Zero Programming. Seriously, zero.
Want a more laid-back approach to learning the in’s and out’s of this kit? Grab some popcorn and watch the documentation videos. They cover a lot of the same material as the written guides (but don’t describe every possible Property List value).
The true-of-heart story teller will crack open the written reference for the ultimate guide. This documentation is available for the iPad or Mac in iBook format or as a PDF file. Both are lushly illustrated and detail every possible value for the Property List.
Why this Kit?
Professional instructor, app developer and owner of CartoonSmart.com, Justin Dike created this kit to build immersive story book apps for the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch devices with zero programming.
That’s the beauty of this kit. You don’t have to do ANY programming! Everything is setup using a simple Property List file. And by “everything”, we do mean everything: interaction, animation, sounds, video, in-app purchases, etc. One file does it all.
Below is an example of some of the first few properties in the kit. These properties are used to add an introduction image to your app (for example a studio credit or “made by” graphic). The Keys in the left column are never edited. You’ll enter values in the right column. So for example, the intro_image.png file is being seen for 2 seconds, will spend another 2 seconds transitioning to the next page, and that transition effect will be PageFlipForward (which resembles a page flip).
We should be asking YOU that. What do you want to do? What kind of story do YOU have in mind? If you can dream it up, you can probably tell it with this kit.
Below are just a few suggestions of apps you could make with this kit. Keep in mind, we’re adding functionality with each new version (and updates are free).
- Traditional front-to-back style books - the standard “page flip forward/ backward” transitions are just a couple of the possible ways to change pages
- Choose-your-own-adventure style books - let the reader decide how the story ends with different routes through the book.
- Assembly boards – Give readers the parts and let them create something. For example, a new type of insect. Parts can be moved up or down visually, or be deleted
- Puzzle Apps – Just provide the pieces, and you can easily create a snap-n-place puzzle board. When the user completes it, something can happen (for example, a next page button is revealed)
- Sticker Apps – Kids love sticking things places. Give them a free-for-all with unlimited stickers to place in your book.
- Video Apps – You can add streaming video or video saved within the app itself. This opens up a world of possibilities.
- Tap-to-smash Apps – Bubble wrap popping apps are a bit over-done, but you could create something just as fun quite easily.
- Sound Machines – Build a virtual juke box or sound mixing board.
- Meditation Apps – Let users listen to soft music and move their fingers across the device to create soothing FX with particle systems that follow their movements
- “Nighty-Night” style apps – Visit different rooms (sections of the book) and turn off the lights to say goodnight to the occupants.
- Multi-Directional Maps – For example, start your book in the middle of the night sky and let readers tap up, down, left or right to navigate the constellations
- Quizzes – If the reader taps the correct “answer” button, they proceed to the next question/page. If they tap the wrong button, an image and sound tell them to try again.
- Counting Apps – After a reader taps a certain number of objects, something fun happens (fireworks pop up for example)
You’ll get two Xcode Project templates. One kit labeled “Demo” has about 8 pages already included, with the Property List set up to demonstrate interactivity, buying, puzzle pages, etc. The other template is a barebones version with only one page already included in the Property List.
While everything is completely customizable using the Property List, if you do have some experience with programming, you can easily modify these templates to further suit your needs. It ain’t rocket science!
These templates are Cocos2d-based, which makes them compatible with Apportable, for export to Android.
Features List – version 1.6
- Universal App. The kit can build an app for both the iPad or iPhone, iPad-only or iPhone-only. Every location in the kit can be shifted for the iPad, iPhone and iPhone-Wide (iPhone 5).
- Unlimited Pages. The Property List is primarily organized by data for each page. “Page” data can be copied and pasted, or reorganized by simply dragging the Page item in a list.
- Primary Page Order. Your book can have a primary page order, for example tapping forward moves through your page list from top to bottom.
- Special Pages. Your App can have “special” pages excluded from the main order of the book. For example, map inserts or diagrams might be left out of the primary order and only shown when the user taps a button.
- Page Transitions. The popular page flip effect isn’t your only option. Others include sliding right, left, top, bottom, clockwise, and more (the full list is in the documentation). The Kit also supports Hebrew or Arabic style books to simulate reading back to front.
- Run-on / continuous pages. For example one page can seemlessly slide into another page, creating the illusion of one really long piece of art. Transitions can slide up or down too, so you could create a really tall book as well. You could even include 4 directional arrows to navigate up, down, left or right.
- Landscape or Portrait. The choice is yours.
- Custom Index. Create an index that goes to any page of your book.
- Random Pages. You can create lists of random pages to turn to.
- Images. Import JPG or transparent PNG files to the Xcode project and display them with simple settings in the Property List.
- Unlimited Layers. Stack layers of transparent art on each page using the z-depth property. For example an image at -10 is lower visually than an image at 10.
- Interactivity. Any image can be tapped to act as a “button”. You can interact with other images, trigger sounds, go to pages, and a lot more (see the separate lists below).
- Any image can be animated with as little as 1 frame or hundreds. Animations can be looped and played / stopped through interactions. Looping animations can also play sounds.
- Movements, Rotations, Scaling, Fading, & Flipping are all built-in properties for each image. Set a start and finish value for each transformation (which can also be reversed and looped).
- Device-Dependent Locations. Images have separate locations in the Property List for the iPad, iPhone or iPhone Wide (iPhone 5 or higher)
- Random Locations. Images can appear at random locations. For example, a single button could be pressed to spawn twinkling stars randomly in the night sky.
