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Show HN: I made 30 apps this year and I'm 15 (aeipsapps.tumblr.com)
206 points by stasy on Dec 30, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 141 comments

One tip: Ignore everybody and keep creating. If I'd done that at 15, then I wouldn't have started to doubt myself and stop working on ideas that later turned out to be very prescient.

The most important thing you should do is the thing that's most important to you. Be sure it's not defined by other people's opinions.

There will always be people in life like the guy who replied "While it is impressive to see another 15 year old programmer (I've never met one in real life even though I've been to three schools in two different countries (I'm a expat kid) ), the actual programming skill required to make games like these are little to none and truthfully i'm not overly impressed."

Ignore 'em and keep working.

EDIT: Oh, I should also mention: don't let the praise go to your head. Another mistake I made. In general, it's it's a bad idea to compare yourself to anyone else -- whether feeling smug and superior that you've accomplished all this at 15 (surprise, I know your secret!) or feeling weak and inferior that you're not as talented as some other person. They're not you, and you're not them. Relative comparisons like that don't matter one bit. Instead, it's far more advantageous to always be comparing your current self to your past self. That's how Carmack became so incredibly good, for example. He didn't wait for anyone to surpass him; he did it himself. That's only possible if you believe you're not as skilled as you could be, i.e. having no ego. Nor did he let people convince him he was wasting his time back when he was working on his early projects.

It's complicated. Just keep working.

One thing I've learned is that if you've found yourself ruffling feathers and receiving criticism for something that you've done that isn't objectively bad or immoral, you're probably on the right track.

Right, forget about the age thing. Do what you like doing. The problem with "I'm 15 and I did this" is that it's also easy to go with the flip side, which is "sorry this was such a disaster, but I'm only 15." You should never use your [age, race, sex, creed, disability] as a factor in what you do. Get your mindset right and then just build stuff.

ETA: I can point out all kinds of people who wildly succeeded despite huge adversity. You won't see these guys mentioning how they were able to do well despite X. Really, the achievements should speak for themselves. You shouldn't have to dress them up. If you do feel that way, then maybe you need to take a step back and think about what's next. What can you do to level up and take you out of your comfort zone and give you a greater sense of accomplishment.

Yes, the op has done fantastic. Perfection is unattainable but a great motivator. You can always get better and should.

This past year you have learned a very valuable skill, pump out product. Now you should reflect upon how well your apps performed in the store and determine if you want to continue with the same strategy, invest time in polishing your projects, or maybe simply review your quality standards.

Great job OP, any parent would be proud, any person should show respect. Keep it up, iterate on your ideas and yourself.

This is great advice at any age not just 15.

I must say, regarding prescient ideas –

Many ideas do "float in the air", so you should take you gut feelings of "what's the next app that should be out there" seriously.

It has happened to me personally that an idea which I thought was "crazy, but perhaps crazy enough to be good" – yet never started working on it – was the same idea a start up had not long before. I could but congratulate them on their genius :)

> The most important thing you should do is the thing that's most important to you.

I had to go google this exact statement to see if you were quoting somebody else. What a profound observation that is.

Came here to say something similar. Everything saurus is saying is wonderful advice for anyone at any age.

It's worth noting that this isn't a cool github account someone's turned up of a surprisingly young programmer, it's a serial publicist [0-2] using primarily a game creation engine (which he doesn't acknowledge upfront) to build low-quality games and display them on an unsightly tumblr page. I think to heap praise on this because of their age alone is patronising. Encouragement absolutely, it's great to see young people interested in programming, but at what age would this has been flagged and removed quickly after posting, 17? 19?

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6864667

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6800925

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6799065

I think it's great that he continued to search for a way to promote his own work. Your links demonstrate that he was asking us for help, received absolutely none, then figured out how to help himself.

New programmers (of any age) aren't competing at the level of professional, kickstarter-funded projects. And most people don't know how difficult it is to do this kind of gamedev work when you're just starting out, so it seems like people are labeling this as low-quality just because it's the work of a newer craftsman.

He's out there actually doing something and trying to make his own vision happen, and he hasn't resorted to spammy behavior. It looks like he kept his head down and continued to produce while looking for a way to promote his work, then correctly ascertained that the sheer quantity of work would intrigue people.

C'mon! No one here read the sourcecode?

It's made without any programming using this app: https://www.scirra.com/

... still more games than i have done though :-P

This sentiment should instead be presented constructively. You should have asked what code he needed to write outside of the framework, rather than being ruled by your own exasperation.

You could have made a useful comment and been polite. Something you could likely consider every time you open your mouth, and I don't mean that in a mean way. Hacker News helped me better modulate what I say.

