Sunday, August 30, 2009

MotoRokr S9-HD

Sound is also part of a an interactive experience. One of the worst things as a mobile designer is to watch someone hold a phone to their ear while playing a game. It takes their eye off the screen. I am hoping that the audio is understandable when the phone is a foot away from your face avoiding such activity. I just bought the Motorola Rokr S9-HD bluetooth stereo headphones to work with my iPhone. My goodness, the sound is way better than my old plug-in head set I wear while riding my road bike. When I get a call I can pick it up immediately rather than fumble for the phone. I just tested, if you wear the headset while playing the game you can hear the audio just fine. Bad news is I can't seem to get it to skip the the next song. I hope there is a fix.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ideas vs.Programming

The hardest part about any project is waiting for it to bake. Creating a game takes logic as well as creativity. I am an artist not a programmer. It's kind of like Star Wars. In the mid-eighties digital effects geniuses and movie makers had to figure out how to get the results they wanted. Tron lead to Star Wars where the right and left brains met. On a small level I am in the same boat. I know what I want, but I need help getting there. Creating an interactive story requires teamwork. The programmers and I are not seeing the same picture at the moment. They promise I will be happy. We'll see. I have been studying to learn my craft. You have to know what the phone is capable of and what you want to create. My strength is character driven, I am specializing in more visual, tactile apps rather than technical.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Geeks don't exercise

If you are reading this you have geek-like tendencies. Generally, geeks don't exercise. It's difficult walking away from your project, but getting outside can be a good thing. When you make your body work and let your mind relax answers to questions just come flying at you. Over the years I have been involved in many sports. 30 years of baseball and softball, football, golf, tennis, waterskiing, body surfing, snow skiing and bowling. You have to commit just like you do creating a new iPhone app. These days I row and bike ride. Time in the saddle makes you better. Now my exercise routines take approximately two hours. Years ago I had the golf addiction.That's 6 hours to play a round. On a bike I can ride 30 miles in 2 hours. Rowing is similar. When I get out of my head I find problem solving easier. But a few weeks ago I hit a buoy. Dang.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

T-Shirt Give away

My app should be ready for Apple approval soon. It's time to reassess my marketing position and get ready for release in approximately 3 - 4 weeks. I have been monitoring the app scene and have decided to forgo adding Admob to the free version. From what I have learned, it doesn't add to the bottom line. Word of mouth is what you want to make happen. I am going to try some grass roots methods to get people talking. I went to a street festival concert last night. One thing I was reminded of is that people will do anything for a free T-Shirt. I am going to do a T-Shirt give-away. prints custom jobs or I may go the CafePress route. Coffee Mugs will also be a good office related giveaway.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Be Yourself

Most anyone that knows me personally for the long haul is aware that my right knee is a painful issue related to a football injury in the mid eighties. I have a scar a foot long. I have had 5 surgeries since to correct the hatchet job done to fix me 25 years ago. Of all things, I just went to a Beverly Hills function supporting a charity and sat next to a doctor who was in intern at County USC when I got hurt. It's been a long time, but I swear I remember him checking me in a huge evaluation room. How is this relevant to creating an iPhone app? Well, back then I was not focused. I spent a week in County Hospital in agony, Demerol every 3 hours for 7 days. I had been drawing since 5, I decided to sketch to keep my sanity. During that time I decided to make art my career. So what lesson did I learn from blowing out my knee?

Be yourself.

I had a teammate named Mike that was very quick. He could bob and weave and stop on a dime. I caught a pass and and ran for the sideline to turn the corner. I remember thinking, "Do Mike's move". I slammed on the breaks and threw a fake. I felt a level of pain that is hard to describe. Kind of like a planet landed on my knee. I got hurt because I was mimicking someone else. Create your own truth using the gifts God gave you.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"The Part-timer"

