Tag Archives: Android

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

√ New music for Space Travel medium & heavy sound tones

√ Minor user interface improvements

Relax

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

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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 ∞

November Mobile App Development Report

8 Dec
2016

Development work in November was mostly devoted to working on the new finance app I’ve been working on & off with. I continued to gather and check information for different categories and arrange  them in separate lists. I also decided on which exact categories to have in the app, which makes information compiling more productive. In December & January I’ll continue working with a large amount of data for this app. No guarantees, but I plan on releasing this app in the first or early second quarter of 2017. I’ll be reusing a lot of the code that I used in my Quiz of Medicine & RX Quiz of Pharmacy apps so that will save me a lot of time after completing the massive data section. I haven’t touched the design aspect of it yet so the timeframe of app completion will then depend on how quickly that progresses. I have a few rough ideas in mind on how I want it to look, but I want to complete the data portion before diving into design this time.

I ported Word Owl’s Word Search First Grade & Christmas editions to Google Play last month. With the release of great new devices, improvements to the developer console, a huge user base, and increasing download numbers for some of my apps, I’ve decided to focus more on the Google Play store. Apple iOS will still be my main target, and Amazon will stay at second in importance, but now Google Play will be a very strong third target for my apps. I already make an Android based build when I’m releasing an app on Amazon so when I make a build for Google Play I won’t have to change a lot. I won’t be releasing every one of my apps on Google Play because I still have some issues with the store, but going forward I will be focusing more energy there with new apps and possibly some of my older apps. Until next time ∞

More Word Owl’s Word Search Apps on Google Play

26 Nov
2016

WO1 Icon_512x512 Icon 512x512

Word Owl’s Word Search First Grade and Christmas editions are both now available on the Google Play app store! The Second Grade & Third Grade editions will also be available on that app store as well in the near future….

Saving Bunnies! Update & New Availability

31 Jul
2016

SB promo banner 1024x500

Saving Bunnies! is now available for free on the Google Play & Amazon app stores!

Also, the new update to the iOS version includes new mountain graphics, audio enhancements, and faster load times. These improvement are also within the two new Android versions mentioned above.

Thank you to the thousands of players that have already saved thousands of bunnies. I hope you continue to enjoy the game, and welcome to the new players. Have fun saving those bunnies!

Ultra Fortune Ball 4.0 Update

3 Mar
2016

UFB 1024x500 promo banner

(Available on the Apple and Amazon App Stores)

(Free versions available on Apple, Amazon, and Google Play)

Today is a special day for me. 5 years ago I released my first app, which was Ultra Fortune Ball on the iOS App Store. I would go into more detail about this journey but it would take a while and I’m kind of in a rush right now which has been normal lately. I may write more about this journey later, but for now here are the details on the big update that went live today for Ultra Fortune Ball. Available on the Apple, Amazon, & Google Play app stores.

√ Completely updated and enhanced all of the graphics.

√ New fortunes/answers added.

√ New get fortune animation.

√ Added vibration reaction feature.

√ Faster load times.

√ New app icon.

Have fun and enjoy!

*The update for the free version is publicly shown as 4.1 instead of 4.0 on the Apple, Amazon & Google Play App Stores.

August Mobile App Development Report

7 Sep
2015

New apps are on the horizon, but first a couple of updates….

  • Crunchy Numbers Math Arcade received a minor update that improved the tweet feature to automatically input the hashtag(#CrunchyNumbersMathArcade) for the game in the editable tweet text box. The process of uploading the new build(and of course waiting on review period) took longer than the work in the actual update itself. Most players never tweet scores and I don’t think many people will use it in this game, but I wanted to do it because this is one of my favorite apps I’ve developed so it gets spoiled.
  • Motivational Quotes to inspire received a nice update. More info on it can be found on the Motivational Quotes to Inspire 1.5 Update post. One of the main changes in the new version was a minor update to the Settings section layout as seen below.

MQTI_beforeafterupdate

  • In August I also worked a lot of my new pharmacy quiz app which included a lot of research, heavy work with tables, & UI design. I’ve started to use the Paper app along with the Pencil stylus to mock up UI designs. Working on an interfaces in a drawing app is really neat. I can quickly change things to roughly see how it will look on different devices and also test if it’s user friendly for the users hands. One of the first main menu iterations can be seen below, the finished version is still incomplete. There’s been a lot of work going into this app. I’ve been able to use a bit of data and some code from Quiz of Medicine, but a lot of the new app is being built from of the ground up.  This new medical app will focus on the top 200 drugs in 2015 for the medicine portion of the quizzes whereas Quiz of Medicine focused on featuring over 400 different medications. My new pharmacy app will include brands, generics, indications and drug class quiz types like Quiz of Medicine, but it will also include a couple of new quiz types as well. This will be a very focused well rounded pharmacy app for students and various people in different medical positions.

