Rest, Relax, & Reflect Version 2.0 Update

24 Sep
2017

    

√ New Thunderstorm section with five backgrounds and sound & animation options
√ New high-definition backgrounds for the Fireplace, Rainfall, & Snowfall sections

Relax

Rest, Relax & Reflect is now also available for free(ad-supported) on Google Play!

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New App Release: Master Fantasy RPG Soundboard

25 Aug
2017

    

Master Fantasy RPG Soundboard is a fantastic app filled with hundreds of high quality sound effects that will help you on your quest. You can use this app as a companion while playing board games, roleplaying, reenacting, or just randomly throughout life. Using this app as a companion to your adventures easily enhances the atmosphere. No internet connection is needed to use this app so it doesn’t matter if you have high speed internet or if you’re in the woods without a signal. This app will work regardless of your connection or lack thereof.

After the initial startup load all of the sounds are at your fingertips for instant playability without the need to load any sounds before playing. No lagging and no ads. This app can easily enhance the atmosphere during board game time at day or night. While on the main menu you can pick the category you want and quickly pull up those sounds and go back to the other categories just as quick as well. The 8 sound categories in this app are Animals, Atmosphere, Combat, Instruments, Magic, Monsters, Objects, and People. Atmosphere sounds can play in the background while you play other sound effects.

This soundboard app also has a favorites feature. Simply hold down the sound effect button you like for 5 seconds to mark it as a favorite with a shield. You can remove that sound as a favorite by holding down on it again for 5 seconds. There are no limits with how many sound effects you can mark as a favorite.

The developer of this app is a big fan of fantasy video games like Skyrim & Witcher and entertainment like Game of Thrones, Vikings & Lord of the Rings, and he made this for other people who enjoy the realm of fantasy video games, board games, cosplaying, medieval role playing, reenactments, role playing, movies, television, & etc. This awesome sound effects app is filled with the sounds of mages, knights, wizards, magicians, vikings, dungeons, medieval battles, nature, castles, forests, battles, wars, sieges, middle age actions, gameplay, dragons, other animals and various different sounds.

Sound effects within this awesome app include…

Animals: bear, bird, cat, cow, dogs, dragons, goat, horses, sheep, wolf and more

Atmosphere: beach, cave, fireplace, forest, rain, snow and more

Combat: arrows, bombs, shields, swords, spears, and more

Instruments: bagpipes, cymbals, drums, fiddles, flutes, harps, horns, and more

Magic spells: fires, heals, ice, teleports, winds, and more

Monsters: grumbles, laughs, pains and sounds from within a cave

Objects: chest opens, coins, doors, rummaging, traps, and more

People: applause, belching, bones, booing, drinking, eating, marching, sayings and more

Become the ultimate dungeon master with Master Fantasy RPG Soundboard

 

(Development, design & audio* by: Avrin Ross of 8-Bit Avrin Apps. *Some of the sounds were obtained from public domain resources like freesound.org and then edited.)

July Mobile App Development Report

8 Aug
2017

App development in July revolved around my new fantasy soundboard app. During the bulk of the month I worked on sound effects for the app. I made sounds with lettuce, cardboard, cards, coins, shoes, knives, my voice, water, nature, paper and other random items. I also edited various sounds from public domain resources. I used the Go Mic by Samson to record my sounds, and edited those and others in Garageband. I’ve used that mic for years to make sound effects and its been great, although I think I will be upgrading soon. I also used some resources within Garageband like musical instruments and sounds within other sections to make different finished sound effects for the app.

Making sound effects for the objects category

I researched and reminisced various fantasy board games and video games to gather sound effect ideas and make sure that most of the main types of sounds in those segments were included in my app in some form. Throughout development on this app I kept a spreadsheet with the sound categories and specific sounds listed underneath that I planned on being in the app. This spreadsheet along with the sound effects themselves were updated several times. After completing most of the sound effects towards the end of month some sounds were cut and some new ones were added after looking at the app as a well put together fantasy sounds effects collection. I wanted to make sure the app included a wide variety of sounds and not too many of the same ones that basically repeated themselves.