I had a comment that my art was "sick". Hmmm, first reaction is... does that mean good or bad? It made me think. I AM co-creator of an animated show called, "The Part-Timer". It is a show written by a truly "sick" (in a good way) writer named Justin Adams, who worked 50 part-time jobs. I animated episodes where he gets fired at the end of every episode. And actually, the shark scene does make me question my upbringing. It's funny when you look back at what you have created, collaborating with Justin was unique. We had fun making "The Part-timer". I may re-publish some of the short episodes and add a "bug" promoting my new business related app in the corner.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Crash Test Dummies

In the real world, game companies have the time and budget to test different versions of their products long before it is introduced. Try it on boys, try it on girls. When do you release? Should the character do this or do that? When my game is done, it is going to market. I don't have the luxury of corporate backing on this project. This one is on my dime. What's the other choice?...start over? I don't think so. I'll do the testing real time. I believe it will be a unique offering. Getting the word out will be key. If it's not fun to play, the word will stop. The reviews can be faked at first, but if you have thousands of downloads, people will speak the truth.

Being that I have an entertainment rather than gaming background I story boarded and planned like I was creating a short film. I am making this game piece by piece, one foot at a time. Most projects have a deadline. A client or your own brain demand you finish now. In a way, this is my life's project. No rush. It isn't tied to a holiday or occurrence. This is about people that hate their boss. There are cave drawings with that theme. I am the client. I always had the idea of verbal interaction with the Boss character. I wrote all the lines to be used in the game and recorded them myself. I made versions of the game in Flash to test. Then I got pro voice talent on The guy was great. He did all my lines within a couple of days for about $300- $400. No studio time, no engineer. The files are excellent. When the game comes out the voice will really stand out.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Social Media and iPhone app promotion

I was slow to jump into the Facebook crowd. I was too busy doing other things and I didn't want to get sucked in. I never did the Classmates either. Today's way of hooking up is online. Heck, that's how dating is done. The art world is changing really fast. If you ignore social media you will be ignored. I have been on it for about 3 or 4 weeks. Immediately Facebook made high school show up. I have talked to some great friends from a long time ago. Thumbs up on Facebook, all good for me. Linked-In is pretty cool as well. I have connected with existing business acquaintances as well as met some really great new contacts. It is definitely a business atmosphere. There are groups aimed specifically at iPhone marketing. YouTube I am prepared for, I have 4 commercials ready to go. I''ve got Twitter started as well. The idea is to get traffic and word of mouth started a good month before release.

Friday, August 14, 2009

iPhone App - Flash demos

One thing I have found over the years is that people don't understand directions. Reading helps, but a visual drives the point home. Being that I animate in Flash it is great for demos. I am making interactive versions of the app at the same scale as the iPhone. In fact, everything I create is to scale with the objective of avoiding optical illusion. Having a demo helps in explaining actions to the client as well as describing what's needed to the programmer. I even throw in finger movements. Carpenters say, "measure twice, cut once". A moving storyboard helps you get to step two with a lot of information. SDK programming is not the place to experiment on look and feel. I have always made better digital art by drawing first in a sketchbook.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Babies, Puppies and Super Models

I dropped by to see my friends at web2mobiledesign in Santa Monica a few weeks ago. Michael and Nik were busy but I spent a few minutes with them. I brought up the subject of app promotion. Nik mentioned that you cannot go wrong with babies, puppies and super models. I just so happened to be a baby cartoon expert. YouTube promotion is part of my social networking plan. I have prepared 5 (1-minute) HD YouTube demo commercials. One features a baby kicking the Boss's butt. I remember watching old Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons. Rocky would say, "You'd do THAT to a baby?" Bullwinkle would answer "You bet Rock, and I'd do it to you". Hugh DeMann actually forces the babies to work for him in the video, he deserves a beating.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Pizza Hut iPhone App

I had mentioned a pizza app in a previous post. Pizza Hut has come out with their own app. One of the things I read is that you want to fill your first 20 reviews with positive messages. This takes an organized effort. Eventually reality hits and the reviews truly reflect the value of the app. But when a consumer checks, they see those first few. Obviously whoever made the Pizza Hut app didn't think of this. The public took care of it and it isn't pretty. There is a lot of mention of "sucking" and " I hate this app". Corporate creation is tough, too many chiefs. They actually make you register online before you can move forward. They could have done that in the app and made it more seamless. They did get 150,000 downloads in a two week period. My guess 149,000 deleted it first day.

