February is the shortest month, but it was filled with app development on two very different apps. The first part of the month was dedicated to more work on my educational finance app. I continued to research, gather, and organize information for the database. I’m more than halfway complete with the information portion of the app and it’s A LOT of data. I just looked at it to see how much I’ve done and what’s remaining, and its pretty daunting on both spectrums of complete & incomplete. One of the things I worked on in February for this app was gathering terms and dispersing those terms throughout the app for an Acronyms section. I initially thought it would be a quick thing to do, but with the mass amount of data in this app along with how varied I want it to be proved that to be an incorrect assumption. After I complete the Acronyms section I’m going to jump into another vast portion of data that’s been organized and finish the additional add-ins to make it more varied as well.
Working with financial terms across multiple spreadsheets for my finance app in OpenOffice
During the second half of February I decided to take a break from the finance app and work on a new soundboard app. I already had the idea of this soundboard app in my mind and on a list of app ideas that I have so the idea wasn’t new but this is the first time I’ve dedicated more than a few moments on it. The only part of this app that I had worked on before besides the overall concept was background graphics. So I picked up from where I left off before and finished the backgrounds for the app first. I then started making a list of what kind sound categories I wanted within the app, and then I went further by listing specific sounds within those categories.
Then after that I jumped into the main part of a soundboard app, the sounds! I gathered some sounds from public domain resources to edit and incorporate and I also recorded several new sounds. With some of the sounds I gathered I ended up doing so much editing to them that they turned out sounding like something completely different. This situation ended up happening often due to my audio experimentation and general curiosity, but it’s been neat to discover what sounds can evolve into after various editing, mixing, & etc. So far I’ve been working mainly in Garageband with the audio and that will continue to be the main program that I use for audio. It’s a great program overall, its included with Apple computers so I’ve been using it for years, and it’s been getting the job done for my main audio tool so I’ll continue with it.
Using pedals to make fire sound effects in Garageband
During the first week of March I worked on giving one of my apps a retro 8-bit makeover. Since this is the February post I won’t go into much detail on this now, but this reskinned app will be getting a standalone release in March across all platforms that the original app is currently on. After finishing that app I’ll jump back in the soundboard app and/or the finance app I wrote about above. Until next time ∞
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.
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.
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 ∞
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 “different colors” 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 ∞
I’ve decided to start writing a post after each month were I kind of outline the progress I made in that month, and maybe also briefly write about what I’m working on in the current month. These posts will mainly be focused on what I worked on in the previous month though. Let’s do this…….
January was a super busy month that went by quickly.
- I worked on and published several ports. I won’t be going into detail about which specific apps and what specific app store yet, but I’m interested in seeing the outcome of this once everything goes live. In total I submitted eight apps and all of them were eventually approved. I ran into some problems with a couple of them, but I was able to resolve those issues somewhat quickly. More specific details on all of this later……
- I also worked on and completed a couple of app updates this month. Lightspeed Bit Bit received another performance improvement update to take advantage of newer devices. Jumbo Egg Hunt received some aesthetic updates for retina resolution iOS devices.
- I made a rough schedule of what specific apps I would like to release this year. I have several app ideas, but I’ve narrowed my focus down to six for this year that I’m hoping to complete and release.
- A fellow developer who’s working on some artwork for one of my games made some progress. This app isn’t currently one of the six apps faintly mentioned above, but it could be swapped for one of them or maybe even added to the list if time permits.
- I started working on a neat medicine app that’s filled with useful information for those interested. I’ll be continuing to work on it this month and hopefully finishing it……