> You could have made a useful comment

It was useful to me. I was curious what languages/framework the OP did and I had no idea what scirra was until this post.

> and been polite.

Seriously? I don't see any types of aggression in tmikaeld's post.

> Something you could likely consider every time you open your mouth, and I don't mean that in a mean way. Hacker News helped me better modulate what I say.

This post just reeks of elitism. It's like immediately discrediting a comment simply because of one grammar/punctuation mistake.

There were some aspects of the apps that were not supported on Scirra, so I had to do it myself. But yes, they were made with Construct 2.

It seems quite similar to Scratch, although if that's what it takes to get interested in software engineering, then good for him either way.

I doubt I had even 30 ideas this year :P

I would like to see some of your work that is 100% yours and no libraries or anything else.

If you said that to a C programmer that would translate as: I would like to see you rewrite the C standard library in assembly then boot your own optimised C compiler.

Said C coder will be so incensed that they will suffer a stroke, then start speaking in LISP.

= ) exactly. We all start somewhere why give someone as inspired as him a doubt in his mind.

May you please link to any of your projects? Were any built without using any third party tools or libraries?

Please. There is quite a difference between not using third-party tools/libraries, and (arguably) not programming at all.

I mean, the tool's tagline is "Create Games. Effortlessly."

This isn't an attempt to put the OP down, but let's keep things in perspective.

I disagree. It is an attempt to put the OP down. The tool may not have people writing code, but they are programming. They have define algorithms through the use of data types, loops, conditionals, etc. What the OP did is noteworthy because he/she was able to create cool games with the limitations of the tools (and went as far as adding his own JS).

No software these days is run or built without the help of others. Why make such comment? It is not constructive nor does it aim to develop the conversation.

You can disagree all that you like. What you cannot do is ascribe intention to my posts.

At any rate, I think that you're so focused on the specific case of the OP that you've missed the point of my post. That's fine. I expected contention over my use of the word "programming", and apparently I should have been more pedantic.

I was not focusing on your post. My point is geared towards the parent comment, and not yours. Not looking to argue. We both share the same view.

I just walked through some of their tutorials and it is still programming. It has a UI for a lot of it, but the concepts are probably more like what I consider traditional programming concepts than HTML/CSS (excluding JS).

Yeah, I expected a response like this. I really shouldn't have implied that this tool isn't a programming tool, but I think there's a difference between this tool and some C library.

So what?

OP said he made 30 apps this year. Which he did. Who cares how he made them.

If he had hired someone out to make them, people would be fawning over him, telling him he's a business tycoon.

I don't understand why you're so quick to try to shit on what he's doing, because you think you could do it in some arguably more "pure" manner, or whatever term you might use.

I wasn't shitting on the OP. That was never my intention, no matter how much you insist the contrary. And when did I suggest that I would do anything better or more pure? I'm simply responding to an implication that third-party code libraries and tools such as what the OP used are the same thing. I think they're not. Feel free to disagree all you like.

If you're just looking for an argument, look elsewhere.

Is it common to build a project without using any third party tools or libraries?

EDIT: I apologize for coming off as arrogant. Criticism isn't really doing any good and I regret that post. To the creator, I'm glad to see a 15 year actually doing something in computing.

I understand that this was a good experience for you and hopefully has further developed you skills. Sorry for the unnecessary criticism and blatant self promotion. My post was pointless, possibly narcissistic and I was doing what I hate people doing to me. Please keep it up and I hope you get even better; Also a little tip, check out Unity3D, it is costly but if you're into game deving it will let you develop games in 3D easily (though you're going to need to know basic Javascript or C) and it is multi-platform so it can publish to mobile.

OLD POST: Quality not quantity. While it is impressive to see another 15 year old programmer (I've never met one in real life even though I've been to three schools in two different countries (I'm a expat kid) ), the actual programming skill required to make games like these are little to none and truthfully i'm not overly impressed.

I too am 15 mind you and although I haven't developed any games I have created a RSA secure chatting social network website and app for it too which could communicate between each other using websockets and a node.JS server (this hasn't been published, while making it my partner quit :(, and I eventually lost hope that it would even be used since I was only 15).

I hope this doesn't come off as criticism. Its actually great to see another young programmer such as my self but all I am trying to say is that this is not overly impressing.

Hey, that's great for you, but don't be too quick to criticize how someone else hacks. You deserve credit for trying something hard, but so does this person for actually releasing stuff. And remember, it's not all about programming chops - doing lots of little projects teaches you a lot about the whole process, from UI to backend, how the app stores work, maybe even what users like. If nothing else you achieve "flow" more easily with short-term hacks, and that helps keep your mind in a creative state.

Source: 40 year old programmer, started programming at 11, deeply jealous that there were no app stores back then for the zillion games I wrote.