There is a good article at:

Brain Freeze

One of the things on my laundry list is to write a blog. You are reading this so it is working and I am following the plan. Writing is cool, but you want people reading. I Googled "promote your blog" and started taking note. I joined BlogCatalogue, Technotrati and StumbleUpon. I also logged onto Linked-in. Recently, I joined a group called "Intelligent Mobile Marketing" and read a post by Matthew Spight about target marketing. His website's aim is to index and market business intelligence blogs from around the world. That can be found at He got back to me quickly with a personal note, so I got the feeling like I just met a new colleague rather than signed up for a newsletter. I am finding that I am reading and writing much more these days. The left side of my brain is normally dormant. I'm not as dumb as I think I (the drawing of the frozen nerd is available on


One gag I want to build into the game I call "earthquake". When you shake the phone Hugh bounces all over the office. The office pieces need to fit and bounce. I drew a desk in Illustrator and created a rug using PhotoShop using an Alien Skin filter. The same for a computer screen and plaque. I wanted a chair that could spin. Instead of 3D I photographed my own chair in about 12 positions. I designed the window treatment last after deciding on Hugh's outfit colors. Now the stage is set.

The Returnimator

Communication is a big part of success. Phone, cellphone, headset, bluetooth, e-mail etc. need to work when you need them. My bluetooth in my car needs to be paired every time I get in my car, headsets last about two months, my phones work occasionally. Now it's the home phone. I checked out a unit and bought it. This time the demo phone doesn't match the phone in the box. There is no 2.5 mm jack. Son of a bitch, back I go.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bowling Balls, Hand Grenades and Donuts

My original plan called for 12 weapons to attack Hugh DeMann. From a gaming perspective I had to figure out the game play, scoring and consequences of each action. There are 16 contact points on each level, X 12 weapons. Uh oh...I have to figure out a bunch of possibilities. What I know now is that about 4 of the 12 levels need to change. I have designed elements that are difficult to program. So the flame thrower is out, so is the welding torch. Back is the grenade and I have added bowling balls and donuts. These are tough decisions to make, insults are tied to each weapon. I photographed the donuts to use in the game. After I shot them they were eaten with 2% milk.

Don King

Don King has always been an amazing person to me. Of course the hair as well as the vocabulary. I have always wondered how he got so famous and I really don't know. But it always looks like he is falling out of a building. I am attempting to contact Don to see if he would be interested in promoting my new app. I drew this 10 years ago for DL Hughley's animated show. Don King could sell ice to Eskimos.

Things change

For years I have been angry about what happened to me in the early 80's. I was transferred by my company to Las Vegas to sell terminals that read credit cards by the magnetic strip. Nobody was interested and the technology was weak. This was at the same time that AT&T was deregulated as well as a switch from analog to digital. I was stranded in a hell hole. My new boss, who was having an affair with the CEO inherited my mess. I was basically screwed. I quit before I was fired, I should have sued.

Now I read "The Tipping Point" and start to understand what happened. I was caught in the middle of a storm I didn't realize existed. I have been more aware of the cellphone's adoption as well as flat screens. Much of what exists now seems like it has always been around. Not.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Picking iPhone app marketing tips from the list of 50

I am using about half of the 50 tips

1) get noticed on the App Store
2) submit to review sites
3) Public Relations
4) AddThis
5) Q&A participation
6) create presentation walk-thru
7) tell-a-friend in-app feature
8) exclusive app content
9) leave a rating button
10) Twitter
11) search directory registration
12) Facebook fan page
13) create trial and paid app versions
14) content optimization for search engine rankings
15) showcase app in new website
16) e-mail campaign
17) Linked in promotion
18) word of mouth
19) blog
20) YouTube demo
21) YouTube Commercials
22) Digg promotion
23) Craigslist Ad

Hugh DeMann vs. Don King

I had mentioned in a previous post that Hugh DeMann was the object of affection in my new game. I actually designed him over 25 years ago. As a kid I played and coached little league. Hugh was a mix of all the asshole parents that I had to deal with while coaching. He had a bald head, Hawaiian shirt, plaid shorts, black socks, flip-flops and a huge mouth with a cigar. Later I just used his finger to portray the hand of authority. I have a job for Hugh. It's to get his ass kicked by a lot of different people. I guess this makes me a little like Don King.


