Fredrik Wahrman

iPhone development

First full year with TicBits

by edi on Dec.11, 2011, under TicBits, iPhone development

TicBits was founded in April 2010, and, now as 2011 nears it’s end it marks the end of the first full calendar year that we’ve worked with TicBits full time. The year started off in a good way, we had achieved the goals we set for ourself for 2010, we managed to reach our estimated budget and we had managed to release iAssociate 2 both on iOS (iAssociate 2 in the App Store) and Facebook (Facebook iAssociate 2) in a quite successful way. So the foundation for 2011 was already set, we now just had to follow our plan and stick with it.

The beginning of 2011 was a really fun time for us. We kicked off 2011 with a trip to the Mobile Games Forum conference in London in late January, and stayed there for 3 nights, meeting some fun people and having a few drinks, as well as getting some good insights and contacts from the conference. After that we had just enough time in February to finally get our first non-iAssociate game released. The game in question was Sudoku, which we released around the middle of February. Sudoku (Sudoku in the App Store)was our first game that we’d monetize fully by only showing ads during gameplay, so we were really interested to see how it would perform.

But before having too much time to check those stats (just a few days later) it was again time for us to go to another conference, this time the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. We had decided to head there early, so that we’d have time for some other activities besides the conference itself, so we flew into San Francisco already a week before the conference and started the trip by renting a car and taking the Pacific Coast Highway down to Los Angeles, where we’d stay for a few days before driving back up. (During those days we had time to visit Universal Studios, Warner Brothers, see Conan, and such). After leaving LA it was then time for the GDC itself, a really content packed conference which had grown a lot since I last was there (which was in 2003).

After GDC was over, it was finally time to get back home, and start writing code again. The next project that we finished after this was Minesweeper (Minesweeper in the App Store), which was released in April. We had already seen pretty good results with Sudoku so we were hoping to add more to that with Minesweeper. This project was followed by some recruitment as well, in late May and early June we recruited one more developer and one graphical artist to our team, which meant that we also got to move to a bigger office.

As we finally got a full time graphics guy this also meant that we’d be able to start working with a little bit more visually appealing games than the ones we had released so far. The first results of this can be seen in the next two games that were released, first Solitaire (Solitaire in the App Store) and then followed by Mahjong (Mahjong in the App Store). Mahjong was extremely well received immediately, and it’s steadily climbed in the charts since then, giving all our products much more exposure as well as many more daily active users.

Around the same time as Mahjong was released, in September, we were again recruiting, this time we added to our iAssociate 2 level design capacity, by bringing on full time level designers. With iAssociate 2 our biggest bottleneck had been in getting enough content released before this, so with this move we hoped to finally start producing enough new content so that we could give our users more content more than once a month.

Our final expansion for 2011 came now in late October, when we hired one more developer to join our team. This meant that we now again got to move into a bigger office, where we finally had everything under our own roof, meaning our own kitchen, poker room (also used as meeting room) and recreational room, everything a game development company needs in other words!

Our final release for 2011 will be FreeCell, which as I’m writing this has already been submitted to Apple for review, and should appear in the App Store within a week hopefully. After that we’ve already got a few projects that are progressing nicely, so we should have more new games coming ut in early 2012 as well. All following the same formula as all our games in that they’re all free to download and play.

Our growth in 2011 has been number wise quite significant. Not only have we released more games and added more developers to our team, we’ve also managed to do this in a profitable way which means that we go into 2012 with a really strong foundation on which to build on. For 2012 we have again raised the bar on what we hope to achieve, and our long term goal is to one day have at least one of our games installed on every mobile device out there.

2011 – Awesome times behind us
2012 – Awesome times ahead of us

Links to our games:
iAssociate 2 for iPhone and iPod touch in the App Store
iAssociate 2 for iPad in the App Store
Facebook iAssociate 2
Sudoku in the App Store
Minesweeper in the App Store
Solitaire in the App Store
Mahjong in the App Store

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The evolution of iAssociate

by edi on Apr.11, 2011, under TicBits, iPhone development

Tomorrow, April 12th, will mark the one year anniversary of TicBits Ltd, and a couple of weeks after that will mark the two year anniversary of the release of my first iPhone game, the word association game Mercury Mind.

Mercury Mind was quite short lived and I quickly re-released it as iAssociate, with improved graphics and levels. After that iAssociate led it’s own life for almost a year, until me and my cousin in April 2010 founded TicBits Ltd and decided that our first game that we’d release would be iAssociate 2.

