Graphite Comics – for iOS, Android and the web

Graphite is a scalable, efficient and multi-platform graphical content distribution system for mobile devices and the web.

I designed and developed the backend system powering Graphite — a Node.js based system that is powered by several AWS services, in addition to some locally hosted server functionality (mostly to handle maintenance jobs and statistical analysis of the live system) and a media sharing system facilitating the onboarding of new users coming from social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.

I also developed the iOS app for Graphite — one of the biggest and most complex mobile projects I have ever taken on. Although on the surface Graphite seems quite simple, in fact the technology powering it is extremely sophisticated and complex.

In addition to developing the iOS app and the server-side platform, I current manage the development of every other current and future platform — including Android, the web, and a few other platforms on the roadmap.

You can download the public beta of Graphite on iOS and on Android and visit the Graphite website here.

If you need an app developed, reach out and let’s talk! You can contact me using the contact form on this site, via Skype at stromdotcom or by visiting my company website at https://glowdot.com.

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Scrawl for iOS – best practices in social app development

Scrawl is a social media app developed over the course of one month, representing a typical social media app project.

Aside from being a pretty neat idea, I actually launched this app to demonstrate a few critical concepts that many first time (and even some fairly experienced!) mobile entrepreneurs might not be aware of.  Let’s take a look at a few of them!

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App development myths #1: The cheap offshore developer

In this series of posts, I want to discuss several myths, misconceptions, and misunderstandings that threaten to derail inexperienced or non-technical founders of tech startups.  

In the 10+ years I have been developing for mobile platforms — 15 years if you count Windows Mobile! — I continue to be amazed by the number of well-intentioned founders who fall for the trap of the cheap offshore development firm.  I am not exaggerating when I say I have never heard of a development that went well that leveraged a team of developers from a shop in India.  The failure rate is so insanely high that I wonder how the word hasn’t spread far and wide to stay the hell away from offshore code factories.

My best guess is that it has become a sort of industry meme, and as such it has woven itself so deeply into the fabric of the industry that it will take more than countless blog posts, post-mortem talks, and shared war stories to make it go away.

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GlobeChat – text messaging with real time translation

GlobeChat is a highly scalable, modern, efficient text messaging app with the unique feature that it translates incoming messages into your native language in real time as you chat.

I designed and developed the backend infrastructure for GlobeChat as well as the iOS app, and oversaw the development of the Android app. This development included integration with several AWS services as well as building modules to interface with Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform for translation services.

GlobeChat also, unsurprisingly, exemplifies the multitude of layers of complexity required when localizing an app for multiple languages. In total, GlobeChat supports 61 languages — and in order to do so, the app must not only translate messages between users, but include localized text in the client apps, as well as localized text on the server side (e.g. to translate common push notification messages, server generated error messages, and so on).

Managing copy on all of those levels for 61 languages is a massive task on it’s own, in addition to the technical complexity of building a chat app, let alone one that is handling translation in real time!

Indeed, this is so complex and novel that the technology powering GlobeChat has been patented.

You can download GlobeChat on iOS as well as on Android. You can also visit the GlobeChat website for more information.

If you need an app developed, reach out and let’s talk! You can contact me using the contact form on this site, via Skype at stromdotcom or by visiting my company website at https://glowdot.com.

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Mysteryopolis – gamified narrative game for tablets

From Anthony Zuiker the creator of the huge television franchise CSI: Crime Scene Investigation comes Mysteryopolis — a gamified narrative app targeted at the kids market.

Mysteryopolis was developed as a bundled exclusive for the then new Navi tablet — an Android based tablet designed for kids, and featuring a kid friendly lineup of apps and games.

Mysteryopolis Trailer

I built Mysteryopolis and designed the minigames based on Zuiker’s script, which was originally very large in scope. One of the early challenges on this project was figuring out what we could do within the budget and timeline we had available to us, while still staying true to the creator’s original vision.