> I haven't developed any games I have created a RSA secure chatting social network website and app for it too which could communicate between each other using websockets and a node.JS server

I would avoid talking like this. To me it sounds like you only vaguely know what you're talking about. To non-techies you sound like you're trying too hard.

As someone who started freelancing as a sophomore in highschool I hope I can lend some advice I learned the hard way. You have a head start, which will seriously come in handy when you do something amazing. To get there you have to leave the ego at the door. Your success will be more centered on how you communicate with people, not machines.

Okay that was over descriptive. I basically created a chatting platform that used Websockets (so it worked on the web instead of application only) and would send data from a PHP frontend to a node.JS backend (hosted in AWS) via SSL and RSA encryption (I used cryptico.JS to encrypt and decrypt). The node.JS server was running engine.io (base for socket.io).

Also i'm sorry if it came off like I have a big ego!

PHP frontend? Just curious how that works...

Opps, by that I mean't a website done in PHP and the WS server was in node.

Also @krrishd, are you still working on your suicide-prevention app, I emailed you about it a few weeks ago and didn't get a response.

I'm trying to learn about both suicide and backend development conceptually, so the actual development will start soon. I'll shoot you an email about it soon :)

It still seems like you only vaguely know what you're talking about.

I disagree completely. I'm over twice your age and started programming when I was 12. My birthday present for my 14th birthday was a $99 retail copy of Microsoft Visual C++ 4.0. Back then I wrote a notepad clone, cab archiver (zip was a fad, really!), and various other utilities. I remember thinking how cool it was when I was 14 to have over 50,000 downloads. I've been a professional programmer (big corp, consulting, etc) for 15 years mostly doing web and desktop applications for businesses.

I can't sit down and write a pacman clone or an asteroids game. Therefore, I can say that it takes more skill than "little to none". I am impressed.

I'm definitely glad to see another 15 year old taking a interest in computing but I guess the reason i'm not overly impressed is that for me- and I don't mean to sound arrogant,- this would be an extremely easy task and the reason I'm not doing something like is because I prefer Software Programming more than Gaming and I hate Windows (I'm on Ubuntu).

For most 15 year olds it would not be an extremely easy task. What's impressive is that someone has gone down such a specialised skill-development route by that age. So both the OP, and you, are impressive.

I guess you are right, most 15 year olds at my school couldn't tell me how a bold tag looks like if their life depended on it! I didn't develop my skills over a fortnight. I have been programming since I was eight (I come from a family of engineers).

I still remember building my first VB Application (A browser), the moving on to HTML, PHP, then teaching a Python Class at my old school and now I'm proficient in Node.JS and know how to use most of the HTML5 API, so I guess it does take time to evolve your skills.

Extremely easy? To make 30 games in a year? Even if using a game creator software, it is not extremely easy. Opening a door is extremely easy.

I don't think the point is that he's produced a ton of useful things, but rather that he's completed a an awful lot of projects and has thus built a lot of useful experience for himself at a young age. At 15, I was still hand copying BASIC from the back of a magazine into my Tandy 1000.

You could see it differently: The guy actually made and released 30 games/apps this year. You: zero (thats what it sounds like).

As you described you have already gone through the pain it is to release even a small project and thats what its all about here. I can spend all day telling myself "oh i can do this too, easily" or "thats such a simple/obvious idea" and still accomplish nothing in terms of released products.

So talking him down for showing his simple games and bragging about your own unfinished project wont get you many sympathies around here.

But you are 15, at that age i was mostly playing quake and talking smack all over the internet on how good i am while programming very basic dos based text apps in basic/pascal, so you are forgiven ;) Just take this as advice

Yes I realised that and it is hard to just trust someone based on my own opinion that's why -hopefully- I will soon be releasing some software I've been working on for a long time (A node.js blogging engine).

I strongly disagree with this.

When learning, quantity is often more important than quality. If you try to learn by building one big project to be as perfect as possible, you'll always be slowed down by the bad decisions you made early on. By building lots of smaller projects, you don't need to spend time refactoring and regression testing and whatnot, you just finish the current project and use your newly gained knowledge to better build the next.

This is criticism. Focus on doing what you're doing. Let others work on and enjoy they're doing. There's no reason to call him out. Post something you've created here and I'm sure you'll find as much praise and encouragement.

inteligence != smartness

Some people are smart but not inteligent. And some are inteligent and not smart.

Someone might go great lengths of inteligence to create something utterly complex. While others might go the smart path and create something else. Both creations can become successful or unsuccessful. If one is complex and the other is simple doesnt mean one is better then the other.

I wasn't trying to put down his intelligence or smartness. Point is, the apps aren't overly impressive in my opinion and as I said quantity != quality.

