Tag Archives: app development process

August & September Mobile App Development Report

8 Oct
2017

These past two months have been so all over the place and busy for me that I totally forgot to do a post for August and now I’ve almost forgot about September too. In this post I’m going to write about what I did in app development land in August and September. However, I’m going to try to keep it short because I need to jump back into working on various tasks. The rest of this year is going to continue being busy with app development and a lot of important things going on outside of app dev as well.

In August I finished working on Master Fantasy RPG Soundboard and released it on the Apple, Amazon, & Google Play app stores. The app turned out like I wanted it to and I enjoyed working on it overall except for the testing phase, which was the most stressful aspect of working on it. After finishing the app and testing it on various devices I ran into an issue where the app crashed on most devices except for newer ones. After trying an assortment of different fixes it turned out to be in the code in regards to the way I had sounds loading in the app. None of my other soundboard apps have long load times, but while I was working on this soundboard app I created it with a different way of loading sounds in mind. I thought it would make the app load even faster than my other soundboard apps while also delivering any sound pressed instantly like the others apps do. However, it turned out that I was asking too much of the engine I used for this app and that’s basically what caused it to crash. So to fix the issue I changed the way that I make the app load sounds back to how I do with my other soundboard apps. Which I guess lead back to the old saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” That saying definitely applied to this situation and I could have avoided some stress and long nights.

So after fixing the load issue that caused Master Fantasy RPG Soundboard to crash I started working on promo images and a simple trailer video. I wanted the video to be simple but also give the viewer a good idea of how efficient the app is at playing sounds instantly, and how vast the sound effect library is within the app. This app like all my other apps does not require a data connection to be used. After downloading the app you can use it anytime regardless of how bad your data connection is or lack thereof. I had the idea of this fantasy soundboard in my mind for the past couple of years, but kept pushing it back to work on other apps and updates. I’m glad that I came back to it and completed it. I think it’s a neat companion to use during board games, role-playing, and reenactments. I’m sure people will use it in those ways and other ways I haven’t even thought of like people have done with my other soundboard apps. There are some pictures of working on some of the sound and visual design of this app on the July App Development Report. I do plan on having a picture section on this site eventually that showcases some of the photos I’ve taken of my “behind the scenes” app development and design processes. As of now I mainly post those types of images on my Instagram, on these monthly progress posts, and sometimes on my Twitter.

In September I decided to work on an update to my Rest, Relax, and Reflect app. I’ve been told by some of the users of the app that they wished it had a Thunderstorm section which I agreed and thought it should as well. I’m not sure why I didn’t include that section initially. I probably rushed myself to release it so I could dedicate time on another project. It’s not a super popular app but adding a Thunderstorm section and making some other improvements wasn’t going to take long and were going to improve the app nicely so I went for it. One of the first things I did is take pictures for the Thunderstorm section and while taking some of those pictures I decided to take some pictures for some of the other sections to replace the background pics that I didn’t take myself. So now all of the background pictures in the game were taken by me except some of the fireplace photos. Taking the pictures myself for the other sections helped me incorporate the animation effects better and gave the app the perspective I wanted it to have more in those sections.

In between taking and editing the photos I also worked on the Thunderstorm section animations and sound. Audio is more important to me in this app than animation so I spent more time on it. After working on some audio I played around with some different rain and lightning effects until they felt right. Then I separated the intensity levels into low, medium, and heavy like I did for the other sections. After finishing the thunderstorm section and incorporating the new backgrounds for the rain & snow sections I decided to replace some of the fireplace photos as well. I looked around on the internet for public domain fireplace photos until I found a couple that I thought looked great and would play well into the fireplace animation that’s kind of realistic but also kind of looks computer generated.

I also made the background thumbnails in each settings section(except Space Travel) react to whether or not the Black & White option is on or off. Before, the thumbnails would stay in color regardless of if that B&W option was on or off. Now the thumbnails change to black & white or color depending on what’s chosen for that option. It’s a small change but its neat and makes sense that it should react that way. I’m kind of surprised that I didn’t do that when I initially created this app. Regardless, I finished the update last month and testing went well so I released it soon after. It’s available on the Apple & Amazon app stores, and I also released the app itself for the first time on Google Play. I decided to make it free(with ads) on Google Play since its been out for years on the other app stores. It’s still ad free on the other app stores which does deliver a more simple and less distracting experience, which is good for an app that’s main goal is to help the user relax.

Some of the new background images with effects overcast

If you would have asked me a couple of months ago what my last app of 2018 would be I would have told you Master Fantasy RPG Soundboard, but yea……..another app idea popped up in my head that I thought would be a great idea to try to finish and release this year. It’s an app that revolves around Christianity and the bible. I’m a Christian and I believe in God, but I’m not one that shoves it in peoples face. I also recognize that some Christians are hypocrites, which gives the rest of us a bad name. I’m not trying to prove anybody right or wrong, or make judgements. I just want to create a simple to use app that helps others and myself learn more about the bible, and hopefully this app will accomplish that. I’ll just leave it at that until the next progress report post. Alright, I wrote that I wanted to make this post short but I ended up writing a few long paragraphs so that’s all I’ll write for now. I’m sure I’ve left out some things that I worked on and am going to work on, but these posts are supposed to be overviews without going into a lot of details. Until next time ∞

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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

7 Jul
2016

During the first part of June I worked on and finished answer graphics for the Professor Piggy Bank update which included possible answers and correct answer congratulation pop ups. Then I organized answers and incorrect answers in a spreadsheet for game implementation in Quiz mode. The next step for this update will be to record a lot of new dialogue for quiz mode. My wife did a great job delivering the dialogue originally so I’ll be getting her to lend me her lovely voice again. Now we just need to schedule a day when we’re both available, ready and have one of our parents keep the kids.

Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 6.45.03 PM

Working on the Quiz mode spreadsheet for Professor Piggy Bank.

In June I also finished and released the 2.0 & 1.5.5 update for Chinatown Fortune Cookie. The update features a lot of new fortunes and enhancements to all graphics. The amount of fortunes in app is really enormous. This app as well as all of my other apps do not require an internet connection to use their main features so I try to make sure my apps are well equipped and packed with offline content without being too bloated of course.

Towards the end of June I started working on an update to Motivational Quotes to Inspire. So far the main work on it has been the addition of new quotes. Like Chinatown Fortune Cookie mentioned above, this app is also packed with data for the quotes and this update will add even more to an already astounding list. In July I plan on continuing work on this update by adding more quotes and adding a Spanish language feature which will display all the quotes & settings in Spanish. Then after finishing the motivational quotes app update I’ll hopefully get close to completing the piggy bank app update. Until next time ∞