When I work, I work to scale both in storyboards and demos. This way I can look at my creation from an iPhone perspective. The first problem in my game is your hand gets in the way if you use your index finger to hit with the boxing glove. I need to create a game play that gets you into it, not just press a button. I came up with flinging the gloves with your thumbs, it makes it kind of Wii like. I actually picked up the phone and faked like I was playing. After that I made a demo version in Flash. Now it is real time. Boxing gloves work, I am in the process of making other weapons work in the playing environment.

The Tipping Point

I had heard of a book that talks about trends called "The TippingPoint" by Malcom Gladwell. I took note but had not acted. While driving yesterday I heard an interview on Sirius radio, a caller mentioned the book again. I found a Borders and bought it right away. I am now on page 50. I try and listen now and then. That is easier when you are alone in the car.

Does the game make cents?

Game play is hard to imagine. I have chosen to put a guy behind a desk that insults you at work. Then you smack him. This doesn't require all the features available, but the app will work on most iPhones. Checking Google Insights, business game interest has stayed steady for a number of years. Regionally thinking, the only limitation is the English language. I would say a large number of iPhone and iPhone touch users will have an interest in my game if it plays well.

Registering as a developer with Apple

Registering as a developer with Apple

Sounds easy, just like the commercials to use the phone. Sometimes that "tweedle-dee" music goes away, it get's frustrating. It all depends, if you register as a company be prepared to show your documentation. It seems to take longer when you are a company rather than individual. After that, they send you an activation code. When I first attempted to register as a developer, I had a partner that wanted the name iPhone's Creation. Bad move. This can add weeks to your approval as a developer. Don't do anything that includes the name iPhone or Apple or use images in your apps that look like iPhones. Sounds basic, but double check yourself. Also watch what you say in your descriptions on the App Store. I had some trouble getting the website to accept my payment. Five phone calls later I get it done, approval code a few minutes later.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The First Dog

After reading for a few days I wrote a list of possible things to do with an iPhone. One idea was to throw a ball to a dog. This evolved into throwing a frisbee to the Obama's dog on the White House lawn, then get the Humane Society involved. TheFirstDog was my first app. My approach put me in hot water with Apple.

At the time iFart was a big deal. Simulating bodily functions was not my idea of a good game. I wanted to appeal to a large audience. About this time, Madoff got busted in his Ponzi scheme as well as the economy was tanking. It hit me that people would be mad at their boss. It was suggested we have a second title ready soon after TheFirstDog. That would be my new app, code named Hugh DeMann.


My first idea was an "Insult Maker". It was really a lame idea looking back. I found a pirate insult app very similar to my idea. I thought about a cab finder, when I checked it had already been done many times over. Which is a good point. Look to see if your app already exists. Read the reviews on the ones that are like yours. My second idea was a really cool pizza app. I came up with some great stuff but I don't own a pizza parlor. One day I'll pitch Pizza Hut, but for now I don't think that's where I want to go. That's a tough sell. When you first sign up your thoughts are to make apps that make sense to use. You are a year late on most basic ideas. From now on it is going to take some thinking to please a tough audience. I don't plan on making apps and "see what happens". If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

iPhone in Action

I bought a book titled "iPhone in Action" by Christopher Allen and Shannon Appelcline. I am not a programmer, I am an artist. My goal was to understand enough to be able to interact with a programmer and have a meaningful discussion. One of the first things you get from the book is that the iPhone is different. It's always on, power conscious, location aware, orientation aware and touch sensitive. (I wish I lived my life like that) You can design for the web or native on the iPhone. There are advantages and disadvantages to both methods. I won't go to much farther on this subject. Buy the book if you want to learn how things work.


