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Don’t worry, Rovio -- your spot at the top of the paid iPhone apps chart is secure for now. But that free version of Angry Birds? Not so much, thanks to Bubble Ball, the work of a 14-year-old eighth grader from Utah.
All Things Digital’s Mobilized blog is reporting on the newfound success of App Store developer Robert Nay, whose Bubble Ball game released on December 29 has already toppled even the mighty Angry Birds -- at least on the free app chart. The real surprise here is that Nay is a mere 14 years old.
According to Mobilized’s Ina Fried, Bubble Ball is a physics simulator game created by the eighth grader which “challenges players to use objects and gravity to guide a ball to its destination.” Nay developed the app over a couple of months (presumably not during school hours) and it’s available for both iOS and Android.
“I was pretty surprised by how well it was doing,” Nay revealed to Mobilized. The young developer has plans for adding more free levels to Bubble Ball, eventually working his way up to even more levels via in-app purchase -- and, of course, new games yet to come.
So how did the enterprising youngster get his start?
“Some months back, a friend suggested that if Nay liked his iPod touch so much, perhaps he should try his hand programming for it,” Mobilized reveals. “At first he tried the standard Objective-C programming tools, but found the learning curve a little steep. he tried another tool called Game Salad, but didn’t like the results. In the end, he settled on the Corona tools from Ansca Mobile. Corona was easy to use, he said, and also let him write once and publish for both Apple and Android devices.”
So how did a 14-year-old get his game into the App Store in the first place? “I do the grown up stuff for him,” remarks Kari Nay, Robert’s mother, who submitted the app to both Apple and Google as well as drew some of the game levels.
Nay’s background includes programming for websites as well as being the kid everyone at school turns to for computer help, but he also has non-computer interests as well, including reading science fiction as well as playing the piano and trumpet.
As of last Thursday, Bubble Ball had toppled the free version of Angry Birds with more than 400,000 downloads in a single day after a million downloads in the first two weeks the app was available.
Look out, game developers, there’s a new kid in town -- literally!
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter
(Image courtesy of All Things Digital)