Making some sounds for the combat and people categories

Making some sound effects for the people and objects categories

During July I also worked on the visual aspects of the app. I looked around for a font that would fit in well with the app and add a lot to it visually. I narrowed the font choices down to a couple and then quickly decided on one that kept standing out to me. I liked this font the most because it was easy to read in regards to each of the letters being easy to decipher, and overall it had a great medieval fantasy style to it. After deciding on a font I made buttons with a focus on being minimal. I decided to add a slight reflection to the buttons to add a bit more style to them without making them stand out too much. The main focus of this app is to provide high quality sound effects quickly with an easy to use interface wrapped in a modern fantasy aesthetic. An easy to use interface to me isn’t just putting assets in the right areas but also making sure the graphical assets themselves fit in well and form a coherent visual display together.

Towards the end of the month I also made loading screens and the app icon. A day after finishing the app icon I thought it looked kind of dull so I decided to change some of the colors. There were too many neutral colors together which made the icon not stand out like it should. After changing some of the colors the icon looked more invigorating visually overall and the art inside the icon looked sharper.

Working on the app icon. End result is different than what’s shown in this photo

In August I plan on finishing the fantasy soundboard app and releasing it on Apple, Amazon, & Google Play. I’ve only got a few more things to complete on it and then testing, testing, testing. I’ll probably try to put together a simple trailer and have it ready in time for release as well. I didn’t do a trailer for my last app until after release which kind of made the release not as complete initially as it could and should have been. This soundboard app will be the last new app I plan on releasing this year. After finishing it I’ll be updating a couple of apps on iOS just so I can add some words to the title name. Yeap, it ridiculous, Apple is the only main app store that doesn’t let developers change app titles and metadata without an app/binary update. So in order to change the title of two of my main apps to help them hopefully move up in the search results I’ll have to release a new version of them. The apps themselves are complete in my mind so the updates will just be performance improvements that I can probably squeeze in to shave some time off the meager loading times. After finishing a few more things on my app marketing to-do list work will ramp up on my next startup, which is app related.

Until next time ∞

June Mobile App Development Report

6 Jul
2017

June was a month that mostly consisted of finishing an app and then releasing it along with a bit of a positive distraction towards the end.

Quiz of Finance & Investing was released on June 22 but a lot of work went into the app before that in June. When I first started working on design for this app I thought about and worked on a few different dimensions to go for but I eventually firmly decided to go with a standard stock trading screen as the main design influence. Stock trading screens involve a lot of green and red to track gains and losses and moving parts so I incorporated some of that throughout the app without making it distracting from its main focus as an educational app. One of the first things I concerned myself with was finding a text font style that had a professional & computer related look. After looking at a lot and testing a few I ended up going with two different fonts. One mainly for the quiz section which was more standardized and then one for other sections of the app that had an LED dot style. I remember seeing a neat stock ticker banner outside in New York City the last time I was there a few years ago and it had the LED dots type of font to show the stock symbol, numbers & etc so I felt great going with that type of font for the non-quiz sections of the app as well as the promotional images to help drive the stock trading design goal.

Getting ready to do a mock-up of the main menu screen

End result of the main menu mock-up

After picking a font and deciding on the main colors to use throughout the app I made buttons and static text sections. After incorporating the buttons and other text areas I gave the main screen subtle animations to make it appear active and alive like stock trading is during the open hours because of the constant trades and reactions. So on the main menu screen I incorporated randomized movements to the bar buttons that the categories are placed on. The main menu was also the first place that I incorporated the moving ticker at the bottom. I did a lot of testing with the ticker to make sure it looped without overlapping but also somewhat recycled itself to prevent any bog down on the performance of the app.

