Tag Archives: Atlanta app developers

September Mobile App Development Report

7 Oct
2016

September seemed like it passed by incredibly fast. I told myself I wouldn’t try to do as much as I have in the previous months and slow down a bit, but September went by so fast I’m not sure if I did slow down or not. App development started with work on a financial educational app I’ve been working off & on in small increments. The work on it mostly consisted of researching, gathering, and organizing data. I’ve got a couple of other updates I plan on working on and finishing this year so I’m not sure when I’ll finish this new app, but I’m looking forward to continuing progress on it and eventually releasing it.

Most of my app development time in September consisted of working on the six app Word Owl’s Word Search update. Since I’ve been able to enhance standard text to better formatted higher resolutions I wanted to put that into use on more apps that have prominent text in them. The standard text in my word search apps mainly appear on the left side displaying the words within the word search. I already created higher resolution letter blocks and buttons so they didn’t need enhancing and they’re unrelated to how the standard text displays. I really like my word search apps especially the educational aspect of them and how they look overall so I knew I wanted to improve these apps. I worked on and tested each app individually to keep the process more organized since there were going to be 6 different app updates on different app stores which in the end equals over a dozen individual builds. With each Word Owl Word Search app I learned new things in regards to touch recognition and focused more on presentation. Since I knew I was definitely going to improve text resolution in all of my word search apps I decided it would also be a good time to go ahead and improve touch recognition in those that didn’t have it. The touch improvement does a better job of not selecting unwanted letters. Sometimes a letter block would change alpha as if its being selected because of its close proximity to the letter being selected, but now there’s a less chance of that happening. The code within the app already took this into consideration initially and made sure to not let it interfere with the correct selections. However, now with the update there’s a better chance of a letter block not thinking its being selected externally even its momentarily touched on the edges.

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Making a promo banner for the update in Pixelmator

In terms of presentation, I decided to add a little game complete animation to the apps that didn’t have an additional one. All of the apps had a level complete/good job pop up but with some of them I took the level complete congrats a step up with some sort of firework type explosion depending on what the app theme was. Snowflakes for Christmas, bats for Halloween, and different color word blocks for the sight word classroom editions. The holiday versions already had this implemented, but some of the grade level versions didn’t so I added it to them. After finishing all of the builds I tested them on different devices(tablets & phones) on each platform(iOS, Amazon Android & Google Play Android). I ran into a few bugs throughout testing which involved a lot of back and forth with finding and fixing the bug, generating a build, & testing. Eventually all of the apps turned out fine so then I proceeded to uploading builds and updating metadata. I looked into which keywords each app had, and decided to add some new ones to each one that weren’t used in the others to kind of spread out the chance of a person finding at least one of my word search apps. I also updated some of the screenshots and descriptions. After releasing an update I like to pay closer attention to update numbers, and most of these apps ended up receiving nice update numbers so far. Getting a lot of update downloads lets me know that a lot of people must be enjoying my apps and finding them useful at least to some extent. I’m sure there are some that download apps & updates without even using the app yet because I do that sometimes but I think most people will usually check out an app somewhat soon after downloading it initially. 

Ok enough rambling about that update but that’s what took over most of my dev time in September. The update themselves didn’t take long individually, but since it was six different apps on various app stores the overall time was dominant. Towards the end of September I added some more data for the finance app I mentioned earlier. In October I plan on updating the RX Quiz of Medicine app with enhanced text resolution and possibly Strike the Goal since they have a fair amount of standardized text, especially RX. Until next time ∞

August Mobile App Development Report

8 Sep
2016

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August continued the trend of…..UPDATES! Since January 2016 I’ve been steadily working on various app updates during most of my development time. August was a massive month of work, but due to what I was able to accomplish it will be the last month this year in app dev land that’s devoted mainly to updates. However before diving into what’s next, let talk about what happened in August.