Since the release of iAssociate 2 for the iPhone in May 2010 a couple more versions have been released, the iPad version in November 2010 and then a version for Facebook in January 2011. (And yes, we still have a Android version under work =))

To show a little how things have evolved since then I thought I’d post some screenshots, of how it looked back in the early days, and how it looks now. (There’s even a screenshot from a version that is still unreleased…)

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Exciting times ahead for TicBits!

by edi on Sep.26, 2010, under iPhone development

Things are progressing really well with TicBits Ltd and I must say that I’m really excited about the upcoming weeks/months and how they’ll turn out. Every day it feels more like we’re going to do this, that we’re actually going to get some kick ass projects launched, and not just to a couple hundred thousand users, but that we’ll be able to reach millions of users with our games. Sure, both me and my cousin are endless optimists, but still, with iAssociate 2 already being well on the way, and with a couple of other really exciting projects soon to be revealed, I’m confident that we’ve got what it takes to reach those goals.

To help us reach those goals we’ve got a pretty well defined strategy set up now for the coming times, what to release & when, plus how to market it. Everything has been a great learning process so far and I think that we’ve managed to learn from some mistakes / missed opportunities, which now should help us with the coming releases. It’s really exciting to come up with some new concepts, either for the games themselves, or on how to market them, and then soon thereafter be able to try them out to see how they work.

And, we’ve not just got those other projects to be excited about, we’ve also got a brand new office to move into, our first real office for TicBits =) In comparison to Zynga, who according to an article on TechCrunch have an office of around 270.000 square feet and housing around 2000 employees, ours is just a tiny bit smaller, coming in at a whopping 231 square feet (21.5 square meters)! The office itself is located in Turku Science Park, a center for developing biotechnology and ICT companies. Our office is also just next door to the universities ICT building, which hopefully should help us when expanding.

If anyone wants to find out more about what we’re doing then you can either check out our webpages at www.ticbits.com or follow us on Twitter.

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iAssociate 2 video

by edi on Jul.27, 2010, under iPhone development

We just released a video of iAssociate 2 in action on Youtube =)

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Freedom!

by edi on Jul.22, 2010, under Personal, iPhone development

Freedom, the chance to do whatever you want, whenever you want.

Still some months ago that concept would have been quite unfamiliar to me. Sure, during my free time I could do whatever I wanted, but, as most of the week was occupied by work (in average like 10 hours a day if you count the time I spent commuting) I still felt like I was trapped, working for someone else, fulfilling someone else’s dream, without much chance to realize myself and without any chance of learning totally new technologies, ie, no chance to do something fun.

Work had become routine. Boring. Meaningless.

However, in my head I still thought that work should be something that you do because it’s fun, not just because you get a salary. It should be something you do and can be proud about, something that you’d want to tell others, something that’d actually give back more than it takes away.

Together with those ideas I had also for a long time dreamt about having a company of my own, a company where I could realize my own ideas and where everything I did, both good or bad, directly would show up in either happy, or not so happy, customers. But, however, due to the laziness of human nature nothing had so far come of this, instead I was settling for a regular income with regular working hours, I was caught.

Luckily though, I wasn’t the only one thinking of founding a company, my cousin had also been thinking about it for a long time, so when a good opportunity came in April, to get some initial marketing effort for an iPhone game, we decided in the course of less than a week, to actually do something, to stop talking, planning and dreaming of things that could be and instead just do them and see what will be.

So, we founded TicBits Ltd (TicBits Ab / TicBits Oy).

TicBits Ltd was founded on April 12th 2010, and our registration was officially approved on April 23rd. Since then we’ve been working full speed, first releasing iAssociate 2 on May 21st, after which we’ve been busy creating more content for it as well as working on our other ideas. (More about those later on, cool things are on their way, trust me! =))

Anyway, as TicBits Ltd was founded I felt that this was it, this is the dream coming true, a chance to get a taste of freedom, to get rid of the boring routine of working nine to five, with the same projects over and over again. And, as I write this, that freedom is now just around the corner. For the last few weeks I’ve already been on vacation (ie, working on TicBits stuff =)), and after my vacation is over I’ve only got a few days left at the old office after which I’m finally free!

Ever since TicBits Ltd was founded I’ve split my time between TicBits and my old employer, so that I’d work a couple of weeks with TicBits stuff after which I’d be at the office for a couple of weeks. Those weeks that I’ve spent working with TicBits have been the best of my life. Sure, my working hours have probably been twice the amount I’d put in at the office, but never has it felt tiring, never has it felt as if I wouldn’t want to do it. It’s been fun since day one, and it just keeps getting better all the time!

Nothing beats the feeling of going out for a long lunch, without having to look at what the time is, without having to care about when to get back or how long you can stay. Or taking a break at say 10 in the evening, just to go downtown to a patio for a beer, to get a chance to clear the head a bit before then returning back to work.

