Best Soc.io Games of August 2014

Posted by Andreja Popovik | Posted in Soc.io News | Posted on 02-09-2014 | Comments 0

August was another great month at Soc.io! Apps kept on coming and our team kept on play-testing and reviewing. We enjoyed playing some great word puzzles, running fast in endless runners and saving the world by solving math problems. Having a lot of awesome developers on our side always brings new wonders like cute bugs, unique gameplay ideas and marvelous art. Hard-working developers are our heroes! That’s why we go deep into every app, we advise developers on how to monetize better and can’t wait to see what comes next from their creative minds.

 

As always there is no NUMBER ONE app for the month of August, just a small group of apps that we really liked.

  • Futile Tiles: A simple game in which you fit blocks into corresponding holes. With tons of different ways to play the game, nice minimalistic design, co-op and VS multiplayer modes and great music, Futile Tiles will test your speed & reflex, eye to hand coordination and will surely give you hours of unique puzzle entertainment. (full review here)

  • Kaboom: Are you still sharp at maths like you were in high school? Kaboom will unleash your inner mathematician. Solve simple problems and prevent bombs from destroying the most famous cities in the world.

  • Spark: Control two sparks that travel in space and avoid falling blocks. This might have been simple if the sparks weren’t connected to each other in an invisible circle which makes this game both fun and challenging.

  • Tetrex: We have all played Tetris at some point in our lives, but Tetrex brings a whole new twist to the old formula. Featuring falling blocks from both screen sides, multiplayer mode and collectible power points bring you more than one reason why you should revisit this new and improved “block buster”.

 

Download all of them and share your favorite in the comments below:

http://mall.soc.io/apps/1016202507

http://mall.soc.io/apps/Kaboom+Free

http://mall.soc.io/apps/Spark

http://mall.soc.io/apps/Tetrex

Soc.io Review: Kaboom Free

Posted by Andreja Popovik | Posted in Soc.io Reviews | Posted on 01-09-2014 | Comments 0

When it comes to human intellect, there are many types of minds able to create all kinds of wonders. Some prone to art, others to math & science yet both dependant on one thing- experience. It grows with time, success, failure and repetition. Mathematical games have never been my cup of tea because math always required the same thing- repetition. I didn’t enjoy those nights filled with math worksheets one bit.

But for some reason I did enjoy the mathematical game Kaboom.

In this game math is a serious issue (as it is in life). An evil mathematician is bombing the greatest cities in the world. Every bomb has a math problem tied to it and you need to tap on the right answer before the bomb falls down from the sky. Tap the wrong answer (like I did countless times) and the bomb falls even faster!

Although we have separated art from math in the beginning of this review Kaboom free has not done the same. Gorgeous paintings of cities like London, Paris, Sydney, New York, Moscow and Lagos will follow you in the background as you unlock them with facebook shares or with in-game earned coins. Three power-ups will make this game easier. The bomb-freeze holds bombs in place for a while, missiles automatically destroy bombs and shields protect your town from bombs that flew past your poor math skills. The two difficulty levels make Kaboom suitable for both weak and strong mathematicians.

Banner ads are present almost at all times, it would have been better if they were positioned in the bottom instead of the top because the top is where bombs come from and above them is the math problem that you would like to see as fast as possible. Interstitials come every time you lose which can be bothersome at times.

Overall, Kaboom Free can be an easy and fun game to some players and a frustration to others. If you are among the latter, sharpen your pencils and get back to those old math worksheets because those bombs will not just float in the air.

Save the cities and share your math skills with friends!

Download now:

https://mall.soc.io/apps/Kaboom+Free

Soc.io Review: Futile Tiles

Posted by Andreja Popovik | Posted in Soc.io Reviews | Posted on 29-08-2014 | Comments 0

Playing puzzle games has always been a great experience for me even before the smartphone era came to be(pipemania, bejeweled, the incredible machine…). But there is something special about gesture controls and puzzle games on smart devices that further enhances the level of engagement users have.

