.Editorial - Making an iOS app for iPad - Dragon Alliance HD project

Release year: 0
Reviewed by Chris
Amongst the many things I'm doing these days, like working on a new iteration of the site, finding new reviewers,. ... etc. I've also decided to resurrect an old project of mine, one that I fear I should never have abandoned in the first place. But as many know, time is a rare commodity, and when I tried to go independent in the hope I would have more free time for my project The Kyrian Chronicles I never expected that it would actually be the total opposite. Now that I'm looking for a job for quite a while now, I have more time to revisit a project that was always dear to my heart, my manga project.

I thought the iPad was a great device to start the project on, as its magnificent screen would bring to life the images I drew with great contrast and sharpness, even more so on the new retina display of the new iPad (don't get me started on the new name of this device :) ). While I was a coder once (at least at engineer school), I barely coded in the last 20 years so coding the app myself was never an option for me. After roaming the internet and searching google (how did we live before this search engine ?), I found a framework that seemed to do all I needed, cost very little (around 30 bucks) and would allow me to publish my app painlessly, or so I thought :)

It didn't take long to have the app running and my pages working on my own iPad, however I encountered quality issues that I didn't want in the final app. The page loading or swiping was too slow, there was a noticeable delay between a swipe and until the page turned. The iPad being a marvel of technology and responsiveness, having an app that required a second to change page was not the reader experience I wanted to present my project. Of course at this price I am pleased with the result, even though it didn't match my own expectations I couldn't ask for miracles at such low price. I am also very grateful to Chris Mayer (the creator of the framework) as without his framework I simply wouldn't have started such a project. He's also been very helpful in helping with any questions I have. So with the help of my close friend Daniel, we've decided we needed to change the code to boost app reactivity. Having never developed on iOS before, there was a learning curve, getting used with Apple development tools was one of them, and still today after many hours fiddling with it we both find it not very user friendly. Leave it to Apple to make super easy user interfaces for smartphones and tablets, so much so that even a kid would grab the thing and almost immediately understand how it works (a real feat when you think about it) but make things complicated for developers. Now while I'm sure there are worse developing environments out there, I'm equally sure there are better ones too :). So it took us months to work out the kinks and discover that pushing an app to the app store required more than I first imagined it would. The whole process to create certificate and assign them to devices and profiles was a nightmare sometimes, and Apple changing things so often that help provided on tutorial pages was sometimes misleading (or simply outdated). I won't write more about it, suffice is to say that if you want to push an app to the store, be ready for some headaches.

The original framework app contained code to have music with the images, and then I thought wouldn't it be great if I got some great metal musical score for my app ? Indeed it would, and with that in mind I contacted Eugen Dodenhoeft from Far Beyond (www.far-beyond.com) to ask him if I could use one of his EP song for my Kyrian Chronicles. Eugen kindly agreed and even redid one of the songs as an instrumental as I feared singing would distract from reading the manga material itself. I want to thank him again from the bottom of my heart here as it was incredibly nice of him not only to provide me with some of his music (if you haven't checked his website following my review of his EP, do yourself a favor and go check it out now !) and actually adapt it to my needs. So thank you again Eugen, you rock ! After many bug fixes, battles with Apple development and online tools, The Kyrian Chronicles were born in their new format, a 30 pages manga available on the app store under the Dragon Alliance HD name. One thing I've learned is that the name of your app matters, so using proper names as a title would not allow readers to find me easily, hence the rename in version 1.01. Unfortunately having an app is only the beginning, for people to find it, people MUST know it exists, and that's where it gets tricky and is an ongoing battle that requires patience and probably some money too depending on your budget and aspirations.

So my app is out there, but so are 500'000 apps, so the real challenge will be to make it visible somehow. It will not be easy, I've already tried using a paying solution to advertise it's release but it did little to nothing to help the app gain any traction. It is in download hell at the moment, with only a handful of people downloading it daily.

If you like manga and power metal music, I encourage to check the free app that gives you the 10 first pages of the first volume with the option to purchase the remaining 20 pages at the introductory price of 0.99. This article is one of the means to attract people on it, that is whomever is interested in manga within our readers but also for people to know that making an app is just the beginning, making it known and downloaded to reach charts where it can get potential success is another story, one that I don't have as of today. While I like the fact that anyone can publish an app, most app won't reach commercial success easily. The saying "built it and they will come" doesn't apply here (unfortunately).

I now question the validity to target mostly the iPad as a target device for the story I wish to share with the world. I believe I must touch any tablets out there instead, via amazon Kindle store maybe, which means even non tablet public could purchase it via the kindle/amazon store as well. Therefore not limitating the app to only Apple iPad owners.

-For more information about my project, check this page out : TKC Dragon Alliance HD
-And here is a link to the iPad app store link to Dragon Alliance HD.

I'm open to feedback on both the app itself or the story, the drawings, the process of making an app and also the fantastic sound track that comes with it. If only for listening to it (as it's not available anywhere else in this form), I encourage you to check it out (that is if you have an iPad, I know not everyone has it just yet :) ) as the free version won't cost you anything and will allow to sample the drawings, the story and the amazing metal music of Eugen Dodenhoeft, a relatively unknown German artist that definitely deserves more attention as his music kills !

You can also check the 10 free pages online on my deviantart gallery, in case you don't have an ipad but are curious about the project itself.

Link to my previous review of Far Beyond - Songs of Hope and Sorrow. Where you can download Eugen's EP (the track used in Dragon Alliance HD is an instrumental remix of Tempus Fugit part I)

Link to Codestore (framework used, though many hours went into making it snappier and an overall better reading experience, though Chris might update his code with some of the modifications we've brought to his original code)

I rarely ask our readers for help, but I would appreciate it if you could mention this project to any manga/anime (and metal) fans you know or better yet to anyone you know (let them decide if they like it) using social media (facebook, tweeter,... using a link to the app in the itunes store provided in this article or simply the page presenting the project which is www.kallias.com/support that way you can simply copy paste it from here) you could help me greatly to spread the word about my manga and I would be forever grateful if you take a few minutes to do so, even if manga isn't your forte or to your taste, the fact that the chronicles also features metal music could be enough of a reason to tell people about it. If you appreciate the work we do week after week for 12 years now, and there's a way for you to help me with my side project by simply providing a link on your facebook page or tweet about it, then I would greatly appreciate your help.

Thanks for reading. I know this is a far cry from calling this a metal only editorial, it's far from that, but it does contain metal at least, right :) ?

To make sharing to facebook easier, I've made this link :

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Thanks, and as always, In Metal We Trust !
Killing Songs :
Chris quoted
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