If you’ve been to a #CoronaMeetup here in the San Francisco Bay Area, chances are you’ve met Jordan Schuetz (he’s the tall kid!). Jordan has been very successful in the mobile apps dojo through his own company Ninja Pig Studios — and he hasn’t even finished high school.
The downside? Jordan’s parents say he’s gonna have to pay for some of college himself since he has no shortage of funds!
At the age of 12, I made the transition from playing console games to PC games. I began experimenting with HTML and PhotoShop in order to create my own custom website that was intended to be dedicated to a popular PC game. The development process of the website was so enjoyable to me, that I began to experiment with Visual Basic, and batch files. During my spare time outside of school, I created a calculator, as well as a Choose Your Own Adventure batch game.
Over the next few years, I consistently emailed my finished products to my friends and family. My peers would often contribute ideas and suggestions of various games or programs they were interested in.
When I was a sophomore in high school, my parents bought me an Android device as a reward for getting good grades. While browsing the Android Market, I began contemplating ideas for games, and various applications which I hoped to develop and publish. I downloaded two free software development kits in an attempt to create my first project for the Android Market. My lack of knowledge in Java was the obstacle that stood in the way of my goal, and my attempts to develop an app with either of the SDK’s failed.
I disappointedly told my father that I was considering giving up creating apps since I did not have the necessary experience in Java to succeed. A few days later, Sean, an employee with Ansca Mobile came into my dad’s computer electronics store. During casual conversation, my father asked where he worked. Sean explained that he worked at Ansca Mobile, which creates cross-platform software for app development. My father explained my recent failed attempts at creating applications, and Sean suggested I give Corona a try. When my dad came home from work and told me about Corona SDK, I immediately began to research the software, and found that it was very simple to use.
I was amazed at how streamlined the app development process was when I downloaded the free trial of Corona SDK. The first game I created was called Beach Ball Mayhem Beta. It was a simple spin-off game based off Cheeto Moskeeto’s video tutorials on YouTube. After Beach Ball Mayhem was released, I was hooked, and wanted to create more!
Every spare moment I had, I would read the Corona documentation and watch various tutorials online. Shortly thereafter, I developed a Strobe Light app which I hoped would become popular with friends and classmates. Upon releasing Strobe Light for Android, I marketed the app as being very good for concerts, parties, and Halloween. Strobe Light far exceeded my expectations in downloads and paid subscribers. It currently has over 75,000 cumulative downloads on Android, NOOK, and Kindle.
After Beach Ball Mayhem and Strobe Light were released, I began spending a significant amount of time reading posts on the Corona forums. Creating my app was easy, however figuring out how to digitally sign my application for the market was the most challenging component I experienced. I figured that if I had trouble building my application for Android, others could potentially be experiencing the same difficulties, so I created a forum topic called Signing Android Applications in 3 Easy Steps. The topic quickly became a very active discussion with over 60 comments, and now displays on the first page of Google. Corona and non-Corona users alike responded that they were grateful for my instructional post and stated that it helped them solve many of their dilemmas.
The Corona forum has served a far greater purpose to me other than just troubleshooting. My active participation on the forum connected me with other Coronadevelopers locally, and internationally. Angelo Yazar, creator of Blast Monkeys and co-founder of Yobonja Games, offered significant online contributions which encouraged me to push past troubled areas in which I lacked knowledge. Throughout our communications, we discovered that we reside in close proximity, and started to meet regularly for a coding lab in an open group setting where anyone is welcome. (drop me a comment below if you’re in the SF Bay Area and want to participate!)
In September 2011, I released my first official game called Annoying Pig Game. The day after it was released, the Annoying Pig received a favorable review from a website called GoneGoogling.com. It reached over 10,000 downloads in the first two weeks and was #34 on the Top New Free Games list in the Android Market. It is currently available for iPhone, Android, NOOK and Kindle thanks to Corona’s awesome cross-platform abilities.
Many of my peers at school were really impressed by Annoying Pig. They would frequently approach me at school to tell me they were competing on the OpenFeint leaderboards for the high score. Statistics on Android and iPhone indicate that people from all over the world have downloaded and played my Annoying Pig. It is an amazing feeling to know that individuals from around the globe have my applications downloaded on their mobile devices.
In addition to publishing my apps on the Android and iPhone, I have begun to develop for the NOOK, as well as the Kindle. Recently I released Gun App for the NOOK. The app is a simulator which features a variety of weapons you can shoot. Within a few days, it reached the #4 spot in the Entertainment category on NOOK. After receiving a plethora of positive ratings and feedback, I allowed users the ability to interface with the developer (me!) through e-mail, and vote on which gun they would like to see in the next update. Users appreciate this feature since they play an interactive role in the development process.
In addition to the aforementioned, I also created an eCommerce app for the Silicon Valley computer and electronics store WeirdStuff Inc. The app uses JSON to scrape their website and pull data from their servers. Clearly, Corona SDK is a versatile platform that allows the developer to create more than just games. The WeirdStuff app is a great example of the vast utility of Corona SDK in creating business apps.
Right now, I am finishing up my senior year of high school and plan to attend college in the fall majoring in computer engineering. The proceeds I have earned as a result of my applications will be utilized towards my degree and living expenses during school. I plan on continuing my application development career while attending college, and hope that my company Ninja Pig Studios continues to grow.