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iComics



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#1 TiM

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 01:33 AM

I've mentioned it in passing once or twice here, but now that it's done, I thought I'd write a full blown post for it. :)

When I originally bought my first generation iPad, one of the main things driving my wanting to buy one was reading comic books. I'd tried reading comics on my iPhone 3G (As the 4 wasn't out yet XD), but the small screen made it a rather touch and go experience.

And when I say comic books, I don't mean the DRM-encoded ones that are locked to a specific app, like Marvel or Comixiology. I meant all the ones that don't have their own companion app, like the public domain ones on The Digital Comic Museum or the ones you can buy on DriveThruComics. There's also a wide range of indie comics in Japan that'll never get their own reader app.

For the first couple of years of owning an iPad, I downloaded a multitude of DRM-free comic readers and tried out each one. Unfortunately, I was pretty unhappy with all of them. Some of the major annoyances included:
  • Locking the app's UI while new comics are being imported. (Which means you can't touch the device until it's done)
  • Trying to hand-roll a custom page-turning animation, that ultimately ends up making it harder to turn pages
  • Not making it easy to put comics onto the device AND THEN getting them back off again, completely intact and untouched.
So, at the end of 2010/start of 2011, I hit breaking point and got really frustrated at all of the comic reader apps on the App Store. It was at this point that I decided I was going to write my own.

After a few months of planning and researching the necessary tech for it, in November 2011, I started working on my own comic reader.

Originally, I was going to call it 'Comical', but sadly that name was already taken on the App Store, not to mention an open-source comic reader of the same name for Windows was already out there. So instead, to align it to the iOS platform, as well as a sort of 'promise' that the app will live up to the same quality as Apple-made apps, I called it 'iComics'. :)

Anywhoo... originally I was planning on having the app finished by the end of January this year. But apparently, iOS app development doesn't work like that. By the end of January, simply opening a ZIP and displaying pages was sort-of/half-and-half/semi-decently not-crashing on my first generation iPad and that was it. So I worked on it for a bit longer....

... and in September this year, version 1.0 was released on the App Store. :D

It's definitely not the final version at this point; there is still a LOT of features that could go into it, but it's stable and feature-rich enough to properly read and manage comics on your iOS device. And I'm happy with that for version 1.0. ^_^

I've started drafting up a list of features to add to version 1.1, but that one's on the backburner until the UberGames site is back up and running properly again. :)

Anyway, I'm not treating this one as an UberGames project. It's a wholly commercial product I'm selling out of my own freelance business. Depending on how much money it makes, it might be able to contribute some funding to more awesome stuff on UberGames. :)

If you want to check it out, the official site for it (With download link) is http://icomics.co

-TiM

Attached Thumbnails

  • iComicsHeaderArt.png


#2 John

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 11:02 AM

When are you releasing a version for us Android users?

#3 TiM

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 01:13 AM

Android? What's an Android? :P

In all seriousness, most likely never. I haven't heard good things about making apps for Android (Too many hardware configurations, and piracy is rampant) so I'm not inclined to invest the time in learning/making apps for it.

Still checking out Microsoft Surface and Windows 8 though... :)

#4 Martin Thompson

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 10:19 AM

In all seriousness, most likely never. I haven't heard good things about making apps for Android (Too many hardware configurations, and piracy is rampant) so I'm not inclined to invest the time in learning/making apps for it.


Oh, thats too bad really. I have created a few apps myself and really see the hardware configurations as a challenge instead of something preventing me to create a great app. Making an app that works well on both tablets and phones gets you thinking about how to lay it all out. As for piracy, many a iphone gets jailbreaked just as android apps get hacked so thats not really something to leave it at that. I released a verry simple app in the Play Store that can generate sound tones for equipment measurement or other testing purposes, i ask 1 euro for it and its been sold for about 1000 times in a year, something i really didn't expect when I first released it. Besides, there is a plethora of security you can potentially (but not nessecarily) build into your app to reduce piracy. I'd say, give a shot, since Android is now the biggest mobile OS, there's alot to gain there.

#5 John

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 11:58 AM

Figures show that Android nearly has 75% share of the smart phone market - http://www.guardian....-feature-phones

#6 TiM

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 04:50 AM

Haha thanks for the feedback guys. :)

Last Sunday, I attended a Perth video games developer function (read: talking about how awesome making games is while getting drunk. XD). I was totally going to pimp out UberGames there, but sadly the shirt hasn't arrived in the mail yet (Prototype shirt. More on that later). XD

While there, I met a really cool chap named Kam who is working on an isometric RPG style game targeted at Android. I told him about iComics, and we started having a really interesting chat about iOS vs Android.
  • Yes, the market share of Android is at a majority, but that appears to be mostly on account of China, where you can get really cheap handsets, which are significantly more attractive than iOS devices for the majority of the Chinese population. The thing is, I doubt any of those handsets would be beefy enough to run most apps (iComics won't even run on an iPhone 3G. There's simply not enough RAM to manage the page data) and also penetration into the Chinese market would be a rather steep hurdle (I AM contemplating that for iComics eventually though).
  • Fragmentation of Android is a major problem. Kam has 2 exactly identical handsets, running different versions of the Android OS. One runs the game perfectly and the other runs at an unplayable FPS, even though his code is exactly the same on both devices. From writing iOS apps on iPhone OS 3 all the way up to iOS 6, I've never seen something like that (Although iPok√©dex's SQL engine did lag a bit in iOS 5 for some reason. It was fixed in iOS 6 though. O_O).
  • Piracy. You can only pirate apps on iOS if your device is jailbroken (At the time of writing, there's no way to jailbreak anything above the A4 chip devices), so only a VERY small percentage of users are even in a position to pirate apps. Meanwhile, on Android... :(
While Google is making very promising strides with Google Play, I'm still not willing to personally hedge my bets on it. At present, it sounds like significantly more work, for significantly less gains. :(

I like to be proven wrong (actually no I don't :P), so I'll keep my eye on it. XD

#7 Harry Young

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 06:32 PM

How about a port for this one (use subtitles)


#8 TiM

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 01:33 AM

ROFL!! Holy crap. I want one. XD




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