In fairness the OP seems to share your opinion, in a previous posting he said "I know that my apps are not that good"[0].

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6864667

> I hope this doesn't come off as criticism.

No. Just as one-upmanship.

Jesus, this is impressive.

When I was fifteen, I'm pretty sure my main accomplishment was hitting level 40 in Halo 2 matchmaking.

You will probably get lots of valid and actionable advice about branching out to new platforms, focusing on one or two apps, or trying something new -- but more than anything else, keep building things! You've clearly got a ridiculously high level of aptitude and passion.

When I was 15 my parents hated computers. However, I had hot girlfriends, where one of the best player of my basketball team and was having really too much fun.

I don't regret nothing, but I'd sure love being able to write code at that age - If that would make me a better programmer today, which means that I would have to continue writing code for another 17 years :-)

Congrats to the kid.

Ok, first of all, congratulations! I remember being 15 and hacking away (It was Turbo Pascal for me). Ignore any naysayers that complain there is no code or it was done with a simple tool. Do what you like and enjoy.

But now on a more serious note, I'm about twice your age, so not too old to be screaming 'get of my lawn', but old enough to hopefully give you some advice that will resonate.

This projects mean an average of a game every two weeks, even if they are simple, I'm sure this is taking a lot of your time. I'm extrapolating here, so if I'm wrong just ignore me, but I'm assuming you are spending a lot of time doing these and not a lot of social activities. Please please please, do some socialisation with folks within the dev community and in your school and neighbourhood. I'm not going to say these are the best times of your life or whatnot, but believe it or not, when you are older and start looking for jobs, you will start understanding that social knowledge is as much, or more important that tech knowledge, and you will regret not developing those skills at younger age when it is easier to do so.

Again, good work, keep producing, but find some balance.

This is awesome. And while there's some valid criticism in this thread (regarding quality over quantity & originality), that criticism shouldn't detract from a few points:

* You're averaging a product a fortnight. Whoa.

* You've learned to leverage 3rd party tools to increase productivity / output.

* You've learned to actually -ship- product.

* You made the front page of Hacker News.

All of that is incredibly valuable. Who cares if it isn't written in Java or Objective-C or Haskell or Erlang, so long as your customers love what you're making? (And if they don't love it, at least you now know what to improve on next!)

If you do follow the advice of taking longer to make a higher quality product, don't fall into the trap of becoming a perfectionist and never shipping. It's better to ship something and keep improving it based on customer feedback, than to make something that never sees the light of day.

Did you join onegameamonth.com? If not, you definitely should.

Yeah, if we just ignore the products themselves (which may sound sarcastic but I genuinely think is valid), this guy's pumping out more completed projects over the past year than almost anyone posting here's done in their lifetime.

That, alone, is huge.

Kudos for learning to program at such a young age. It'll give you a leg up when you decide to get a job or start a company and need funding. However, I'd suggest taking some time and working on the quality and originality of the apps over the sheer number of apps that you can churn out in a year. A number of the apps seem almost identical. You want to get known for high quality apps and not as someone who just fills the app store with small apps.

This doesn't detract what the fact that you had the initiative and drive to complete 30 different games. But if I can offer some advice now, rather than when something real happens: Create your own characters rather than borrowing someone else's creations and building them into your games. Pac-Man, Mario, Minecraft, My Little Pony are all great characters, just unfortunately not yours to make a game with. Find a friend who can draw and have them create some unique characters for you, write a little story and you've got an indie game that's all your own.

Create your own characters rather than borrowing someone else's creations and building them into your games. Pac-Man, Mario, Minecraft, My Little Pony are all great characters, just unfortunately not yours to make a game with.

Speaking as a game developer, this is remarkably bad advice for a young gamedev to follow. It doesn't matter whether or not they're "his". It matters that he continues creating. That's the most important thing. He's not making money off of other people's work. He's building a skillset that will serve him for a lifetime. Wasting time fitting society's arbitrary moral standard is time not spent becoming a better gamedev.

Even if he's served with a DCMA takedown notice for some of his apps, it doesn't matter even slightly, because the app isn't the end goal. Talent is. And the way to foster talent is to not stop working.

I'd encourage him to pursue art if he wants to, as it's also a skill which will serve him the rest of his life -- the creators of Minecraft, Super Meat Boy, and World of Goo were all artist-programmers, which seems more than a coincidence -- but it's not a requirement to be a gamedev.

First, no being an artist isn't a requirement to be a gamedev. That's why I said find a friend who is.

Second, If, as you say, the app isn't the end goal, then don't release it and this issue doesn't even come up.

Third, you said "Wasting time fitting society's arbitrary moral standard is time not spent becoming a better gamedev."