The first app update I worked on and completed was 8-Bit Eagle Smash. For this app I updated the text score font to match the look of the rest of the game. This game was created in a couple of days during a gamejam so it was kind of rushed, but the new font obviously looks better with game. I should have updated it earlier than 2 years after release, but other apps continued to take precedence over this one. While testing I also noticed that one of the tweet functions caused the pre-entered text to be cut off so I also fixed that. After doing a quick search on Twitter I discovered that most people(like 99.99%) who play this game don’t tweet their scores, but I still wanted to feature to work efficiently as intended. The game also received 64-bit support and overall performance enhancements which cut down on the already short load times. More can be read about the game itself and the gamejam that initiated its development on the 8-Bit Eagle Smash release post.

With iAds closing down I also had to replace it in the remaining apps that still had it embedded. I only put banner ads in 8-Bit Eagle Smash so I replaced the iOS banner ads with Admob banner ads. Then for the Zompy Jumpy update I replaced the iOS banner ads with Revmob and replaced the Chartboost interstitial ads with Admob. Zompy Jumpy is also running on a newer improved game engine so the minor loading times and gameplay movements are improved. When it comes to ad providers Admob is my favorite and then it’s kind of a tie between Revmob & Chartboost. Chartboost doesn’t have banner ads so I’ve decided to go with an Admob interstitial & Revmob banner ad combination for most of my free apps.

The biggest and overall most time consuming update that I worked on and finished in August was Professor Piggy Bank. I started working on this update months ago, but this month brought the update to completion. This is one of my favorite apps and it gets a decent amount of downloads sometimes, including some from actual classrooms, so I wanted to make sure this app received a few more major improvements. A list of what all the app update contains can be seen on the Professor Piggy Bank 2.0 post or on one of the app store pages so for this post we’ll just dive into what was worked on in August. The last big section that was completed in August was the recording and implementation of the additional dialogue. The Quiz mode features more than double the amount of questions so there was a lot of new audio to record. I also added some new correct answer graphic pop ups so we had to record audio for those as well. My wife happily agreed to continue being the voice of the game so one day we got the parents to keep to kids to minimize disruptions and we were able to record all the new dialogue that evening. I already told her in person and also via a Facebook post but another big THANK YOU to my wife for lending me her lovely voice. Kiss kiss! Ok back to dev land……I also did the minor editing to each piece of audio after we recorded it so after we were done I only had to implement it into the actual app. After finishing the implementation I started testing the app with the completed new update. I ran into some issues in quiz mode with a couple of incorrect sections in the quiz spreadsheet so I found those and fixed them quickly. After testing I worked on a couple of new screenshots to showcase some of the visual enhancements. Once I got the screenshots I wanted I had to edit them to conform to the various different sizes required for each app store that the app is on.

There have been issues with blurry text appearing in some of my apps so I updated two of my text heavy apps, Quiz of Medicine & Ultra Fortune Ball. The issues mainly appeared in Android devices, and usually they were Kindle Fire devices. This fix also enhanced the text resolution overall so I decided to update the iOS versions of these apps that didn’t have this component already embedded. So during August both of those apps received that update and I also replaced the iOS banner ads that were no longer working.

Now that the majority of the updates that I’ve wanted to do are done I’m now able to jump into app dev on a new app. The new app I’m working on is a finance app so yea nothing too exciting if you’re not interested in finance. However, it’s one of my interests and I’ve noticed a void within the app stores for the type of app I’m creating so I decided to jump back into development on it. I had the idea for it a while ago, but pushed it back because of other new releases and updates. I’m hoping to finish and release it sometime this year. In August I mainly worked on gathering data for it, and that will continue in September as well along with some UI design hopefully. There are still one couple of other app updates that I’ll be working on in September as well, but nothing that time consuming compared to some of the other big updates I’ve released this year. They’ll mainly be blurry text fixes to my word search apps on the Amazon app store. This issue doesn’t appear on all devices and it doesn’t make the text unreadable at all, but knowing that it does appear for some users along with knowing how to fix it means……I’m fixing it. I also plan on making some new videos for the newer versions of some of my apps. It’s somewhat unfair to apps that had an initial release video, but have received major visual & feature updates since then. So yea I’ll be working on a couple of new videos sometime soon too. Until next time ∞

