Happy New Year – It’s 2011

Wow, 2010 was tough. I learned a lot though. It was a year of mobile development. It was also the most successful year for Photics.com – ever! This site has been online for 12 years, so that’s quite a statement. Looking at where Photics.com is now, and where it was a dozen months ago, I can see real progress. App development has been a boon for this website. So, if you’re wondering why I haven’t updated this site more frequently, it’s because I’m working on new apps.

If you look at the thumbnail image of this article, you can see a cool looking character. That’s essentially preview for Critique – a review app. (A modified version of that artwork was used for the iPhone / iPod Touch icon and main app screen.) Critique is a collection of iOS app reviews. The slogan is – The cool app about cool apps.

Around the holidays, I felt a need to take a short break from game development. Instead, I decided to play some games. It was great fun. But even this break was work related. The premier edition of Critique will include reviews for the games I played – Fruit Ninja, Cut the Rope, Angry Birds, The Game of Life, Scrabble, Spider-Man: Total Mayhem, Braveheart, Osmos, iBomber Defense, Netflix, Word Lens and Remoter.

I normally receive video games as gifts, but I don’t recall a Christmas with nine new games. That’s just how insane the iTunes App Store has been. Even though these are tough economic times, I was able to pick up bunch of games for 99¢ each. It certainly put me in the holiday mood.

Also, the Plush Gwen contest has ended. I went back and I reviewed hundreds of Photics.com comments. That was certainly a great task for the end of 2010. It reminded me about this history of this website. It is no longer a Guild Wars fansite. Instead, I make my own games. It was disappointing that the contest had to end in expiration. I’m surprised that Guild Wars 2 is still in development – with no beta in site.

Carlos Icaza of Ansca Mobile won the contest, with his response to the “GameSalad to Corona Conversions” article.  His post wasn’t spectacular, but it was well-timed, friendly and had serious repercussions for the future of this website and two others.

  • Feeling… 9 (See below)
  • Format… 1 (Only had line-breaks, no special formatting.)
  • Helpful… 8 (See below)
  • Guild Wars… 0 (Not about Guild Wars)
  • Originality… 4 (It was cleaver for Carlos to post there, but not spectacular.)
  • Popularity… 10 (See below)
  • Readability… 5 (Average reading, nothing spectacular but nothing bad.)
  • Spelling… 10 (All words spelled correctly.)
  • Timely… 10 (First post within 24 hours of a new post)
  • Friendly… 8 (Carlos seemed very helpful, even posting his email.)

When I first read that comment, I was filled with a wave of emotions – which is an important category in the contest. I felt surprise. I also felt a bit of dread. I realized that I had opened a new front in the iOS software development war. A Photics.com article would take center-stage in the GameSalad vs. Corona debate. That single post by Carlos probably lead to a significant price drop.  Today, GameSalad Professional is $499 and not $1999. That single post lead to, or enforced, a series of events that dramatically changed three communities.

Even with all that drama, I still haven’t messed around with the Corona SDK. Maybe I will in 2011. I don’t make New Years resolutions. I don’t need that kind of pressure. What would I put on my list if I did? …to update my blog every day? That’s not likely to hold. It is one of my goals to increase traffic to this website, but it’s been that way since 1998.

Right now, other projects are taking priority first. Not counting Critique, I’m currently working on four new apps, one relaunch and one update. My strategy is simple. If I can build a strong following for my apps, this site can become more popular than ever before.

It’s going to be an interesting year! :)