Tuesday, 30 July 2013

I have a new podcast

I now have a podcast. Here I will talk about what's going on at Mammoth Interactive. I will also talk about current events and give tips as well. So tune in and subscribe.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

In app purchases continued

This post is for the parents. Imagine when you were a kid, would your parents give you their credit card and drop you off at Toys 'R' us? Probably not. Would you drop off your kid at Toys 'R' us with your credit card? Probably not.

Then why would you give your kids access to your credit card for the app store. Doing so is like dropping them off at a toys store with your credit card.

There is a simple solution. Have them make an account and if they want a game give them a gift card. If they get the gift card, there will be no link to your credit card. This way they can buy games on their iPhone and not have it hooked up to your credit card.

Just educate yourself on how technology works. Save yourself the trouble of a 3000 dollar IAP bill. 

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

In app purchases and a developer's point of view.

Too many stories like this have popped up.


In this story a family was charged 3000 dollar for in app purchases. If you don't know IAP are purchases that you make inside an app for more content. App developers usually give away their product for free and people buy what's inside the app.

Let me explore this and give you my point of view. First of all I really dislike IAP not only from a business point of view but from a consumer point of view. The biggest issue that encompasses this entire debate is the relationship between the customer and paying money in the app store. Customers on the app store have a toxic view of money especially money upfront. If I charge 2 dollars for an app upfront people tend to hate that. Whereas if I give the app away for free, have ads in it and then charge two dollars then all of a sudden people are happy.

I have never seen so much hate for so few dollars. Keep in mind that people pay way more money for stuff that doesn't work. If we fix this problem then a lot of this issue will go away. The reason is that if you want to make a game you pretty much have to give it away for free, that is if you want to make money. This model is called freemium and I dislike it as well. What really needs to happen is that parents need to know about this business model and know that it usually costs more. Remember there is no such thing as free.

On top of this if you go the free route then there will be ads in the app. These ads will not be regulated so it's possible an 8 year old will see an e-harmony app or something similar to that effect. There are no regulations around mobile ads so if you are a parent and are concerned about that what do you do? Simply you pay the 2-10 dollars for the game upfront. This way there will be no ads and there will be no IAP.

I personally like this approach the best. It's the same business model we have for virtually everything else in the world, why shouldn't it be fore the app store as well? The freemium model can easily be abused by the wrong people. Imagine if somebody just gave you a free coffee on the street. Would you be suspicious? Use the same caution with software.

I should point out that there is a difference between freemium and samples. Everybody has free samples or demos but the demo usually expires. Freemium never expires.

The best thing parents and developers can do is just pay the money up front. It makes more sense and you won't get anything you didn't bargain for. There are free games as well but they are usually ad supported. If you are a parent I will leave the choice up to you. I make sure all of my apps have not IAP and that you can just download the app for a few dollars. It does hurt sales a bit but I feel that it's the best choice in the long run.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Changing how I think about music

I have been composing and playing music for a while. I have even composed several scores to XBOX games and many other video games. I have a different approach to musical composition when it comes to note choice. What I do is compose music according to intervals instead of chord progressions. What this means is that chord has certain intervals in it and I compose the melody and baseline with those intervals. This is in contrast to most other music where people have a key, a chord progression and melody in the key.

I chose to do this differently because it sets me apart from most other composers and thus makes me sound more unique. I didn't think this up myself, a classical composer of Paul Hindemith really flushes out this idea. If you listen to his music is sounds familiar and different at the same time. Guitar players tend to think with intervals versus keys because it is easier to think about music this way on the guitar. If you want to listen to a song that uses intervals instead of keys, listen to smells like teen spirit by Nirvana.


So why am I going to change my style. Again I do all of the music to my games and I feel like I have to abandon the interval system and go to the key system or at least for the most part I have to do this. I feel that the interval system is just too abstract for people to instantly enjoy especially when it comes to game music. One thing I would also like to do is make atonal music and put it in games. I feel that it does offer some contrast.


The main reason I am switching is because I have been composing several songs in the interval format and the magic just isn't happening. I switch to the chord/key method and the magic starts to happen. If you wan to here a Paul Hindemith song you can check this one out. It sounds pretty epic. Most people don't know about Hindemith so check out this song. It might be a bit weird but the pacing of this song works out quite well.


Thursday, 18 July 2013

My course is featured on the Udemy Blog

My games course is featured on the Udemy blog. You can enter the course for a discount here. In this course you also get game ready images to use in your game!


Here is the blog if you want to read it.


Monday, 8 July 2013

The problem with netflix

I love Netflix. It's awesome. The problem is that it costs too little. This makes me instantly unpopular but let's face facts. Remember when you used to pay subscriptions for magazines. You would either pay a subscription for each magazine or a bundle. One thing that didn't happen is that you wouldn't pay 8 dollars and get whatever magazine you wanted.

I know there are more costs with physical goods but Netflix won' work on the same principle. Simply the producers don't get enough money. What would work is 8 dollars for the base and then another 8 for ShowTime, HBO etc. This way they could actually make money with what they produce. For the most part the new digital model doesn't really affect the top shows. But what it does affect is the middle shows. It pushes all the money to one end. There are lots of shows that were possible under the cable model but are not possible under the Netflix model. If anything Netflix should cost more like 20-80 dollars a month. I know that sounds a like a lot but in reality this is what it needs to be in order for traditional companies to mosey over to the new side.