8-Bit Avrin Apps 2015 Overview

20 Feb
2016

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First, I want to give a big THANK YOU to everyone that downloaded an app, liked or shared a post, favorite or retweeted a tweet, spread news word of mouth, and/or anything else positive about my apps. It was a year full of changes, but I was able to develop & release five neat high quality apps, and also complete some great updates. I didn’t have much time to develop, so when I did have time I had to make sure to laser focus on the tasks I needed to complete. Here’s some lists of my top apps that were downloaded, top countries that downloaded my apps, and the best months for downloads. After that I’ll go into some more detail on 2015, 2016, and post some great app reviews received in 2015.

Top 5 Downloads

  • Quiz of Medicine
  • Motivational Quotes to Inspire
  • Ultra Fortune Ball – Free
  • Professor Piggy Bank
  • Ultra Retro Game Soundboard

Top 5 Free Downloads

  • Quiz of Medicine
  • Motivational Quotes to Inspire
  • Ultra Fortune Ball – Free
  • Saving Bunnies
  • Survive in Hyperdrive

Top 5 Paid Downloads

  • Professor Piggy Bank
  • Ultra Retro Game Soundboard
  • Ultra Soccer Match Soundboard
  • Ultra Big Celebration Soundboard
  • Word Owl’s Word Search – First Grade

Top 5 Countries for Downloads

  • United States
  • India
  • United Kingdom
  • Philippines
  • Canada

Top 5 Download Months

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • August
  • May

In 2015 I had to rearrange my app schedule a couple of times to become more realistic, but I made sure to work on apps that I really wanted to release in 2015 that I could given the lack of time I had. Every month I write a sort of progress report of what I accomplished and worked on in the previous month and what I plan on working on in the future. Instead of going into detail of the apps I worked on in 2015 in this post I’m just going to put a link to every monthly progress report along with a note of the main apps I wrote about in that post.

January (Ultra Soccer Match Soundboard), February (Crunchy Numbers Math Arcade, Word Owl’s Word Search, Ultra Retro Game Soundboard), March (Professor Piggy Bank, Crunchy Numbers Math Arcade, Quiz of Medicine),  April (Crunchy Numbers Math Arcade), May (Crunchy Numbers Math Arcade, unfinished relaxation app), June (unfinished relaxation app), July (unfinished relaxation app, several minor updates, Survive in Hyperdrive), August (Motivational Quotes to Inspire, RX Quiz of Pharmacy), September (Word Owl’s Word Search Halloween Edition, RX Quiz of Pharmacy), October (Word Owl’s Word Search Halloween Edition, RX Quiz of Pharmacy), November (Word Owl’s Word Search Third Grade), December (Word Owls Word Search Third Grade & Christmas editions)

In 2016 I plan on releasing only a few apps due to my increasing time constraints, but thankfully now given the situations I’m in I’ll be able to focus more on creativity and less on monetization. For me developing apps has always been an outlet were I can be in total control of my own work and create something that’s truly unique. In 2016 I plan on taking more time on updates and new app developments to insure what I release is exactly what I want to do within my skill set without compromising anything because of lack of time. One of the greatest feelings is creating something and having random people all over the world use it and find the item you created useful and/or fun depending on what it’s purpose is. I hope I can continue to do that in 2016 and continue building upon this little indie mobile app empire I seem to have created. In 2016 I’m going to also try to increase marketing of old and new apps. One of my disappointments in 2015 was the lack of creating promo media, and other forms of advertisements that I didn’t do for my apps. That needs to change, because you can make something really neat and fun and/or useful but if nobody knows about it they can’t find out how great it is for themselves and possibly others.