As a parent, that is exactly why I would encourage him to create his own characters. It's not at all an arbitrary moral standard. Is theft an arbitrary moral standard? Plagiarism? If you don't have permission to use the characters, don't use them. These games are available on the official MS site right next to the official ones. Why go down the path of having to potentially have your account suspended, or whatever the punishment is if MS decides your apps are infringing.

Finally, What do you tell the kid the first time they have a successful project and someone rips it off? Don't get upset, you did it when you started, so it's ok? It doesn't matter that he's just getting his start, stealing these characters is just like stealing the source code an releasing it as your own. Are we condoning that as well? In my opinion, it's just as important to learn integrity as it is to build the app.

Finding someone else makes it much harder to start working. Stealing assets is the tried and true method of getting something to show off, and get going quite quickly.

There are enough issues with writing your own games, you have just made it that much harder.

Of course there are also lots of free assets out there for use, but designers are more hesitant than developers to give stuff out for free.

Seriously? Go look at the games, we're talking about a single image of a character in most cases. And showing something off doesn't have to be putting it up on Microsoft.com for the world to download. The kid is 15, my point is find the friend you have that is taking art class and get them to sketch something for you. I bet money that if this kid is into games, one of his gamer friends can sketch a game character for him pro-bono. We're not talking about developers and designers - these are high school kids making one-off test-the-water apps.

As a non gamedev but a webdev, I completely agree. It doesn't matter, at this stage, if the characters are "original" or if they're borrowed.

Surely it matters for legal reasons? I thought that was what the parent was implying; he could get his games pulled for copyright infringement.

Note for readers: I edited my original comment just before Blahah's reply was written, and my edit makes it seem like they didn't read my comment. But in fact they had read an earlier version of it. So I figure I should mention that to avoid confusion...

Anyway, it doesn't matter if his apps are taken down, because growing his skillset is the most important thing, not the apps themselves. No one will fine him or take him to jail, so as long as he's aware that maybe the app might get pulled, then using other people's characters is the best possible thing a young gamedev can do. And plus there's a good chance no one will care.

Thanks for the explanation so I didn't look silly :). I agree with your main point - it's worth it if he gets to develop his skills faster.

You know what this leads to? Kids never getting anything accomplished. By keeping the scope simple and building with established assets, he was able to actually release something.

I encourage my kids to yoink assets for their projects. Once you've succeeded a bit, and feel comfortable with one piece of the puzzle, by all means, work on the next and make custom characters and graphics. It is non-trivial skill and experience, and come later.

While these apps are impressive for a 15 year old developer they are not really "high-quality" titles... yet MSFT allowed 30 of these games into the store by the same developer. If I were MSFT, I would've thrown a red flag up if not for QA, for potential spam.

Great work and keep it up, OP! I wouldn't worry about co-founders just yet. Keep hacking till you find something you are really passionate about and a co-founder will join you when and if the time is right (probably a t least 3 years down the road for legal reasons)

I'm 14 and I've been coding since 6th grade and have coded very advanced things for my company and other small projects;it's not a big deal and I'm amused to see all the other kids who have coded these small games brag so much about it and how "coding changed my life" just simply for the attention. In my opinion, I could care less about how old you are;as long as you don't brag about it then there is nothing stopping you from succeeding;age seems to be the only factor of which has limited me and my company from succeeding, I've put through the efforts and work required;however, investors and actual business men believe the level of maturity is too little as put per my age.

tl;Dr: I agree;don't brag and I don't like how people brag about how you've done so much as per your age group as if that would have limited you. I've done much more when I was in 6-7th grade yet I don't brag about it. on another note;congrats on your efforts and I urge you to continue to in your path.

Good for you man, I'm way behind. I'm 24 and haven't accomplished much. I'm just working my way to seeing what I want to use as my career. Just a note, though: "I've done much more when I was in 6-7th grade yet I don't brag about it." That's called bragging.

Sorry for the confusion;I was rather simply stating that I had done some work in the 6-7th grade;however, in my comment it was meant to be, I don't make a thread about it;on that note, you should very well simply push yourself into doing something, a good way to start with this new era of technology is to learn how to program and learn the new tools that are being developed each day.

Hey! I think it's really neat that you're doing incredible things at such a young age. I'm a little older than you, but would love to chat with you more about what you're up to. Shoot me an email at zach@zachlatta.com.

I think the biggest difference here is that he has actually shown the world his work....

Hey, I'm around your age and very impressed with what you're doing.

It's neat that you've released so many apps this year. As others have noted, it looks like you're using some form of game creation engine to make these quickly. I'd encourage you to try to move away from that and learn what's actually happening behind the scenes. Doing this will allow you to make more complex and impressive games in the future. It'll also serve as a tremendous learning experience.

