Please don't shoot! PC user seeks advice...

Nibbie
Posts: 4
Joined: 2011.07
Post: #1
Hi everyone,

I've never used a Mac as I've (gulp) been on the "other" platform since about '86, and I'm probably too set in my ways to change now.

However, as an award-winning multiplayer strategy games designer (not developer, I hasten to add) I'd very much like to try my particular brand of deep, "thinking-man's" strategy games on iOS devices, as from what I can tell there seems to be something of a gap in the market there - or at least an excess of comparatively simple platform-style games - and I believe iOS devices would actually provide an ideal interface for the fairly unique designs I have in mind.

I have no intention of even trying to develop these myself and I appreciate that I will have to use third-party developers, which I don't have a problem with. However, if I understand these things correctly, in order to eventually publish the final product to the Apps Store and retain control of subsequent revenue, my company would need its own developer license. My question is, would I actually also need a Mac at any stage, or should that part of the process be possible without one?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Post: #2
As long as you don't mind the developer having access to your iOS Dev Center/iTunes Connect username and password for the submission stage, it is possible to have a third-party developer develop your app on- and submit your app from- their Macs whilst you yourself don't need to have a Mac – I, and members of the development team I work with, have submitted apps on behalf of Mac-less clients in the past.

Mark Bishop
--
Student and freelance OS X & iOS developer
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Nibbie
Posts: 4
Joined: 2011.07
Post: #3
Hi Mark,

Thanks for taking the time to respond - that's very helpful info. It sounds like it would be best to let the dev handle that side of things rather than buy a Mac just for that single purpose, especially as they would be familiar with the submission process and should be able to avoid unnecessary problems or delays.

Is there any danger in allowing another person access to the iOS Dev Center/iTunes Connect username and password, such as an ability to change bank account details (or whatever)? Or is it possible to set different levels of access, such as an overall 'admin' and 'others'? Hopefully Apple have had the foresight to set that up correctly...

Finally (one for any iOS devs out there with an opinion on this subject), my particular multiplayer strategy game designs are intended to run on a net server with SQL database (some in fact being persistent 24/7 universes). It could just as easily have (for instance) a browser interface, as the app itself would be an interface only, connecting to the database simply to obtain the latest information and reports, and allowing the player to submit fresh or updated instructions while on the move - rather than have to be sat at a computer to play. These designs are ideally suited for mobile play (i.e. connecting for a few minutes many times a day, plus the ease of regular communication with allies and rivals, which is important in these types of strategy games) - which is of course why I'm seriously looking into the iOS market for my designs.

My question to any devs out there is, how common (or not) is this type of multiplayer strategy game in the apps market at present, and what sort of skillset should I be looking for in an apps developer for this type of interface? I should stress that I wouldn't need the apps guy to develop the game code or the SQL database, that's all covered - just the app side of things itself.

Any advice or opinion would be appreciated. Many thanks.
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Posts: 144
Joined: 2009.11
Post: #4
(Jul 21, 2011 01:35 AM)CSBob Wrote:  Hi Mark,

Thanks for taking the time to respond - that's very helpful info. It sounds like it would be best to let the dev handle that side of things rather than buy a Mac just for that single purpose, especially as they would be familiar with the submission process and should be able to avoid unnecessary problems or delays.

The Mac Mini is cheap and now more tasty than ever.

(Jul 21, 2011 01:35 AM)CSBob Wrote:  Is there any danger in allowing another person access to the iOS Dev Center/iTunes Connect username and password, such as an ability to change bank account details (or whatever)?

Yeah, they can run off with your whole iTunes Library and your purchase history. If you have a lot of existing in-app purchases for your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, then you can potentially loose those if someone hijacks your account.

(Jul 21, 2011 01:35 AM)CSBob Wrote:  Or is it possible to set different levels of access, such as an overall 'admin' and 'others'? Hopefully Apple have had the foresight to set that up correctly...

If you register in ADC as a corporation, then you can add other developers to your team. If you then give them proper rights, they can submit for you without compromising your Apple Account credentials.

(Jul 21, 2011 01:35 AM)CSBob Wrote:  My question to any devs out there is, how common (or not) is this type of multiplayer strategy game in the apps market at present, and what sort of skillset should I be looking for in an apps developer for this type of interface? I should stress that I wouldn't need the apps guy to develop the game code or the SQL database, that's all covered - just the app side of things itself.

Actually, this (very basic idea) has been drilled ad-naseum about two years ago.

There are two major developers spamming this kind of game right now. One of them is Storm8 (http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/storm8/id310400191).

The other developer I forget the name of (they have about 2x-3x the number of apps of Storm8).

Their basic app idea is dead simple. You have these numbers in a database table. You can improve these numbers. If these numbers are greater than somebody else's numbers, you can win and get higher numbers.