So, for those of you out there dreaming I can just say, the sooner you start turning your dreams into reality the better. Don’t waste your lives working with something you don’t believe in, money isn’t everything, fun and freedom are worth so much more! Believe in yourself and soon the world will follow… =)

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iAssociate 2, Free Until the end of June!

by edi on Jun.06, 2010, under iPhone development

When we made iAssociate 2 free on June 1st the goal was to keep the game free for that one day only, after which we’d return it to a paid app. However, on June 1st we received so much positive response from you fans that we decided to keep it for free until today, June 6th.

Now, the great news is that today we decided to extend this deal until the end of the month. In order to promote our company, TicBits Ltd, we thought that it’d be a good idea to give our first game away for free for a while longer, in order to hopefully have a chance at getting a bit more coverage in the press.

If you still haven’t downloaded iAssociate 2 then you can find it from here:
iAssociate 2 in the App Store

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Mark your calendars, on June 1st iAssociate 2 will be FREE

by edi on May.29, 2010, under iPhone development

Everyone please mark your calendars, on June 1st iAssociate 2 will be free as a special one day deal with FreeAppADay.com. So make sure you get it then from the App Store! And also, please tell your friends about this as well!

Link to the App Store: iAssociate 2

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iAssociate 2 has been released!

by edi on May.29, 2010, under iPhone development

After a lot of long days (and nights) iAssociate 2 has finally been released on the App Store! For those of you who are waiting for more content to iAssociate, this is your chance to get to play brand new levels as well as experience brand new gameplay features!

Here, let me show you quickly what iAssociate 2 looks like before I go into the new features that it has.

iAssociate 2

iAssociate 2

As you can see the game is visually already totally different from iAssociate, but those aren’t the only differences. As you already can see from that screenshot, a couple of the new features are visible there, namely, the much asked for Hint feature, which now allows you to get some help with words that you are stuck with (But be careful, you only have a limited amount of hints per level). Another visible feature is the Facebook ask for help feature, which enables you to quickly ask all of your friends for help on any particulary hard association.

Besides those there are also a number of other new features, new bonus words inside the levels, numerous starting points for certain levels such as X Marks the Spot, new speed medals that reward those who are fast at solving the levels, and more!

For those of you wondering when to get it I have one thing to say. Wait for Tuesday June 1st, as through a special deal with FreeAppADay.com it’ll be able for FREE on that day. So, be sure to mark June 1st in your calendar and grab it then, as well as telling your friends about it!

You can find the game in the App Store from here : App Store Link

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One year anniversary

by edi on Apr.28, 2010, under iPhone development

Today marked my one year anniversary on the App Store. Exactly one year ago today Mercury Mind saw the light of day in the App Store. And what started with Mercury Mind was later followed by iAssociate, which is the game that has taken me to where I am today.

I must say that one year ago, when I got my first game out on the App Store, I couldn’t quite imagine where it would take me, but now, one year later, I’m starting to see the path that is laid out in front of me. Thanks to the success of iAssociate I’ve now finally managed to realize one of my long time dreams, to found a company, a company that I believe will have a good chance of making games that will make an impact. This new company is co-founded by me together with my cousin Niklas, whose game Asterope was one of the inspirations when I first decided to get into iPhone development.

And even though I can’t reveal any new projects coming out from our company just yet then let me just say that I trust that our first release will be something that should please a lot of you people here. And, as we’ve been busy on this project already for a while you won’t have to wait that long for it, as as we speak we’re putting the final touches to it and we expect to have it available on the App Store sometime after the middle of May.

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iAssociate v1.5 submitted & approved

by edi on Feb.11, 2010, under iPhone development

After a way too long time of inactivity I finally got iAssociate v1.5 ready and submitted (and now already approved) this week. The biggest change from v1.4 to v1.5 is that I rewrote a large part of the code behind the game, so that it’s structured in a more dynamic way, meaning faster startup times & less memory usage => easier to add more levels in the future without affecting the performance of the game.

One other nice feature of v1.5 is that I from now on allow multiple ways to spell certain words, so that you no longer will have to struggle the the special letters, such as ü or ö, from now on you could in those cases just enter u or o and they’d be accepted in the same way as ü or ö.

And finally, v1.5 includes of course one new level. It’s the last level that was in Mercury Mind (which no longer is for sale). It’s been slightly modified from it’s Mercury Mind days, I guess it’s about 30% larger than it was in Mercury Mind, or something like that anyway.

Anyway, more levels are now on the way and with Apples speedy review times right now I guess it’s more than likely that you’ll see a new one still before the month is over!

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