Also, it's really neat that you're young and doing incredible things, but I'd warn against relying on your age to impress people. Try to make things that are impressive regardless of who made them.

I'm one of the developers on a fairly popular game in the App Store (800,000+ downloads). If you're up to it, I'd like to chat with you more about what you're doing. Shoot me an email at zach@zachlatta.com. I look forward to hearing from you!

When I was 15, I was also creating code. I met some "smart" older guy who worked as a product manager for britannica.com before wikipedia and the first bubble. I asked him for some advice on how to make a career out of it. He said, "you don't want to build shit, you want to manage people. Writing code is for the losers." As a young impressionable kid with no tech mentors, I listened. It took ten years to come back to writing code. Anyways, like the sillysaurus2 said, ignore the critics and keep doing what you love to do.

Just the fact that you are 15, reading hackernews and making apps and NOT spending your time kicking some middle-aged man at Halo is AMAZING. Kudos to you. I wish I was more like you when I was your age.

When I was a kid we could only afford a cheap computer (VZ-300, Australia computer), with a z80, while all my mates had c64s. So they were busy swapping games with each other, I had to program my own, first in basic, from magazines (thanks APC), and then in z80 assembly. I still love developing today, things may have been different if we were not poor.

Good job! Have you look into Android apps? You will have a bigger audience. I am assuming you are using C# as they are Windows Store apps if so Java will be very similar for you to switch too.

It is mostly made with JavaScript. I really liked making apps on Windows 8 because I can use languages I already knew from making websites.

You might be interested in PhoneGap (http://phonegap.com). You use HTML/CSS/Javascript to build the apps, and then Phonegap compiles them to work on multiple platforms, such as Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and more.

I think PhoneGap/Cordova (the open source base of PhoneGap) can be great for certain types of apps, and it definitely leverages your existing skillset. Here's a showcase: http://phonegap.com/app/

That said, I've never done a game with PhoneGap, and I'd worry about performance (for certain types of games)--I definitely worry about performance with javascript maps, which is closer to what we do). Just something to be aware of.

I'd definitely worry about performance in Phonegap, as to me it seems more useful for static, informational apps rather than games. I'd be interested in seeing a Phonegap game though, it would be interesting to see its acceptance in any major app market.

If you like Javascript and you'd like to start experimenting with 3D games, you should take a look at PlayCanvas[1]. WebGL-based online game tools. I think it's a little more complicated than Construct2 but you get to play with 3D graphics. :-)

[1] http://playcanvas.com/

This is encouraging and I think it's great that you are interacting with the community and getting feedback on your work at an early stage. This will help you grow. I guess you've posted this for constructive criticism. You should look at challenging yourself further by finding a problem area that you are passionate about and digging deep into the data structures and the algorithms. Consider when I was 15. I was fascinated with computer graphics and games and wrote a raytracer in C, wrote a doom-like game-engine in pascal. Writing the game logic was always the easy part, dealing with limited memory and optimising for hardware were always a problem. My mates were all building their own graphics engines, dabbling with operating systems development and one kid was playing around with Classes and tree like data structures. We looked at him like he was a god. This isn't a put down but a push. You can do so much more kid and you have a good headstart but try something harder. Post your work here and most will be glad to give a helping hand. Ironically the most talented of us ended up being a musician when he left for University.

Wonderful. And - nostalgia advances. And how, at 15 I probably was a more productive programmer than now, where I barely manage to wrap up a few miniscule open source projects per year, if any. Back then I wrote what looks like major projects to me now - in month, alongside school, friends, holidays and everything ...

Any experiences or tips on how to get 15 again in terms of productivity? :)

I think it would be slightly unrealistic to 'get back to 15'. I'm 15, and I'm a developer; the main advantage I have right now is that I don't need to worry about rent, food, and other stuff, since I'm still with my parents. This gives me time to work on whatever project I want without any other worries.

I guess in your case, you would probably have to get some sort of job where they are a lot more lenient and give you time for side projects.

No chores, no kids, no girlfriend/wife. That's where time goes. I was crazy productive when I was 15 (and when I was 12). Now I'm 33 with a wife and kids I just don't have the time. But then again I work on problems that are two-three factors harder than this during the day, so it all evens out.

Keep up the good work kid, try lots of stuff out now, find something you like, then go deep. It only gets more fun :)

It's not about chores, kids, wives. I purposely avoided all those in order to "stay in my 20s even well into my 30s, ideally forever". Sad to report that simply doesn't work, even with zero money or chore worries whatsoever!

At least you tried to live the dream...

Look on the bright side: in this economy, many adults are getting divorced and moving back in with their parents. ;(

Well, you've got school, no? That eats up about as much time, if not more, than a job. ( 8 hours of school plus homework, right?)