Oh, sure, these numbers correspond to mobsters in one app, spaceship bits in another, ninja equipment, and God only knows what else in these silly time-sinks. However, the apps have no eye-candy and are really quite boring.

Back at my first job, we had this saying that every app should have at least and only one trick pony. These kinds of apps have no trick pony. You can get the same level of gamification with FamilySearch Indexing's My Accuracy rating.


In short, don't stop developing your game ideas! However, as described, I see nothing to differentiate your idea from all the other cruft littering the App Store. Dare to be bold! Dare to be different!

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Nibbie
Posts: 4
Joined: 2011.07
Post: #5
(Jul 21, 2011 08:02 AM)cmiller Wrote:  The Mac Mini is cheap and now more tasty than ever.

Thanks, they do indeed seem very reasonably priced so it may be the route to go. My only qualms would be with getting to grips with the OS (compared to Windoze, which I am at least used to even though I despise it), but I'm sure there'll be a "Dummies" book out there. Grin

(Jul 21, 2011 08:02 AM)cmiller Wrote:  Yeah, they can run off with your whole iTunes Library and your purchase history. If you have a lot of existing in-app purchases for your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, then you can potentially loose those if someone hijacks your account.

Hmm, that's a lot to take on trust - perhaps a little too much. Thanks for the clarification.

(Jul 21, 2011 08:02 AM)cmiller Wrote:  If you register in ADC as a corporation, then you can add other developers to your team. If you then give them proper rights, they can submit for you without compromising your Apple Account credentials.

That sounds like the best way to go for us, thanks again. I'm sure I've read about that option before, briefly, so I'll look into it in more detail.

(Jul 21, 2011 08:02 AM)cmiller Wrote:  Actually, this (very basic idea) has been drilled ad-naseum about two years ago...

(snipped for space)

Thanks, that's actually a great relief. I've come across several of the type of game you mention here (which is indeed what made me think about the abysmal quality of these so-called "strategy" games), and if these are in fact fairly typical of what's currently available for the deep strategy player, then my confidence in my own design ability has just reached a new peak! Those types of games are little more than rip-offs from early browser-based games of the mid-late 90s - and it shows.

(Jul 21, 2011 08:02 AM)cmiller Wrote:  ...In short, don't stop developing your game ideas! However, as described, I see nothing to differentiate your idea from all the other cruft littering the App Store. Dare to be bold! Dare to be different!

Hehe, point taken - and you've summed up my motto nicely. Wink You will of course understand that I'm not willing to go into more detail than that on a public forum, for obvious reasons. Suffice it to say that I believe there's a little more to multiplayer strategy design than simple number-crunching (not that there's anything wrong with that, of course, if that does it for you - but it doesn't for me, nor for my target market).

Thanks again for all the help & advice, I really appreciate it.
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Post: #6
(Jul 21, 2011 09:37 AM)CSBob Wrote:  
(Jul 21, 2011 08:02 AM)cmiller Wrote:  The Mac Mini is cheap and now more tasty than ever.

Thanks, they do indeed seem very reasonably priced so it may be the route to go. My only qualms would be with getting to grips with the OS (compared to Windoze, which I am at least used to even though I despise it), but I'm sure there'll be a "Dummies" book out there. Grin

I switch between Mac OS X 10.7 "Lion," Ubuntu whatever-version-it-is-today desktop, and Windows 7 Enterprise all the time. Once you start using it, it's not too difficult to master.

(Jul 21, 2011 09:37 AM)CSBob Wrote:  
(Jul 21, 2011 08:02 AM)cmiller Wrote:  Actually, this (very basic idea) has been drilled ad-naseum about two years ago...

(snipped for space)

Thanks, that's actually a great relief. I've come across several of the type of game you mention here (which is indeed what made me think about the abysmal quality of these so-called "strategy" games), and if these are in fact fairly typical of what's currently available for the deep strategy player, then my confidence in my own design ability has just reached a new peak! Those types of games are little more than rip-offs from early browser-based games of the mid-late 90s - and it shows.

Yah, they are pretty much boring pieces of crap. The only reason I can imagine making a full phone client for them is 1) Push notification (which they didn't use when I was playing with them) and 2) Use less memory via native code than you can otherwise achieve with HTML5 and media queries.

(Jul 21, 2011 09:37 AM)CSBob Wrote:  
(Jul 21, 2011 08:02 AM)cmiller Wrote:  ...In short, don't stop developing your game ideas! However, as described, I see nothing to differentiate your idea from all the other cruft littering the App Store. Dare to be bold! Dare to be different!

Hehe, point taken - and you've summed up my motto nicely. Wink You will of course understand that I'm not willing to go into more detail than that on a public forum, for obvious reasons. Suffice it to say that I believe there's a little more to multiplayer strategy design than simple number-crunching (not that there's anything wrong with that, of course, if that does it for you - but it doesn't for me, nor for my target market).

