Tag Archives: indie dev blog

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.

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 1.41.24 AM

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 ∞

November Mobile App Development Report

7 Dec
2015

App development in November went towards working on the Third Grade edition of Word Owl’s Word Search. During the first part of the month I finished gathering hundreds of words from various third grade sight word lists. After looking over the words I realized that in order to make this app more challenging for kids in and around this grade level I would need to make the board bigger. The previous Word Owl Word Search apps consisted of eight rows and nine columns which looked too constrained for third grade sight words. So I tried different letter block sizes and ended up making the board for this app consist of 10 rows and 11 columns. I wanted to make sure the letter block sizes were still very accessible so I didn’t want to make the board too big, but I definitely wanted to make it bigger than it was initially. Designing the bigger board involved a nice bit of math and geometry.

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 12.32.23 AM

Working on adding more rows & columns to the board without changing the layout and size of the word display area.

After finishing the updated board size I generated a lot of word search templates. When working on the logic for these puzzles I have to make sure the app knows which words may be overlapping. Without impelling code to make the game realize when this happens there would be several instances were the player is selecting but the app wouldn’t acknowledge that a correct word is selected because it shares a letter with another word in the puzzle. When this happens the app has to make sure to count that letter towards the total correct letters that make up each specific word. It sounds daunting, and it can be, but once I start working on it the process mostly flows smoothly.

So that’s a short overview of the app development that happened last month. I could go into more detail, but I’m incredibly tired. I’m planning on putting an iOS bundle together for all of my Word Owl sight word searches at a discounted rate before the holidays begin. However, I need to make sure I finish this app quickly because Apple will be going on their holiday break in a few weeks and I have to try squeezing in two review sessions…….I was reminded recently that app bundles have to be reviewed unfortunately. This happened when I was putting together a special discounted Black Friday/Cyber Monday iOS bundle on the Thursday before Black Friday, but after I hit submit it went into “waiting on review” status…..ugh. So yea I forgot that Apple reviews bundles in a manner that takes multiple days, and I waited too late to submit it. Oh well, enough of that disappointment, sleeeeeeeppp. Until next time ∞

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 “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 ∞

March Mobile App Progress Report

7 Apr
2015

March was another busy… where did the time go?….kind of month. There are a lot of changes and movements going on in my life right now outside of app development. I’m behind where I wanted to be with app development progress overall, but I’m not too down about it because I have been getting a lot of efficient design & development done in small amounts of time.  Eventually things will smooth out some and I’ll put my app development on some sort of schedule. Here’s an overview of what happened in app development land in March….

  • Quiz of Medicine received an update on Android(Google Play & Amazon). This version 1.2 update included a new loading icon and faster startup load times. I also fixed lag issues on older devices and text that would display oddly on certain devices.
  • The biggest update this month was the Professor Piggy Bank 1.5 update (1.6 on Android). This update included enhanced coin graphics, new piggy bank colors in save mode, enhanced chalkboard graphics, faster load times, new graphics in play mode, a new loading icon, and a new app icon. The overall design and function of this app is great, but I felt like it deserved an update to enhance the look of it in certain areas. When I first developed this app I targeted phones but it should have initially been designed with tablets in mind, which means higher resolution graphics, and that’s part of what I accomplished with this update.
  • I also worked on the numbers game that I’ve mentioned in previous posts. A few months ago I thought I would have been near completion or totally finished with this app, but I haven’t been staying up late working on apps like I used to. Lately for this app I’ve been squeezing development time into bite size chunks throughout a couple of days each week. However, there has been a lot of progress made on this app and I think it will be ready for release in the coming months.

Earlier this year I made a rough overestimated schedule of my app releases for this year and the first half of next year. I’ll be revisiting this list soon and rearranging it to a more realistic schedule so I won’t be so hard on myself as the months go by. Regardless or not of how many or which apps will be released within that time frame I know one thing is for sure….all of them will be unique and awesome. 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 ∞

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 ∞

8-Bit Avrin Apps 2014 Overview

11 Jan
2015

2014 app releases banner 2048x1000

Well, 2014 is in the books. First, I want to give a big THANK YOU to everyone that downloaded an app, liked or shared a post, favorited or retweeted a tweet, spread news word of mouth, or anything else positive for me. It was another busy all over the place year for me personally, but I was able to develop & release seven neat high quality apps that I’m proud of. My skills in app development and design continued to get better, I came up with some new app ideas, and some of the ideas I already had ended up transforming into something different. 

