December 7, 2009 | by Ed Clark
Florian Heft knows. Florian is the developer of Graviturn, a game that just won 2nd place and $50,000 in the Games: Arcade/Action category of Google’s ADC2 awards. Florian is also a 21 year old college student from Mühlacker, Germany, a small city of 26,000 people in the southwest portion of the country. He currently majors in computer science, and is in his fifth semester at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. I found out about his story by reading this post on Google’s “Android Discuss” forum:
“Oh my god … I can’t believe it. This must be some kinda fake mail or anything … AM I REALLY ON THE SECOND PLACE AND WON 50.000$ ?!?!
THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO VOTED!!! =)
I’m totally freaked out .. i’m just a poor student who never had more than like 2.000$ … thank you google!!”
As you can tell, Florian is pretty excited about his windfall, and his friends and family are as well. (Apparently winning $50,000 from Google has that effect.) He never expected to see his game make it past the second round, and the notification letter from Google was in his GMail Spam folder: “Results from ADC 2 are in: Congratulations!”
Maybe it’s time to check my own Spam folder again.
Amazingly, Florian didn’t even plan his game for ADC2, but was just intrigued with writing an application that would use the tilting sensor in some way. When ADC2 rolled around, he submitted it just for fun. He estimates that it took about 100 hours to develop the game, with the last 20 hours of extremely careful bug fixing being the most challenging part of the project. He had an insightful tip on this subject that may help some other aspiring Android developers:
“Many of the apps you can find in the market have a lot of bugs and come off badly from the very first day on. This is very discouraging for the developers, because even if they fix the problems, most users won’t download a 3-star app.”
At this point, Graviturn has been downloaded over 50,000 times, and there are 1,500 active users each day.
Florian’s big reward has inspired him to consider creating new Android applications, but he has nothing specific planned yet. While he is still considering what he will do with the money, he knows that at least part of the prize will be applied to finishing his degree. The rest, he says, will be a healthy “stimulation for further Android development.”