IMG_0801  QoPFullSizeRender-7

  • During August I also started to compile a list of words for my new Word Owl’s Word Search app. This will be the Halloween Edition so the overall design and words will be of course be Halloween themed. This app will be completely kid friendly so there will be no horror images or shocking words. I’ll be putting my medical app aside and working on this app more in September because I plan on releasing it during the first week of October.
  • Somehow I thought I was going to be finished with the pharmacy app during August and then jumping right into the Halloween word search app after, but other plans got in the way of those plans……..and I’ve been really distracted by Rocket League during my app development time! Rocket League is a very fun game that features two of my favorite things; racing and soccer! The game was free in July on PS Plus and I had never heard of it before downloading it, but definitely glad that I did. Ok, back to working on the word search! Until next time ∞

July Mobile App Development Report

2 Aug
2015

July was an all over the place month in app development land. Worked on new apps and updates to previously released apps, and then there were even some updates to updates. This is what happens when I develop without a clear organized plan…..

During the beginning of the month I worked on my new relaxation app. I continued tidying up the UI that I’ve been working on previously, and then I started implementing logic. As I was deep into development logic I released that I may not be able to finish this app this year because I’m not sure if I’ll be visiting a beach this year. No, that’s not a typo or a mismatched sentence. I really want to incorporate beach sounds in this app, and I want it to record them myself like I’ve done for various other sounds that will be in this app. This app will have a heavy focus on sounds and I want the sound of the beach & ocean to be a segment of it. So the conclusion of this little tangent is that I’ve decided to stop development on this app until I’ve gathered and edited all of the main sounds for this app. I’m still really interested in working on this app and I can’t wait to release it, but I feel like I would prevent a lot of backtracking if I have one of the main focus points of the app finished before I get too deep into implementation of rules, attributes, and other developmental aspects.

During the middle and end of the month I worked on several updates to previously released apps. Some of them were minor and some of them were more substantial. Gift Wrap Difference, Light Up The Tree, & Zompy Jumpy all received 64-bit support updates which also decreased loading times. Right after the Light Up The Tree update was released I realized that I needed to fix a couple of links within the app. So I quickly fixed those issues and published another update which is currently waiting on review with Apple. After the Zompy Jumpy update went live I realized that I forgot to include a pre-typed hashtag within the tweet feature. I know it’s a very minor mishap that can even be added or deleted by any user, but I’m really into minor details. Usually the minor details I may revisit pertain to graphics, sound, or code, but this time it was a preloaded tweet. Yea kind of ridiculous, but I should have noticed it during the initial update I did this month. If I would have been more patient I could have avoided these two back to back updates. The latter two updates were minor but they were still time consuming in a month were I didn’t have much app dev time to consume. I’ve learned my lesson from these mishaps though and hopefully I’ll avoid these similar situations in the future.

In July I also worked on the Fireworks Showeator 1.4 update. More info on the update itself and the reasoning behind a part of it can be found on the linked post. Fireworks Showeator also received a minor iOS update after version 1.4 went live that was similar to the additional update that I submitted for Zompy Jumpy.

Last month I also finished my newest game. It’s a quick fast paced arcade game that I initially created during a space themed game jam. After the game jam I put it off for a while and went back to working on other apps. I recently decided to revisit the game, finish it, and release it on the Apple App Store. I may end up including the main gameplay of this game into a larger game in the future so I want to see how it’s received by the public. Most of the game has been finished for a while, but in order for me to feel fine with releasing it on the App Store I wanted to add a leaderboard and fully test it on different devices. So in July I incorporated Game Center leaderboards, added a main front screen to prepare players for the challenge, and then I tested it on different devices. The game has actually already been in front of you multiple times, but it’s just waiting on August 8th…..that’s a really lame inside joke that will make more sense when it’s released….

I recently quit a job that wasn’t related to my two separate ongoing careers (healthcare & app development) so things are going to start ramping up even more in app development land for me. My career focus is to stay on track with my two different paths, any other work is kind of a waste of my time, and I really don’t like wasting time. Anyways, I’m really excited about working on various new apps and sharing what I’ve been working on! I think I’ll start incorporating more images in these post too. I’m a visual person and I know a lot of other people are too. I’m excited about my healthcare career that’s been going well too, but this site isn’t about that. Back to the mobile apps. Until next time ∞