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Ape Apps Blog

Discontinuing Support for macOS

I wanted to give a heads up for Ape Apps users as we get into 2024 here. I will no longer be releasing any updates or builds for the macOS platform going forward. At this point there are so few Mac users that it is not really worth the extra effort. Users of Ape Apps who are on a Mac system are encouraged to migrate to the Progressive Web App (PWA) version of whatever app or game you are using, since pretty much my entire catalogue is available in PWA form at this point.

For the time being, I will continue to support Windows and Linux for certain applications. Long term I am on the fence with stand-alone Windows releases, I may scale back to only supporting the Windows Store and Steam, but have not decided. Linux will probably have the best support long-term, since it is the easiest system for me to work with.

Create Your Own Level Up Games with Level Up Builder!

In honor of the 10 year anniversary of Deimos, the mobile RPG that started the entire My Colony Universe of games, I am announcing two new (but linked) projects - the Level Up Builder and the Level Up Player!

The Level Up Builder is a new IDE of sorts for creating games that run on the Level Up game engine, which is the engine that powered the original Level Up game, the Deimos RPG trilogy, Ninja Level Up, Teddy Bear Terror, and Alien High. The builder contains everything you need to create your own RPG game based on the Level Up engine, all you no coding knowledge required. You just supply your own graphics and sound effects (if you want sound). You can test your development progress right from within the builder.

When you are done creating your game, you can compile your game and distribute it to friends, post it here on the forums, or however you want to get it out there.

The compiled project will be a *.lug archive file that can be played using the also-new Level Up Player application.

The Level Up Player is an organizer and launcher for Level Up Game files. You specify a folder on your computer where your *.lug files are saved, and the Player will parse your files and display box art for your games. Eventually if anybody out there becomes interested in creating their own Level Up Engine games, I can add a game submission function to the Builder, and a Game Store feature to the Player, making it easy to distribute and discover new Level Up Engine games.

There is still a little work to do on the Player side of things, as it does not have gamepad support yet, but that will be coming soon. There might be a couple of other things missing that I have not caught yet, since the player was built with a lot of copy/pasting from the existing Level Up game, so it's possible I missed something, so let me know if you find errors!

As there are not yet any Level Up Game files out in the wild, I have taken the liberty of compiling all of the existing Level Up engine games over to the new format, so if you would like to get started with the Level Up player, you can download the entire library here, unzip the files to your computer, and then point the player to your games directory:

Both applications are complete Progressive Web Apps, and will work best when installed to your desktop system as a PWA. You can install them using most Chromium based browsers.

Level Up Builder

Level Up Player

Anyway, go ahead and give them a try! If you make a game, let me know and I can showcase it on the site for you, and if there seems to be any interest in this project, I can make a dedicated section on the forum for it. If not, I will at least be using this system for development of any Level Up based games going forward, so any suggestions for new features or improvements will be welcome!

#levelupplayer #levelupbuilder

Introducing the Toon Token

My Tokens has just been updated to v3.1.0 and with the update comes a brand new class of token character, the new Toon Token!

The Toon Token is based on the character sprite designs from my games Gone Rogue and Hell and Back, and is going to be used in the upcoming iteration of my Roguelike RPG game engine (a topic for another day). They have a fun cartoonish look (hence the name). The nice thing about the Toon Token type is that they are easy to add components to. For example, in an RPG, when your player puts on a different armor or helmet, it is easy to modify the toon token at runtime to reflect your characters' current loadout.

In addition to the new class of token, this update also increases the rendering resolution of the other two sprite based token characters, and fixes issues related to exporting sprite sheets. It also adds a "Quit" option to the app when launched from the Ape Apps Launcher in TV mode.

Some of the new Toon Token graphics may still need to be tweaked a bit, so let me know if you find graphical glitches and issues!


My Tokens Gets Full Gamepad and VR Support!

Today I am releasing v3.0.0 of the avatar creating app My Tokens which, in anticipation of some big new projects coming early next year that are yet to be announced, adds full Gamepad and Virtual Reality support to the app, as well as a whole host of changes and features!

I was planning on a big My Tokens update for early next year to coincide with some other VR and Gamepad related stuff I am planning on, but a recent server update borked My Tokens' server-side token image generation, so I had to go ahead and push the schedule up a bit.

