During the last week, I received a handful of nasty emails, and politely responded to many of them.
Some thought the games are too expensive – I asked a blind colleague to post an article to AppleVis.com explaining the economics and business model for the games.
One person said “Your games are stupid and too easy. I still refuse to purchase and will prove the point later.”
My only response is that if the games are too easy for you to play, you should invest your time into learning how to program a computer. Several of the testers for the Blindfold Games are programmers and IT experts, and they can tell you what it’s like.
Building an app is not unlike playing a game, but far harder. First, you need to conceptualize in your mind how the game will be played, and then you need to turn that into instructions for a computer to follow. That’s the easy part.
Next, you must ensure the game is playable, and that all the gestures to operate the game make sense, and all game actions are consistent. That’s a little harder; for example, I maintain a chart on my wall of all of the gestures of each of the games, to make sure they are consistent across games.
Now the fun part – debugging. There are studies that indicate there are between 15 and 50 defects, called bugs, for every 1,000 lines of code. My average game has about 10,000 lines of code. Some of those bugs are easy to find – the app does the wrong thing, and it’s obvious. Or the app crashes.
Some bugs won’t get found until hundreds of people play the game, and one person encounters unusual situation, such as resuming the game after not using it for weeks, and a new version of the game was just released. Most of the game behavior can be recorded in the cloud, and I can look at the diagnostics log and investigate what caused the problem.
Finally, you need to keep enhancing the game based on the feedback of dozens of people, all with their own ideas and agendas. And, if you want the game to be popular, it must have a “wow” factor and “playability”.
The “wow” factor means it must make a good impression in the first 90 seconds. If it doesn’t, your users will reject it. Playability means the game is as much fun in 12 months as it is now. Not all Blindfold Games do that perfectly; but it’s always a goal.
But, to get back to my point, programming an app is much like playing a very complex RPG game. You need to keep in your head exactly how the game works, what problems may be lurking somewhere, and have the patience and diligence to find and fix problems.
So again, my advice for you, if the games are too simple, learn how to create apps. It will be challenging, inspiring and exciting, and it may even lead you to a new career.