Seb Lee-Delisle


Kittens. On a conveyorbelt. On an iPhone.

Kitten Conveyorbelt

As part of my ongoing research into many different technologies, I’ve finished my very first iPhone app, written in Objective C, The Kitten Conveyorbelt!

Kitten Conveyorbelt

As with any personal project I tried to keep the scope down to something that was actually possible to complete within the time I had available. So, I came up with the idea of Kittens. On a conveyorbelt. Passing along in front of your eyes, to help cheer you up. I even wrote a cheesy elevator music song and recorded it with my wife Jenny.

Oh, and they meow when you stroke them. Now I kinda think it’s so ridiculous it’s funny. And I really hope you get the joke too.

Kitten Conveyorbelt

Learning curve

Despite an excellent head start from Aral’s excellent training course, there was still quite a learning curve. It’s probably one of the harder technologies to master. The lower level and incredibly ugly Objective C syntax, manual memory management, and just getting used to how all the various elements work together.

Graphical programming

The other thing I noticed after having worked in various multi-media authoring systems (Flash, Director etc) for so long is how tricky it is to implement simple animated effects. Something that is a simple matter of basic timeline animation in Flash becomes a fairly lengthy process of exporting bitmaps and animating them in code. This is an area I’m very interested in exploring further in the future. (The conveyor belt graphics and weird cat heart thing were designed by my talented nephew, Jonathan).

But I have to say I enjoyed the development process. It’s kinda nice to get a bit lower level for once. And I really like iOS devices. We can learn an awful lot from the tactile and intuitive user interface.

Personal projects

It took me longer than I expected to make this simple app, probably about a month, on and off. Another reason why it’s essential to keep your personal projects limited in scope. But I have to admit a certain confidence crisis half way through this project, where I couldn’t believe how much time I was spending on something that was so clearly an insane idea!

App Store submission

The worst part of this whole process was the App Store submission, which was just hugely convoluted and obfuscated, which is really surprising considering how user friendly Apple products are. And I suddenly got extremely panicked after my friend Paul Neave had his app denied for “limited functionality”.

How much more limited can you get in functionality than kittens on a conveyorbelt? Thankfully though, Apple put it through late last night. Yay!

Kitten Conveyorbelt

The future of Kitten Conveyorbelt

I have big plans for this app. More functionality, more customisation, “screen saver” mode, iPad version, ability to put your own photos on a conveyorbelt, choose various versions of the kitten song or even your own music library… but this all depends how well this one does.

My next experiments with the iPhone will be more graphical tests. I’m currently looking at Cocos2D, Unity3D, and also just testing out how performance CoreGraphics is.

And as you can probably see from my blog lately, I’m also looking at AIR for Android. So don’t worry. There’ll be Kittens on Android soon 🙂

But check out Kitten Conveyorbelt on the App Store – I’d love to know what you think!

I’ll be talking more about this and my other explorations into different technology at my upcoming Flash on the Beach session, What the Flux!?.

And I know some of you don’t like Apple. And some of you don’t like Flash. But please try to be normal in the comments, OK? Thanks!

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