 

Futile Tiles is a game that uses these fun controls and adds another layer of greatness above them. Tetris-shaped blocks(not all of them) fly from the left and travel to the right where round-cornered squares with specific holes move in the opposite direction. Your job is to fit the right shape with the corresponding hole (for example an “I” shaped block to an “I” shaped hole). With a simple tap on the screen you rotate your block so that it fits. Rotate it too late and you might miss the hole. For some players this is hard early on, but after some time the speed goes so high, only reflex masters will manage to rotate fast enough.

This is not where this puzzle story ends. Futile Tiles offers three levels of difficulty an option to switch graphic settings (for low-end or high-end devices… this can’t be seen in many mobile titles nowadays), a wide range of social media through which you can invite friends or compete and an awesome guitar music that follows the puzzle action while you play.

Another thing we found really interesting was the option to change controls. In games this usually means changing the buttons you use, or changing the tap-related controls with the gyroscope features of any smart device.

 

In Futile Tiles changing the controls brings A LOT more changes than control !

 

It’s not only about how you play through the same experience, it’s about how the whole experience changes with a simple tap on that “control type” button.  When we realized this we liked it sooo much that we were already forgetting that there is even more to this game.

That’s right!

You can enjoy fitting tiles solo, on a local co-op or versus modes or try the experimental mode that we wouldn’t want to spoil for you. Banner ads appear only between game sessions (if you stay there) which is hardly even slightly interuptive. Thus there is no reason why you wouldn’t want to download this great free to play puzzle game for Android.

Check it out yourself and tell us what you think!

Download now: http://mall.soc.io/apps/1016202507

The Must-Read Developer & Appreneur Curated List

Posted by Andreja Popovik | Posted in Soc.io News | Posted on 26-08-2014 | Comments 0

There is a lot to be said about the field of content curation, but in short it is a process which consists of: aggregating info, going through all of it, finding out what is the most relevant, present it in a short, readable and easy to understand way and share it with the rest of the world.Today we’ll share with you a big curated list of useful links (found on reddit.com) that we believe will be really valuable to every developer and appreneur.

http://www.reddit.com/r/startups/comments/13t659/the_exhaustive_list_of_app_monetization_methods/

Although this is an older list, these curated lists never really expire because they usually lead readers to good sources of information such as websites that constantly do research and post news related to the curated subject. Once you have a good list of info, check it regularly and you’ll stay up to date in whatever you’re interested in. These lists are used in all news apps(feedly, business insider, appy geek…) and almost all of them allow you to make your own lists with your own favorite websites that you trust the most.

 

Evernote is a great place to hold links, write notes, tasks and much more, Pocket is a simpler version that keeps links ready to be read later, Pearltrees is a fun way to visually present your curation process and there are a lot more tools to choose from.

Just start with one tool and one subject. Alltop is a website which automatically feeds info from a lot of sources. Enter the topic you’re interested in and start finding more about it.

Use QR codes like a pro

Posted by Andreja Popovik | Posted in Soc.io News | Posted on 22-08-2014 | Comments 0

QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response Code) is the trademark for a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional barcode) first designed for the automotive industry in Japan. A barcode is an optically machine-readable label that is attached to an item and that records information related to that item. The information encoded by a QR code may be made up of four standardized types (“modes”) of data (numeric, alphanumeric, byte / binary, kanji) or, through supported extensions, virtually any type of data.

QR codes have changed the way we think about bar-codes and even since their appearance in 1994 (only used in tracking vehicles during manufacturing) till present day they don’t cease to surprise us with new possibilities using the same simple method. We have all seen them on marketing campaigns, on websites and newspapers, apps, inside Kinder Surprise eggs and not so long ago we have seen them appear on Rovio’s toys. When the toy’s QR code is scanned by the tablet’s camera, something beneficial for the customer appears inside the app. Although the method is no different from a simple scan, teleporting a real toy into a video game is a unique way of using this method. Once an idea is presented right, more games are sure to follow its lead. For example “Disney Universe” added game content through toys of famous Disney heroes. The mobile app for the famous game “Borderlands 2” introduced a similar system a while ago. Through their application a customer can scan any QR code they can find (Coca-Cola, Nutella, Cheerios etc.) and get a random in-game item. A simple family used QR codes to make sure their daughter wouldn’t lose her backpack (and if she did they would easily find it), and then later on, that same family made a business working with schools which ensured a QR code on every school backpack. But this is just one of the many creative ways to use these codes.

