Mobile App Development Boise

March 19, 2012 · Posted in goals, news, personal, work · 3 Comments 

Edit: We’ve moved into an even larger, less expensive office located at 507 1/2 W Hays St in Boise. I’ve updated the post below so there’s no confusion.

I’m proud to announce the opening of our office in downtown Boise for mobile app development. It’s located at 507 1/2 W Hays St. 512 W Idaho St between the Flying M and Java in downtown Boise. We’re also located right next to the web and software development company known as Nerdy Dragon and DTX Creative.

From this office, we’ll be creating iOS applications for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch as well as developing applications for Android phones and tablets. Stop by with your iOS device and we’ll give you free copies of some of our apps. We have created over 15 successful applications and would love to share them with you.

You can also stop by our new website dedicated to the education, development and consulting on mobile application development. We’re still creating our app portfolio, but if you’re here, you probably already know about some the mobile apps I’ve created (hint: see the right sidebar).

I also started teaching mobile application development class at Boise State University in order to create developers with the experience to create their own apps. Hopefully these students will go on to start and develop their own mobile apps and increase the mobile app industry in Boise and make Idaho an authority on mobile app development.

I’m super excited about the new office space, the new website and the future of mobile app development in Boise.

Mobile Application Development

February 22, 2011 · Posted in iphone, work · Comment 

I’ve been doing a ton of application development for LTZ lately. Not only have I been working hard at getting iPhone and Android apps finished, but I’ve also been updating the website and making sure our apps are properly represented. Take a look at the website to see the changes that have been made!

iOS Development Code Kitchen

December 6, 2010 · Posted in advice, code, iphone, projects, work · Comment 

I’ll be putting on a workshop on iOS and iPhone development this Saturday from 9AM to 5PM on the Virginia Tech campus. The event is free so if you’re in the area feel free to sign up:

The event will run all day and will be hands-on programming, but all levels of experience are welcome and encouraged to come.

I Am Not an Entrepreneur

October 7, 2010 · Posted in iphone, news, personal, projects · 4 Comments 

Many people throw around the term entrepreneur. It seems most people put that in their bios. Don’t tell me you’re an entrepreneur, show me. What have you done?

When we started LTZ, our mobile and web app development company, we didn’t need any venture capital funding. We didn’t need a fancy office to rent. We didn’t need to do the whole fancy company launch. We just sat down at our computers and started coding. And when we finally had a product to ship, we did all the legal paper work and got ourselves a little LLC.

Sure there were risks. The risk of becoming single again was always there. Sure there were long days. 16 hours seemed to be the norm. And sure there were a few new technologies that we created. But when it came down to it, we just had a simple plan: work really hard and make some great products.

The business model we had, seemed like a great idea: become an authority and gateway for indie developers to develop their apps with. Sort of like a record label for mobile app developers, but without the whole ripping them off bit. We’d mentor and direct them to a finished product and take a minimal cut from the net profits. Any programmer can attest to the numerous projects that never make it to a finished, polished, tested app. But that’s exactly what separates the professionals from the amateurs: finished products.

Now, we’re looking at things differently and adjusting our model. We’ve found out a little more about what works and what doesn’t in this new space. When you’re such a small company, the saying, “If you want things done right, you gotta do it yourself,” turns into, “If you want something done, you gotta do it yourself.” It’s really hard to concentrate on writing good code when you’re the tester, the project manager and the client manager all in one.

I’ll talk more about the new direction we’re heading soon. In the meantime, we’re still working on the details and we’ll update everyone as soon as we finalize everything.

I am not an entrepreneur. I just create stuff.

Building a Game

July 9, 2010 · Posted in code, iphone, projects · Comment 

A lot of my peers went to school to become game developers. Instead, most went on to work for big software companies in northern Virginia. I studied human-computer interaction and wanted to fix everything from poorly designed user interfaces to frustratingly complex household items. Instead, I became a Mac, iPhone, Flash and game developer. In a way, we both went where the money was.

How to start your game

I’ll assume you already have a game idea. No matter how ambitious you want to be though, think in milestones

  1. Display some graphics.
  2. Animate your graphics, either manually, or with basic input controls
  3. Get hit detection working.
  4. Everything else! (level loading, artificial intelligence, etc.)

If you can even make it to the fourth milestone, you’re farther than 90% of most game developers. If you make it past milestone four, you’re farther than 99% of game developers. Only the passionate, motivated and able ship. This is how I’ve started all of my games and it’s important to achieve tangible results to keep yourself motivated. In fact, this same step-by-step process can be used in regular application development as well.


Start your development with a skeleton application. This does one of two things: first, it forces you to plan the architecture of your application by creating the objects (in files) that you’ll need in your development and second, it provides an outline for you to work from. So first, think about what display controllers and object controllers you’ll need, what model objects you’ll need and then go ahead and create the files for those. Also go ahead and fill in some functions too for the basic functionality. The point is, make sure you break up the functionality into bite size chunks. It’ll make your life easier, trust me.

Put in the functions you think you’ll want and then just put in print or trace statements to make sure they’re being called correctly. Then, just build it piece by piece, usually starting with getting something like a player character on the screen (DisplayController, PlayerController, GameController), then getting him to move, moving him via inputs (InputController), then applying constraints like hit detection or getting him to jump (implementing basic gravity), etc, etc. Just keep introducing and implementing new features, one at a time, playing the game, realizing you want to tweak something and playing it some more. This is called iterative design.

Get those milestones done as quickly as possible, keeping your code organized in your skeleton application. Don’t worry about graphics at first. Personally, I stick in multi-colored boxes instead spending a lot of time on graphics I may not use in the end. Objects will be added as you realize you need them, but the idea is to keep it organized, simple and cohesive.

When designing your class structures and diagrams, keep the low level functionality, like file access and keyboard inputs, abstracted and hidden in wrapper classes. The reason you abstract objects is for a couple of reasons: One is to be able to add in hooks before and after a part of code. For example, instead of calling the system clock directly, you want to calculate the elapsed time if your game was paused or suspended on the computer. If you abstracted this in the beginning with a GameClock object, you’d only have to change it once, in a single place. If you called it directly, you’d have to go back to every place in your code and calculate that value. Keep object responsibilities where they belong!

Start Programming!

To start you off, check out a game template designed for the Corona SDK (free 30 day trial), written in Lua. I recommend you create a template of all your project tyes as it’ll help jump start your next big idea and also keep you organized from the start.

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