Golden Hammer

Quick Facts

  • Leverage native C++ support for the BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet
  • The codebase for their BlackBerry PlayBook apps were considerably smaller than other platforms

BlackBerry Developer Success Story - Golden Hammer

As a two-person application development company, Golden Hammer Software Ltd. had previous success with their C++ code based apps, such as Big Mountain Snowboarding and Scribble Worm on other platforms. However, after a chance encounter with a Research In Motion® (RIM®) representative during Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, CA, in March 2012, the duo discovered that the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet's Native OS was based on C/C++ and offered a rather simple porting process, not to mention a whole new customer base to tap into.


David Wingrove and Katie Merrill talked to us about why they decided to build versions of their apps for the BlackBerry platform, their experience developing for BlackBerry PlayBook tablets and the positive response they've received from BlackBerry users.

View details in BlackBerry World

Q: Why did you decide to develop for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet?

Katie: Our business model is based on getting on as many platforms that support C++ as we can. In San Francisco, the RIM representative told us the platform supported C++ and how to get our hands on a couple of BlackBerry PlayBook tablets at the RIM booth at GDC. When we got back to Boston, we checked out the tablet's hardware, the Native SDK and the available API's, which we both found easy to use.


While we were still considering the idea of developing for BlackBerry, it was the local MassDigi's gaming event in early April that became the deciding factor for us. RIM had a very strong presence at the event, which we viewed as a positive sign of just how serious their commitment was to building a viable platform and supporting the developer community. We were also fortunate enough to meet a second contact while we were there and they took the time to show us just how simple it was to configure our apps to the BlackBerry PlayBook.

Q: Can you tell us more about you experience porting your apps and how it compares to other platforms you've worked with?

David: We code completely independent of the platform and then plug in APIs for each system using Open Graphics Library® (OpenGL®). During the porting process, the OpenGL support was solid and the only code we had to add was a JPEG loader.


The BlackBerry app development framework is also lightweight and the layering process was the simplest one I've seen. Our entire BlackBerry specific codebase is 1500 lines long - about one-third to one-quarter the size of our other platform layers, with no change to the quality of the app. The whole process only took us a few days to complete.


Katie: When it came time to launch the app on BlackBerry World™ storefront, the process was again very straightforward and fast. To give an example, we recently submitted a patch to other platforms and the BlackBerry PlayBook on the same day. We were approved on BlackBerry World two days later but waited weeks for approval on the others.

Q: Given your experience now, what are your thoughts on developing for the BlackBerry platform and any plans for the future?

David: First of all, the response from the BlackBerry user base has been fantastic and very supportive. Our Big Mountain Snowboarding app had its second most successful launch week among all the platforms. A large part of that success came from the app being featured by CrackBerry.com and by being on BlackBerry World's carousel the week it launched.


Also, developing the only snowboarding app in BlackBerry World has had a huge impact as well. I feel like the environment is definitely a lot less cluttered than other environments for those looking to get in and the users seem to be very willing to pay for good quality apps.


Katie: As for the future, the experience has been really good so far. We're now working on porting more games to the BlackBerry PlayBook and eventually to BlackBerry® 10 smartphones ("BB 10"). We are both looking forward to getting our hands on a BB 10 Dev Alpha device and start building apps for the new OS.






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