Cocos2D Podcast: Earn Additional Revenue

On June 21, 2011, in cocos2d, podcast, by Steffen Itterheim

The latest episode of the Cocos2D Podcast is out!

This time Azam and I talk about the options you have to earn additional revenue from or with your apps, using iAd ads, In-App Purchases, selling your source code and other ideas.

Cocos2D Podcast: Earning Additional Revenue

Cocos2D Podcast on iTunes

You might also want to read my blog post How to make over $18,000 in six months selling source code about the financial success of my Line-Drawing Starterkit. By the way, I’ll be releasing a new game kit in autumn. More details in the coming weeks.

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You may remember
from 6th of December,
when I did promote
the BATAK Duel source-code.

Ok, ok, I hear you … enough of the rhymes. :)

Dan Nelson has informed me that he is in the Xmas spirit for whatever reason (weird, right?), and that means for you that the price of the BATAK Duel source code is now reduced to $197 (down from $297, about 33% off). From what Dan told me sales are going good for him, so congratulations to the well-deserved success!

BATAK Duel is available on the App Store for $.99 and this trailer should give you an impression of what this game is about (no, not cheesy voice-overs, don’t let the first impression fool you):

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Line-Drawing Starterkit: 50% OFF extended!

On November 15, 2010, in Announcements, Marketing, by Steffen Itterheim

Wow! You have to got to be fricking kidding me! It’s not even 24 hours after the 50% off announcement and the codes are almost used up (only 2 left)! 😮

Due to this unexpected success I decided to extend the coupon code offer for an additional 20 uses.

50% OFF – NOW: $89,50

With the following coupon code, you’ll get the Line-Drawing Game Starterkit 50% off – it only costs $89,50 with the coupon code! Just enter this code when making the purchase in the “Coupon Code” box:

LINEDRAWINGKIT4YOU

Secure Online Payments and Credit Card Processing by Plimus

Visit the Line-Drawing Starterkit product page.

IMPORTANT: this coupon code is now limited to 40 uses, and 22 have been used up at the time of this writing. It’ll work only for the next 22 customers and if recent sales are any indication, they may be used up in about 30 hours or less!

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Cocos2D Alpha Book: “unprecedented success”

On October 28, 2010, in book, cocos2d, by Steffen Itterheim

I got an email from Apress. They say the Learn Cocos2D Alpha Book “enjoys an unprecedented success”. Other phrases in that email include “staggering number” (which I can’t disclose) and “great positive feedback”.

Wow, just wow! :)

What’s more, it looks like the book will be released early. Currently, it is scheduled for release on November 30th, 2010. This is still a rough date though, and street date may be off by a couple days.

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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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The “Great Apps Made With Cocos2D” List

On October 19, 2010, in cocos2d, Games, by Steffen Itterheim

This list is a collection of exemplary games and apps made with the Cocos2D for iPhone game engine. They should be seen as reference products in terms of what you can do with Cocos2D and simply the variety of games and apps developers have created with Cocos2D. This post is linked to from the Cocos2D book.

If you wish to add a game or app to this list, and you can provide prove or guarantee that it was made with Cocos2D, please leave a comment. From time to time I’ll move the notable mentions up to the actual blog post and delete it from the comments (to avoid duplication) but you can still grab some attention and a little traffic to your game by simply adding a comment to it here. And don’t forget that the official Cocos2D website has a games page, where you can also add yours.

Note: the order of the apps in this list is arbitrary, although I try to group similar apps together.

The “Great Apps Made With Cocos2D” List


The Elements (iPad) is a graphical representation of the periodic table of elements. The outstanding feature is the plentiful photographs and smooth 360 animations which invite you to explore the elements that make up you, me and the rest of the universe (excluding empty space, of which there’s a lot I’ve been told). It’s priced highly but worth every cent, and if you need an App to brag about your new iPad: this is it!

Note: iPad demo starts at 2:55


Bloomies is a colorful gardening game, full of bees. If that doesn’t sway you over, maybe the idea of fostering and nurturing your own garden does. The flowers need your constant attention and the gameplay is addictive just like any Tamagotchi-style game. Oh, and it happens to be made by two former colleagues of mine. It’s just a beautiful game, and so is their follow-up game Super Blast.


StickWars is a sort of Tower Defense game where you defend your castle from incoming stick figures by flicking them in the air or literally shaking them to the ground. The developer, John Hartzog, had never before worked with Objective-C or on mobile devices but he pulled it off. StickWars remains to this date within the Top 100 games and continues to be updated even a years after the initial release.


ZombieSmash is also a Castle Defense game, except that this time hordes of zombies are attacking and you get explosives, 16 ton weights, shotguns and other cool items that make a bloody mess to fend them off. Your castle is your barn and if you can defend it, you’ll be rewarded with a slow motion animation of the final zombie losings its, err, unlife. The outstanding feature of this game is certainly the ragdoll animation system that allows zombies to walk, crawl or otherwise try to move even if they lost some of their limbs.


Super Turbo Action Pig revives a simple gameplay concept of a scrolling level where your character always falls down except when you touch the screen to boost his jetpack. The extraordinary part here is that the game’s graphics are extremely well made and the overall presentation of the game, the trailer, the website and the humor are setting a great example.


Farmville, do I even have to explain what it’s about? It’s an incredibly successful Facebook game that has millions of players worldwide building their farms in an isometric landscape. It just goes to show how powerful Cocos2D is if a company like Zynga uses it to port it’s most successful game to the iPhone.


