Tag Archives: blog

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 ūüôā ) 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 ‚ąě

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‚Äôre both available, ready and have one of our parents keep the kids.

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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 ‚ąě

March Mobile App Development Report

8 Apr
2016

App progress in March mostly consisted of work on a big update for Ultra Soccer Match Soundboard. The main feature of this update is the addition of 32 countries in the Anthems section which means 32 more flags & national anthems. With the Euro 2016 & Copa America 2016 tournaments approaching I wanted to make sure this app had all those teams in it. So I compared the list of current countries in the app with the countries¬†participating in those tournaments and added the ones missing to a new list to be added. With the added countries the total came to 50 something but instead of stopping there I eventually thought it would be neat to double the complete total to 64. It also looked better design wise to just have two full pages of 32 teams. So I ended up going in reverse a bit to¬†get the total up to 64 because I had already started the process of gathering¬†flags & anthems. To achieve this new total goal I started adding other countries like Canada, Cuba, Puerto Rico & etc. Some of the countries didn’t have highly renowned soccer/football teams but I’m sure those countries still have tons of fans.

Throughout March I worked with new flags by making flag buttons and mostly full screen flags that looked good on tablet & phone screens. The full screen flags part took a bit extra attention since it involved some trial and error on height and width adjustments. I wanted to make sure the flags appeared as full as possible without cutting out too much on smaller screens. I adjusted flag sizes in Pixelmator and added a 3D button effect to the smaller ones in Inkscape for the Anthems selection page. I also worked on the Anthems page text and layout by adding the new countries while rearranging the previous countries since I wanted to make the finished interface in alphabetical order. Then after finishing the flags I went around and gathered national anthems for all of the countries. Throughout the process of working on flags and anthems I went back into the code within the app and added the new anthems and flags for the corresponding countries.

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Adding a 3D button effect to smaller flags in Inkscape.

Also one night a few days before Easter I started working on a Word Owl Easter edition game. I mainly just figured out the new main colors and edited all letter blocks with those new colors. I knew there would be no way to finish the app on time for Easter but I just felt like working on it for a bit. I didn’t decide to make an Easter version until kind of last minute in relation to the holiday approaching, but I’ll finish it sometime this year and wait to release next year about a month before Easter.¬†

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Working on new letter block colors in Pixelmator.

Well that’s it for now. Only a few more minutes in this day so I’m going to hurry and post this while it’s still the 8th because……..8-Bit Avrin! Until next time ‚ąě

Farewell Nook App Store…. (Barnes & Noble shutting it down on March 15 2016)

14 Mar
2016

The Barnes & Noble Nook App Store is set to shutdown on March 15th 2016. I first made some of my apps available and joined the Nook App Store on March 6th 2013. My relationship with the Nook App Store during those two years was positive overall. There are things that I liked and disliked about the app store, but overall I’m definitely glad I put in the work¬†to release some of my older and new apps on it. One of the¬†main aspects that I liked about the Nook App Store was its focus on educational apps for children. It was the only app store that had several specific categories for different educational segments like time & money, writing, math, memory, geography¬†and many others. Another thing that I really liked about the Nook App Store were their¬†seasonal promotions were¬†they would let developers submit their seasonal apps for consideration to be a part of a special temporary seasonal section. Several of my apps were approved for these promotions in the past and one of them(Jumbo Egg Hunt 2) got extra¬†recognition by being selected for inclusion on promotional banners.

I also like that the¬†Nook App Store didn’t have a ton of low quality apps and clones of popular apps that could get in the way of high quality original apps being discovered. It had it’s fair share of those lower quality apps but it wasn’t incredibly overbearing like it often is¬†on other app stores. However, the customer base of the Nook App Store wasn’t¬†nearly as large as the Apple, Amazon or Google Play app stores so even though there was less competition there was also less of an audience to seek. Also, in regards to customer service towards developers. I didn’t have to contact them often but they were nice & informative when I did need to, although not nearly as timely compared to¬†other platforms. Editing/updating metadata wasn’t as smooth and quick as Amazon & Google Play either.

The Nook App Store was never my primary app store, but overall I will miss it. Apple is and has always been my primary app store, with Amazon being my secondary since I joined them. However, in 2016 I’ll continue to focus more on Google Play also which pairs well with the Nook App Store closing since Nook users will be and have been directed towards Google Play for their app needs. I’ll end this little goodbye post with some¬†screenshots of my apps being featured, customer reviews, and my apps that were available at the time of this post on the Nook App Store.

