Calendar by Blacksmith Games, creators of Floop and Plushed. From that idea emerged the popular Free App A Day website.

I thought, maybe I can take this idea and transform it into something slightly different: the Cocos2D Linkvent Calendar 2010. The idea being that I publish a blog post every day in December 2010 – you know, the month that ends after 24 days in that culminating event that will crash the App Store and end humanity’s existence. Or so I’ve heard. Each blog post will link to your website, blog post, tutorial, product, open source project or whatever else that might be of interest specifically to Cocos2D for iPhone developers, as long as it is “your thing”.

As my blog is closing in on 5,000 visits a week and my Twitter account is followed by over 1,400 hummingbirds and more and more of my book readers will come here and check out the site, I think that would be a nice gift to anyone who is interested in receiving some traffic from me. What you do to deserve a link is up to you. This is your chance to make your blog better known, or even kickstart it. The better and more relevant the content is to Cocos2D developers, the better your chances are that some of this traffic will stick, in form of return visits.

What you can do

Just to give you a few ideas:

  • write a postmortem of your game, and your game will surely get a few extra sales as well
  • open source your previous game’s source code, and in turn announce your new project
  • lower the price of your commercial product on that day
  • receive more attention for your technical essay about some aspect(s) of Cocos2D
  • write an awesome tutorial, for example about integrating UIKit controls in a Cocos2D project

The only thing that’s important is that the article, website, product, game, etc. is somehow relevant and of interest to Cocos2D developers. So if you “only” have a game made with Cocos2D, you should spice that up by, for example, talking about your development experience or explaining how you solved some tricky aspects of the game’s source code, including examples.

Accepting Offers Now!

I’m accepting offers now and until all 24 slots are filled, while holding a few reserve slots just in case. Please send all link requests by email to linkvent (at) learn-cocos2d.com – you don’t want to spoil the fun by posting it as a comment!

Also, you can reserve a slot by letting me know what you have in mind and are going to do, without actually having to have something to link to right now. You should be able to prepare and publish your content by early to mid December though.

I probably can’t answer all request, but if I do include yours then you’ll get a notice when I’ll publish it. Keep in mind that I will publish posts on midnight Central European Time (CET) (UTC+1), so you may have to factor in time zone differences.

Note: this is all about helping individual developers and products receive the attention they deserve while giving Cocos2D developers some useful information to digest. For that reason, I won’t link to posts on forums, wikis or other aggregating sites, to Apps on iTunes or to a code repository with just some files in it. There ought to be something to read, a little guidance if you will, and it should come from you, and it should be connected to you by putting that up on your blog or website. You can then of course link from your post to wherever you like.

Marketing for Indies: an excessively long Link List

On October 22, 2010, in Marketing, Mobile Business, by Steffen Itterheim

I’ve been asked to write something about Marketing & PR a lot of times and repeatedly. It seems to be a topic that’s often sought after and mostly misunderstood.

Sometimes, it’s deceivingly complex, as in “How to get my App featured by Apple on the App Store?”. Who the f*ck knows? If you do, be sure to tell everyone about it!

But when you dig deeper, you learn more about the whole “process” and things become a little clearer. I hear you can get lucky if you know the right people at Apple’s PR or App Store department. At least that’s what I was told personally by someone who does PR and knows someone at Apple personally. Ok, not an option for most of us. I also hear that Apple scans certain websites when looking for App Store features, and for games the #1 site to get reviewed by which in turn might lead to an Apple feature is touchArcade. What else, right?

But getting a review on touchArcade is a different matter altogether. From game industry experience, I can tell one thing that almost guarantees to get your game reviewed/featured: it should be looking awesome! And not just the game, you need a trailer that packs a punch or two, one that’s hilarious or one that’s simply exciting and really wets your appetite. Not easy to do, but well worth the money if you can outsource it to someone who knows how to do it well. And if your game doesn’t have the looks, or can’t have them, it must be uniquely interesting. Combine the two, and you got yourself a winner. That ought to be easy, right?

Well, yes and no. If you know what you’re doing, it can be easy. And it certainly feels easy in such a case. After all, all the work to set yourself up for success has already been done. But if you don’t happen to be working with world-class artists, programmers, designers – what do you do? You can pour everything you have in being creatively unique. To my mind, that’s one of the reasons why the Indie space has become so successful. It’s not just that being unique and innovative is what the developers want their games to be, it’s actually helping them a lot to get coverage in the first place – it’s even a necessity, and a way to success!

The excessively long Marketing Link List

But back on topic, I actually just wanted to share a link list with you. It’s called:

The Big List Of Indie Marketing And Business Tips

Here’s the index … as you can see, it contains a lot more than just links about marketing alone:

  1. Marketing
  2. Press Release Sites
  3. Business
  4. Piracy
  5. Interviews
  6. Game Revenue And Sales
  7. Advertising
  8. E-Mail Marketing
  9. Jobs
  10. Indie Funding
  11. Merchandise
  12. E-Commerce Payment Processors

And one link you should not miss: a free eBook about Videogame Marketing & PR!

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Cocos2D Book, Chapter nil: It’s done!!!

On October 17, 2010, in Announcements, book, cocos2d, by Steffen Itterheim

Chapter nil – EXC_BAD_ACCESS 😀

The book is done! No more chapters, finito.

I WROTE A BOOK!!! I can’t believe it! It took me just about 4 months to write, or 16 weeks, not counting the weeks of proposing the book and the coming weeks in which I’ll be reviewing the edits made by Apress and making last minute changes and additions.

For now, don’t offer me to write another book! I’m done writing books. For this year. So maybe next year. And maybe one about the Corona Game Edition? I’m certainly finding myself interested to finally try out Corona, if only for fun. I’m attracted by their clean and elegant API, the fact that they’re using Lua which I know inside out, and the professional atmosphere associated with it. But don’t worry, those are just thought plays right now.

I’ll certainly keep adding more Cocos2D content to this website of course. If the Alpha Book program and the number of questions I receive by email are any indication of what’s to come, I want to be prepared and be able to cope with a potential onslaught of questions. I’ll make an announcement about that soon, stay tuned.

Summary of working on Chapter 15 – Out Of The Ordinary

I’m not sure if the title will stick, I found it to be very fitting. Out of the ordinary should be the guiding principle for whatever you do. Create something that’s different, and don’t be afraid to be different. Maybe that sounds cheesy and if you don’t get it right away, I know that Chris Guillebeau and his Art of Non-Conformity articles and book will be able to shed at least some light on what I mean by that.

In this last chapter I’ve included a section about where to get help, and not just places where to ask questions and where to find tutorials. I also mean finding free game art and audio, as well as freelancers and tools. I also wrote a section about technologies that may be of interest to Cocos2D game developers, including a complete list of social networking SDKs. But also including server technology as well as ads and analytics.

I devoted several pages to marketing. Marketing yourself and your game by writing a blog and being active on Twitter. The benefits and caveats of public relations (PR) and press releases, and a heading about working with publishers and what you can expect from cooperating with a publisher. Finally I made comprehensive lists for both outstanding Cocos2D games as well as the commercial source code projects that are currently available.

Capital C and D

In case you’re wondering why I’m writing Cocos2D instead of cocos2d, it’s a copyedit thing. Cocos2D is a proper noun and as such it must be capitalized, while the D following a number stands for dimension and the commonly accepted way to write 2D and 3D is with a capital D. Cocos2D is written like this throughout the book, as you can see from the title, and now I actually prefer to write it like this. In its own way the book helps to bring Cocos2D to a new level. I like to think that this is reflected by capitalizing the word.

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