A new iPhone game development company wants to give you $10,000 to write an app. Ng:moco plans to use $100,000 of their funding from Kleiner-Perkins to itself fund 10 game developers:
We’re looking for 10 apps that will be distributed for free, to showcase the iPhone – successful applicants will receive a $10,000 award!
The best part for developers is that, according to CEO Neil Young (not the singer with the “Heart of Gold”), ng:moco is not looking to own the intellectual property. The company just wants to see some good games made. What do they say about rising tides?
The Kleiner-Perkins investment is part of the iFund, $100 million set aside for iPhone development. The ng:moco announced their lab’s micro-funding at early August’s iPhoneDevCamp, where Young gave an inspirational talk (embedded below) comparing early personal computing to the iPhone.
Young previously worked at Electronic Arts, where he oversaw the hugely successful Sims 2 and upcoming Spore games. The EA approach of developing some games in-house while being the publisher for others will likely be duplicated at ng:moco.
Wow. If there was any doubt that the iPhone is a hot platform, iPhoneDevCamp 2 just squashed it like a tank tread over a pile of Zunes.
Hundreds of attendees got together for a weekend of iPhone application hacking, discussion and beer. Buckets of beer and piles of pizza, all supplied by sponsors eager to find out who might have the next killer app. And apps there were aplenty; 44 teams submitted them for the hackathon, including 3 top apps from satellite camps.
I didn’t mention sleep, because there was none. This was my very first time developing for the iPhone (or in Objective-C at all), so I coded into the wee hours of the morning just to get things to compile. My team got a lot of help from Objective-C gurus on site, too. (Details and video of our award-winning Fwerps app are over at GeekDad.)
I wasn’t alone, though; some amazing apps were developed in a really short time. A few of my favorites:
I know it’s bad form to start a “top apps” list with the best-of-show entry, but I just can’t wait to tell you about Zac White’s Copy and Paste demo. In a nutshell, it’s an API that allows copying of arbitrary data from app to app. People have been grumbling about the lack of iPhone copy/paste for a year now, but Zac White solved it in a weekend and got it into at least two mainstream apps. My jaw is still sore from hitting the floor.
For an entry in the Serious Business category, iRa managed to pack in some serious cool. It’s an interface for viewing live video from remote surveillance cameras, with amazingly responsive video (motion JPEG apparently) over 3G. The best part of the demo was when he used finger swipes to move the camera around and pinched to zoom in and out, both with only a slight delay.
If Cocoa and Interface Builder aren’t your forte but you still need a dynamic interface for a data-driven app, MagicTable might be just the thing. It’s a framework for defining hierarchical table views with XML, with common field types like dates, text fields, phone numbers and on/off choices. They just added a database form-entry mechanism, which might be a handy way to browse through and edit or remove data sources without a lot of coding.
Debugging on the iPhone still needs a lot of work. If an app crashes on the device but not on the simulator, it’s hard to tell what caused the failure. (I ran into that over and over, because my Objective-C syntax has a Perl accent.) Redactive Debugger creates a web server on the phone that displays full traces of the running app. The conditions around your bug get displayed in a browser as they’re happening, so it’s much easier to detect patterns.
Three words: GreaseMonkey for iPhone. If the idea didn’t immediately make you go to the GreasePocket site and repeatedly click reload waiting for more details to be posted, then read on: The demo consisted of a custom Web browser that could install and run arbitrary user scripts for a given Web site. The user goes to a target site (say, GMail), then goes to greasepocket.com to pick a script to apply, then goes back to the target site. Voila, suddenly GMail does just what I want it to. Who knows if Apple will allow it on the app store, but I can’t wait to see more of it either way.
The one overarching impression I got was that iPhone development is just getting warmed up. There are so many game-changing features on the device, developers are still trying to get their minds around the possibilities.
The first-ever iPhoneDevCamp is done and finished. MoPhaic impressed enough of us with their 25-iPhone mosaic display to take home some expensive swag and bragging rights for the coolest app of the weekend. Check out all of the camp’s apps on the Hack-A-Thon wiki.
Thanks to all of the organizers, and to Adam Tow for his brilliant shot at the top of the post — it’s an attempt at the largest group photo of iPhone owners ever. A success? Who knows, it’s a cool picture.
The moPhaic boys (inexplicably wearing hard hats) attempt to collect 50 iPhoneDevCamp attendees for a live demo. They’ve come up with a web app that creates a mosaic image using 50 iPhones. Each iPhone is a pixel in the final image, creating an effect similar to this. We haven’t seen their demo yet — the logistics of their project means they are going last, and they’re still setting up.
UPDATE: The moPhaic crew ended up gathering 25 iPhones, and they successfully built a five by five mosaic display which faded from one image to the next in sync. Pretty impressive even though it hiccuped a bit at times. They also loaded a text message that slowly scrolled across all 25 screens.
A few of the noteworthy demos we’ve seen this afternoon are profiled here — just load the iPhoneDevCamp category page on Compiler and scroll down.
Other cool demos: SonicLiving‘s interface for browsing the iTunes Music Store and purchasing music; iSleuth, which sends webcam stills to your iPhone every 20 seconds; Seni Sangrujee’s iPheed app, which lets you stash links, lists and RSS searches on the web for mobile access; and AppMarks, a virtual desktop of your favorite webapps that runs in the browser.
Another one I should mention is gOffice for iPhone, a word processor for the device that lets you create an MS Word document and e-mail it to yourself. I typed up a document with ease during my test, but my e-mailed to myself never appeared. I tried it twice and had no luck.
John Tantalo just gave a demonstration of his Eventful browser for the iPhone. iEventful pulls localized event information from Eventful.com and presents it inside an iPhone-optimized wrapper. On the surface, it’s nothing special — it’s cool and it works, but it’s an idea we’ve seen a few times already today at the iPhoneDevCamp. However, John’s app is noteworthy because it utilizes a new interface and behaviors library for the device called iUI.
The library is an extension of the work Joe Hewitt has done so far on his iPhone web app templates. A number of developers have started to use these templates, so a somewhat standardized look and feel for iPhone-optimized apps has slowly begun to emerge. The aim of iUI is to further optimize the templates by making them load faster and by adding extra functionality to phone rotation events. A new project for the library has been set up on code.google.com if you want to contribute.