Working on the main menu layout in Pixelmator

This app doesn’t need or require an internet connection so I didn’t want that to change at all for a cosmetic addition, so I just incorporated some historic data for that ticker to pull from for the main menu. Then on the results screen I added a ticker that gives the results. The results are shown as the focus on the center part of the screen so the ticker is just there to add to the overall design of the app. The last place I added a ticker was on the Statistics screen that repeats the results that are shown in the statistics table.

Which brings me to one of the main additions I added in June. The Statistics section that tracks how many questions you’ve answered in each category along with the correct amount answered and percentage correct. I also incorporated an erase option to wipe the slate if the user wants to. I used the same features in my RX Quiz of Pharmacy app so I was able to reuse a lot of code which was very helpful and efficient when working on this feature. I mainly had to pull the data from differently named sections that were loaded into the app and change around a few numbers since the question count options are a little different in this app. I also added a green/red delegation that depends on if the percentage correct is above or below 50%.

After implementing all the data and design within the app I worked on sound effects. This app isn’t audio heavy so it didn’t take long to finish this aspect. I knew I wanted computer related & breaking news style sound effects so I went into GarageBand with those intentions and created some audio to incorporate. The last aspect of finishing the app build for me was making an icon. I usually wait to make the app icon towards the end of the apps development because by that time I definitely know what the app is about and how I want it represented. I’ve written about the importance of a well represented app icon before and there are plenty of other articles about that as well. At this point of the app process I had the design of the app cemented freshly into my mind so thankfully it didn’t take long to create an app icon that I was happy with. After finishing the icon I tested the app on different devices like usual. I only ran into a couple of functionality bugs and they were easily fixed. I also tested the visibility conditions to ensure the text sizes were adequate for the different categories since they each had a variance in the lengths of the questions & answers. I ended up adjusting the text sizes so they are different but more fitting depending on the category chosen on the main menu and throughout the changes in an Assorted category quiz. After completing a release ready build I uploaded it and worked on descriptions, metadata, screenshots & etc.

Working on the app icon in Pixelmator

After my new app was approved and went live I spent a few days relaxing. It’s deserved! Then while I was on the Amazon developer portal a few days later to change some keywords I noticed an Alexa skill promotion that stated that developers who created a new skill that passed certification in June would receive an Echo dot. I remember seeing this briefly in an email before but this time I thought about it as a challenge. Voice recognition software is neat, I like Amazon as a company, the Echo devices are intriguing, I recently successfully completed a new app and I was up for the challenge of learning and trying something new. So I challenged myself to make a skill in one day. I went through a couple of skill ideas and then quickly decided upon making a Game of Thrones related skill because its my favorite TV show and season 7 is coming out in a few weeks!

I worked on the skill off & on through the day and stayed up late to finish it. The first thing I did was scour the internet for quotes as well as implementing some of my favorites on a spreadsheet. Throughout development I used a template provided by Amazon and a couple of different articles which were mostly helpful. After having a somewhat finished product I went back and forth with testing until it worked as intended. I got stuck on one part were Alexa would just keep responding with the phrase I gave her to say when she doesn’t understand a request. Eventually I found the error on my part, fixed it, and then the skill worked fine. The first certification review was rejected because my example phrases had an incorrect format which thankfully was an easy fix. After changing those and re-submitting it my Alexa skill passed certification and went live. Overall I made the skill within one day and it was approved within two. This is my first Alexa skill and it’s called Quotes of Game of Thrones. I recently received the email about receiving my Echo Dot too so I should be getting that sometime soon in July. Learned some new things, got a result I’m satisfied with, and I’m getting a neat item for free. Awesome! I may or may not make another Alexa skill down the road, not exactly sure either way right now.

Towards the end of June I decided that I wanted to make a simple to the point trailer for my new Quiz of Finance & Investing app. I probably should have done this before release but oh well. I used Reflector 2 to record the screen on my iPhone to capture different question scenarios from my app so I could pick and choose during final editing in iMovie. After I finished gathering different screen captures I worked on the music. While in GarageBand experimenting I believe I got influenced by a combination of Daft Punk and school marching bands because that’s what the end result of my trailer song reminded me of. I was really satisfied with how the song turned out. It makes me want to move and it has a nice orchestral feel to it.

