Tag Archives: indie app developer blog

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 ∞

July Mobile App Development Report

4 Aug
2016

July was another month filled with app update progress. During the middle of July I finished the Motivational Quotes to Inspire 2.0 update. Work on it in July first consisted of adding new quotes and then when I thought I was finished with that I continued work on adding the Spanish feature. For the Spanish feature I first worked on translating the settings sections. Then I quickly translated all the English quotes into Spanish with the help of major translator programs. After that I then I added the off/on language switch on the settings scene graphically and within the code. I wanted to make sure it was quick & seemless, and it turned out that way. There’s no load time on the settings screen when making the language switch and when you go back to the quotes screen the quote you viewed before going to the settings is there in the language chosen.

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Working on Español settings text for Motivational Quotes to Inspire

After finishing the Spanish feature I ended up going back and adding new quotes a few times in which I then had to translate those quotes and change random search parameters within the app code. After getting to a point were I felt satisfied with the quantity & quality of new quotes I made a final build and began testing. There were only a few bugs found during testing and they were quick fixes. The app itself was compiled with a newer improved version of the engine I used for it initially so that also resulted in faster load times. I also switched the ad provider from iAds to AdMob since Apple shut down iAds, which will also prevent any bugs from happening by having old code pertaining to iAds.

Towards the end of July I finished the Saving Bunnies update and ported it to Google Play as a new release for that App Store. The first thing I worked on with that app was removing the initial startup ad and removing iAds since Apple shut down iAds as mentioned above. I then added Revmob & AdMob ads. The Revmob ads are banner ads that appear after the game session and sometimes on the main menu screen depending on which App Store version. The AdMob ads are interstitial and appear after the game session is played a few times. Neither ad is shown during gameplay which I make sure is true with all my free games that have ads. I also updated the mountain graphics because they were the only original graphics within the game that I felt didn’t flow well with the rest of the look of the game. This app was also compiled with a newer improved game engine which resulted in faster overall load times and audio enhancements that improved the sound clarity.

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App development work in August will consist of……….more update work! I hope to finish the major update for Professor Piggy Bank that I started working on a few months ago and also finish a couple of minor app updates along the way as well. 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.

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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 ∞

February Mobile App Development Report

12 Mar
2016

Updates, [insert ad], testing, publishing, repeat.

During the first week of February I worked on screenshots and promo graphics for Ultra Fortune Ball. Since the 4.0 update included new graphics I wanted to make sure to update the screenshots showing those new graphics. 

During the middle of the month I worked on an update for Quiz of Medicine that included higher resolution main text & graphics, and some cleaned up code which resulted in faster load times. This app didn’t have a lot of graphics so that part didn’t take too long, and neither did the causes of faster load times since I was very cerebral with the initial development of this app. So overall this update was somewhat quick & easy.

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Working on higher resolution text and images for the Quiz of Medicine update

Since both of these apps I recently updated are free I thought this would also be a good time to look more into the companies I choose for advertisements. I kept iAd with the iOS versions because overall I’m satisfied with iAds. Some of their numbers could be better of course but their coverage is impressive and the ads themselves usually look clean. I also started using AdMob on my iOS versions for interstitial ads. I’m satisfied with AdMob because they have high quality full screen ads and they pay per impression & clicks. I decided to switch to video ads with Chartboost for my Android versions since they pay per impression unlike their static video ads that only pay if the customer clicks on the link AND installs the app that’s advertised. Impression pays on ad networks aren’t incredibly high or anything and it’s definitely a numbers game with quantity, but that’s better than nothing. Chartboost pays well for installs, but the large majority of people don’t click on an ad AND install the app advertised based on my previous history and different articles I’ve read about other apps and developers. I must say though that the static ads from Chartboost had good coverage and usually looked high quality, but not paying out for impressions doesn’t go well with me when I’m providing thousands and thousands of them without any kind of return. 

However, I did end up running into a hiccup with the video ads on Chartboost. While I was testing the video ads they seemed to not be that long but after more testing and publishing I realized that the video ads would be too long to a lot of people. The payout rates for viewed video ads were also very disappointing. Users being satisfied with my app overall is more important than the little change that’s made by them viewing an ad that may cause them to stop using the app. Also after working with AdMob on my iOS versions and looking at the numbers for them I came to the conclusion that I should switch to AdMob for my Android versions. So I did a final update for my Android versions of Ultra Fortune Ball & Quiz of Medicine to get rid of the long video ads and replace them with the nice quality full screen static and/or short video AdMob ads. This update situation happened during the last week of February into the beginning of March but I’m including it all in this month since it all blended together.

