Angry Birds just got angrier not because their eggs were stolen but because their roost was shaken by Bubble Ball, a game developed by a new kid on the block, a 14-year old developer from Utah.
The app Bubble Ball has been downloaded more than 3 million times. The game toppled Angry Birds from the top free apps list on the Apple App Store.
The game is a physics puzzle that involves getting a bubble from point A to point B through different routes. The movement of the bubble is assisted by geometric pieces which can be used to create ramps, platforms and catapults to send the bubble to its destination.
However, the irony of the win is that the game was masterminded by a 14-year old 8th grader Robert Nay from Utah. What stands out is that a 14-year old has been able to take on the might of the Finland-based gaming firm Rovio, the company behind the successful Angry Birds mobile game.
The mother-son duo Robert Nay and Kari Nay built the game using Corona SDK. Corona is a mobile app development platform from Ansca Mobile. Ansca Mobile reports in its Blog that Robert's mom charted the design of the game on paper while Robert did the programming.
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The budding gaming maestro has been coding for the past six years using languages like HTML, PHP, AJAX and Java Script.
The game was approved for App Store listing on December 29 while the pint-sized developer had started the project in November. The game involved 4,000 lines of codes.
Robert had to learn the language Lua that Corona supports, something which he stumbled upon while attempting to learn Objective C. The Corona SDK cost $349.
Ansca Mobile confesses that the parameters based on which they crown the App of the Week involves excellent graphics and highly immersive games, however, the recent choice of Bubble Ball actually departs from these parameters as it's the concept which has clicked rather than just graphics.
Apple's App Store which flaunts more than 300,000 apps has been a cynosure for individual developers; looking to hit the jackpot with a successful app. Most of the successful games featured on Apps Store are by companies like Electronic Arts and Rovio who employ programmers to generate games. In a competitive environment like this, Robert Nay's efforts will bring solace to individual app developers targeting the iPhone and iPad platform.
Mobile gaming is a booming industry, as Gartner forecast global revenues from the industry to rise 19 percent to more than $5.6 billion in 2010.
In the free market segment Bubble Ball might have displaced Angry Bird but the Rovio game is still the top-selling paid app on Apple's App Store.
Bubble Ball's success also reveals the ease of building apps on iOS platform and marketing an app on Apple Store, something which Android Market has not been able to replicate.
The Android market is rather fragmented and thus searching for apps and payment mechanism is still not seamless. Currently, there is no Google-supported way that allows accessing the market without an Android device unlike iTunes. Also, Google Checkout, its own payment service, lacks an interface which allows developers to create detailed reports on sales to track progress. However, despite lacking a consolidated marketing mechanism, Android has over 100,000 apps in its Android Market.