On top of that, add chores (if you have any), family events, and other misc distractions I'm sure you don't have that much free time. I mean, don't sell yourself short. It's not like you just get to work on stuff 16 hours a day and nothing else.

Sadly, I'm 36, married with a < 2 year old son. Wife is social (so lots of distractions) and I'm an escapist (love to read) and lazy, so I'm seriously envious of you and the OP's dedication and success at such a young age.

I have two pieces of advice. First, expand your horizons. Yes, Windows jumping games using a game creator are a great start, but there is so much more. At 12, when I started off, I was writing very similar games, albeit using Python and Pygame rather than JS. Your route is equally valid, with its own unique challenges, and hey, in the end you get the same result. However, from here, the paths begin to branch. While the Windows world you've embraced will lead you to Visual Basic and eventually Visual C++ and C#, you could take another path. At 11, I installed Ubuntu Linux for the first time; at 14, I switched to Arch. This was probably a bad decision, given I knew nothing about the OS and had to essentially re-learn everything. You might be intimidated. Don't be. Learning your way around Unix now will make a world of difference later. By 16, I had written my first compiler, a basic baremetal assembly kernel, and an interpreted language with a decent optimizing compiler and VM. I am still not an amazing programmer, and I still have a lot to learn. Don't doubt yourself because of your age. My second piece of advice ties into the first: don't try to use your age to gain an advantage. Not because it's unfair: because it will bring you more personal validation when people praise you because of the quality of your work rather than how young you are. It's the diffence between making a good program, and making a good program for a teenager. Also, it makes it far easier to find jobs.

Source: My own experiences as the 16-year old (breaking my own rule here for the first time) author of the solid programming language.

P.S. I'm not trying to be arrogant. I just don't want you to repeat my mistakes. Don't be afraid to do things that seem difficult: with research and a little elbow grease, you can accomplish anything, and nothing anyone says can take that away from you.


What you're learning from doing so many different things will serve you well in the future. Out of all of these different apps, one will either catch your attention, or others and you'll have a chance. Keep moving!

Continue to cultivate and live live in a mindset of creativity and possibility, and be wary of doubt worshippers/haters who are busy doing nothing :).


pretty cool portfolio for your age ! Did you use C#/XNA for your 2 games ? Which tutorial did you use, and how much supervision did you get? I'm asking because I'm trying to teach game programming to my son and he's 13 and I would like for him to do most of it as opposed to me doing it for him.

I made the basic structure with scirra's construct 2 ( www.scrirra.com ), but I made the rest with JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. To learn those, I got some books. O'reilly has some really good books if you know the basics.

To all comments which are either criticizing or motivating, the most important thing to remember is this : "We are standing on the shoulder of giants".

The people have criticizing opinions needs to remember that similar criticism will be given to you by your preceding generation (it may be on any achievement).

The people have motivating/amazement opinions needs to remember that "this seemingly amazing feet" is possible because of the exponential growth in technology and most importantly the exposure to it. If you had similar exposure to technology at your time, you could have achieved same thing.

So, lets appreciate the fact that this 15 year old is "utilizing" his exposure to technology and at the same time don't make him too proud of himself by using words like genius etc which inevitably leads more show-off than learning.

Nice use of Maplestory assets - I did the same sorta thing in the summer of my 7th grade year for a "intro to game design" class.

Can't find the game anymore, but I had edited the chirppy sprite (http://i.imgur.com/ccSY4RE.png) to be holding and firing a bow.

I ended up getting a A- on my final for using assets that weren't mine. That's pretty small compared to the sort of things you could run into when you're actually putting this stuff on an app store.

I'd recommend toying around with a sprite editor and getting familiar with pixel art techniques like dithering. You might even enjoy it as much as coding!

And that's why Win/Google store are full of crap.

Come on, we all started a piece of website/soft/app/gamemaker/whatever trending techno atm when we were 14/15/16.

That's undoubtedly worth these 140+pts.

Look for a summer internship. Clearly you're passionate about this, you should look for some real-world exposure to propel you to that next level of software engineering. Best of luck to you!

Nice work getting things done!

I see your Minecraft and Mario games are "unavailable". I'm sure you'll keep creating your own IP in the future, like you did with the other 22 games instead of dealing with copyright and trademark infringement. Especially if you want to generate some revenue.

I am not a lawyer. But it will be much better for you to keep doing your own thing (like you did with most of your games), than to be taken down by lawyers working for people who's characters, names, or art you "re-purposed".

