WWDC 2014 Recap
This week has been jam-packed with Apple news since the much anticipated Worldwide Developer’s Conference started on Monday. Monday morning's Keynote by top Apple executives had tons of software announcements for developers and consumers - including updates to both of their desktop and mobile operating systems.
Codenamed “Yosemite”, Apple is continuing to name their OS X desktop software after famous California landmarks, a departure from their past feline-named versions. The most notable update to OS X Yosemite (v10.10) includes a flatter, skeuomorphic-free design akin to iOS7. A few of the many other features include an updated version of Spotlight with smarter local and remote search features, a minimized version of Safari to put content first, an updated Mail app and iCloud Drive - a cloud storage file-sharing solution similar to Google Drive and Dropbox.
Mobile - iOS8
On the mobile front, the current iOS7 is being updated to iOS8 with a bunch of under-the-hood features, and less of the design implementations that we saw last year. The Photos app is getting new editing features, Messages is allowing short “sound bites” (think BlackBerry Push-to-Talk) while SMS messages finally sync with OSX, and the keyboard is getting a contextual, Android-esque makeover. iOS 8 will also include a Health app for monitoring health/fitness.
One of the most useful cross-compatibility features for consumers that have bought into the Apple ecosystem is a new concept called “Continuity”. Continuity connects Apple devices even further before by allowing iPhone calls to be answered via OS X, and you can edit documents from one device to another, right where you left off.
Perhaps the most exciting news to come out of WWDC 2014’s Keynote were the developer announcements. Developers now have more control than ever over the iOS platform and are given the ability to create third-party keyboards, embed their app’s features into iOS’s existing platform (i.e. custom photo filters in the Photos app) and can finally use TouchID in third-party apps. New and improved SDK’s include HealthKit (Health app integrations), HomeKit (smart home-automation app integrations) and CloudKit (iCloud app integrations). Metal is another SDK that’s huge news for game devs, which supports GPU-accelerated advanced 3D graphics rendering and data-parallel computation workloads to allow console-quality experiences.
But there was one thing that caught developers completely off guard: the announcement of a completely new object-oriented programming language, called Swift. Swift is a major departure from the outdated and bulky 30+ year old Objective-C language that Apple developers have been using, because it’s faster, simplified and removes a lot of the unnecessary code that Obj-C uses. It includes a real-time compiler with an interactive playground so that you can see results as you code, and works alongside current Objective-C based apps. Developers can try out Swift now with Xcode 6, and you can get the full book on the language written by Apple here. Are you going to use Swift in your upcoming iOS apps? What was your favorite announcement from WWDC 2014?
Deciding on the Right Monetization Model for your Game
Deciding on the right business model for your video game is one of the most common issues that a developer faces.
The current mobile gaming market is being dominated by F2P according to a recent study, and created $2.8B in global sales in 2013. While this data can be unsettling for traditional developers, freemium doesn’t always work depending on the game. So how do you determine what is best for you? Thankfully, there’s currently a ton of data to help you decide whether freemium or premium works better for your video game.
Develop-Online recently wrote an article about the topic, offering a few important questions for developers to help them determine what monetization model is best. You can take a look at it here.