- Listen in. “Listeners” can be setup in the property list to listen for the removal or tapping of a type of image. For example, if 20 “birds” are tapped, then something happens. Listeners can trigger the same actions that any image can.
- Random Images. You can now create lists of random images to use for interactions. Click a button, and a random image pops up.
- Pre-made particle systems give you a quick way to add animate special FX in your scene.
- Alter each system. Each of these systems can have their default colors, gravity, decay rate, emission rates and source image changed via the Property List.
- Draggable systems. Each system can follow the user’s touch. Either by default when the system first appears or after tapping a button.
- Snow. Adds a snowy system.
- Sun. Adds a blazing hot sun system.
- Fire. Adds a fireball system.
- Galaxy. Adds a blueish milky way type system.
- Meteor. Adds a falling meteor style system.
- Fireworks. Ka-Boom! Adds a fireworks system.
- Spiral. Adds a constantly turning system.
- Smoke. Adds a smoking grey system.
- Explosion. Add an explosion effect to your scene.
- Flower. Adds a flowery system.
- Rain. Adds a rainy system. Change the emission rate to kick up the storm.
- Supports Up to 5 Products. Your book can be free, paid or upgrade-able with In-App Purchases. There’s nothing to change code-wise, just a little extra setup in iTunes Connect if you want to include In-App Purchases.
- Unlock Books within a Book. In-App Purchases can be used to open up large sections (perhaps other books) within your book. So part of the book can be free and the rest requires purchases.
- Product-Dependent Images. Show images based on whether or not a particular In-App Purchase product has been bought. This could be used for navigation purposes OR to enhance the story line of your book. For example, you could sell a golden suit of armor the character wears throughout the entire book.
- Buy Button. Any image can be used to purchase one of your 5 possible products.
- Restore Purchases. Set up a “Restore Past Purchases” button with the Property List to conform with Apple’s requirements (you must give user’s this option).
- Play Video. Add video files as a resource of the kit, so they will load instantly.
- Stream Video. For larger video files, host them online and stream them to your app.
- Video Size. Video can be fullscreen or any custom size.
- Send to Apple TV. Video is played using Apple’s core media player which includes the ability to send the video to Apple TV.
- Add Page Narration. Each page can have an audio narration track (this could be any audio file really).
- Add Looping Background Audio. Each page can loop a background audio track. This could be music or an ambient sound effect like wind blowing.
- Add Sound Nearly Anywhere. Any image or particle system can include sound when it first appears. Images can include sound when they are pressed, so you can include audio all over the place.
- Sounds. An image can play a sound when pressed.
- Remove after tapping. An image can fade away after being pressed or be removed immediately.
- Go to a URL. An image can open a URL (website).
- Go to the next or previous page. An image can be used to transition to the next or previous page in the book.
- Go to any page. An image can be used to go to any other page in the book.
- Add or remove other images. When tapped an image can trigger other images to be added or removed from the page.
- Add or remove particles. When tapped an image can trigger particles to be added or removed from the page.
- Stop or start animations. Touching an image can start or stop it’s own animation sequence OR that of an another image.
- Dragging. When tapped an image can begin following the user’s touch, or it can trigger another image to follow the touch.
- Stop dragging. When tapped an image can tell everything on the page to stop following the user’s touch.
- Fading. When tapped an image can fade itself or another image between specific opacity levels.
- Movements. When tapped an image can move itself or another image between two locations.
- Scaling. When tapped an image can scale itself or another image between two values.
- Rotation. When tapped an image can rotate itself or another image between two values.
- Assembly boards. Give readers the parts and let them create something. For example, a new type of insect. Parts can be moved up or down visually, or be deleted.
- Puzzle Apps. Just provide the pieces, and you can easily create a snap-n-place puzzle board. When the user completes it, something can happen (for example, a “next page” button is revealed)
- Sticker Apps. Kids love sticking things places. Give them a free-for-all with unlimited stickers to place in your book.
- Video Apps. You can add streaming video or video saved within the app itself. This opens up a world of possibilities.
- Tap-to-smash Apps. Bubble wrap popping apps are a bit over-done, but you could create something just as fun quite easily.
- Sound Machines. Build a virtual juke box or sound mixing board.
- Meditation Apps. Let users listen to soft music and move their fingers across the device to create soothing FX with particle systems that follow their movements
- “Nighty-Night” style apps. Visit different rooms (sections of the book) and turn off the lights to say goodnight to the occupants.
- Multi-Directional Maps. For example, start your book in the middle of the night sky and let readers tap up, down, left or right to navigate the constellations
- Quizzes. If the reader taps the correct “answer” button, they proceed to the next question/page. If they tap the wrong button, an image and sound tell them to try again.
- Counting Apps. After a reader taps a certain number of objects, something fun happens (fireworks pop up for example)
The Written Documentation
To whet your appetite for this kit, we’re giving away every bit of documentation for free. Below you can find links to download the glorious iBook version of the guide for your iPad or Mac (or an alternate PDF version).
The iBook version can be downloaded directly to your iPad, iPad mini or Mac and opened in iBooks.Download the iBook Download the PDF
Example Pages from the Documentation
The Personal License. Suitable for most story tellers.
You can create an unlimited number of free or commercial apps using this kit. The apps can only be distributed through one Apple account. In other words, you cannot develop for someone else on a “for hire” or freelance basis using this kit with the Personal License.I’m ready to purchase!
The Developer License. For professional story tellers.
You can create an unlimited number of free or commercial apps using this kit. The apps can be distributed through multiple Apple accounts. In other words, you CAN develop for someone else on a “for hire” or freelance basis using this kit with the Developer License.I’m ready to purchase!