Cosmic Child

April 22, 2012

A couple years ago, I decided to write an android application to see if there was money to be made in the mobile space. Well I guess I wanted to see how MUCH money there was to be had and how easy it was.

My son looks like yodaSo I basically thought of a simple yet catchy app - and one where I could actually exploit my child's extraordinary cuteness! I happened to have a picture taken of him where he looks JUST. LIKE. YODA. I was good at masking in Photoshop, so I had my picture.

So I thought I would write a fortune teller app with a yoda theme. Silly and I hoped catchy enough. Everyone needs to flip a coin or get some random guidance. Why not ask my wise child?

I decided I would use the phonegap framework that enabled you to simply write html and javascript. After 2 or 3 days, I had the app uploaded to the android market. But it was buggy and I was learning all sorts of weird things about html and touch screens. At a certain point I thought I was going around my elbow to get to my thumb. I was already dirty and had Eclipse installed and was looking through the developer docs. How hard could the native UI be?

I decided to lock myself in my room for a couple of weeks to see if I could figure out this whole java/android thing. Got some emulators going, learned about 9-patch graphics (which I use in the app), and all about the 1.6 platform. Old school.

First hurdle was animating things from one place to another. To say the native tweens in android were awful, would be... oh I guess accurate. I was pretty incredulous at how hard it was to find help figuring out tweening on android. It seemed to be some sort of tribal knowledge that the experts were keeping to themselves.

I ended up writing my own tweening framework. This involved learning how quirky java was with event delegates. I started calling my developer friends to see if any of them knew java. No love. They were all C++/C# developers. I was on my own.

Cosmic Child

I never really figured out what was so wonderful about java. Java fell short of C# and .NET in every category. But then, I admit I am biased.

That being said, I wrote a tweening framework similar to the javascript version on this site and used it to animate the icons. They use a "circular" tween. It's admittedly a HUGELY OCD thing to do, but whoever said developers were balanced and fully rational. I figured I had the code to use in other android projects if I ever did one. None so far. It will probably be out of date when I do anyhow.

Ultimately I sold maybe 300 of the $2.00 version and got 5000 downloads of the lite version. Made enough money to pay for the whiskey I drank to cope with my java woes.

That said, it was a fun experience and I am sure I will do it again someday.

Anyhow, if you are still reading, maybe you should get your cosmic child on. Just go to the android market and search for cosmic child.

Cosmic Chid on PC World