Build your iOS App on Device Without Paying for an Apple Developer Program - And Do It Now.

Having listened to the awesome panel on the "State of Mobile Innovation" at a recent DC Tech meetup - I was convinced that as an independent game developer - I should incorporate at least an LLC before launching my game (to protect my personal assets just in case those nasty patent trolls decide to come after me for something ridiculous - like you know - innovating).  So while I figured that process out - I had been putting off paying for an Apple Developer account until I had an LLC in place so that I wouldn't have to pay twice - once under my name (for testing) and once under the LLC (to release live).

Two months pass after I had made this decision - and in true form - my decision to incorporate my LLC was still on the backburner as I diligently build out my game (I seem to always procrastinate when it comes to dealing with paperwork).  Eventually I finally came to the conclusion that play testing a touch screen based game with my mouse on the simulator simply was getting too annoying - and I had to figure out how to deploy onto my iOS device without having to pay for a dev account (shame on you Apple).

A few minutes of googling later, and I discovered an awesome free utility called JailCoder.  JailCoder allows you to patch the xCode app and your xCode project in a completely reversible way that allows you to build your app to a jailbroken iOS device without an Apple developer account.  The instructions are super simple and are detailed on the site (and within the application) - and within about an hour of fiddling around (including the time it actually took me to jailbreak my phone) - I was successfully building my app to my device.

And what a ridiculous difference that made - the moment I began play testing on a physical device using my thumbs and forefingers - I immediately began to notice areas of the game that were difficult to interact with (surprise surprise - your mouse is more precise then your thumb) - but not only that, I was able to immerse myself into the game, play it as I would in its real setting (on a bus or train during my commute, while standing in line, etc.) and this taught me a tremendous amount about the dynamics of the game, the little tweaks that I could make to improve the experience, and the sheer amount of work & polish I had left in front of me.

Its great that I found this method of building to my device, because I'v realized I'm no where near ready to release this on the app store yet.