 

Quick Response Codes will be a part of our lives for many years to come, thus every developer should always try to figure out a new creative method to implement them to his/hers new apps.

 

Read more on:

http://www.engadget.com/2013/12/12/borderlands2-qr-code-mobile-app/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_code

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqyaIyUukQg

The “Links Article”

Posted by Andreja Popovik | Posted in Soc.io News | Posted on 20-08-2014 | Comments 0

Usually when on blogs readers expect some text spiced up with some pictures, segmented in paragraphs that are easy and quick to read. Today we’re offering another type of article that we’ll call the “Link Article”. Almost all of our articles lead somewhere, but this one will lead to a lot of places all connected to Android app development. So, click that middle button and let browser tabs populate the upper part of your screen because there is a lot of reading infront of you!

 

Dig in!

 

http://stackexchange.com/ – We put this in first because if all esle fails, your specific questions will be answered here, so this link is a must!

http://www.javacodegeeks.com/2011/06/android-game-development-tutorials.htmlhttp://www.kilobolt.com/tutorials.html – very good stuff for beginners.

FREQUENTLY USED

http://developer.android.com/guide/practices/screens_support.htmlhttp://developer.android.com/about/dashboards/index.html http://developer.android.com/training/basics/activity-lifecycle/starting.html

MAIN GAME DEV TUTORIALS

http://www.javacodegeeks.com/2011/06/android-game-development-tutorials.htmlhttp://www.kilo

bolt.com/tutorials.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategy_pattern

http://www.koonsolo.com/news/dewitters-gameloop/http://www3.ntu.edu.sg/home/ehchua/programming/java/J8b_Game_2DGraphics.html

HOW TO MAKE AN ADDICTIVE GAME

http://gamedev.stackexchange.com/questions/7143/what-elements-make-a-simple-game-addictivehttp://blog.infrared5.com/2010/08/7-key-ingredients-for-designing-addictive-games/http://foru

m.unity3d.com/threads/10824-What-game-elements-make-for-addicting-gameplay

http://www-cs-students.stanford.edu/~amitp/Articles/AddictiveGames.html

http://www.cracked.com/article_18461_5-creepy-ways-video-games-are-trying-to-get-you-addicted_p2.html http://kotaku.com/5384643/i-kept-playing–the-costs-of-my-gaming-addiction

http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2008/02/peggle-creator/

http://vator.tv/news/2010-03-15-how-to-manufacture-game-addiction

http://www.npr.org/2012/04/17/150817058/what-makes-games-like-angry-birds-so-addictive

http://www.mauronewmedia.com/blog/why-angry-birds-is-so-successful-a-cognitive-teardown-of-the-user-experience/

http://www.quora.com/Is-anyone-talking-about-addiction-engineering-with-regards-to-Internet-sites http://paulgraham.com/addiction.htmlhttp://www.g4tv.com/videos/44277/dice-2010-design-outside-the-box-presentation/

http://meidell.dk/2010/11/what-i-learned-from-farmville-so-you-dont-have-to-play-it/

We think that it’s more than clear why we call it a “Links Article”. But these curated links don’t end here. Once you’ve gone through all of them please continue reading the official list from self.android.dev here. There’s a lot more to be found there!

We hope that with our “Links Article” we made app development a bit easier for beginners.

Moms & Kids – your app in-between

Posted by Andreja Popovik | Posted in Soc.io News | Posted on 19-08-2014 | Comments 0

Developing an app meant to educate children or to raise their creativity is a noble cause.

Developers who truly commit themselves to this idea usually go deep into a child’s mind, consulting with child psychologists on how to make an experience which is both fun and educational for the little ones. Parents play a big role here too and if you’re trying to sell an app meant for kids you should never try to actually sell it to the children.