One more thing. Most people who download my apps don’t leave reviews which I consider a good thing because people in general are quicker to talk about their dislike of something they didn’t enjoy instead of talking about something that they’re satisfied with. However, I do want to highlight some of the great customer reviews some of my apps received in a collage I put together below. I’ll also post a couple of links and images for professional reviews that were written about my apps below the customer review collage. Thank you to the people who wrote these great reviews on both avenues and thank you to everyone who download my apps, I truly hope you enjoyed them. Until next time ∞

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Some customer review highlights in 2015

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Professor Piggy Bank professional review from Jill Goodman at Participate Learning

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Word Owl’s Word Search Halloween Edition professional review by Rob Klindt in Literacy Resources at Concordia Online Education

2014 Overview – 2013 Overview – 2012 Overview

January Mobile App Development Report

6 Feb
2016

January definitely felt like a new journey for me with various changes going on in my life, thankfully most of them were positive. The first week or so I was sick and recovering from a sinus infection which was lame, but I did manage to somehow make progress in app development land throughout the month.

The only app I really worked on in January was Ultra Fortune Ball which involved many improvements for the big 4.0 update that’s set for a March 3rd release. I choose that date because it’s the date this app was first released on the Apple App Store 5 years ago. Ultra Fortune Ball is the first app I ever developed and published so it’s a bit special to me in very unique kind of way. 

I started improving graphics during the last week of December, and then in the beginning of January I continued and finished the graphic enhancements. Pretty much every image in the app is now changed or enhanced in some way. I changed the actual fortune ball itself, but it’s still about the same size as before. Overall I wanted the app to look polished, uniform, and sharp overall. For the ball I made it darker and less blurry on the edges, and then I made the title text darker and sharper. I also decided to go with honeycomb/hexagon graphics for the inside “liquid” part of the ball. I liked the way the honeycomb images looked so much within the app that I eventually decided to make the background stars in the same shape and even the moon also! I also ended up making the buttons have less of a glow around the words and instead made the edges sharper with more contrast between the button and text.

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Being meticulous about design and comparing a few final images to themselves and other different images.

 

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Quick notes about sizes, effects and other random things.

After completing the graphics. I decided to jump into the mechanics of the app itself and how answers are retrieved. I added tables to make the app perform smoother and more functional overall. After adding tables I was able to delete a lot of old code rules within the app, and the code that replaced it was incredibly quicker to incorporate than what I had done years ago. I also added more responses for both languages. There ended up being 173 Spanish answers and then eventually 0ver 200 English answers. There’s more English answers than Spanish basically because I’m more familiar with various English jargons and sayings. After incorporating the changes to the code of the app I turned my attention back to presentation of the app. I added a vibrate feature so that your phone vibrates after you touch or shake the ball IF you have vibrate turned on in your phone settings. There’s also an option to turn this feature off within the app itself in case you want to keep vibrate on for your phone but not in this app.

On the older version of this app the ball would get smaller and then bigger while the inside spun while it was retrieving an answer. Although that looked fine with the new images I wanted to improve the answer animation to look more refined. So I incorporated a framed animation that uses the different honeycomb images that I made earlier in the month so that the sizes changed while the inside also spins. I tried a few different speeds for the sizes changes and spin until I saw one that felt right. After that I made the ball have a blur effect and a contained movement animation where it kind of bounces around without going off screen. After all of that and towards the end of the month I made new app icon and loading screens using the new images.

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Working on load screens for different device sizes.

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A side by side comparison of the main menu. Out with the old, in with the new.

I’m very satisfied with how the update turned out and I’m glad I decided to take time to work on a substantial update instead of something minor or ignoring it and working on a different app. I can’t wait to release it for all the people who have already downloaded the app, whether it be days ago, months ago, or years ago and of course for future downloaders also. Until next time ∞