Brad Kratky, Spectacular Programmer

My life is filled with love and laughter thanks to the amazing people I get to hang out with. As well as being awesome, they’re creative, talented, generous, and fun! I thought you might like to meet them so I’ve asked them to come and give us a behind-the-scenes look at what they’re passionate about. I have to warn you though – creativity is contagious!

Save QB icon

Save QB! game app


Today’s special guest is my super-talented son, Brad Kratky! Brad graduated with an Honours Computing Degree and is in the midst of completing a medical degree. Plus in his spare time (say what?) he developed a really fun game app called Save QB! You have to tap shapes on the screen to prevent them from reaching a cute little guy named QB.


Here’s a snippet:




Isn’t that cool? Brad, how did you get the idea to create a game app? B: Initially I just wanted to learn how to create an app. I started learning Android and the basic drawing tools Android uses. One of the easiest things to draw onto the screen is a circle. When I was experimenting with the circles, and figuring out how to make them appear, grow, and shrink over time, I came up with the idea for Save QB!

I love that! How did you come up with the design for QB? He’s so cute. B: As the idea for the game started to come together, I decided to create a level-based reflex game where you needed to tap circles quickly. Instead of racing against time or losing when the circles collided, I decided to have another object that the circles were forbidden to collide with. A square was the natural choice, since everyone knows they’re the nemesis to circles. Even with the basics of the game in place, I felt it needed a little extra to make it more fun. I recalled a presentation I had seen online, “Juice it or Lose it”, which describes general ways to make a game “juicy”. In the words of the presenters, “A juicy game feels alive and responds to everything you do
…tons of cascading action and response for minimal user input.” One of their ideas was to add faces to inanimate objects…for some reason it makes everything feel more fun!

It’s true – QB is so adorable I really want to save him! What do you have to consider when you’re designing a game app? B: Two major considerations in any software product are time and space. In a real-time game, it’s important to have an efficient game engine that can draw everything to the screen as many times as possible, to produce a final product that runs smoothly. This means it has to run fast – all the drawing and physics/collision calculations need to complete in a timely manner. The amount of computer memory the game uses is also an important consideration. Often, speed can be improved by utilizing more memory, but memory can be relatively limited on mobile devices, so it’s important to balance these two aspects.

(There’s a time in every mother’s life when the child gets smarter than the parent – it’s a bit scary). What did you learn along the way? B: Developing the app separately for Android and iPhone, I learned a lot about developing code for both. There are two things I would do differently next time. I wouldn’t custom design each level – level design is very time consuming, and I would plan which platforms to deploy before I start. Separately developing for both Android and iPhone, while educational, was also very time consuming.

I learned everything using free resources online. Google and Apple’s developer documentation is very useful, but by far the most valuable resource was (a site where developers can post and answer questions about code).

Wait! We paid good money for that computing degree. You mean to say, you could have learned it all for free? (Could you show Mark how that’s done :D) What’s involved in getting a game on iTunes and Google Play? B: Google Play is really easy – by using a Google Account and simply reading and accepting the terms of use, you can upload your app to Google Play on the same day.

iTunes is a little more involved. Due to Apple’s restrictions on app distribution (apps can only be distributed through the official store), Apple requires digital certificates to be signed and verified. In the process of creating an account, there are additional legal tax forms, which have to be mailed to Apple. This takes time. To upload the app to the store, Apple then reviews the app for integrity and security, which takes 4-7 days to complete. Fortunately I was approved on the first try, but this could quickly become very lengthy if any problems are found.

Are you thinking of creating more apps? B: Yes, I have ideas for more apps as well as improvements for Save QB! Unfortunately, school limits the amount of time I have to devote to programming.

Any advice for people who would like to create a game app? B: Keep it very simple, and make one. Even basic ideas tend to balloon out in terms of the estimated amount of work, and the most important thing is to completely finish the app. The best way to learn is to delve into the development world, so I would encourage aspiring game developers to start any simple game.

What song would be your theme song? B: My current theme song, silence, is pretty good since I think I would get tired of any song if I heard it every time I entered a room.

Haha. What would you pick as a superpower? B: The power to gain more superpowers!  (Is that cheating?)  The power to change and travel through time would be pretty cool.

What’s your favourite dessert? B: Dark chocolate!  70% cocoa is the scientifically proven optimal percentage.


😀 Proof that he has my genes! Thank you so much for coming and sharing this with us. We’re in awe of all that you do! Plus I love you (little heart emoticon here). Check out Brad’s website (click HERE). And if you’d like to check out Save QB! you can find it on iTunes and Google Play. It’s fun for all ages, starts out easy (for all of us non-gamers) and then becomes challengingly fast – tons of fun (and I’m not just saying that because I’m his mom) for a mere .99!