Aside from the game design and development, Mysteryopolis also required a content library management system — specifically, we needed to be able to distribute a lightweight game app that allowed users to download episodes (read: very large, very high quality video files) and game content on demand — and delete and reinstall said content in order to manage device resources.

Mysteryopolis received, unsurprisingly, a considerable amount of press upon its release. You can read Fortune magazine’s write up, AdWeek’s take on the app, and VentureBeat’s story on the project.

If you need an app developed, reach out and let’s talk! You can contact me using the contact form on this site, via Skype at stromdotcom or by visiting my company website at https://glowdot.com.

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Playground Wars for iOS, Android and Mac OSX

After building several games for my corporate clients, I’m pleased to have had the opportunity and the funding to develop something purely designed to be fun: Playground Wars!

Playground Wars is a side-scrolling tower defense style game built in Unity for iOS, Android and Mac, with available ports to Windows and the web.

I could write all day about this game, or I could just show you some video of the game in action:

Playground Wars menus and introductory scenes
Deeper game play later in the game demonstrating weather effects and more complex enemies and traps.

Developing Playground Wars was an absolute blast, and it was also the largest team I’ve ever managed — from multiple game artists, sound designers, UI designers, musicians, voice actors and more — Playground Wars was truly a labor of love.

Although the game is no longer available on iOS due to Apple’s 64-bit requirement (we opted not to invest in updating the app for the iOS platform), it is still available for the Mac in the Mac app store, as well as Android.

If you need an app developed, reach out and let’s talk! You can contact me using the contact form on this site, via Skype at stromdotcom or by visiting my company website at https://glowdot.com.

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Sonos on Tour for iOS, Android and the web

I’m super pleased to announce the release of the second game based on my open source time management game platform for the Unity game engine: Sonos on Tour!

Sonos on Tour was conceived and developed by me at the request of Sonos, as an internal game designed to be rolled out to sales associates at big box stores like Target, Best Buy, Fry’s, and so on.

Sonos’ challenge was educating retail associates on the value of Sonos’ products, in order to empower them to convey that value to customers. To that end, I developed a time management game in which the player assumes the role of a floor salesperson selling Sonos products to an ever increasing stream of varied customers. Users must serve customers in the most efficient order possible in order to maximize the day’s sales, and can use their earnings to upgrade their store, hire employees, unlock perks, and more.

Sonos on Tour was designed for iOS, Android and the web, and was distributed privately through an enterprise distribution channel, and only made available to select retail associates in partnership with Sonos.

If you need an app developed, reach out and let’s talk! You can contact me using the contact form on this site, via Skype at stromdotcom or by visiting my company website at https://glowdot.com.

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Accenture Sky Journey

I’m proud to announce the release of Accenture Sky Journey for iOS and Android. Sky Journey is Accenture’s first ever mobile game, and in addition to developing both the iOS and Android versions of the game, I also helped Accenture develop their internal corporate guidelines for products like Sky Journey — specifically, guidelines for adapting Accenture corporate branding regulations to more casual, lighthearted digital products — in this case, a Diner Dash style time management game.

Taking a step back, Sky Journey was also the first game built on my open source time management game platform — a rather massive code framework designed to power time management games built in the Unity game engine.

Understandably, Sky Journey received a great deal of press and attention upon its release — just one example is this writeup of the game in the Guardian.

In March 2018, LinkedIn published their list of the top companies to work for. At #37 was Accenture, and Sky Journey was listed as one of the reasons it’s a great company:

Game on: Accenture developed a 25-level video game app, Sky Journey, in which players run an airport using real business solutions developed by the firm.Daniel Roth, LinkedIn Editor in Chief, 'LinkedIn Top Companies 2018: Where the U.S. wants to work now'

If you need an app developed, reach out and let’s talk! You can contact me using the contact form on this site, via Skype at stromdotcom or by visiting my company website at https://glowdot.com.

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