Alright this post was longer than I initially intended it to be. In July I’ll mainly be working on and hopefully finishing my new soundboard app. I’ll probably post some peeks into it on my Twitter and/or Instagram before release. Until next time ∞

Quiz of Finance & Investing App Trailer

29 Jun
2017

The trailer for my Quiz of  Finance & Investing app is now up on YouTube!

New Release: Quiz of Finance & Investing

22 Jun
2017

  

Quiz of Finance & Investing is an educational personal and business corporate finance app with a sleek on target stock trading design. There are thousands of questions within the four categories in this app. The four major categories in this app are; Abbreviations / Acronyms, Definitions, Formulas & Ratios, and Stock Symbols. The quiz is set up with various multiple choice answers for each question and there’s also a statistics feature that keeps up with your data in each category. 

This educational finance & accounting app is for a wide range of people. It’s targeted towards stock traders, investors, students in high school & college majoring in accounting, finance, entrepreneurship and other related fields, financial analysts, advisors and other finance professionals, accountants and other accounting professionals, economists, entrepreneurs, and anybody else with an interest in finance, accounting, or the economy. 

Use this app to learn new information, refresh yourself with information you’ve learned before, and to retain information that you’re already aware of. This app was developed and designed by a finance graduate who graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration Finance with a minor in Economics from one of the best business schools in America. The developer of this app is a somewhat active stock trader, value investor, and a big fan of the CNBC shows Fast Money & Mad Money.

This app can help you learn more about stock trading which will lead to aiding you in picking stocks and even being able to help others with stock trading tips & advice. Being informed and knowledgable about the stock market can of course also help you make money fast with the right securities and stock picks, but be careful because you can lose money as fast of you can make money too.

Quiz of Finance & Investing can also be used as a study guide to help college students with test exam prep. Whether you’re majoring in finance, accounting, or economics. This app touches on all of those subjects on the surface level and also in exquisite detail. This app also has a statistics screen and financial related sound effects.

This app is not responsible for any losses you may incur in the stock market or any gains either, but it can help you make those gains through the vast amount of valuable information within it. No data connection is needed to use the main features in this app. 

May Mobile App Development Report

8 Jun
2017

The one and only app I worked on in May is the educational finance app, and the work that was done on it varied greatly in 30min-2hour increments throughout the month. The only aspect of the app I worked on in May was adding more information and also rewording some information. As I added more info I decided to change the wording in some of the questions so there wasn’t any hesitation of what the answer would be if you were sure of the answer. With my educational apps I’m not trying to trick anyone into thinking something false, but instead help people become knowledgable about something new to them and also refresh and/or retain the knowledge of those that are informed on the subject or have been in the past.

In May I finished the formulas & ratios section which turned out to be the second largest category in the app and probably my favorite to work on. One reason why I liked working on it is because you can ask more than one question about each ratio without repeating the same question or answer. You can ask about the definition of the ratio, what the ratio is used for, the formula of the ratio, and what different results exhibit about a company or stock. Ratios are a very informative area of finance and I think this category of my app will be very useful for a wide range of investors and students.

Working on the formulas & ratios category in my app. The visible data on the spreadsheet only shows about .05% of the informational data in this app!

Throughout May I also added a few more lines of data to the abbreviations section. One of the podcasts I listen to on a somewhat normal basis in the car is a finance & investing podcast so there were a couple of moments where I would hear something and notice that the issue or terminology used wasn’t incorporated in my app yet. So when this happened I would jot down a quick note in my phone(at a stop light 🙂 ) to remind myself to add information about that topic during one of my next app dev sessions.

