Building my first PhoneGap game!

So recently I just published my first native mobile game – Space Jelly Jump. It’s been a very exciting, challenging and rewarding experience. I thought I’d share some of the links that really helped me along the way.

1. Kenney’s Assets
Kenny seems like a lovely chap who has made it his mission to design public domain assets for anyone to use within their game/application. He also provides fonts and sounds. The majority of my app comprised of assets from Kenney. Thanks Kenney!

2. Phonegap Build
When I first started out I was building on my local machine to Android and iOS. I found it really messey and the documentation all over the place. When I started using Phonegap build everything seemed so much simpler and easier. All my projects are stored on Github once checked in phonegap build pulls and builds. I can download the packages and put them directly on to devices. It’s great!

3. Myanomo
Myanomo is an online Android simulator. It probably sounds pretty simple but I had so much trouble getting my local one to work and not be really terrible. Myanomo let’s you upload an APK and test online. It’s a lot like browser stack but I don’t think Browse stack let’s you run APKs. Anyhow, it’s on an older Android too so it let me pick up some bugs I couldn’t see on my Nexus.

I’ll probably add some more later but I think that’s a good start. Now to look for the next game idea!

ZAMPLE+me

zample-dribble

In case I haven’t bragged to you already, check out my new side start-up Zample.me. It’s a mix between surveys and data visualisations with a super minimal UX.

We’re starting to get some really positive feedback and reviews that are nice in a validating kind of way.

If you have the time, checkout Zample.me and we hope it inspires how your startup shares data, and builds an experience for the simplest task with a unique solution.

new-startups.com

 

My Gmail got hacked :(

So I got a new Nexus 7 of Santa and I’ve been busy installing apps from anywhere and everywhere. Somewhere along the way I think I aligned my Gmail credentials to some sort of dodgy app/service. At 3 AM on the 28th an email went out to everyone in my contact list with a link to a work from home scam.

I sent a few emails and tweets out to let people know (and apologise). Then, quickly jumped into lockdown mode and after a few minutes of research that I was asking for it.

Not only did I have a poor set of passwords but I also had distributed access to my credentials across hundreds of apps over the years.

[xyz-ihs snippet=”LuisTweet”]

But a few hours later I think I’ve got it completely locked down. It was actually good to investigate some of the security options Gmail has inbuilt. I’ve had my Gmail account since it was in Beta and never really reviewed the security.

Step 1 – Change password

Sounds simple but I hadn’t done this in two years. Oops. I use this site to generate passwords. If you Google ‘password generator’ it’s the first result.

Step 2 – 2 Step Verification

As it’s name suggests two step verification essentially adds another layer of security to your Google account. All you need to supply for this is your mobile number. Once added, Google will send you a verification message any time a new, non-trusted mobile device attempts to login to Google services.

Step 3 – Application specific passwords

Step 2 will disconnect all your devices and require a verified login. For third party mail clients (eg. iOS Mail app) you’ll need to generate a one time password. You will use this password instead of your normal Gmail one. This allows you to disconnect particular services as required without changing your Gmail password.

Step 4 – Manage connected applications

I’m such a nerd-whore I sign into everything I see anywhere and hope it’s all kosher. There were about 50 services that were using my Google account – some with full access! You can revoke access to the ones you don’t know.

With any luck, all of that should lock it off. Shouldn’t it? :)

Unboxing UX

I work in a job where there are people selling our teams ‘UX’ skills to clients. UX is something new, almost a buzzword that many people don’t really understand. It’s often just thought of the guys who make it pretty at the end. 

Anyone who actually works in UX (and understands UX) will constantly tell you that UX underpins any digital work and is essential to it’s success. Most of the time we have a number of tools used in different ways … but where does it start? Where does it end? What’s involved? What’s the minimum, what’s the maximum?

I found the easiest way to detail and explain this problem was to document the stages of UX and the processes and deliverables involved. This is what I came up with;

[xyz-ihs snippet=”uxlist”]

I guess the main thing to note is that in the design part we venture well outside of what you would typically call UX (html, js etc). This is just the work I actually do and may be different for everyone. I could go on about how I think the best type of UX people are the ones that have a digital background but I’ll save that for another day.

I really hate SharePoint.

I don’t normally say I hate things. But I really hate SharePoint. It’s so frustrating that so many businesses are using this software to essentially run their business. It’s hands down the most complicated mess of a system ever.

I’ve tried to give it the benefit of the doubt. I’ve tried to work with it. I’ve even tried to work ON it. But everytime it fails to do the most basic things. Things like;

  • Search like a modern search should search
  • Be cross browser friendly
  • Not use tables everywhere
  • Compile compliant HTML (too much to ask?)
  • Not give users a confusing mess every two clicks
  • Work on a mobile device

The most annoying thing is that there is so much cheaper, better software out there (Basecamp) that gets overlooked. Gah! I don’t think anyone, anywhere is ever going to disagree on this one. So I might end my bitchy frustrations here.