Many years ago I liked playing video games. Mattel Intellivision was an early favorite, we played that game until it fell apart. Actually my cat chewed the cords. The thing about Intellivision was the fun factor. Very limited graphically at today's standards, but the game play in baseball and football was very addicting. Some games look good, but don't play well. I want my game to reflect my art style and have simple play that doesn't get boring. I realize that the game may only be played 4 or 5 times after purchase. It is my goal to systematically inflict as much humor as possible in those 5 visits. I am creating for an iPhone. The next issue is screen size in relation to thumbs plus character interaction. How big can I make the characters? What actions are possible?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Michael Jackson

I normally don't get involved with fan worship. That isn't what I am writing about. For me it's just clearing my head. When someone dies that is about your age and visible in your life it makes you think. He did effect my life.

Michael Jackson and I were born within a week of each other in 1958. My first concert was the Jackson 5 at the Hollywood Bowl Aug 8, 1971. What I remember is a sea of bobbing afros while Michael was singing ABC. I drew a cartoon of him in 2006 as a wallpaper for mobile phones.

In 2009 in my iPhone app TheFirstDog, Bo, the Obama's dog dances when he catches a frisbee twice. He moonwalks. He was bigger than Elvis, amazing entertainer. He will be missed and remembered.


Being that I am a cartoonist my apps reflect that mind set. I am not making standard SDK apps, I am using the screen as an interactive play device. As an example, TheFirstDog app has you throw a frisbee to Bo on the White House lawn. My next app is business related, but a game.

For now, the title of my app will be code named "Hugh DeMann". Hugh is the boss at the DeMann Corporation. He will insult you, a bell will ring (Jerry Springer style) and two boxing gloves will appear. You hit him with punches while he moves like George Bush dodging a shoe. There will be a free and a paid version. Hidden clues about the game will leak through out through social media.

I have been working on the app for close to 4 months at this point. There are a number of cool innovations.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Bernie Madoff

Watching TV, I saw a segment about a guy that made statues of Bernie Madoff that you would destroy with a gold hammer. He was selling them for $100. I don't know if he sold any but it got me thinking. My first experiment was designing a game where you could beat the crap out of Bernie. I thought twice after making the demo. One thing I have learned is to stay away from current events, spicy foods, Ponzi schemes and celebrities.

Looking at demographics my questions was, who is holding an iPhone? What do they have in common? What do they want in an app? Most apps fill a need, measure this, find that, on and on 65,000 times and counting. I decided to make an app aimed at the typical office worker. Everyone holding an iPhone pays about $70 a month. They either have a job or don't have a job which means they want to smack their current boss or the one that fired them. "Hugh DeMann" will be an app where you take out your angst on a fictional character.

The most important part to me is making a game that is fun to play. Word of mouth goes a long way. The free version will display what is possible. $2 bucks gets you twelve levels and 10 weapons. A hamburger costs $5 and it's gone in 5 minutes. If it is good, people will buy it.

Marketing an app using Tim Cascio's 50 tips

Overall Scope

If you are reading this blog, you are involved in app development. We all have different backgrounds and bring different skills to the SDK table. I have been a freelance artist for over 20 years. I went digital in the 90's like a lot of folks. Adapting to new mediums wasn't my art plan, I wanted to be Charles Schulz. Newspapers are dwindling and pen & ink cartoons are not the easy way to be successful in today's world. My friend Dave Richmond always said "Don't get caught selling buggy whips". My art quest has lead me to the iPhone.

I have published two apps to this point. Here is an article in Forbes about how I ended up in Apple's dog house.

Knowing what I know I searched for a guru. Someone who would tell me how it's done. I found PR companies without phone numbers, companies that promise automated social media and a few good folks willing to share information. One of which was Tim Cascio. He actually had a phone number and a voice. We talked for at least half an hour, nice guy.

What I did find out is no one has all the answers. It's like asking how do you write a hit song? Tim wrote a list of 50 things to do. I am going to take my latest app idea and apply a number of those tactics. I will blog the whole process. Hopefully you will learn from my experience.