TightWire Adventures

Today is the official launch of TightWire Adventures and TightWire Adventures HD by iBright Studios! I developed TightWire Adventures for iBright and it is a really great spin on their very successful original TightWire game! TightWire Adventures offers 15 new unique 3D levels, and the hero now can ride a unicycle across the tight wire. There is also a new feature that allows you to earn and activate power-ups depending on your performance, which is really incredible. There is a version for the iPhone that supports retina graphics for the newer iDevices and a separate version titled TightWire Adventures HD for the iPad. The gameplay and UI are some of the best of the App Store, so please give it a try and let your friends know about it also! (You can click on any of the images to see a larger version.)

TightWire Adventures (for the iPhone and iPod touch)
TightWire Adventures HD (for the iPad)

Here is the description from iTunes:

“Yes, he’s back, and he’s more daring than ever.

TightWire and its unlikely hero return for a second round of face-smashing, gravity defying, TightWire walking. He flips, he dances, he rocks. Welcome to TightWire Adventures.

WALK, and now UNICYCLE through 15 incredible 3D levels of varying difficulty and length. Battle gravity and projectiles as you try to make it across the TightWire using the accelerometer. A fun-filled game for every age category!


-15 incredible, real world levels!
-Master walking and unicycle for each level!
-Interactive projectiles unique to each level!
-Multiple power-ups, falls and dances!
-Easy to learn but hard to master!
-High resolution Retina graphics!
-GameCenter achievements!
-Updates to come – More skills, more falls, more levels and more game modes in the works!


Finished Crib

I built a crib back in 2007 for our first child out of undimensioned maple, which turned out pretty nice. I often receive questions or comments about the crib, but I recently realized that I had never posted any finished pictures. Here is a picture taken back in 2007 of the completed project.

The crib was build back in 2007 for our first child and is now being used by our third child. It has held up beautifully and looks as good as the day it was finished! It has moved from MN to TX and bounced between several rooms, but it is still in perfect condition. The next woodworking project will be a custom play kitchen!


Today is the official launch of Mazonaut by iBright Studios! I developed Mazonaut for iBright and it is a really great original game! Here is the description from iTunes: “The object is simple – Using the accelerometer, swiftly move through the maze keeping ahead of the destructive forces the black hole imposes on the maze segments. The maze is pulled apart faster and faster according to how far you get, so you must get the Mazonaut through before he too is pulled into the black hole! Anticipation and forward-thinking are a must, otherwise the Mazonaut will become a causality just as the maze does! ”

This is a really great game and a lot of value for the money! Mazonaut is $0.99 and is a universal application, so it will run on both the iPhone/iPod touch and iPad with graphics that are appropriate for all of the devices. Please pass along this news to all of your friends and let iBright know what you would like to see in future updates.

Sheeple Updates Now Available

The newest Sheeple (iPhone) and Sheeple HD (iPad) updates were both approved and released today. We are especially excited about the new Sheeple HD update as it was much needed and is a lot of fun to play. If you haven’t already tried out either game then please do! Sheeple | Sheeple HD

We will have more information about our new title that is currently in development over the next few weeks. There is a lot going on at Tomato Factory.

Design Your Own Eyewear

A site that I recently developed for Indivijual was featured on Glamour.com today. Indivijual offers custom designed and hand made eyewear. They have a really quality product and are now offering anyone the ability to design their own eyewear on their new site that I created for them: http://DesignYourOwnEyewear.com. The site is simple to use and has a nice clean design. Technically the site is really awesome since it is basically a little 2D NURBS based CAD application in a browser. Give it a try and let anyone you know that would be interested in custom eyewear know about Indivijual’s services. They can make eye or sun glasses that are 100% unique for you.

You can read the Glamour.com article here.

iPad Launch – Indie Developers Fail

Apple did a great job convincing developers that they needed to create applications and submit them in time for the iPad App Store grand opening. The indie developers that did create new applications or port their existing applications to the iPad are generally very disappointed with how Apple really dropped the ball this past weekend with the release of the iPad. You might say, what are you talking about, I saw Apple say here that there are “over 1000 new apps made just for the iPad”! That is great, or is it? Oh, that is very true!

The Visibility Fail
The problem is that unless you are one of the fortunate few that has an application in the “New and Noteworthy” or “What’s Hot” lists your application is probably not even going to be found or sell a single unit. This is a worse problem then we have with the iPhone and at least developers have the opportunity to get “some” visibility in the vast sea of iPhone applications. The only way someone will find your iPad application, if it was not featured, is by keyword searches. This is great, but in reality the keyword searches are not the primary way a developer generates sales, being on a list is.