I probably won’t release as many apps in 2015 as I did in the previous two years, but I have a schedule in my mind of a few apps I definitely want to finish and release this year. In 2014 I became more organized and focused in my app development. I narrowed down the kind of apps I wanted to work on to specific categories; education, entertainment, health, & arcade games.  I’ll continue with those specific categories in the future but I’ll also be working on puzzle games & adventure games as well.  

In 2014 I continued the Word Owl’s Word Search series I started in 2013 with a First Grade & Second Grade edition. I really enjoyed working on these apps. They’re educational and I really like the cartoon wooden block design I went with. My Word Owl apps continue to acquire downloads, especially on the Apple App Store for iPad which is what they were initially designed for. I decided to make a couple of sound effects apps and include Ultra in the title to make it kind of like a series with Ultra Soccer Match SoundboardUltra Big Celebration Soundboard in 2014. Based on download numbers people seem to like my soundboard apps which is great because I enjoy designing them and working on the audio in GarageBand.

I also developed a medication quiz app(Quiz of Medicine) which has received way more downloads than I thought it would. I initially developed it to help myself and a few others learn more about medicine, but download numbers indicate that I’ve helped A LOT of people instead, which is awesome. I decided to develop Zompy Jumpy because I realized the fact that I have never created a game with zombies which I think is a requirement in the indie game developer world…….not really, I actually just wanted to make a quick challenging arcade game with dancing zombies, because why not?

I also joined a couple of game jams in 2014 as well. I liked the challenge of creating a theme specific game in a short time span so I’ll probably continue joining them in the future if they interest me. I created 8-Bit Eagle Smash in the span of a weekend during the Flappy Jam earlier in the year, and I also developed two other games during separate game jams. For those games I was able to make slim versions that were complete enough for the jams, but not complete enough for me personally to release officially. I’ll be working to make complete versions of these games in 2015, especially the numerical education one I’ve been referring to on different posts.

2014 also consisted of a few updates to some of my apps to increase performance or fix a minor issue. When something’s not working or looking right I always try to fix it as soon as possible, but so far I don’t recall ever releasing a broken app that needed an immediate fix. In 2014 I also started writing monthly progress reports where I give an overview of what I’ve been working on and what I plan to work on. I liked writing these post for various reasons so I’ll continue that in 2015. For previous posts feel free to use the category drop down on the top right of the website, search bar above the category section, or the archive section on the bottom right. 

Most people who download my apps never leave reviews, but I’ve made a little collage of a few reviews I received in 2014 that I’ll add below. First, here’s a few top 5 lists for my app downloads in 2014….

Top 5 Countries That Downloaded My Apps

  • United States
  • Canada
  • United Kingdom
  • Australia 
  • Philippines

 

Top 5 Free Apps Downloaded

  • Quiz of Medicine
  • 8-Bit Eagle Smash
  • Motivational Quotes to Inspire
  • Ultra Fortune Ball – Free
  • Saving Bunnies

 

Top 5 Paid Apps Downloaded

  • Ultra Retro Game Soundboard
  • Professor Piggy Bank
  • Rest, Relax, & Reflect
  • Ultra Soccer Match Soundboard
  • Word Owl’s Word Search: Kindergarten

 

Top 5 Download Months

  • September
  • December
  • March
  • October
  • May

 

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“Awesome mobile apps, inspired by the past, from the future.”

8-Bit Avrin Apps | Avrin Ross

Until next time ∞

2013 Overview2012 Overview

Two Day Mobile App Facebook Ad Campaign Results

11 Jan
2015

I ran a quick two-day ad campaign on Facebook for my app, Ultra Big Celebration Soundboard. It was a new app and it’s associated with New Years so I expected downloads to be decent during this time, but I wanted to give it a little extra push by running an ad campaign. It was a broad Apple device targeted campaign in a few countries, and I only spend a few dollars overall, but I’m satisfied with the results. Still testing Facebook ad campaigns to see if it’s worth it, but I think I’ll probably include them in my future marketing plans. Here’s the recent advertisement results.

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Placement: Where your ad was served on Facebook, for example on Newsfeed on a mobile device.

Reach: The number of people your ad was served to.

Frequency: The average number of times your ad was served to each person.

Impressions: The number of times your ad was served. On our mobile apps an ad is counted as served the first time it’s viewed. On all other Facebook interfaces, an ad is served the first time it’s placed in a person’s News Feed or each time it’s placed in the right column.

Clicks: The total number of clicks on your ad. Depending on what you’re promoting, this can include Page likes, event responses or app installs.

Unique Clicks: The total number of unique people who have clicked on your ad. For example, if 3 people click on the same ad 5 times, it will count as 3 unique clicks.

(Descriptions from Facebook. All rights go to them.)