Tag Archives: independent app developer blog

August Mobile App Development Report

8 Sep
2016

photo-sep-01-11-44-11-am

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 ∞

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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 ∞

January Mobile App Progress Report

5 Feb
2015

I didn’t have much time to develop apps in January, but a lot of the time I did have went towards reflecting on my development, releases, and results in 2014. I wrote about some of those thoughts and statistics in the 8-Bit Avrin Apps 2014 Overview post. During the first part of January I wrote a couple of app related and non-app related posts.

The Ultra Soccer Match Soundboard updates also went live on all the app stores its on throughout January. I previously updated the Apple version in December and it went live in early January, but then I noticed a minor graphical problem on the flags section so I updated it again which made version 1.4. Then after that I updated the Amazon and Windows variants with version 1.4.

During the later half of January I was able to slowly jump back into development on my numbers game. Progress on it is picking up in regards to the actual gameplay, but I still didn’t decide on a final art style. I think it will be finished or at least close to being finished in February. However, my life outside of app development has been all over the place so I’m not making a guarantee on that, but I’m really excited to release this game. It’s educational, fun, challenging, and has quick jump in gameplay. I don’t plan on releasing it until I create a trailer for it so even if I finish it in February it won’t be released until I finish the trailer.

One of my main marketing efforts in 2015 is to make promotional videos about my apps before release. I’ve done a decent job with video for some of my apps, but I’ve been somewhat lacking in this area. I think a lot of people, including myself sometimes, would rather see how something works instead of just reading about it. I think a good mix of both is the way to go in most circumstances. You can check out my current and future videos on YouTube & Vine. Well that’s enough writing for now. Back to work. Until next time ∞

November Mobile App Progress Report

9 Dec
2014

November app development consisted mostly of working on games for Game Jams. Both of the game jams were created by GameSalad and both had a separate two-week time period. In the end I was able to make a neat “finished enough” game for each jam even though I didn’t fully utilize the full time allowed. I decided to join both because I like the spark of energy and challenge a good game jam provides. Overall I’m happy with the outcome of both of the games I created for the jams and I’ll be releasing them on the Apple App Store in the near future. I’ll probably release the second one on other app stores as well.

The theme for the first game jam was “Soar to New Heights”. The first thing that popped in my head when I read about it was…..space. I went back and forth with a few different ideas but all of them shared a similar space theme. One of the suggested rules of the game jam was to make it a quick in & out type of game so I decided to make a fast paced arcade game that focuses on quick hand-eye coordination and quick replay. I finished most of the game by the end of the game jam and it worked great on iOS, but it ended up not working properly for the required HTML format of the game jam. I had to slow down the game, remove some of the code that affected difficulty, remove particle effects, and take away random constrained movements of the spaceship. The result was a highly stripped down version of what the game actually was, but it was playable. I wasn’t surprised that my game didn’t win, but I did get some nice positive feedback. I’ll be putting a few finishing touches on the game in December and releasing it soon after. Here’s a vine video of it….

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The theme for the second game jam was “Old School” so of course I had to join it. I was bouncing back and forth between different ideas for this Game Jam, but then I thought back to my childhood. One of the games I liked a lot was a game created in the 80’s called Number Munchers. So I created a game that’s inspired by it, but very different. I’ve been calling the game Number Nomber, but I may change it. Number Nomber is a challenging math game that makes you think. I’m really excited about how the game turned out. I ran into a few big problems while developing this one with how the answers were displayed, but I eventually made it work smoothly after a good bit of trail & error. I’ve used actual math in a lot of apps I’ve developed, possibly all, but this app definitely involved the most in multiple ways! The winners haven’t been announced for this Game Jam yet, but I no matter the result I’m looking forward to releasing it. Before releasing it I’m going to add some different modes to give the player more challenging options. I’m also considering changing the art style. I’ll keep it simple and retro, but I may add some overlays or filters.

I also worked on my new soundboard app in November, and I’ll hopefully be finishing and releasing it in December. In November I finished the overall design, all of the code unrelated to sound, and almost all of the sound effects. In December I’m planning on finishing the sfx, implementing them, and then final testing. It’s going to be…..Ultra! After the new soundboard is released I’ll focus on finishing my Game Jam games. Until next time ∞