There's no denying that the cloud in general is a concept that's growing significantly. But now the cloud is being cited as a major tool in game development, as well as for startup businesses in general. This trait is exemplified by the new iOS game iACTaFOOL, the launch of which was announced earlier today.
The story behind iACTaFOOL may seem downright foolish on its surface. Its creator, Hani Shabsigh, got a little investment from an angel investor named Ibrahim Khaddash. Shabsigh then quit his job at Deloitte Consulting, moved into his parents' basement, and learned everything he could about programming in a very rapid fashion. He bought 10 different programming books, took a series of courses at Codecademy and Coursera, founded a company called Fun Factory Apps and then set to work. In a stroke of what may well be cosmic irony, nine months later, he now has a game on the Apple App Store.
As for the game itself, iACTaFOOL is described by Shabsigh as "an Instagram-style game", a kind of video charades in which users act out clues with other users for them to guess. Users will encounter a variety of clues like "supermodel" or "jellyfish", and then act them out accordingly for a number of users that the players can define themselves. They can put themselves into a private game with themselves and one other user, they can post the acted clue videos into a small group of pre-approved friends, or they can compete with the wider world of iACTaFOOL in a bid to get on the "popular" page.
Image via itunes.apple.com
Users score points in iACTaFOOL by getting a number of likes, dislikes and guesses of just what the actor in question is trying to portray, which is combined to express their "fame" score. This makes iACTaFOOL something of a unique animal as gaming goes as it is, basically, the first such game to make direct social interactions tie into the scoring structure itself.
Shabsigh, for his part, credits the rise of backend-as-a-service (BaaS) providers for giving him--and by extension, other similar entrepreneurs--the tools necessary to quickly develop complex applications in a sufficiently rapid fashion to compete with much larger names. For instance, the use of Parse allowed him to cut his development time in half thanks to its sheer ease of use. Parse is actually written in the iPhone native programming language, so it was much quicker for him to learn. Better yet, he cites several other services--Facebook authentication, push notification, in-app purchasing and several others--for making his push to create iACTaFOOL much easier than it would have been without. Early reviews are universally positive, averaging a full five stars on iTunes out of just 21 reviews overall.
Whether iACTaFOOL will inspire a similar generation of programmers in the making to break out of their current jobs and move on to creating their own apps is unclear. Though the rise of new services should make it much easier to make apps, it remains to be seen if there are more Hani Shabsigh's in the making or if this is just Shabsigh acting alone. It's also enough to wonder if employers will start using iACTaFOOL like Facebook or Twitter, looking for objectionable content.
Still, as far as this story goes, it's clear that Shabsigh has taken charge of his own destiny, and stepped up to make something new. Just how it all turns out, though, only time will tell.
Edited by Brooke Neuman