Yes, kids love toys, games and cartoons, but if your target group is too young reaching them could be achieved only through one important person- MOM.

 

Moms nowadays are not some old school traditional ladies amazed by the things this new age has brought to the world. They are part of this time, using PC’s, tablets and smartphones as much as we do (sometimes even more). They also use social media, have their own youtube channels and blog a lot about their everyday lives. These blogs form one of the biggest communities in the world known as “The Mommy Bloggers”. Every mom that passionately shares good and bad moments from her life, posts life-hacks about parenting, marriage, managing a household, fashion, nutrition(this list goes on and on…) and lots of other topics IS a certified mommy blogger.

These types of blogs have A LOT of regular readers (moms with kids & families) all interested in a special kid app that YOU may be developing right now.

 

How to reach moms?

Before reaching any mommy blog remember: Always present your app in a clear, quick and non-jargon-y language. Make HD screenshots and have a 30 second video of your app in action. If it’s a paid app highlight the price and point out that you specifically don’t have ads (or have kid appropriate ads) and can turn off in-app purchases.

Once you have this in mind start reaching out to your mommy leads. How? Usually through their official contact page on their blog. No luck there? Try social media. You’re talking to busy moms so be short and to the point.

 

If you’re not sure how to find leads try your target on these blog hubs:

http://www.babble.com

http://www.cafemom.com

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/pages/index.php

http://www.blogher.org

 

Best of luck

Read more: http://appdevelopermagazine.com/1574/2014/6/19/Why-You-Should-Get-Your-App-Endorsed-By-a-Mommy-Blogger/

Soc.io Review: Drawing Cartoons

Posted by Andreja Popovik | Posted in Soc.io Reviews | Posted on 18-08-2014 | Comments 0

Drawing apps are common nowadays. Usually made for children these apps need to combine a simplistic UI with a wide range of drawing options without making everything seem too complex. Too many tools and the kid may feel overwhelmed, too few and the kid can become bored. Striking the perfect balance is something that only a couple of drawing apps can do and Drawing Cartoons is one of them.

 

Drawing Cartoons is an app in which you learn how to draw using drawing phases that guide you one step at a time.

 

Not having too many screens( splash screen, options menu, main menu…) may give an app a poor feel, yet it is essential for kids. When you tap on the drawing cartoons icon, you’re immediately brought to a screen on which you can instantly choose what you want to draw and how many steps are needed to finish that particular drawing. A 10-step drawing is often something simple (like a sunflower), but there are more difficult ones like a 25 step turtle with a lot of shell details.

 

This is how the step-drawing works:

You see the final version of the image and once you begin with the first step it disappears. You only see some starting lines on which you draw. Once you’re done, you go to the next step which challenges you with more difficult shapes. After a couple of steps, you see the image forming before your eyes. Six buttons accompany your inspiration. Your trustworthy brush tool, your color-picker, your brush size tool, a quick undo button, an eraser and a save option which neatly saves all your work. Although this seems like tracing, many geometry related lines appear that capture the form of what later on will be a car for example. These lines are also thought at drawing classes which really help students understand three-dimensional space. When users of this app understand that these basic shapes later on form more complex ones, they could use this method when drawing on paper (which is exactly the point of every educational app). A banner ad is visible at all times but being located at the top it does not interfere with the drawing space.

 

Besides turtles and flowers there are more animals, vehicles, famous characters and other objects to be drawn. Once you’ve gone through all of them you can try drawing on an empty sheet of paper and see what you have learned. So no matter if you’re a kid that wants to work on improving his newly found talent or an older person who wants to give into an old hobby, this app will set everyone on the right way. The artistic way.

 

Download this great app now: http://mall.soc.io/apps/Drawing+Cartoons

 

Want to try drawing some more?

Try this free software for Windows: http://www.gimp.org/downloads/

Extra ways to monetize your app

Posted by Andreja Popovik | Posted in Tips and Tricks | Posted on 15-08-2014 | Comments 0

Even beginners in app development know the most popular ways of app monetization. Those certain enough that they’ve created a unique app go with the “paid” business model, free to play apps turn to advertising, in-app purchases or in some cases both. However there are many other ways of monetizing and like always we’re here to share them with our dear developers.

