Steve Stone

Developer. Designer. Youth Worker. Nerd.

Spin That Wheel


In 2009 my buddy and I had the idea to build an app that would allow you to put a bunch of items on a wheel and it would spin and randomly land on something. In youth ministry this is a common bit--picking volunteers, giving out prizes or punishments, etc. However, we realized we couldn't afford a developer! So, I picked up a book on Adobe Flex (since I had some experience with Flash), and started reading. A few months later, we had a version 1.0 of Spin That Wheel!

Spin That Wheel allowed for up to 15 items on the wheel that could be reorderded at any time. It allowed for you to have controls on one screen while outputing on a different screen (sounds like Sidekick, am I right?). You could set the spin duration and just click spin and it would randomly land on a space. It came with a title graphic, sounds, and even the ability to mock your contestants!

Development on Spin That Wheel (and other apps we were developing) stopped when Steve Jobs announced that Flash would never be on the iPhone. We read the writing on the wall that if we were going to continue to make games for youth ministries we'd need to learn some proper coding languages and techniques.

Behind the Scenes

We started out distributing Spin That Wheel on DVD-ROM and later online downloads. To prevent piracy, we had a 25-character registration key, which was some random recipe I made up. I spent a long time on figuring out how to get the text to scale if the user typed a lot of text, or had a lot of pieces. The wheel was always landed randomly (unlike later apps where you could pick the prize if you wanted 😉). We did build in auto-updates, which was pretty cool. We only ended up doing 2 minor updates, but at least we didn't have to ship out new disks!