12-Year-Old Creates Game for iOS, Android, and HTML5 – Gravity Lines

Over 8 years ago I wrote a post titled 10 Things I Learned From My 4-Year-Old and it generated a lot interest and controversy on Reddit. Today my son Niklas is 12 years old and he still teaches me things everyday. Now he has accomplished an amazing thing that I promised him I would share with all of you.

At 12-years-old Nik has published his first app to iOS and Android! I’ve linked to it at the bottom of this post and I want to encourage you to download the app, rate it, and give it a review.

Gravity Lines

It is a simple game where a line moves along a platform and you tap the screen to flip it to the other side trying to avoid touching other lines. It was inspired from the games Geometry Dash and Flappy Bird.

Nik spent hundreds of hours programming this app and we had a lot of challenges and stress along the way. The first challenge was that Nik insisted that we publish it for both the major mobile platforms, iOS and Android. At first we thought he would have to program the app twice, once for each platform. The other challenge was that to build an app for iOS you must own a Mac and pay $99 to become a registered Apple developer. We didn’t own a Mac and neither of us were Apple developers, so Nik put his money where his mouth was and spent half his life savings purchasing and Mac mini and registering as a Apple Developer (which we had to register under my name since Nik isn’t officially old enough to register for anything on the internet). From there he found a library called LibGDX at BadLogicGames that allowed him to program his app in eclipse using java and publish to four platforms from one code base, iOS, Android, HTML5, and desktop.

Please understand Nik did ALL the programming and ALL the heavy lifting here, I helped answer a few questions, get him pointed in the right direction, and setup the Apple development environment, but Nik did all of the rest himself.

Over the last year or so Nik has started an after school programming club which sold out the first day it was offered as an official club. He has also started the Pizza Scripters which is a group of kids his age who love to code and want to encourage other kids to code by publishing their work online in the hope that showing what is possible will inspire other kids to take up coding and push schools to start offering coding as a core competency like reading, writing, and math.

So go ahead get Gravity Lines for your device!

Gravity Lines Lite (Free, Apple iOS)
Gravity Lines Full ($.99, Apple iOS)

Gravity Lines Lite (Free, Android)
Gravity Lines Full ($.99, Android)

Once you’ve played it, please take a few moments to rate it and review it.

You can also play Gravity Lines Lite on the Pizza Scripters website for free.

How to Be a Luckier Person

When discussing a wildly successful person, I’m sure you’ve heard this:

“He was at the right place and the right time. Sure it was a good idea but it was mostly luck.”

Some negative nabob throws a wet blanket on the idea that ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things. However, there is an element of truth to this statement. Success does have a large component of luck but there is more to the story.

Was Bill Gates in the right place at the right time with the right idea? Yes. Was that luck? Yes.

Were the Beatles in the right place at the right time with the right music? Yes, and that was luck too.

There are countless stories like these. But there is a missing act to this narrative; all the practice, studying, effort, and failure that led up to that lucky moment.

Writers all start with shitty first drafts, then they rewrite and revise and edit, then they submit it to other writers for criticism, then they rewrite and revise again. After all that work, their first works will face repeated rejection (even the greats like Stephen King). The ‘lucky’ ones will work and fail until they ‘just get lucky.”

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” – Wayne Gretzky

If you step onto a golf course having never swung and club, what are the odds of hitting a hole in one – worse than 50,000,000 to 1. How about if you played 36 holes a day, had professional training, and you had achieved a low handicap? Now your odds are 5,000 to 1. Does it still take luck? Yes it does, but your hard work and training has improved you odds by 1,000,000x!

“The harder I work, the luckier I get” – Samuel Goldwyn

But there is more to it than just hard work, it takes accepting failure as the natural path toward your goal.

Accept this: Without failure – you stagnate – improvement ends. Since perfection is unachievable, improvement is all you can work toward.

If you’re feeling unlucky today, pick your head up, puff your chest out little, and take another shot.

Luck doesn’t find you, you have to seek it out.

Judgmentalism Hurts You

A friend pointed out how judgmentalism holds people back. (I know some of you are already thinking ‘judgmentalism…’is that even a word? I don’t care if it is or it isn’t, you know what I mean. So stop being so judgmental 🙂 )

Judgmentalism is just as destructive as all the other -isms.

She told a story about a coworker of hers who was smart, talented, and savvy, seemingly having everything one needed to climb to the next level. So what was holding him back? His judgmental view of others.

He would talk behind other people’s backs and purposely exclude others. When specific names were mentioned his sarcam would drip and he’d hurl snide remarks meant to insult. Nothing angry, it didn’t jump at you, and if you weren’t paying attention you would get a sick feeling and not be sure why. He was clearly trying to separate himself from ‘losers.’

So why does he do this if it isolates him and makes others feel sick? It works for him. It makes him feel safe. He’s built cliques, secret little clubs with only people who are worthy of his inflated sense of self-importance. These cliques attract people with the promise of being part of something that makes you better than others. These cliques attract judgmental people, bullies, and the insecure by definition. It is a passive aggressive social club.

How does it hold him back? It keeps him from connecting with people who are different from him which stifles growth. It blocks him from making deep social connections. It prevents him from developing alliances that he will need when he wants to accomplish his goals. It makes him look immature.

I began to recall the many times I was involved in this judgmental social behavior, either as the judge, the listener, or the judged, and I realized how destructive it was. Each time it felt like it bruised my soul and I vowed to try to never participate in it again.

Does that mean we need to hold back all judgment? No. We need to choose with whom we spend our time. We need to decide who to hire. Almost all great humor requires am element of judgment or stereotyping.

It means we would be better off if we suspend uttering judgments of others when we are speaking about specific people.

…he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her… – Jesus Christ speaking to the scribes and Pharisees who were asking him to condemn a woman accused of adultery.