Codemon: The Backstory

It has been a while since I published Codemon on Google Play, and I have been updating it quite often. I originally talked about why I made Codemon in my personal blog, in Spanish. I got many requests to post it in English, so here it is.

The story starts a while ago: It was the 90s and there was a TV commercial (at least in Spain) about something called “Barcode Battler”. It was a portable console you could scan barcodes with, which turn into creatures you used to battle each other. Sounds familiar?

I loved the concept, but back then I was a student with little money to spare so I never got my hands on one of those. Instead, the concept of the game got stuck in my head, where it kept being an amazing game, and since I never played it, it didn’t have any flaws or limitations.

Fast forward to the arrival of smartphones. The first time I saw a barcode scanner that used the camera of a phone the concept came back to me. I thought that the game could be done for phones, so I searched it. What I found was Barcode Beasties, which is a similar concept but the gameplay was really limited and the UI was “not so good”. My inner geek was urging me to build a better barcode game, but I had a full time job… until I resigned.

Then it came The Pill Tree, a gaming studio I co-founded with a friend. The idea of building a game based on scanning barcodes was always there. In fact we had a prototype of a game called “DNAPets” (working name) which at the end was pushed out by SpaceCat. Once SpaceCat was done, there was no continuity on The Pill tree and the idea was “abandoned”.

Then I started Platty Soft, and this project was always there. Taking time from here and there I was able to build prototypes and test them. The idea evolved again to something more of a “Pokemon” style and therefore the name Codemon (Barcode Monsters) the monsters you find on barcodes.

The last obstacle was the lack of a designer since day 1. A pet/monster game has character design as a cornerstone, and any game needs a nice UI. Hire someone for a personal project, not knowing how (or if) it is going to work out and running it on your own money was a difficult decision. But then I realized that it was either that or abandon the project, and I had invested so much time and illusion to trash it now.

Finding a designer was not easy and I must say I was lucky with the ones that got worked with me, and very happy with the result as well.

All in all, there have been more than 3 years since I got struck by the idea, and around 20 since the seed was planted. The final result is a game where you scan barcodes to find Codemons which you can battle other players with and level them up (and collect them as well) if you haven’t tried it yet, I encourage you to do so.

Android Development Course in Amsterdam

After having done 3 successful Guru Session about Android with Appsterdam and given some formal training via the Appvertising Agency, I think it is time to go one step forward.

There is a complete lack of Android training courses in Amsterdam. I want to change that. I want to provide expert Android training for IT professionals.

Ok, so, let’s answer some questions about this first Android Development Course in Amsterdam.

How long?

5 days (Monday to Friday), 8 hours a day (most likely 9:00 to 17:00 or 10:00 to 18:00).

Less time will not give proper in-depth training. I expect the attendees to be able to build full REST applications with a persistent database and adaptative interfaces for both phones and tablets at the end of the week

Do you have a program?

Some topics that will be covered are:

  • Activities & Intents
  • Layouts & Resources
  • Lists & Adapters
  • Asynchronous / Background tasks
  • Network communication
  • JSON / XML parsing
  • Content Providers
  • Fragments
  • Action Bar
  • Adapting apps to tablets

How many slots?

I want a group of 10-12 people. Less will be too expensive for them and more will not allow me to dedicate proper time to each of them.


I am talking with several locations, but BouceSpace has a lot of possibilities to be the one.


Not sure yet, but I’d like to do it before the end of 2012, proposed dates are December 10th to 14th.

How much?

This is still undecided, but I believe it will be around 800 euros per person. Food will be -almost definitely- included

How do I RSVP?

Just follow the link to the event page on EventBrite, or just contact me if you are interested but not completely sure yet.

Android Design Patterns and Tools: Recap and slides

Past Saturday we held a Guru Session about Android Design Patterns and tools at Appsterdam. The topic is very interesting and so more than 15 people showed up with their laptops ready to learn more about it and, of course, talk about the topics and get their hands into some code to try it out.

I started talking about how to use one layout for all devices and how to adapt it, giving Chalk Ball as example (thanks to Matt for the photo) and moved over other topics as Master-Detail architecture, ActionBar and how to save time when testing on devices.

You can check all the slides here:

This time there was less bootstrapping new projects and more playing with the concepts, but all in all it was fun to run it and based on the comments, attendees learned new ideas and enjoyed it as well.

Piracy on Apps, Bubbleconf and slides

Past Friday I went to Bubbleconf and I gave a lightning talk about Piracy on Apps. I already wrote about it in this blog entry.

Here’s a photo of the conference, you can see all the photos of Bubbleconf in flickr.

We used the Pecha Kucha style for the talks, 20 slides, 20 seconds each. It was the first time I tried such a method. While I was expecting to dislike it, it was not that bad, in fact I sort of liked it.

And of course, the slides of the talk, it just took 6m40s to deliver it

The conference was held in the Pathé Tuschinski theater in Amsterdam, an amazing venue. All in all, an interesting day.