Attack of the Baby Monkey!

August 11, 2011 by

We’ve been told that Baby Monkey (Going Backwards on a Pig) will be making an appearance on Attack of the Show for G4TV!  The show will be on this Monday the 15th at 7pm ET/PT so please set your TiVo/DVRs. Please note, there may be a chance we get bumped.

Thanks to everyone who has been supporting Baby Monkey (Going Backwards on a Pig).  We are humbled by the overwhelmingly positive responses we have been receiving in the past week.

With your support we’ve been able to steadily climb up the charts.  On launch day, exactly a week ago, we broke the top 200 paid games.  Today, with the vast number of tweets and reviews, we broke the top 50 paid games and are currently listed as the #1 Paid Kids game!  Needless to say we are very excited and extremely grateful to the community.

For those of you who want to become a part of our community, please like us on Facebook and follow us on twitter.

Below are a few quotes and comments that have caught my attention, but really its a drop in the bucket.  To get the full effect you need to check out the customer reviews and youtube comments, as many of them are truly hilarious.  I guess I should expect nothing less from Parry Gripp‘s community as that guy is surrounded by comedy.


From the Press:

“A pretty reasonable price to pay for pure happiness.” - Joystiq Review

“It’s a must-buy title with lots of fun and replay value.” - TUAW

“Baby Monkey (going backwards on a pig) is a great time-waster that can be enjoyed by the whole family.” - ‘CNET Review’

“Endearing entertainment for a dollar — well worth it.” - AppAdvice 

“A ridiculously cute time waster with a stupidly catchy soundtrack, Baby Monkey knows what it’s doing.” - Touch Arcade Review 

“The more I played this app, the more fun I had” - Family Friendly Gaming 

“You have yourself one delightfully kooky video game.” - GamePro Review


From Customers:

My current favorite iTunes Review:

“Before Baby Monkey, I was depressed, jobless and alone. Ever since I started playing, my confidence has soared. I have a smoking hot fiance, a job and I’ve never been happier! Thank you Baby Monkey for saving my life!  - Manatee Panic

My current favorite YouTube Review:

“This makes me wonder why there still is war in this world.”


I just couldn’t get that song out of my head…

August 4, 2011 by

Once school broke for summer, our house was a pretty popular spot for my two girls and their friends. It’s hot here in Tucson, so Dahlia (age 10) and Daisy (age 9) typically spend the day submerged in the pool. This year, I noticed they spent most of their time on dry land passing around their iPods giggling about the latest hilarious YouTube video from Parry Gripp; Baby Monkey (riding backwards on a pig). It seemed every time a new friend came over, the video was shown and laughter ensued. I had a feeling I was witnessing a viral phenomenon unfold right before my eyes, so I had to see what it was all about.

After watching the video for the 4th or 5th time (kids never play the thing just once btw), I knew it was something special. The next day, as I was singing the song in the shower (and in the car, and on the phone), I decided I had to share this with the team. If they felt the same way then maybe there was a game in there somewhere.

Fast forward 2 weeks and the video had spread through each of our family and friends lists. The video is hilarious, the song is catchy. We had to make this into a game. Mark reached out to Parry and before you know it, we had an agreement to use his song and make the official Baby Monkey iPhone game. We were chest deep in a few other game ideas, as well as perfecting our new toolset. We decided to drop everything and get Baby Monkey to market as fast as possible, utilizing the core of our new tools to accelerate development. The goal was to complete design, production and development within 3-4 weeks.

The games I design tend to be a bit more complicated. I am an avid strategy gamer and my design tendencies lean towards that genre, which is not always conducive to making games that I can play with my kids. With Baby Monkey we are catering to a younger, more casual audience, so we wanted to design a cute little game that was easy to play and hopefully captured that same special something that we all saw in Parry Gripp’s video. I was really looking forward to finally making a game that my kids would enjoy and share with their friends. Little did I know they would become even more involved in the process than I expected.

When I told my kids we were making the Baby Monkey game, they could not have been more excited. Both Dahlia and Daisy would spend a few hours in my office every day helping to build the levels and test the game. What better way to see how your target demographic experiences your game than by watching them play it. Better yet, get them to help us make the game. If I saw they were consistently blocked by a certain combination of obstacles, I adjusted it a bit until it was less of a challenge. We did not want to make this game difficult initially, but allow for a slow steady increase in speed and tempo so the challenge increases the farther you get. It enables the youngest of players to jump right in and enjoy themselves, but leaves room for us competitive adults to compete for the high score on GameCenter. Daisy actually become so good at the game that for a few weeks she had the score that none of us could beat. We even decided to add an achievement (Stomping Daisies) for when a player passes her once in-surmountable score. It really was a fantastic time in working with my girls on the game. We spent some quality time working on Baby Monkey together. They learned to appreciate the art of game development and they both have shown an aptitude for design and identifying fun gameplay experiences. As we continue to build our library of iOS games I look forward to seeing how I can involve them even more into our process.


Launched! Baby Monkey (Going Backwards on a Pig)

August 4, 2011 by

Check out our first game in the app store: Baby Monkey (Going Backwards on a Pig)

More details coming soon… in the meantime, enjoy the game!


Casual Connect and Our First Title

July 18, 2011 by

Exactly a month has passed since we tossed down the ‘game in a month’ gauntlet.  So where is our game you ask?  Well, its complete, apple approved, and waiting for us to hit the big red button.

As much as it pains me not to launch our game right this very minute, we are going to try our best to be patient and work out a few marketing related details.  As soon as we get that worked out, we’ll see what happens when we hit the big red button.