February involved a lot of ad updating and publishing but I’m glad because I’m now more informed about ads after working with a few different ad networks and looking into the numbers & charts in more detail. I like focusing on creativity more than monetization for my apps, but I do like being focused and somewhat satisfied when it comes to app monetization. A lot of work goes into my apps and I do believe that they should bring in revenue even if they’re free so I’m glad I took the time to do more ad network investigation. Ok, I’ll just wrap up this post by saying support good developers. There’s a lot of us out here. The creations we put out may seem cheap because the outside price shows free, 99 cents & etc, but the inside of these digital concoctions are filled with valuable hard work and dedication. Until next time ∞

8-Bit Avrin Apps 2015 Overview

20 Feb
2016

Releases in 2015 banner

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

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.

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  • 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 ∞

February Mobile App Progress Report

11 Mar
2015

Usually I write these posts during the first week of the month, but March is becoming an extremely busy month inside and outside app development like February was. Here’s an overview of what I accomplished in app dev land during February.

  • During the beginning of February I worked a little bit on my numbers game I’ve been working on. I finally decided on an art style to use for it, and I started making changes to the main graphics to reflect that decision. I’m very pleased with how it’s looking and playing so far. I can’t wait to eventually jump back into development on it, which will be after I finish a couple more updates in March.
  • Speaking of updates, the rest of February was filled with iOS updates that included 64-support, and some of the apps received additional features. The first app I updated with 64-bit support was Ultra Soccer Match Soundboard. It recently received a few improvements in prior updates so for this update I just focused on 64-bit support for iOS.
  • Jumbo Egg Hunt 2 received a 64-bit support and faster load time update. I also implemented full screen support on this update so now there are no wide black bars on the Apple versions.
  • Word Owl’s Word Search Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade, & Christmas editions all received updates in February as well. All of these updates included 64-bit support, faster load times, themed loading icons, and…..universal support! Previously all four of these apps were iPad only on the Apple App Store, but now they’re playable on newer iPhone & iPod Touch devices. Click here to read more about the Word Owl’s Word Search app updates.
  • I also worked on the awesome Ultra Retro Game Soundboard 1.4 update in February. This update included 64-bit support(iOS only), a favorites feature, full screen support, a themed loading icon, and new custom backgrounds because the original custom ones weren’t retro enough. The iOS version of the update was released in February and the Android(Amazon & Google Play) versions were released in the first week of March.

So yea February was packed with updates, and March has been also dedicated to updates so far. I didn’t have a lot of development time in February, but I worked hard when I did have it, and I tried to work as efficiently as possible. Some of the things taking up my time outside of app development are really important so I wouldn’t be upset if I didn’t get much done. However, I’m pleased and surprised with the amount of work I did in February given the small amount of time I had to do it. Until next time ∞

December Mobile App Progress Report

8 Jan
2015
  • Put together the Happy Holidays App Bundle for iPad that’s available on the Apple App Store. Like I’ve said before, I really like the ability to put together discounted bundles on the Apple App Store, and I’ll continue to embrace it when it makes sense. I wish the other app stores would give developers & publishers the ability to put together bundles as well.

holiday bundle promo banner twitter

  • Finished Ultra Big Celebration Soundboard and released it on the Apple, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble app stores. It’s a really neat novelty soundboard app that can be used for any kind of celebration when you feel like playing various sounds on your phone. This app has a lot of different high quality sounds which include; horns, bells, fireworks, crowds, party noises, dubstep sounds, and other great effects. I enjoyed designing this app and working on sounds in GarageBand for it. I like my soundboard apps to have a sleek minimalistic design that focuses mainly on the buttons so that’s what I went with for this one as well. I wanted to make a trailer for it, but I was incredibly busy in December outside of app development. I still might put one together sometime in the near future, but for now here’s a quick Vine video of it in action……..

  • Worked on the educational numbers game that I mentioned back in the November Mobile App Progress Report. If I weren’t so busy outside of app development right now this one would be closer to being finished, but I still have a good bit of work to do on it before it’s complete. This is the main app I’ll be working on in January when I have time. I ended up changing the art style, but I still maintained some of the minimal blocky look it had before. I’ll tweet out a screenshot of it sometime in the near future before release. Really excited to release this app, but I want to make sure it has more modes than I initially made for it so progress must continue on it.

  • Worked on the Ultra Soccer Match Soundboard 1.1 update for the Apple App Store. The update was submitted in December, but it didn’t go live until January. I forgot to fix a minor issue in it so I’ll be releasing another update for it soon. It still works great like normal, but there’s a minor graphical issue with one of the backgrounds. The newer update will also be on the other app stores that this app is available on, and it will include the improvements from the previous update.

That was it for December. I’m actually surprised I was able to get that much work done considering everything else that was going on with me in December. I’ll be writing a 2014 overview/wrap up post soon like I’ve done before for previous years. This one will probably be short because I’ve got a lot of actual app development work I need to do in January and not much time to do it. 2014 was the first year that I wrote a “progress report” for each month, and I plan on continuing to do that in 2015. I like writing these posts to go over with myself what I’ve worked, to organize future development thoughts in my mind, and I like to give anybody who’s interested a little insight on my app development. Back to work. Happy New Year! Until next time ∞