This update replaces all of the old server-side token generation code with client-side generation, which is fairly fast for the Voxel and Blockhead token types, but unfortunately quite a bit slower for the two legacy sprite based token types. You will notice the more painful slowness when editing a sprite based token or if you have a large number of sprite based tokens in your lobby. Unfortunately there is not a whole lot I can do to speed up the legacy token generation process, but long term I plan to replace the two legacy sprite based token types with more 3D variants, so this is really only going to be an issue in the short term. In the meantime I have changed the default lobby type to the Voxel token, and suggest that any user with a large number of tokens on their account to stick to the Voxel and Blockhead types for their lobby displays.

The My Tokens app itself has been moved off of Ape Web Apps and now resides on it's own subdomain at This improves its compatibility with all operating systems as a fully installable Progressive Web App (PWA), but if you already had the My Tokens PWA installed on your system from it's old location, you will need to uninstall it and switch to the new address.

The token editor interface has been changed (as you can see in the above image). Instead of tokens being edited on their own editor screen, they are now edited in-line right from in the token lobby, and you can now also edit from all four token modes. The editor is a little slow when on one of the two sprite-based token modes, so it might be best to do a lot of token editing from either the Voxel or Blockhead mode (Blockhead is probably best for seeing all features).

The Photo Booth has been overhauled as well. If you open the window now in Photo Booth mode, you will see some new options. One is to switch to Profile Picture mode, which will reduce your viewport size to a square with the camera zoomed in on your token. You can also make the token face to the left or right (or any direction you want using the arrow keys on your keyboard). Also, you can now set your Ape Apps account profile pic using any of the four token styles (before you could only make an avatar based on the sprite tokens).

In addition, My Tokens now also has a new Gamepad/VR interface (the two are very similar, although not 100% identical). I tried hard to get the full set of app features workable with Gamepad and VR, although there are just a couple of things still missing. For one, you cannot edit the actual lobby style (floor tiles, wall colors, etc) with the gamepad. In addition, you cannot name or rename tokens while in VR mode (there is no VR keyboard API, so I would have to create a virtual keyboard from scratch basically). Other than those limitations, you can nearly use the full app with a controller or a VR headset.

The Gamepad mode was becoming necessary since two token based games, Death 3D and Dungeon Infinity, have become popular on Android TV devices, but Android TV users did not have a way to create new token characters, and this update should remedy that.

The VR mode probably wasn't necessary, but is cool nonetheless, and wasn't a whole lot more work after getting Gamepad support working anyway. The VR mode works for WebXR capable devices, such as the Meta Quest or an Android phone with a phone based VR headset. If you are using a phone based VR device, you will also need to have a bluetooth gamepad connected in order to be able to use all of the input controls.

One of the exciting things about this update is not the changes to My Tokens itself, but the upgrades it brought to the underlying Scroll3D engine, which is powering an increasing number of Ape Apps products. Scroll3D gamepad support has been greatly improved in this release, and the engine also gained the ability to have a hardware drawn heads up display (all of the gamepad/vr mode UI elements are now drawn by the hardware renderer), which is necessary to be able to have any kind of UI in a VR session. This is a necessary step in making the My Colony 2 VR mode actually useful, and so these changes will be rubbing off on that project, as well as others in the future.

Anyway, this update was pretty much a total rewrite of the app. Some UI elements from the previous release have been retained, but for the most part it's a totally different application under the hood. If you find bugs, please do not hesitate to let me know! And if you have VR hardware or a gamepad, feel free to try out the new modes. Hope you enjoy!

#mytokens #scroll3d

Announcing Popping Bubbles VR

Today I am announcing a new game that will be joining Barrel River 2 and My Colony 2 in Ape Apps' Virtual Reality lineup - Popping Bubbles VR!

Popping Bubbles VR is a VR-Only remake of my classic Popping Bubbles game designed for WebXR enabled devices, such as the Meta Quest, on mobile phones using a phone-based VR headset, or using Windows Mixed Reality. The game supports three modes of play, along with achievements and a global high scores leaderboard.

Given the VR only nature of the game, it's hard to get an accurate screenshot of the gameplay, so you just need to try it out for yourself. Unlike my other two VR enabled games, Popping Bubbles VR does not feature a non-VR mode, I figure that is what the original Popping Bubbles game is for.

Moving forward, I plan to remake a handful of my other classic games in virtual reality, an exercise which is helping me to learn and improve my VR development skills, which in turn should help to make more advanced games like My Colony 2 more fully playable and capable VR experiences.

If you have VR hardware, head on over to the Popping Bubbles VR web app, bookmark it, and try it out today!

#poppingbubblesvr #poppingbubbles
Ape Apps, LLC is an independent software development company founded in 2010 by Brandon Stecklein. Over the years, Ape Apps has published over 400 apps and games across various platforms. You can get in touch with Brandon on Twitter or by leaving a post on his wall @bastecklein
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