Zero Programming Needed!
The Story Tellers iOS Starter Kit was made to help you create a highly immersive environment for whatever tale you want to tell. The App Store has an amazing number of users who are more than willing to listen to a well-told story (and pay for a good one). The best ones have sounds, animations, special FX and interactivity. And that’s not just an opinion, it is also what Apple wants to see from apps that are being submitted as “Books” to their store. A simpler, more regular book would be better off distributed in the iBookstore.
This kit is made with that distinction in mind. You are going to learn how to customize your story book app with incredible features making it submittable to the Apple Store as an App in the “Books” category, using the Xcode project, documentation videos, and free setup guides in either Multi-Touch eBook format or PDF.
Don’t worry, it won’t take much work beyond supplying some fantastic creative assets on your end, and it won’t involve ANY programming!
What’s a Property List?
So you don’t have to do ANY programming with this kit, everything is created using a Property List file. Below is an example of some of the first few properties in the kit, used to add an “intro image” to your app. The Keys in the left column are never edited. You simply provide Values in the right column. So for example, below the intro_image.png file is being seen for 2 seconds, will spend another 2seconds transitioning to the next page, and that transition effect will bePageFlipForward (which resembles a page flip).
Everything you read below or see described on this page is created through basic settings in the Property List file. It might sound intimidating that the kit includes 50 pages of documentation, but most of it simply describes possible values for the Property List. In many cases, these are simple YES or NO values to enable or disable what’s possible.
So What’s Possible?
Quite a lot! The free Multi-Touch eBook / PDF documentation has a lengthy section to help you brainstorm some ideas using this kit, but I’ll sum up some of that here (or go ahead and download the guides linked up in the next column)…
- Unlimited layers of images and scrolling backgrounds. Images can have their own animated transitions onto the page, like fades, movements, rotations or scaling.
- Particle systems, premade systems like snow, fire, smoke, fireworks, suns, can all be customized to create your own FX (the full list is in the documentation).
- Interactivity, any image can be touched to interact with other images, trigger sounds, go to URL’s, and a lot more!
- Drag image or particles, set objects to follow the user’s touch. This creates some very cool possibilities with particles.
- Any image can be animated with as little as 1 frame or hundreds. Animations can be looped and played / stopped through interactions. Looping animations can also play sounds.
- Lots of page transition options, the popular page flip effect isn’t your only option. Others include sliding right, left, top, bottom, clockwise, and more (the full list is in the documentation). The Kit also supports Hebrew or Arabic style books to simulate reading back to front.
- Run-on / continuous pages, for example one page can seemlessly slide into another page, creating the illusion of one really long piece of art. Transitions can slide up or down too, so you could create a really tall book as well. You could even include 4 directional arrows to navigate up, down, left or right!
- Puzzle or Sticker pages, with drag-n-lock-to a location functionality. One image acts as a “sticker” or puzzle piece, that snaps to a “base” image inheriting it’s size, location and rotation.
- Assembly Board pages, give readers “parts” to drag around and let them assemble their own creations. This is similar to a sticker app, but we’ve added built in features for removing parts (drag them over a trash icon), or moving the parts above or below other ones (by dragging them over up or down icons).
- Add Video, play video files fullscreen or at custom sizes. Videos can play with or without the standard controls.
- Save the Screen to the Camera Roll, let your readers capture the moment by adding a button to your app to save the current screen to their photo library.
- Quizzes, tap the right answer to proceed to the next page.
- Choose Your Own Adventure style reading, give readers multiple paths through your book. Essentially you can create multiple books in one book by just jumping around to different pages or chapter beginnings (this can also be used to support multiple languages).
- Sound Machines, create a virtual beat box, or a soothing sound machine using the looping background audio properties
- Page Narration, include a narration track on each page. Images can also trigger sound files to play, so narration could be included at any time.
- Randomness, image or particles can appear at random locations. For example, a single button could be pressed to spawn twinkling stars randomly in the night sky.
- Movements, Rotations, Scaling, Fading, & Flipping are all built in properties for each image. Set a start and finish value for each transformation (which can also be reversed and looped).
- Smash things, create images that explode when pressed and make a funny noise. Kids love these apps.
- Add back stuff, repopulate the page with images that have already been seen & removed by simply using the same property list data again to add back the image.
- Listeners, added in version 1.5, you can now “listen” for certain events. Trigger something to happen when a puzzle is completed or when a certain number of images are removed / tapped. For example, you could “turn on” three light switches and add another image when that happens.
- Twitter, an image can open a Tweet window with an auto-filled in message.
- Easy Reorganizing, simply drag and drop pages in the property list to change the book order.
- Custom Index, create an index that goes to any page of your book. Any image can jump to any page of the book.
- ”Special” Pages, not every page has to be included in the primary reading order of the book. You might want a page that is only seen when requested. For example, you could include a map of the setting of your book.
- Landscape or Portrait, your choice.
- In-App Purchase ready, your book can be free, paid or in-app purchasable. There’s nothing to change code-wise, just a little extra setup in iTunes Connect if you want to include an in-app purchase (details are in the documentation for adding the Buy Book and Restore Purchases button).
- Demo Copy Included, your purchase includes a demonstration copy of the kit, as well as the same starter kit without any significant modifications or added resources. The demo copy includes 5 pages used for testing some of the functionality (the same one seen in the video demo).
Your purchase includes both text and video documentation, but to whet your appetite for this kit, we’re giving away every bit of it for free. In the next column, you can find links to download the Multi-Touch eBook version of the guide (for your iPad), a PDF version of the guide (for your Mac, PC, iPhone or other devices), and links to the video documentation/demonstration.
The eBook version should be downloaded directly to your iPad or iPad mini.
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