In June I plan on finishing and releasing this finance app. I’m really looking forward to completing this app. This app is kind of a personal project for me because I have an interest in Finance and investing personally and professionally. I also have a degree in Business Administration Finance but I don’t use the knowledge I obtained throughout those college years on a daily basis and not even professionally so using this app will be a nice way to refresh and retain information. I think it will end up being very useful for others in a somewhat similar experience like me, newcomers to this subject matter, and people who work in finance and investing areas.

After finishing the Finance app, hopefully in June, I’ll be jumping back into a soundboard app I’ve been working on and I hope to finish and release it in July! It will probably be my last soundboard app for a while though. I like making soundboard apps and the ones I’ve created get downloads, some more than others of course, so those are two good reasons to continue with them. Anyways, back to work on this finance app. Until next time ∞

April Mobile App Development Report

8 May
2017

April was a very productive month in app development land, and I’m starting to feel even better about how this year is going even though my app dev to-do list is long and varied. During the first half of the month I ported three of my apps to Google Play. As I’ve stated before I’ve become more and more interested in the Google Play app store. The Android smartphones continue to impress me and the Google Play app store itself does as well as it continues to improve the developer console. Most of my free apps still do incredibly better than my paid apps on the Google Play and both still lag way behind my iOS App Store numbers so I’m still working on metadata and related marketing approaches to gain more invisibility. More on this later.

Since Easter is in April the first app I ported to Google Play was Jumbo Egg Hunt 2 and then after that Ultra Big Celebration Soundboard and Crunchy Numbers Math Arcade made their way to Google Play. Since I’ve already had Android versions of these apps on the Amazon App Store the development process wasn’t lengthy and testing went smoothly also. After testing the apps on non-Amazon Android based devices the next main process was creating store listings. Google Play doesn’t have a keyword section for developers like the iOS, Windows, and Amazon app stores but instead it pulls keywords from the app description. They also don’t give any specifics about word usage, primacy and etc so this creates a bit more of a metadata challenge but I guess it also provides more flexibility since there’s not a character limit keyword section. App titles on Google Play do have a smaller character limit than the other app stores which has made me unable to use the real full names for some my apps because I opted for using more search friendly words in the titles instead.

I’m still baffled at how Google search is so great, but search on Google Play is still often inefficient. I’ve often tested different words while searching their app store and received several unrelated results. So needless to say I’ll continue to do some trail & error scenarios with metadata on Google Play. I do this with other app stores on occasion but Google Play has provided more of a challenge in that regard when compared to other app stores. As a developer it’s frustrating when you search for something on an app store and see several low quality and unrelated apps somehow appear in the results before your app that would provide the consumer with a better experience. In correlation it’s also frustrating as a consumer to search for something and receive insufficient results. Search results are the biggest area where Google Play needs improvement, but with other areas that are great and a huge consumer market I will continue to have a notable presence there with my app availability. I do also wish Google Play would give developers & publishers the option of making app bundles like the Apple App Store does. I think it’s neat that Apple allows us to bundle 2 or more apps together at a discount. All the other big App Stores should include this option as well.

Ultra Fortune Ball is one of my apps that I randomly use sometimes personally. Sometimes somewhat seriously and sometimes as a novelty. If I’ve got a yes/no question that I’m asking myself and I’m at a toss-up of a response sometimes I’ll open the app and simply ask it the question. So yes like most of my apps, I’m not only the creator but also a user. Anyways, there’s a point to this. I began noticing that I didn’t like the animation the ball was giving me and I didn’t like how some of the text didn’t fit into the ball answer area. So during April I put my other app projects on hold and worked on and released the Ultra Fortune Ball 4.3 Update to give the ball a better animation and fix the text issue.

In April I also continued to work on my finance app. I finished the acronyms section which proved to be more time consuming than I thought it would be. I’ve got two more sections to finish and then I’ll be able to jump into the UI design process. I’ll be using a lot of code from a couple of previous apps for this app so that compartment shouldn’t take too long. Really looking forward to finishing the spreadsheet sections so I can jump into design and see all this data in action. In May I plan on mainly only working on this finance app and trying to continue to make great strides with its completion. Until next time ∞