Saturday, February 18, 2017

What's New With Ape Apps?

So it's been a full eight months since I've last updated the Ape Apps blog, which I will admit is a pretty big fail on my part, especially considering the fact that the blog receives upwards to a thousand visitors on a given day.  And while I have stayed fairly active over at the Ape Apps Forum, this blog remains the more visible outlet for Ape Apps, and leaving it unchanged for months on end doesn't look good for the business.  So I'm going to try to start doing regular updates from now on, and we'll just see what happens.  For now though, there have been a ton of new things happening with Ape Apps in the last eight months, so let's go ahead take a look at everything.

My Top 10 Apps

There have been some pretty big changes to my top ten apps over the last several months.  All traces of my once popular fingerprint scanner apps have been removed from existence on Google Play, and as such have also been removed from the top ten listing.  In addition, the once dominant PDF Document Scanner has been bumped down to number two in favor of my new top app by far, My Colony.  Here is where things stand right now:

  1. My Colony
  2. PDF Document Scanner
  3. Network Browser
  4. Fart Machine
  5. Helios File Manager
  6. Strobe Light
  7. My Planet
  8. War Sounds
  9. My Business Empire
  10. RAM Booster
A few things to note here.  Long time followers of mine will remember that for years and years I was never able to get any of my game apps into this top ten list, which sucked because games in general are more profitable than regular apps.  I now have three games in the top ten, which is great.  Also new to the list here is Fart Machine coming in at #4, which is crazy because I originally came out with this app years ago.  What has helped it in recent months is the fact that Windows Store apps can now run on the Xbox One console, and people are starting to download and play Fart Machine on their Xbox systems.  Go figure.

Another interesting (yet welcome) change is that my Top 10 apps used to be comprised almost exclusively of Android-specific titles.  Today, only three apps on that list are exclusive to Android.  Now granted, this is largely due to the fact that Google removed all of my fingerprint scanner apps from Google Play, which was brutal when it first happened, but in the long run has turned out to be for the best.  I have been trying to diversify my business away from it's heavy reliance on Android for years now, and last spring Google finally basically forced my hand on it, causing me to up my game on my Windows, iOS, Web, and Desktop offerings.  I am also pleased to report specific gains on the iOS platform, in terms of app quality, users, and revenue.  It helps that I switched my personal phone to an iPhone, so I was able to see first hand what all needed to be done.

License Keys

Through my Ape Market website, I have begun selling license keys for my apps and games through PayPal.  As you probably know, most of my apps come with in-app advertising, and an option to upgrade and remove the ads for a small fee, as a way to support development of the software.  This works good, but because of distribution agreements with the various app stores, purchasing an upgrade on one platform does not transfer over to other platforms.  For instance, if you buy the premium upgrade for My Colony on Google Play, the upgrade only counts on Google Play, and there really isn't much I can do about that.

In order to get around this issue, I have created my own licensing server and license key files, which can be purchased from me using PayPal.  Purchasing a license in this manner gives the user a *.amk file which can be used to activate the specific app on all platforms, including Web, Desktop, iOS, Kindle, Windows, and Android.  The benefit for the user is obvious, and the benefit for me is that I am able to avoid the 30% cut that most app stores take on these transactions.  It's a win-win for all.

Desktop Applications

I have started releasing my cross-platform apps and games to the three major desktop operating systems, Windows, macOS, and Linux.  The desktop applications run great and automatically check for updates on their own.  On Mac and Windows, the applications are not digitally signed though, so they might give you some warnings when you try to install them that they are not from a "trusted source," but in my opinion, this is not a very big deal.  The way I see it, if you can't trust the source (me), then you don't need to play the game anyway.

Now, I've had several users ask if I plan on bringing my desktop games to the Steam platform.  The answer on that is: maybe.  I haven't decided yet.  I'll have to research what all goes into it.

Xbox One, Fire TV, Android TV

I have been bringing a lot more content recently to the Xbox, Android, and Amazon Fire TV platforms.  On Fire TV and Android TV, you can find most of my Soundboard apps and games.  On Xbox, it's currently just the Soundboard apps, as games require an Xbox certification, but it seems like that policy is changing soon, so I expect most of my games to also appear on Xbox One in the near future (which is quite exciting).


A few months ago, I decided to set up a podcast for my game My Colony.  Of course, being who I am, I didn't want to go through any of the traditional podcasting outlets or services, so I decided to design and create my own podcast hosting platform from scratch.  Now, I have somewhat lost interest in producing the My Colony podcast at the moment, but you can see the fruits of the project at the My Colony Podcast website.  I may at some point in the future dabble further into the podcasting arena.

Upcoming Projects

I have a few new projects coming down the pipeline in the months ahead, with the biggest one at the moment being the long-awaited sequel to my popular RPG game Level Up, called Level Up More.  It's pretty similar in concept to the original, but more polished and with sound and some more special effects.  Also with full TV support out of the gate.  Should be fun.

In addition, my success with the building game genre in the form of My Colony has given me the idea to create a similar-ish game with a concept catering to a more broad audience.  I am going to try my hand at developing (from scratch) an engine to create " * Story" type building/idle games.  You know like those bakery and restaurant games where you have to keep checking back to collect your money and whatnot.  I don't expect fans of My Colony to enjoy the game, but I do think there is a market for it, and I'd like to try my hand at making one.  I should be able to re-use a lot of the code from My Colony in this effort.  Obviously this title will be more of a money-making effort compared to My Colony, but I've gotta have some of those too.

Speaking of money making efforts, I am thinking about taking my idle game My Business Empire and re-working it as My Crime Empire, or something to that effect.  Kids love that sort of thing.  In a similar light, I also want to take the code from my Pizza Chef game and change it up to make a taco restaurant type sim.  Finally, I am going to try my hand at making a kids game, and see what kind of success I find there.

Beyond those projects, I also make it a point to update each of my Top 10 apps at least ones per month, sometimes more.  I also make random updates to other apps as I see fit.


So that's the basic overview of what I have been doing for the last few months (instead of updating the blog).  As I mentioned before, going forward I plan on being more active here on the blog, as well as on my various social media accounts.  I have been fairly active on the Ape Apps Forum though, so if you want to get in contact with me for anything, feel free to head over there and check it out yourself.  Beyond that, sorry for the lack of updates, but there will be a lot more coming here soon!


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