The other issue is that there are more apps in the game category than any other category (~720 by my calculation as of the morning of 4/3). Apple addressed this issue on the iPhone with the addition of sub-categories in the parent game category. The iPad App Store doesn’t even offer you a way to select a sub-category. The iPad App Store literally lets you view the featured applications and then there is a very obscure way that you can view the top 100 overall games, but again most users will not even know how to get to that screen. This seems like a very shortsighted view by Apple and really disappoints all of the developers that helped Apple achieve that “over 1000 apps” quote that they are so proud of.

The Review Process Fail
I am also very disappointed with the review process for the new iPad apps. Apple provided detailed information and time frames that a developer must follow in order to submit their application in time. As expected developers followed this guide as told and that is when everything began to fall apart!

The initial review process had developer build their application using the iPhone SDK 3.2 beta 5, since the GM Seed was not available. That meant that an application would go through the initial review process compiled with the beta 5 SDK and then receive some early feedback on any changes that needed to be made. Tomato Factory submitted Sheeple HD well before any of the deadlines and was one of the many developers that never received any feedback, other than a very generic email that many developers received at the same time stating that their application runs on the iPad and it is now to to compile using the GM Seed version of the SDK and resubmit their application for the final review. This was the first thing that made me think the review process was not going very well.

I think there were many developers that were giving themselves high-fives at this point and felt confident that things were aligning! Apple forgot to tell the developers how to upload their recompiled applications and that is where things really started to fall apart! There was about 8-10 hours where developers were freaking out as they didn’t know if they should submit a new application or reject the binary they already had uploaded and upload the new binary. After much waiting Apple finally told the developers that the correct procedure was to submit an update if you had an update button or reject and upload the new binary if you did not have an update button. So what do you think everyone did at this point? Everyone rejected their application binary with no problem and then attempted to upload their new binary. There was one small problem. You couldn’t.

When a developer attempted to upload their new binary they would receive an error message saying there was a general I/O error. This took Apple another ~3-4 hours to fix. Keep in mind this is on 3/30 and the final deadline to resubmit 3.2 GM Seed compiled binaries was on 3/31 and there were developers from all over the world trying to meet this deadline.

With the I/O error fixed and all of the developers able to upload the binaries things seemed like they were moving ahead again. That is when the worst of the waiting began. I truly believe that Appple did not anticipate as many developers submitting iPad applications and it just took longer than expected to review all of the applications. Sheeple HD was approved the evening of 3/31, so I rested easy until the iPad was released on Saturday feeling that everything was in order and ready for the grand opening.

The Physical Fail
When Saturday rolled around I was finally able to test Sheeple HD on an actual iPad and I was very disappointed by two issues that I found, but why had Apple never notified me about these two very obvious issues? Can you see any problems in the screenshot below?

There was also an issue with selecting a level from the level selection screen and the selection being too sensitive. This results in it sometimes taking multiple taps in order to select a level. This is all a result of things working as they should in the simulator, but not having access to test on an actual physical device. It is disappointing that the quality of the Apple review process was so poor since that is what they were suppose to be doing for us developers that did not have a physical iPad, testing the app on the iPad. This is exactly why I never use the simulator while developing and iPhone application, it just isn’t the same as the physical device.

Fail Summary
I don’t want to say that Apple isn’t doing a great job in general and I am sure that they had their hands full these past 2-3 weeks. The iPad is an incredible device and has a lot of potential. I simply wish Apple had taken the time to follow through with their pitch to the developers on why we should create iPad applications for the launch. I hold the opinion that indie developers have made the App Store as successful as it is today and it is too bad that Apple has lost sight of that and instead only the most popular kids get attention!

UPDATE: I spoke with one of the editors from a very well known iPhone game review site yesterday who said there are many other iPad apps that do not run correctly on the physical iPad device.


I wrote this documentation and project years ago and found it while looking through some of my archives last night. It probably still has some millage left and might be found useful to someone setting up DPAPI. You can download the binaries or source code below.

Download Binaries | Source


1. Create the directory C:\DPAPI and copy the contents from the DPAPI directory (found in DPAPIBinaries.zip) into the new directory.

