This afternoon I will be arriving in San Jose for the BlackBerry Jam. I am looking forwards to seeing old friends, and meeting many new developers. If you see me, don’t be afraid to say hi. I am always interested in talking with other devs.
In San Jose for BlackBerry Jam
Xploding Boxes version 4.0 – new levels, new shapes, new devices
Xploding Boxes has been updated to version 4.0, bringing with it a collection of new features. This update comes with 20 new levels, increasing the total number of levels to 340. These new levels also support a new ‘Diamond’ shape in order to add more variety to the levels. Also the range of supported devices has expanded to include BlackBerry 10, and Windows 8 in addition to the existing support for Android, the Nook, BlackBerry phones, and the BlackBerry PlayBook.
New Diamond shape
The levels added in this version (321-340) introduce a new diamond shape. Unlike the boxes (which explode out in four directions), and the triangles (which explode in only one direction), the diamonds explode into two directions. As such their effect on a level is usually somewhere between that of a box and a triangle. This additional variable results in more level variation, and will allow for more creative levels to be designed.
New device support
Xploding Boxes started out exclusive to BlackBerry phones. Then a year ago, support was added for the BlackBerry PlayBook. This was followed by support for the Barnes and Noble Nook last December, and Android devices this past summer. Now version 4.0 adds in full support for BlackBerry10, and can even be downloaded from AppWorld today for those with the BlackBerry DevAlpha. Support has also been added for tablets and computers running Windows 8, however actual availability of the game in the Windows Store is dependent upon Microsoft’s whims.
About Xploding Boxes
Xploding Boxes is a strategy game for BlackBerry, Android, Nook, and Windows where the goal of the game is to start a chain reaction that will explode all of the boxes on the screen. Each level gives you a different number of touches, and requires a different strategy to solve.
The game itself, and the first 25 levels are available for free, while an in-app purchase can be used to access the rest of the levels for just $2.99 while maintaining your progress from the free levels.
Links & Information
- Xploding Boxes at BlackBerry AppWorld
- Xploding Boxes for Android at Google Play
- Xploding Boxes for Android at the Amazon App Store
- Xploding Boxes for the Barnes and Noble Nook
- Xploding Boxes News
- Xploding Boxes Website
- Ebscer on FaceBook
Hopes and Expectations for BlackBerry Jam
Last year before BlackBerry DevCon I wrote my expectations for the event. For the most part, it turned out that my expectations were wrong. Still, I figured that I would give it another go this year.
First off all, I expect the focus to be squarely on BlackBerry 10, with no time at all spent on the current BlackBerry 7 devices, and even the PlayBook being most ignored.
I think that RIM will show off their first two BlackBerry 10 phones. Even if a hands-on is not available, I think that RIM will be able to show off final renderings for the devices, and set expectations. Some may worry about an osborne effect, but that ship has already sailed.
I also expect RIM to release some version of BBM for the DevAlpha, as the roadmap indicates that the BBM APIs will be available.
I would love it if RIM would release a simulator for every BlackBerry 10 screen size that they plan on releasing. While the first phone will match the 768×1280 of the DevAlpha, it would be nice if there were simulators at 720×720, 720×1280, and 600×1024 as well. Most apps will be designed to work at all orientations, but it would be nice if there was an easy way to test this.
Most of all, I hope to be surprised. That RIM still has something up their sleeve that I don’t know about. Something that hasn’t been endlessly leaked on every blog. RIM did a good job with this at BlackBerry World in the spring, hopefully they can do it again.
Pixelated released for Windows Phone
After receiving millions of downloads on BlackBerry over the past three years, Pixelated is now also available on Windows Phone as well. Additionally a free trial of the app is available that matches the features found in the free version of Pixelated for the BlackBerry and the Nook.
