Thursday, November 4, 2010

NewToy Lecture at Discovery Park

You may have heard of a game called Words with Friends. It's a scrabble-esque game for the iPlatform where two players slowly take turns playing through a game. The game could take hours, days, or weeks, and that's the beauty of always connected hardware and a turn based game such as this. It's one of those games you can play in your 4 minutes of spare time while in line at the cafe, bored at home, or while listening to the NewToy lecture (hehe). Words with Friends has been a top grossing iPhone app for just about as long as it's been on the app store.

"Toy Maker" Vijay Thakkar, developer at NewToy, came to lecture at Discovery Park to prospective Mobile device programmers to give some insight on what it's like to develop for mobile platforms.

"The average age people get their first cell phones nowadays is 8" Vijay explained, "with 35% of 8 year olds owning a cell phone." Clearly mobile devices is an exponentially growing field. Vijay goes on to explain that since smart phones are basically a compass, game system, camera, newspaper, laptop, and gps (oh yeah and a phone, too) all in one, it's no wonder mobile phones are on the up-swing.

One thing Vijay hit on was the vast differences between programming on a mobile device as compared to traditional computers. He said one thing you have to concentrate on is getting the core idea of your "app" developed 100%, and that your app should be able to perform it's core functionality all day, all night 24/7 with no problems. Even if that core feature is something very basic like make farting noises, parse XML, or run a scrabble game engine, your app should be able to perform that activity with 0 flaws. Traditionally, computer programmers have focused on developing full-fledged programs that can do A-Z but not necessarily be able to perform functions F, P, and Q very well. It's especially straining on a small development team or on a team with limited financial resources. With the ideology of developing the core function 100%, releasing, and building from there, your development time is cut in half and your users can provide feedback in order to shape the future of your project. In addition, if users reject your idea all together, you'll have saved that much more time in development whereas you would have spent all that time developing a full fledged app for nothing.

Needless to say, a lot more was said during his lecture, but I don't have enough space, time, or patience to share it all. There are, of course, many lectures held at Discovery Park outside of regular course work, and this was just one of them.

Oh and I felt like a tool for asking, but I got a picture with him specifically for this blog entry x)

Cool cats. Shame I didn't get a shirt EDIT 12-8-2010: My mobile dev teacher Dr. Garlick was gracious enough to give me a shirt. Thanks!!