This is pretty impressive :)

What I would recommend is that instead of distributing your time and energy to this many apps, you should stick to one concept and channel all your time into it. I like the games, but they could use some improvement in concept and overall quality, which shouldn't be hard for you if you spend enough time on each and every one. Focusing on one app would allow you to spend enough time, and would help you succeed further in the Windows App Market :)

That is what I want/am going to do. I was just seeing all the things I could make and get some experience in submitting an app.

any iOS apps in your plans?

I'm somewhat jealous. When I was 15 I was teaching myself to program so I could build features in the Ultima Online Shard I was running with a friend. We had quite a successful Shard for 2 years until he decided he didn't wanna pay for the server anymore.

It made me want to get into programming to do games development, because I still think since UO / EQ, we haven't had a good MMORPG to date.

I ended up in application / web development instead :( got to pay the bills...

Nice. Keep at it. Following a project through to the end is very difficult and you've done it many times.

Learning a game engine and implementing it is not a trivial task so don't get discouraged by the people saying it's not a big deal.

The important thing now is to make progress with your skill. Do not become stagnant and be content with knowing the game engine. Start doing things from scratch and see where that takes you.

The minecraft-themed jump game has potential. I would skin it with more minecraft looking assets and include monsters. Maybe a creeper that explodes and takes away all surrounding blocks when you jump nearby? Or a skeleton that shoots arrows and nudges the player to the side (making it harder to control)? You may also vary the level by using the different biome textures from the original.

I read this description of the zombie game and thought it was hilarious.

"Zombies have taken over Earth. It is up to you to defend yourself as long as you can. The zombies have an infectious touch that kills you in one touch. Watch out and beware! Currently does not support touch support."

(Not the grammar, but the irony that a game in which a zombie's touch kills you does not support touch. :P)

That's pretty cool. Somehow I wish there would have been app stores back then when I was 15 and making games. Not to earn money but to get people to play my games - which was pretty damn hard back in 1997.

Nowadays you can get 100 users pretty easily just by releasing the game. 100 users back then was something I dreamed about reaching some day :)

I remember the equivalent years ago. I would make (awful) games in turbo pascal, and submit them to BBSes. The sysops usually put them available for download.

I doubt anyone ever did.

I'm not tring to be rude at all, but why did you have to mention your age? It's completely irrelevant.

I think its probably the only reason this link had any relevance at all. It probably would have otherwise just been another Show HN submission with not much response, as it still doesn't have much quality or use (not to downplay OP's achievement) until you realize who made it.

Wow, you've certainly been productive! How was your experience with the Microsoft Store and getting apps approved? What language did you write all the games in? How much code got reused between the games (I noticed a number of them appear to be skins on top of the same underlying concept).

I used JavaScript to make the apps. The only thing that was difficult about getting approved was making it support touch and keyboard inputs. Other than that, it was pretty easy.

Awesome!! Great seeing young people being creative/learning and building. Keep going! :)

Well done. Keep going and creating stuff. Be sure to talk to your users as well.

Wish you the best.

Now that I have kids, I've been considering whether I want them to play as much Magic as I did (traveled a lot for it).

My conclusion is I would encourage them to be more like this kid, but not actually force my will in the end.

force my will...

I think I did that on accident, but I like the way you think!

Totally impressive!!! You have a bright, bright future ahead of yourself!

Be proud of your work, that's nice ! Keep moving forward ! :-)

This is awesome! Great work dude, I wish I had such a productive sense at 15. While using javascript did you see any performance lag when playing on the actual device?

I am sorry, I think your apps are really shitty.

Damn! now I am depressed. What more can I say the first sentence says it all. Adding to my comment would be pointless.

good work. Keep at it and branch out. Try and ignore the negative comments here. The IT industry is full of big egos.

Good job. Now focus only on one app (from design to store) and make it not just like a tutorial.

You have shipped 30 times more then me, so all I can say is congrats :) have lovely new year.

> All writing, graphics, coding and publishing was done on a nexus 7

This deserves a dedicated blog post

Amazing, i wish that my cousins would be as productive as you at that age.

Nice! At 15 I was just learning what a computer was :o (15 years ago)

That's awesome, Keep it up! Did you make anything off of them?

Great job! So what are your plans for 2014? 60 apps? :)

My goal is to make 1 app. On all Windows 8, iOS, and Android. One that makes some revenue!

Now it is time to learn illustrator and photoshop.

Better yet, now is the time to create your own reusable Illustrator and Photoshop components, and write games that build them in to enable users to customize and create their own content. Oh, and 3D Studio Max, too. Not 100% of the features and complexity, just the 50% that you need 95% of the time. The same way many games and other apps use built-inn text editors to enable users to write their own text, instead of saying "oh just use Word for that".

Your paid link is broken :P

I don't have any paid apps yet

Then you should say that instead of your 404 page :P

15 is the new 25

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