Farewell Barnes & Noble Nook App Store, and to all Nook tablet users, please look for and check out my apps on Google Play or any other app stores that you may have devices for like Apple, Amazon or Windows. Take care!

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My apps that were available as of March 2016.

Barnes & Noble_Seasons Best - Easter - 2014

Jumbo Egg Hunt 2 was selected to be featured on the Season’s Best Apps promotional banner during the Easter season.

Seasons Best on Nook app store Dec 2013

Light Up The Tree & Gift Wrap Difference included in the Season’s Best Apps during the Christmas season.

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Professor Piggy Bank included in the Back to School Apps promo. (Not shown: some of my Word Owl Word Search apps were also included)

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October Mobile App Development Report

4 Nov
2015

October started with a new app release on October 1st, and the rest of app dev work during the month went towards a new app that’s being released today(November 4th)!

The first couple of days went towards promoting and enjoying the release of Word Owl’s Word Search: Halloween Edition.

Then….because I’m a workaholic that¬†set ambitious goals for the rest of the year….I went right into work on finishing RX Quiz of Pharmacy. I finished¬†several tables containing questions and answers¬† in September so October development went towards implementation of that data into the actual app, design, testing & audio. After implementing the quiz data¬†I jumped more into design, design, & more design. I decided to make the app basically look like a clipboard with pills on it but also have an overall clean bold look. So I made flat clipboard backgrounds and slightly raised buttons that looked like tablets. ¬†For the color of the tablet graphics I used colors¬†from¬†actual real life pill images online. After finishing those graphics¬†I decided to make a statistics page that would store the number of questions answered, number answered correctly, and answered correct percentages.

After the all the work mentioned above was finished, I went into the testing phase. After finding and fixing some of the data issues I went to work on the audio. For most of the audio on the app I recorded sound effects using actual pills and pill bottles. The button click sounds are the sounds of tablets dropping into a bottle. The Start Quiz button sound effect is the sound of a pill bottle opening with pills inside, and the sound heard after finishing a quiz is the sound of pouring pills on a table. I added minor effects to these sounds in GarageBand after recording them to make sound more bounteous. Then after finishing those sounds I also made basic correct & incorrect sound effects.

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Recording sound effects for RX Quiz of Pharmacy

I really wanted to make sure this app looked different from my Quiz of Medicine app, but also kind of pay¬†homage to it because¬†that app¬†inspired me to make this app. When I started working on Quiz of Medicine I thought I was going to make it more focused, but I went a little overboard with the medications and the app ended up turning into a massive quiz app¬†featuring thousands of questions for over 400 medications. However, I definitely wasn’t disappointed with how that app turned out. I still think it’s a great app and it’s one of my best performing and well received apps with a lot of downloads and mostly positive reviews.¬†

My goal for RX Quiz of Pharmacy was for it to be more focused on pharmacy overall as a whole. I believe I succeeded with that goal by having it feature abbreviations, law, history, and only¬†the top 200 drugs(in 2015 currently). I’m also¬†really satisfied with the look of the app. I even smiled¬†at the app icon for about a minute after finishing it. Working on an app icon is usually one of the final things I do during development, and that was also the case for this app. So I wasn’t just smiling¬†because I really liked the look of the app icon, but also because it was a moment of culmination.

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Working on the RX Quiz of Pharmacy app icon

Up next on my app development plate will be a finance app and the next Word Owl’s Word Search app. Not sure which one I’ll focus more on, but I’ll be working on both until I figure it out. Until next time ‚ąě

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 ‚ąě

June Mobile App Development Report

8 Jul
2015

June wasn’t as bountiful¬†as May in app development land, but May was a month packed with working on an app, finishing that app, releasing it, and then working on another app immediately after.¬†I also had a lot of non app dev work going on, however, I did make some nice progress with one of my new apps. In June I continued working on the user interface on my new relaxation app. I decided to make the main features¬†of the app the actual main menu/first screen so as soon as the app loads you can immediately go into a realm of relaxation. In the past couple of years I started to realize how important design is within apps and I’ve been intertwining development and design when possible. So instead of mainly developing/coding¬†first or designing first, I often¬†go back and forth between the two to see what looks and feels right.

While working on the user interface for this new app I had a hard time deciding on what font to use. I didn’t want the font to be too demanding to the eye, but I also didn’t want it to be seen as feeble. While deciding I looked at several complete words in different fonts next to each other and within the actual scene in which they would appear in the app. I basically ended up¬†staring at¬†a lot of font styles in different test environments until I eventually decided on one.¬†I don’t plan on releasing this app until probably Fall or Winter this year so I’ll be working on another app that’s near completion in addition to this one in the month of July. Until next time ‚ąě

May Mobile App Development Report

5 Jun
2015

May was a busy month¬†packed with putting the finishing touches on a game, testing it, releasing it, and then oddly working on a new app shortly after the release. Lets get into it……..

