Last week, when we chose Bubble Ball as our App of the Week, we talked to 14-year-old creator Robert Nay and his mom Kari of Nay Games about their experiences with building the game and using Corona SDK.

However, we decided to keep the interview on ice to let Robert bask in other, bigger spotlights. Now, we’re finally sharing our chat with the Nays, from before Bubble Ball went on to 3 million downloads (so far!).

Robert and Kari Nay, Nay Games

Kari, as part of Team Nay, what was your contribution to Bubble Ball?

I got to do the grownup stuff like read all the license agreements.  I also designed many of the game levels.  I drew them on paper and Robert did the programming to turn them into the real levels.  Robert and I would discuss ideas and I gave him feedback after testing the levels.

Robert,  how much coding experience did you have prior to making the jump to mobile development?

I’ve been coding in HTML and CSS for six years, PHP for two years, Javascript and AJAX for one year, and Lua through Corona for three months.

So, what made you decide to get into mobile development?

A friend’s dad suggested I try to make an iPhone app, and I stuck with the idea, thinking it would be cool if I could actually make a game and put it in the App Store.

Then, how did you come across Corona SDK, and what made you choose it as your mobile development weapon of choice?

I had tried learning Objective-C for a while, but didn’t like the results I was getting.  I found Gamesalad after a while, and got pretty far with a game in there, but wasn’t pleased with it, and eventually made the jump to Corona. I learned Lua in a couple days and was loving it, and decided to stay with it. It gave me a lot more control and speed, and had other cool features too, like being able to publish to both iOS and Android.

Bubble Ball is yet another in a line of apps and games we’ve picked as App of the Week winners that also have been the creator’s first-ever foray into mobile development.  Why do you think Corona users like yourself are able to make such great games right out the gates?

Well, it’s really easy to learn, in my opinion. There’s a great community that’s willing to help. With Corona, you focus less on the coding, and more on the gameplay and interface. It’s got an excellent physics engine that is really easy to use, and other things that make it easy  for beginners to create awesome games.

Specifically speaking, what kind of turn-around time did Bubble Ball have, and how many lines of code were in the final product?

I started Bubble Ball around early November, and constantly worked on it until the end of December. It was my first game, so there were some challenges but using Corona made it a lot easier. I submitted it to Apple on December 22, and it got approved for the App Store on the 29th. So, just over a month and a half from start to finish. The final product was about 4,000 lines of code, which would have been a lot higher if I had done it in Objective-C.

At age 14, you’ve obviously got a lot more ideas in store — will you be taking Corona along for the ride on those, as well?

Absolutely, I wouldn’t think of using anything else now. I’m working on a game that I’ll hopefully release in a month or two.

Thank you both for talking to us!

  1. Chris Galzerano says:

    I’ve been developing apps on the Apple App Store in full-out Objective C since I was 13, and now I’m 15. I’ve had 5 games on the app store of exactly a year now. The total money I have made is $22.50 😛 . I don’t understand how Bubble Ball became so popular. Does anybody have any advice for making apps popular.

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