Mobile partnerships – Producing paid and branded content or have you app sponsored by a major brand advertiser is an extra monetization channel. However these sponsorships could happen only if your app is of high quality and has a lot of traffic.

Co-branded games or apps – If your app is successful, brands will trust you to re-skin your app in order to promote a popular brand. Angry Birds did this with Star Wars & Temple Run with “Oz the Great and Powerful”.

Sponsored content – “Limited-time only” characters or virtual currencies that represent popular brands are a great additional source of revenue that plays off the brand’s recognition without expending too much of your resources. A good example for this is the famous Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt who was a special in-app purchase character in Temple Run 2.

Incentivized installs – Offering game currency or virtual goods in exchange for an install is a monetization model that ad networks like Tapjoy and its customers have profited from.

App localization – Selling your app on a global market may give you an illusion that your app has reached every possible region in the world. This is not true. Reaching emerging regions can be worth more than you think, but to exploit this international traffic you’ll need to localize your app which means region-specific content and language support. Also bare in mind publishing your app on alternative Android app stores in the countries you’re trying to reach.

Donations – Many developers regard donations as a lost cause when it comes to app income. Yet crowdsourcing & crowdfunding is currently “in” so if you have an app that benefits society why not have this as an option?

Cross-promotion network – This strategy doesn’t actively bring mobile ad revenue , but it does bring free users that you could monetize through in-app purchases.

App walls – With multiple apps advertised in an app wall, CTRs and eCPMs tend to be higher with panel and list ad formats (both app walls) than other types of display ad formats like interstitials and banners. However the number of impressions that app walls generate pale in comparison, so revenue may not necessarily catch up to interstitial earnings.

These are some extra ways to monetize your app. Want even more?

Just follow this link: http://appflood.com/blog/40-ios-and-android-mobile-monetization-strategies-for-app-developers

Asia? Your app should be there!

Posted by Andreja Popovik | Posted in Soc.io News | Posted on 12-08-2014 | Comments 0

 

Everyone wants to get their app on the giant Asian market

 

Japan, China, Singapore, Indonesia, The Philippines and YOUR app on every app store out there…sounds like an app dream come true? Yes, we all wanna go there and this is why:

Internet-enabled devices flourish in Asia more than in any region in the world. In a recent survey (Milward Brown AdReaction: “ the daily distribution of Screen-Minutes across countries” published in KPCB report) that analyzed the time consumers spend engaging with content across different platforms (including TV, PC, smartphone and tablet) five of most mobile-centric countries were in Asia, with Indonesia, the Philippines and China topping the chart in terms of screen usage. And with the Android platform’s strong foothold in this market it is now widely recognized that Asia represents a gold mine for app developers, but only for those who have the necessary tools to take advantage.

Why is this so?

Well culture really. What we as developers should understand first (If aiming towards Asia) is the intimate relationship Asian consumers have with their smart devices. Japan is the leading market in mobile app consumption, overtaking the US in October last year. Gaming is the most lucrative mobile app segment: Android games are downloaded six times more than the global average. Not developing games? Don’t worry! Asians use their smart devices for everything: communication, entertainment, access to information, learning and mobile payments. With so many different uses it comes natural for the analyst firm IDC to forecast one billion shipped devices per year by 2017 in the Asia-Pacific region.

As a developer you can start by learning as much as possible about this alien culture, then understand that localization is a must! With these steps done go with the most obvious publishing solution. But remember, besides the biggest known android app store there are tons of alternative ones which in China play big roles to local consumers.

With all of the cultural differences and specific app store guidelines which differ from region to region and from country to country you can have a really hard time, but luckily there are companies like http://www.smartions.net/ which deal exactly with these issues making your life a lot easier.

These are just some of the reasons why your app needs to aim towards Asia.

Read more: http://appdevelopermagazine.com/1569/2014/6/18/Asia-is-a-Gold-Mine-for-Android-App-Developers-and-Here%2527s-Why/