How to Play Pixelated
Pixelated is an puzzle based strategy game that requires a mixture of skill and luck in order to accomplish. The object of the game is to change the colour of the squares until the entire screen is a single solid colour. Starting with the square in the upper left corner you can change the colour of the blocks in order to match that of the surrounding squares. This is done repeatedly until the entire screen is a single colour. The object of the game is to clear the screen in as few moves as possible. Under the default settings you must do so in under 22 moves in order to win.
Links & Information
99.6% of PlayBook users on OS 2.0 or higher
PlayBook users have continued to be very quick in updating to the newest operating system. August saw an astounding 99.6% of user running OS 2.0 or higher. The result is that developers should feel very confident that they can just release apps requiring a minimum OS of 2.0 without leaving any user behind. In fact the newest OS (2.0.1) is already being used by 98.6% of PlayBook users.
This data was taken from downloads of the popular PlayBook strategy game Pixelated. Data shown on the chart is from the beginning of June 2011 through the end of August 2012.
Ignoring RIM’s $10k guarantee
A few months ago I wrote about about RIM’s $10,000 gurantee on BlackBerry 10 apps at BerryReview. Since then RIM has released some more details about the program, and for the most part my initial assumptions were more or less correct. Yet as the launch of BlackBerry 10 gets closer, the existence of this offer seems less relevant.
Due to the target platforms of the program (requiring apps to be written in Cascades, C/C++, or HTML5), the details of the program (requiring integration of BBM, the Invocation framework, and legal disclaimers), and the limiting of the program to a single app per developer, it seems highly likely that none of this will qualify me to receive an extra payout. My established apps such as Pixelated and Xploding Boxes will easily sell over $10,000 in the first year and exclude me from any incentive to jump through the loop holes specifically for the sake of this program. Of course there are plenty of other reasons why integrating with services like BBM are a good idea, but this offer does not affect them. As such the best approach going forwards is probably to just ignore the fact that the $10k gurantee exists at all.
Of course this is kindof the point. The idea was never to offer prize money or a payout, but instead to simply offer some insurance on taking a risk on the new platform. RIM is guarantee that high quality apps will sell, and assuming that this is correct, then RIM will not have to pay anything out anyhow.
The main target of this offer appears to be developers of existing C/C++ and HTML apps on other platforms. By giving them a minimum revenue gurantee, it makes it much easier for them to justify the time and risk in porting over their apps to BlackBerry10. For those of us who have been selling apps on BlackBerry for a while now, we already know that we can expect to see sales, and as such this offer does not add much to the decision process, and can mostly just be ignored.
For more opinions on this program from some of the top BlackBerry developers see this post on the developer forums.
98.4% of BlackBerry users on OS 5.0+
August saw the percentage of BlackBerry users on OS 4.x drop to just over 1.5% while the newer OS versions continued to see gains. OS 7.0+ now accounts for 22.1% of BlackBerry users, while OS 6.0+ accounts for 52.5% of the devices.
This data was taken from downloads of the popular BlackBerry strategy game Pixelated. Data shown on the chart is from the beginning of Aguust 2011 through the end of August 2012.
Runaway Trains adds more levels
Runaway Trains has been updated to version 2.1 in BlackBerry AppWorld, the Nook Bookstore, Google Play, and the Amazon AppStore.
This new version of Runaway Trains adds levels 141-150, and also includes a few improvements to the game’s menu.
About Runaway Trains
Runaway Trains is a colorful strategy game for all ages where you must route the trains to the proper station. Each level progresses in difficulty and presents an unique puzzle which you must solve by finding a way to guide the coloured trains causing a collision or running out of track.
This is done by touching the intersections to toggle the open path of the tracks. If at any time the trains crash or end up at the wrong station, you will have lost and have to try again.
Links & Information
- Runaway Trains at AppWorld
- Runaway Trains for the Nook
- Runaway Trains on Google Play
- Runaway Trains on Amazon
- Runaway Trains News site
- Runaway Trains Website
- Ebscer on Facebook