Thanks again for all the help & advice, I really appreciate it.

Yay, you met the existing boring crap and didn't think "oh no, that was my idea!"

I for one am interested to see what you come up with! I always thought those games could have been interesting, but the developers just didn't go the extra mile to make it all the way to a compelling product.

Good luck!

Everyone's favourite forum lurker!
https://github.com/NSError
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Post: #7
(Jul 21, 2011 08:02 AM)cmiller Wrote:  If you register in ADC as a corporation, then you can add other developers to your team. If you then give them proper rights, they can submit for you without compromising your Apple Account credentials.

You can manage users/roles regardless if your account is registered as a company or individual.
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Post: #8
(Jul 21, 2011 10:18 AM)Frank C. Wrote:  You can manage users/roles regardless if your account is registered as a company or individual.

Are you sure? Last I checked you couldn't, so unless they've changed it in the last few months...
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Post: #9
(Jul 21, 2011 10:18 AM)Frank C. Wrote:  You can manage users/roles regardless if your account is registered as a company or individual.

I have read nothing to suggest that is the case.

The process as I understand it is thus:
  1. You register your corporation or LLC legally (LegalZoom, or whatever).
  2. You utilise this legal entity to enroll as a company in ADC.
  3. Your contractor is added to your company team. You give him or her access to develop and publish your application.
I could be wrong, but that's what my understanding of program is.

Everyone's favourite forum lurker!
https://github.com/NSError
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Post: #10
I'm not sure if companies have more options or finer grained control over user roles but I'm registered as an individual and I've been using a separate "finance" account for years.

Looking at it now - I can set up multiple users in roles with access only to specific modules: Admin, Technical, Sales, Finance, & Legal.
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Posts: 452
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Post: #11
I have the individual account. My account is our (HMS) official account, but I have Scott set up as another user in it. You can set up multiple roles as an individual, we've been doing it the whole time.

Proof:
http://kortham.net/temp/upshot_CGGWRagN.png

Howling Moon Software - CrayonBall for Mac and iPhone, Contract Game Dev Work
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Post: #12
(Jul 21, 2011 02:50 PM)AndyKorth Wrote:  I have the individual account. My account is our (HMS) official account, but I have Scott set up as another user in it. You can set up multiple roles as an individual, we've been doing it the whole time.

Proof:
http://kortham.net/temp/upshot_CGGWRagN.png

Well, that is significantly better than I originally understood the situation to be! (I've been avoiding incorporating FSDEV as an LLC for a few years now).

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https://github.com/NSError
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Post: #13
(Jul 21, 2011 10:18 AM)Frank C. Wrote:  You can manage users/roles regardless if your account is registered as a company or individual.

Huh, I wasn't aware of that Blush

Mark Bishop
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Student and freelance OS X & iOS developer
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Nibbie
Posts: 4
Joined: 2011.07
Post: #14
It's cool to see that this thread has helped to clarify what could be an important topic for many, not just myself. Thanks for the input guys.

(Jul 21, 2011 09:46 AM)cmiller Wrote:  I switch between Mac OS X 10.7 "Lion," Ubuntu whatever-version-it-is-today desktop, and Windows 7 Enterprise all the time. Once you start using it, it's not too difficult to master.

That's very reassuring to know, thanks. I'll definitely have to give it serious consideration as I feel it may make some things easier in the long term (now that I've been looking into the iOS development side of things more). For instance, it sounds like the best way to do some preliminary testing on the app myself, to make sure it does what we need it to do.

(Jul 21, 2011 09:46 AM)cmiller Wrote:  Yah, they are pretty much boring pieces of crap. The only reason I can imagine making a full phone client for them is 1) Push notification (which they didn't use when I was playing with them) and 2) Use less memory via native code than you can otherwise achieve with HTML5 and media queries.

It's interesting you should mention that, as it's actually the various features of the Game Center (such as push notification) which together finally make my designs feasible for iOS devices, rather than have to continue to use a different interface such as a browser client.

(Jul 21, 2011 09:46 AM)cmiller Wrote:  Yay, you met the existing boring crap and didn't think "oh no, that was my idea!"

I for one am interested to see what you come up with! I always thought those games could have been interesting, but the developers just didn't go the extra mile to make it all the way to a compelling product.

I guess those types of simplistic games do appeal to some, as they keep producing more of them, but I also suspect that quite a number of strategy games players play them simply for lack of anything better... Or at least, that's what I'm counting on! Time will tell... Grin

(Jul 21, 2011 09:46 AM)cmiller Wrote:  Good luck!

Thanks. I'll report back in due course - especially if the first release proves my theory and we have a sudden need of more skilled developers to help in taking all the other designs to market! Ever the optimist. Wink
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