Tag Archives: turtle

The Perfect Pillow: Now on Amazon!

I’m happy to announce that my iPad/Kindle Fire children’s book app has been converted into a softcover book and is now available on Amazon.com! If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can get it with free shipping, or if you’re not a Prime member, you can still get it shipped to you for free with an order of $25+. This is a much better price than the $14.99 Bookemon originally wanted to print it at (read my previous blog post).

My next step is to finish the first book in my series, Maddie Bear Books and get that published through Amazon as well.


GP Animations: A One-Man Studio

There are two reasons I choose to be a one-person studio instead of outsourcing or working as a team (except for The Phrase Game where I collaborated with Dan Williams). It’s not because I’m great at every part of app development, I’m actually not spectacular at any part, it’s because I have a $0 budget for my apps and I get bored very easily.

GP Animations App Budget

I just create mobile applications for fun (at least the ones that aren’t for my day job), so I don’t set aside any money for development. I don’t keep a stack of cash around my home office to purchase sound effects, artwork, music, or to outsource coding. To me, making mobile applications, books, and games is my way of relaxing and to learn something new. The fact that I’ve been able to make a decent amount of money from them is just a bonus, but money is never the driving force.

My first paid book app, The Perfect Pillow, was made because my wife and I knew that we wanted to start a family, and I wanted our daughter to have something to read that her dad made. I put it on the app stores at 99 cents just to see what would happen and to my surprise, it brought in decent revenue. I won’t complain though, app and book sales have actually paid for various home improvements and for my daughter’s first birthday party.

The Perfect Pillow

Not having a budget for app development works out well for me because I quickly get bored with tasks. I’ll start writing the script to a children’s book and get bored after 10 minutes, so I’ll switch to drawing. When that becomes mind-numbing, I’ll switch to writing the code, then I’ll start recording various sound affects that I think I may need. Having to do every aspect of apps helps me not get bored with making them. Unfortunately, it also means that I’ll probably never become an expert at any particular part of app development since I’m always spread thin. Whereas big companies have the luxury of having separate departments for each division, GP Animations is one guy who is the developer, illustrator, animator, sound engineer, producer, intern, writer, UI designer, code monkey, and dish washer.

However, as I said before, this is my way of having fun, which is probably one of the nerdiest ways to relax. I’m not looking to become a millionaire from making them, but it’s certainly nice being able to provide an extra few nice things for my family from a book or app that I would have made anyway. This mindset may not work for you if you’re looking to make app development your only source of income, but the message of doing what you love can apply to everyone.

- Greg

Check out some of my apps and books at: http://gpanimations.com/shop.html

The Perfect Pillow: Print Edition

My first children’s book app “The Perfect Pillow” has been selling by the thousands for the Kindle Fire and iPad, but my friends and family that don’t own tablet devices were never able to read it to their children.

Last night, I decided to convert it to an actual paperback book so I could keep a print version around the house for my daughter. You can pick up your copy using the link below:

The Perfect Pillow
by Greg Pugh
The Perfect Pillow

I ordered my copy last night, I’ll post pictures when it arrives.

App Review: Scouting Thomas

As a father of a 13-month old, I’m always looking for new children’s apps that she’ll be interested in now and ones that she might have interest in years from now. It’s actually the reason I wrote, illustrated, and programmed the Colin Turtle children’s book series. I recently stumbled across a new app called “Scouting Thomas” through social media and I was instantly interested by the great artwork style.

Scouting Thomas

Opening the app, I was immediately impressed by the well-animated intro sequence of Thomas and Buddy roasting marshmallows.  I tapped on the animation, and Buddy’s marshmallow burst into flames and Thomas quickly put out the flames using a fire extinguisher. It was cute, funny, and being an animator and app developer myself, I was impressed that there was such fluid animation on a splash screen of an app.

The next screen I visited was the Jokes & Game page. Here you can tap on Buddy and watch him tell kid-friendly jokes to Thomas. The jokes are a bit corny and might be slightly too sophisticated for very young children, but I think kids in the demographic that Flying Monkey Pie Productions are aiming for, will enjoy the humor. The games screen offers a crossword, Scrabble-like game where users can solve questions by jumbling supplied letters. Here I was impressed that the app offered a game, a joke screen and an introduction animation without making the app running the least bit slowly on my iPad. The only qualms I had thus far were that the kids didn’t speak, you have to read everything yourself, and the controls to the game were a bit clunky. While moving letters around to solve a puzzle, you had to make sure that there wasn’t a letter in the space to where you wanted to move it, otherwise the letters would overlap in the same space. I would have liked to see the letters shift down one space to make puzzle-solving quicker and easier.

Scouting Thomas 2

One part I did enjoy was that after reading all of Buddy’s jokes, you get rewarded with a scout badge. Throughout the app, you can earn different badges for completing various tasks. I think kids would enjoy being rewarded for going through each part of the application and performing different actions.

Scouting Thomas Badges

Next, I visited the how-to section. This section is an interactive portion that shows you how to make a contraption that shoots out marshmallows. You drag the parts on the screen connecting them, and when you’re done, you know how to make your own marshmallow shooter. You also earn another scout badge for completing the contraption in the app. I didn’t have the parts needed, so I did not get to test out actually making the marshmallow shooter. Could be a fun weekend project when my daughter is loder though.

There is also a theater section where you can watch a short animated film. I was really impressed by this because the animation is fluid and the frame-rate never dropped. I was probably more impressed by the theater than most people would be that purchase the app, but it’s probably because I know how difficult it can be to make a great animation and also have it play well on a mobile device.

There is a comic book section as well, where you can tap on each panel of a comic strip and have the speech balloons appear. This is where I would have really liked to hear the kids actually speaking, but I’m well-aware of the costs of professional voice actors, so I wasn’t terribly surprised by the lack of kids’ voices. Still, I think it’s what could have taken this app from being great to being a fantastic experience.

Overall, I am still amazed by how much the creators were able to fit into a single mobile app and not only that, to keep the quality of the work so high. Kids will love this app because of all of the different activities, and adults will be surprised by the high level of quality that the app displays. Pick this app up if you’ve got little ones and want to keep them entertained.