If you want a sneak peak we will have a demo on us as Casual Connect this week, just shoot @kihongames a message and we’ll figure out the details on meeting up.  Hope to see you there!


Game Concept to Apple Store in a Month

June 17, 2011 by

No sleep till Casual Connect!  We decided to put our long term projects on hold to tackle a simple game with a short timeline.  With Seattle’s Casual Connect quickly approaching, it makes for a perfect deadline to meet.

We roughed out some ideas and concept art over the weekend and jumped into production yesterday.  I’m very excited to share our direction but will need to stay tight-lipped at least until we submit it to Apple.  Until then, all hands on deck.  Even Dan is diving in from his vacation in Hawaii, now that takes dedication!


For us to have the game in Apple’s store by July 19th, we have decided to shoot to submit it by July 5th, giving us roughly 3 weeks of production.

In the immortal words of Leeroy Jenkins:

“Thumbs up. Lets do this!”

Labs: XCode Detective Work

June 13, 2011 by

Taking the magic out of compilation gives me a lot of peace of mind. Sometimes there can be some really confusing behavior when it comes to static libraries. Its important to use the tools XCode gives you to get clues to solve your problems. Verifying the steps XCode is taking to create your application provides a much deeper understanding of the compilation process. Here are some tips to help out with linking, build products, and static libraries.

Read more…

Labs: XCode Static Library Pitfalls

June 10, 2011 by

Much, much, much has been written on the various processes available to get static libraries to function in XCode. But somehow, these all seemed to have problems for me, in many different ways. In my journey to getting static libraries working I tried all kinds of weird things, and in the end, I think I have something that functions as expected. I have created a sample workspace that illustrates how to set up an ios and osx application that each use two versions of a static library. This entry details the hoops jumped through, and gotchas to avoid.

Read more…

AMF: Not just for Flash anymore.

May 13, 2011 by

Things have been quiet on the blog front, mainly because we’re busy working on stuff that we can’t talk about. One thing that I have been researching though is protocols and serialization. I’ve had a few conversations about all the various formats out there, and I wanted to talk about a great tech: AMF.

For purposes of this post, I’m going to use the term ‘protocol’ loosely. A protocol to me can mean many things: serialization, deserialization, messages, gateways, code generation, etc. Yes, I know AMF isn’t technically a protocol. Please forgive me, purists.

I’ve used a lot of different protocols: SOAP, RESTful, and various and sundry custom protocols. At the end of the day, I seem to keep coming back to AMF.

Read more…

Labs: iTorque2D speed improvements

April 15, 2011 by

I have received feedback regarding my tests that my numbers were totally off. Michael Perry from Garage Games took time out and ran my tests…and he measured 49fps to my 1fps! Michael was able to get a couple of the people on Garage Games IRC to reproduce his results, meaning we had multiple confirmed reports of 49fps.

Read more…

Labs: Mobile Games Marketing via ChartBoost

April 14, 2011 by

ChartBoost announced last week that they “are launching [their] first tool: cross promotion through customized boot up interstitials.

Who is ChartBoost?  And what are boot up interstitials???

ChartBoost may be new on the mobile scene, but their team is not.  The founders have past experience at Tapulous and according to their recent blog post:

We have been working on the App Store since before it was even born

That should cover the who, but what about cross promotion boot up interstitials? Luckily, I had the pleasure of chatting with Maria Alegre, co-founder of ChartBoost, a few weeks ago and she was able to explain this in further detail.

Lets start with the cross promotion bit.  When I hear cross promotion I think of banners above web games that display callouts to go try some other game.  Typically, publishers either have to pay for these ads or they can trade… ex: give 100 clicks away for your game in exchange for 80 back.  The assumption here is that even though your players are leaving your game, they will still come back PLUS you will have 80 new users on top of the returning players.  Also, there is some ‘strategery’ in who to display the banners to as some publishers only display the ads to players who are not buying in-game purchases.

In ChartBoost’s case, cross promotion is not a typical banner above the app, instead it is through ‘customized boot up interstitials’.  ChartBoost’s interstitials are full screen advertisements.  They are called ‘boot up’ since they get the most bang for their buck if they are shown when the apps starts; however, I am under the impression that you could display them at any time. The word ‘customized’ is key, because you can format the advertisement to mimic your game’s art style and thus make it appear more like news instead of an annoying ad.

Although I do not believe they are using ChartBoost, Maria told me to check out Miniclip.  Miniclip has an example of a full screen ad (or interstitial) in their game Fragger.  After a few levels you may see an ad similar to the following:

They had recently released iStunt2 and were using these full page ads in their existing titles to encourage their user base to try their latest and greatest.  Click ‘Get It Now!!!’ (and yes, they did just put 3 exclamations on that button) and you will be taken to iStunt2′s app store page.

Ok, so if MiniClip did that without ChartBoost, why do we need ChartBoost?

Well, for one, you can use the cross promotion aspect and buy/sell/trade installs with other games.  But secondly, and what I am most interested in, is the analytics and fine tuning that ChartBoost provides. They will handle tracking impressions, clicks, and installs.  Plus, they have tools to let you tweak who sees the ads and how frequently they are shown.

Lets say our studio releases a new game: “Avian Exasperation!”.

If we have ChartBoost already installed in our previous titles we can start a campaign across those titles.  We can set parameters to ensure those who are already enjoying our latest irked birds game will not see the ad at all.  For everyone else, we can set how many times and how often the ad will be shown.  ChartBoost will keep track of all of the impressions/clicks/installs and report back to via their web app.

And there you have it. ‘Customized boot up interstitials’ in a nutshell.