Getting in the app reskin business can quickly become a dream or a nightmare. That’s true for any business, of course, but everything might seem so simple at first that when reality strikes, it really hurts.
It promises that there’s no skills needed, you don’t need to know how to code or be an artist, you just have to get your hands on a source code and you’re already done for the most part!
That’s definitely, partially, true. After all, that’s what makes this business so inviting, and many successful Ragdog Studios SRL users can confirm it, going from nothing to thousands each month without any prior experience in the field.
But ultimately, if it’s your first time doing it, after you’ve bought a source code, you can’t help but feel a little helpless.
There might be a ton of strange files that you do not know the need of. Instructions, if provided, might be hard to follow. You might have missed the installation of a particular required software or SDK.
You might not know how to properly size your images, or make spritesheets. Worst of all, the developers of the source code might not be willing to offer free support (or support at all!).
There are countless variables that might stop you right there, on your path to success, requiring you to either pay your way through it or spend hours trying to figure things out.
In both cases, you’re losing potential revenue. What you had to pay developers to “skip a step” could have gone in marketing, or a better presentation for your app, or even another source code.
The time you lost trying to figure things out could have been used to prepare more apps, thus increasing your business.
Obviously, you can never completely fix this. Actually, there’s nothing wrong with investing money or study by yourself. Both will be needed, and you can greatly benefit from them. Having a team behind that can do all the dirty work for you can let you focus on other important aspects of your business while the technical (boring?) stuff is taken care of, and studying can improve your knowledge about the subject, thus leaving you with more options to better choose your next step.
There are several things though that can at least reduce the amount of money/time you might need to invest, and one of them impacts and stands above all the others: the framework or SDK your app source is built upon.
Let’s take for example a source code that uses objC and xCode to be deployed on iOS.
The amount of knowledge needed just to build a single app can be no joke. objC is definitely not an “entry-level” language, and xCode doesn’t make things easier. You might not understand why you can’t change that build identifier that’s grayed out, what are all those files or even why you don’t see the new image you placed in the source code folder. If you need to make a change, for example “automatically unlock all in-App Purchases” for testing, you don’t know where to put your hands unless the developers has gave out some instructions first, as there might be tens of files, thousands of lines to dig from.
It all ends up as a waste of precious time.
Not only that, but say you want to customize your app. You want a new button, a new mode, a new animation. Maybe you hit the jackpot and now thousands of users are waiting for a cool update that will keep them hooked even more.
The amount of time required to make changes in objC can be, in some cases, even as much as 10 times the amount of time it’ll require with Lua, the language Corona SDK source code comes with.
That means that hiring a developer might end up costing you up to 10 times more for the same feature you wish to add. A 1 day update might take 10 days instead, leaving your users hanging for far too long. See where I’m going there?
Corona SDK allows you to write your games and apps entirely in Lua, an easy to read, easy to write scripting language. That means writing apps and games up to 10 times faster but, and here’s what matters for your reskin business, it’s easier to understand.
Less files. Less lines of code. A much more “english like” syntax. And it doesn’t end there.
It’s not just the language. Corona follows you through all the steps needed to build your app. You can build with a click, choose a provisioning profile on the fly and there’s your build ready to go on the stores.
It’s also cross-platform, which means that you can reach more markets, more users, more revenue, all with a lower investment. There’s a big community that you can easily reach through Coronalabs forums, to hire developers, find more code, and get help by other passionate users.
Obviously it has its downsides. While Corona SDK is free to use even for commercial apps, some features can be accessed only buy paying an yearly fee (in-App Purchase, mostly), although it’s completely worth it if you think at all the money you’ll save on the long run. If you aren’t an Enterprise user, there are limits on third party SDKs that you can use (the limit being wether or not they’re compatible with Corona SDK), although a ton of important SDKs are available now (chartboost, revmob, iads, playhaven, admob just to cite a few ads providers ones) and more will definitely be in the future.
You can get a game template, look at the code for the first time, and immediately understand what’s what. You don’t need to configure anything. File -> Open, and you’re seeing the game running on your Mac/PC. Window -> View As, and you can choose through a wide range of devices, from ipad to the samsung galaxy S3, so that you can see how everything will be arranged to accomodate different screen sizes. No need to add external modules, or SDKs. It’s that simple.
Best of all, it’s powerful. That’s why we’ve chosen it for our games source code, and why we recommend it to you for your future projects, wether it’s one of our templates or of another fellow developer.
It’s all up to you to decide wether or not it can be a good fit for you. In the rapidly growing mobile market though, it’s undeniable how being able to release an app in a matter of hours (truly going from being a complete newbie, to have your first app on the stores) can make all the difference between success and failure.