2. Create a local Windows account that will be used to run the Enterprise Services Application and Windows Service with the username DPAPIAccount. Make sure to uncheck the User must change password at next logon check box and check the Password never expires check box. Use the Local Security Policy tool in the Administrative Tools programs group to give the account the Log on locally and Log on as a batch job privileges.

You must log off with your current account and login as the DPAPIAccount user to create the user profile. Once you have logged in as the DPAPIAccount user you can then log off and log back in as your normal account.

3. Open a command prompt and run the following command to register the serviced component.

regsvcs C:\DPAPI\DPAPIComp.dll

4. Open the Component Services management console and navigate to the Component Services->Computers->My Computer->COM+ Applications folder. Right-click on the DPAPI Helper Application application and select the Properties menu option.

6. Click on the Identity tab and select the This user radio button. Enter the MachineName\DPAPIAccount username and password and then click on the OK button.

7. Expand the DPAPI Helper Application->Roles folder. You will need to add the users to the Roles\Users nodes that will need access to encrypt and decrypt. All users that need access to encrypt and/or decrypt must also be added to the Marshaler\Users node.

Add the MachineName\ASPNET (“NETWORK SERVICE” in IIS 6.0) user to all three groups for this example since we will test encrypting and decrypting through an ASP.NET application.

8. Open a command prompt and run the following command to install the Windows service.

installutil C:\DPAPI\DPAPIService.exe

Enter the MachineName\DPAPIAccount (“NETWORK SERVICE” in IIS 6.0) username and password and click the “OK” button.

9. Open the Services management console and start the DPAPI Service service.

10. Open the IIS management console and add a new virtual directory named DPAPIWeb.

11. Copy the contents from the DPAPIWeb directory (found in DPAPIBinaries.zip) into the new virtual directory.

12. Open http://localhost/DPAPIWeb/WebForm1.aspx in a browser and test encrypting and decrypting. Obviously, you would want to make sure that this application was not accessible outside of the local server.

Sheeple On The iPad

Like all of the other iPhone developers, I too have been scheming planning how I can take advantage of the iPad with existing and new applications. As for my company, Tomato Factory, we plan on going down the Universal Applications route discussed here. The lack of information in the current iPhone SDK 3.2 beta seed is a bit frustrating. Also, the lack of information around when developers will have access to submit iPad native or universal applications is frustrating. I am sure that Apple doesn’t want a horde of overly eager developers to submit iPad native applications without having ever tested their applications on a physical device. As all experienced iPhone developers know, the simulator is not the same as the physical device. I typically do not even bother using the simulator.

I decided to see how my application Sheeple looked on the iPad simulator. Here are screenshots of Sheeple running in both native iPhone 480×320 resolution (left) and scaled 2x resolution (right).

(click image to view full size)

It really doesn’t look so bad at first glance, but it won’t be long before users will not accept this compatibility mode. As soon as developers are taking advantage of the additional pixels they have access to on the iPad, this compatibility mode will probably be something that we will see less and less of. I am developing several games currently and we are using vector graphics, so creating a universal application should be a very straight forward process.

Indie Appolis

I am excited to announce the launch of my new site Indie Appolis! Here is the information from our about page.

We know how difficult it can be to gain visibility as an indie iPhone developer and we want to help! Advertising is very expensive on the main iPhone review sites and they are so swamped that your little unknown indie game might never be reviewed. That is where Indie Appolis comes into the picture. We want to help give your app the visibility that it deserves and also focus 100% on the core of what we think has made the iPhone an incredible gaming platform, the indie developer!

I was able to interview some incredible developers for the launch of the site and have others in the works. Check out these great interviews.

Trenches: Developer Interview | Game Review
MiniSquadron: Developer Interview | Game Review
Compression: Developer Interview | Game Review

I also wrote a custom ad tracking/management application that is in use on the site currently. I will be packaging it up and then offering it as a product of daGrind called AdMan.

Tomato Factory

The past year has been extremely busy with the birth of my son, moving back to Texas, and getting into iPhone development. In July of 2009 I started an iPhone game development company. Tomato Factory released its first game Sheeple on September, 18 2009. It has been an incredible experience learning about both the development (easy) and the marketing (hard) aspects of the iPhone app marketplace! I have gotten to know some good indie iPhone developers and look forward to what 2010 has in store.

We are currently working on two other games and have some exciting plans for 2010. I will be posting regular development related news on this blog. If you haven’t already tried Sheeple, then please do so. There is also a Lite version available.