Zombie Farm came out on the iPhone even before Farmville, and it was also created with Cocos2D. It does have it’s own, unique edge and stands well on its own. If you have enjoyed Farmville, you haven’t played Zombie Farm yet! Visit the Zombie Farm forum thread.


Melvin Says There’s Monsters (iPad) is a beautifully animated cartoon kid story with professional quality voice overs. The story is cleverly constructed and has an insightful turning point. It’s a pleasure to watch even for an adult, and it also uses Cocos2D’s page flip animations very effectively. If you have an iPad and kids, it’s a must have!


Alice (iPad) is also a shining example of a kid’s book app for the iPad, made with Cocos2D and lots of Chipmunk physics mixed in for good measure. Visit the Alice forum thread.


Trainyard is an innovative puzzle game that was clearly engineered with the user in mind. It features a mode for the color blind, is optimized to use little battery power, saves and loads the game just as the user left it and even allows users to share puzzle solutions on the web, using a duplicate of the game engine written in Flash. This all besides being a really innovative puzzle game where you lay tracks and combine trains to match them with colored trainyards.


AbstractWar 2.0 is a dual-stick shooter featuring colorful and effectful geometric visuals like its role model game Geometry Wars on Xbox Live Arcade. It’s an intense space shooter with plenty of game modes. You can even play it in multiplayer via a Bluetooth connection and it allows you to use your own iPod music.


Fuji Leaves is an interesting music game, where dropping balls hit leaves and depending on speed and location of impact, a sound is played. With several balls on the screen bouncing around you can dynamically create musical scores. It’s intensely fascinating to play this game, trying to come up with interesting scores and just the right placement of leaves. Before you know it, an hour has passed.


Moonlights borrows the grid-building physics from another popular Indie game. If you wouldn’t know it, on first sight Moonlights looks and feels just like World of Goo, and that alone is no mean feat. Visit the Moonlights forum thread.


Checkmates Chess (iPad) is as gorgeous and elegant as chess can be. You can play against another human or the computer (well, against the iPad to be precise). Making use of the full size of the iPad, you can now leave your pieces at home. Visit the Checkmates Chess forum thread.


I’m out of “Office” …

On August 30, 2010, in Announcements, by Steffen Itterheim

Or, in other words, I’ll be away from home (which happens to be my office) from Tuesday (tomorrow) to and including Friday for a much needed short vacation. That is to say I’ll probably be unresponsive for the rest of the week and I’ll catch up on emails next week, please be patient.

At one day I’ll be visiting the Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg, the world’s largest model railroad exhibition, on Wednesdy or Thursday. On the off-chance that you’re in the Wunderland too and would like to meet me in person, send me an email. Maybe we find a time to meet up and have a quick chat and connect. Speaking of meeting, I’ll also hold a cocos2d presentation (in german) at this year’s Macoun conference in Frankfurt, October 2nd and 3rd where I’d be happy to meet up with you, if you happen to be there. And in general, if you’re able to come to Mainz we can meet up just to connect and talk about experiences, like I recently did with Johannes Seidel from Blacksmith Games. That was a meeting I enjoyed very much, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that he was also the person behind the AppventCalendar, which essentially spawned Free App A Day (run by someone else). He also had some great marketing ideas that helped make his game Plushed a success (before you ask: it’s made with Unity). And it’s a deserved success. Definetely watch out for more games from him, and follow him on Twitter.

Those developer experiences and life stories are very inspiring and a fun thing to hear and talk about. I’ve been reading a lot of Paul Graham’s Essays once again because he’s the go-to guy for those kinds of experiences in writing, and I bought Founders at Work for exactly the same reason. Motivation, inspiration and thinking outside the box. For that I’m very happy that I can read those essays, docs and eBoos on my wirelessly (meaning: no wifi) iPad by using Instapaper and GoodReader for eBooks. Have I ever used iBooks? No, I don’t need it thanks to these two excellent iPad Apps.

Before I sound too much like a product marketer … I’ll see/hear/write/email you next week!

About App Store whiners, again …

On June 9, 2010, in Mobile Business, by Steffen Itterheim

WOS Blog has a post online which really sums up well how i look at the App Store:

“Don’t believe anyone who whines that it’s hard to make money with a really good game on the App Store, viewers. They’re either lying, or imbeciles, or both.”

It’s called How not to do it and covers some basis of why certain Apps succeed while others fall by the wayside. Sometimes it’s a matter of beating someone to the market, other times to learn from other’s mistakes, but mostly to price your Apps fairly.

A while ago i read about Indie game developers who eventually thought it would be a good idea to spend 3-6 months on their next game, to sell the App by means of quality and content. While there are chances that this will work and even reward you greatly money-wise, it also increases your risks by several factors. You’re going down the same path that leads to similar problems of the AAA game developers, albeit on a much smaller scale. It’s a hit-driven business. If you did moderately well on your 1-2 month games, and then you do a 3-6 month game, your chances of making it a success get slimmer and slimmer. It does help to understand the market and marketing but even that won’t help you if the game doesn’t vibe with players.

So, would you rather have a less than 50% chance of making it (relatively) big, or a 100% chance of doing moderately well?

Of course, if you can keep running the 100% part of your business you should really consider making the bet. But if you have no money to spare you should stick with moderately well and instead keep pumping out moderately well doing games. Make 8 of those over the year and you got yourself a respectable business nonetheless.

I wonder what happened to those Indies and their “big project”? Hmmm …

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