  • In May I finished and released my newest app, Crunchy Numbers Math Arcade. During the first part of the month I worked on the audio for the app which included main menu music, in-game music, and sound effects. At first I didn’t plan on having any in-game music, but when I finished the main menu music I wanted to keep making variations of it so I made small¬†chunks of music to play during gameplay. However, I didn’t want the music to be distracting since retro chiptune themed music can sometimes be overly eccentric to some people so I made a rule that lowered the volume of music during gameplay.
  • I also thought it would neat to have power-ups for when things are getting a little rough during gameplay. So after deciding what power-ups to create and making the art for them I implemented them with a rule that made a power-up randomly appear when certain conditions exist. There’s only three power-ups but they’re each different, and one of them is actually just for an extra life. I liked the idea of having a couple of power-ups, but I didn’t want the game to revolve around them, or for players to depend on them. To be good at this game you’ve got to have good reaction time, hand-eye coordination, and of course some math skills.
  • Prior to final testing I implemented Game Center for iOS devices and Game Circle for Amazon devices and/or players¬†that use Game Circle on other Android devices. High scores are a major¬†part of the game so adding leaderboard functionality seemed like a natural thing to do. After finishing the game I did a lot of testing. I only discovered a couple of bugs and I was able to fix them in a day which was great. I always test my apps throughout development which makes the final testing process less hectic.
  • I started working on my next app a few days after finishing the final marketing items(banners, trailer video, & etc) and releasing CNMA. Before release I thought I was going to take a small week or so break from development after release, but I wanted to jump into something new even though I was really satisfied with the way CNMA turned out. Crunchy Numbers Math Arcade is one of my favorite apps that I’ve developed, but I still felt a surge of energy to start working on a new app after it was released. Maybe I felt this energy because I was really satisfied with my recent release, regardless I definitely took advantage of it.
  • The app that I started working on towards the end of May is a new relaxation app. I won’t go much into specific detail on it now, but it’s different from my Rest, Relax & Reflect app. I started working on the overall user interface design for this new app in May. Eventually I became satisfied with the color theme and button design, but I’m still testing different interfaces. I started working on the audio aspects of it last year so a lot of the audio of the app is complete, which is one of the main features of the app. I still have a lot work to do on the app which includes a lot of audio editing, various¬†design aspects, audio implementation, and other development functions. I’m not sure when I’ll be finished with this app, but hopefully it will be sometime within the next couple of months.

 

A little back story about Crunchy Numbers Math Arcade……..

I first came up with the idea of Crunchy Numbers Math Arcade during a retro themed game jam I joined last year. I went back and forth with a few ideas for a game, but once the idea of a math game with a retro look came into my mind I had an idea of¬†roughly what I wanted to create. I knew I wanted it to have a player controlled item in a box confinement with the goal of going to the correct answers while avoiding enemies. After being satisfied with the actual gameplay idea I had to decide what kind of math I wanted the game to have. Eventually I reminisced about a really neat math game I played when I was a kid called Number Munchers. I didn’t want to make a clone of course, which wasn’t going to be the case because the gameplay was already different, but I decided to use some of the math lessons that were part of the game which included primes, factors, and multiples. I wanted the game to have four modes so after finishing the first three modes I decided to implement roman numerals. The first color theme¬†of the game was mostly teal & gray with red enemies and white numbers. I wasn’t satisfied with the fact that there was no real theme to the game.

Then one day while I was at Octane Coffee in Atlanta I started thinking about different color themes. I googled something like ‚Äúdifferent colors‚ÄĚ or something similar and as I looked through the images I saw a set of dry erase markers and thought………it would be neat if I made the game have a dry erase board design but kept the retro chunky box design aspect of it the same. The colors I used in the game are meant to be similar to standard dry erase marker colors and then the standard board with the white surface, black text/numbers, gray boarders and black corners. Once I started creating the new graphics I became really satisfied with the overall look of the game and the¬†remaining aspects of the game really started coming together more. The design decision gave me more confidence in the game itself and a boost of development energy that propelled me to work faster than the pace I was currently moving. Overall as I’ve stated above I’m really satisfied with how the game turned out and it’s become of my favorite apps that I’ve developed.

Until next time ‚ąě