Tag Archives: indie

October Mobile App Development Report

8 Nov
2016

The amount of time I had towards app development in October seems like it was split almost evenly into working on a new app and working on some updates. I started the month by working on gathering more data for my financial app. When I gather data for this app I also verify it with different sources and then organize it to make it flow smoothly into app dev implementation. Eventually I’ll comb through all the data again and make sure there are no duplicates, misspelled words, and any other hiccups.

In October I also decided to update some of my free Amazon apps that were running interstitial AdMob ads. I recently began to notice through some random testing that my free Amazon apps running these ads were loading and responding slower than my the same Android apps on Google Play. Both Amazon & Google Play accept the same Android build once I convert it but Amazons Android based operating system is different than a pure Android OS. Due to this situation sometimes things that work one way on an Android OS may react differently on an Amazon Android OS. I want to make sure my apps work as smooth as possible and that the ads don’t get in the way of that so I decided to try some different implementations.

After some load time and touch recognition testing with different ad providers I decided to switch my free apps on Amazon from Admob interstitial & Revmob banner ads to Chartboost interstitial & Admob banner ads. After doing this each app that I updated loaded faster and the ad impressions were better. I’m not sure of the exact technicalities that caused these actions before & after, but testing different implementations eventually worked to bring out the best performance. I still prefer Admob as my main ad provider when feasible, but Chartboost has its positive aspects as well.

In November I plan on continuing work on my new financial app. It’s a very data heavy app and like my other apps, the main features are going to work without an internet connection, so working with data is a very important part of this app. I don’t think I’ll be finished with this app this year, but after I finish with the data I’ll jump into user experience(UX) & user interface(UI). When I start working on those facets I’ll upload some screenshots to present how the app will look. Until next time ∞

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 ∞

January Mobile App Development Report

6 Feb
2016

January definitely felt like a new journey for me with various changes going on in my life, thankfully most of them were positive. The first week or so I was sick and recovering from a sinus infection which was lame, but I did manage to somehow make progress in app development land throughout the month.

The only app I really worked on in January was Ultra Fortune Ball which involved many improvements for the big 4.0 update that’s set for a March 3rd release. I choose that date because it’s the date this app was first released on the Apple App Store 5 years ago. Ultra Fortune Ball is the first app I ever developed and published so it’s a bit special to me in very unique kind of way. 

I started improving graphics during the last week of December, and then in the beginning of January I continued and finished the graphic enhancements. Pretty much every image in the app is now changed or enhanced in some way. I changed the actual fortune ball itself, but it’s still about the same size as before. Overall I wanted the app to look polished, uniform, and sharp overall. For the ball I made it darker and less blurry on the edges, and then I made the title text darker and sharper. I also decided to go with honeycomb/hexagon graphics for the inside “liquid” part of the ball. I liked the way the honeycomb images looked so much within the app that I eventually decided to make the background stars in the same shape and even the moon also! I also ended up making the buttons have less of a glow around the words and instead made the edges sharper with more contrast between the button and text.

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Being meticulous about design and comparing a few final images to themselves and other different images.

 

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Quick notes about sizes, effects and other random things.

After completing the graphics. I decided to jump into the mechanics of the app itself and how answers are retrieved. I added tables to make the app perform smoother and more functional overall. After adding tables I was able to delete a lot of old code rules within the app, and the code that replaced it was incredibly quicker to incorporate than what I had done years ago. I also added more responses for both languages. There ended up being 173 Spanish answers and then eventually 0ver 200 English answers. There’s more English answers than Spanish basically because I’m more familiar with various English jargons and sayings. After incorporating the changes to the code of the app I turned my attention back to presentation of the app. I added a vibrate feature so that your phone vibrates after you touch or shake the ball IF you have vibrate turned on in your phone settings. There’s also an option to turn this feature off within the app itself in case you want to keep vibrate on for your phone but not in this app.

On the older version of this app the ball would get smaller and then bigger while the inside spun while it was retrieving an answer. Although that looked fine with the new images I wanted to improve the answer animation to look more refined. So I incorporated a framed animation that uses the different honeycomb images that I made earlier in the month so that the sizes changed while the inside also spins. I tried a few different speeds for the sizes changes and spin until I saw one that felt right. After that I made the ball have a blur effect and a contained movement animation where it kind of bounces around without going off screen. After all of that and towards the end of the month I made new app icon and loading screens using the new images.

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Working on load screens for different device sizes.

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A side by side comparison of the main menu. Out with the old, in with the new.

I’m very satisfied with how the update turned out and I’m glad I decided to take time to work on a substantial update instead of something minor or ignoring it and working on a different app. I can’t wait to release it for all the people who have already downloaded the app, whether it be days ago, months ago, or years ago and of course for future downloaders also. Until next time ∞

April Mobile App Progress Report

12 May
2015

Well, as you can tell from the date on this post May has been a bit crazy, but this post isn’t about May so let’s talk about last month. In April I only focused on one app and the name of that app is……well you’ll find out soon. It’s the numbers game that I’ve mentioned on some of these progress reports. I originally birthed the idea during a retro themed game jam I joined last year. Since then the core gameplay has remained the same but overall the game grew into something much more thorough and polished. In April I worked on finishing the last game mode(Roman numerals), difficulty, high score & combo implementations, and other random tweaks to gameplay and design.

Before this app I would normally work on apps in hour increments, but with everything else going on in my life I’ve now been doing app development in bite size chunks. When this first became the norm I wasn’t that efficient because I had to remember where I left off, and then after catching myself up my time to actually work on something was even shorter. So recently I started making to-do lists for things I can get done in like 20-40 minutes so that way I wouldn’t have to stop & start in the middle of something that’s somewhat mentally intense. I set aside things that required more time and effort for the now rare late nights were I stay up working on apps. This new simple process definitely helped speed up development on this app and I’ll be continue to use this method when possible. I still just jump in when an idea sparks though because sometimes it doesn’t feel right putting those moments in a to-do list. Overall no matter how organized app development becomes I always make sure to welcome and nourish improvisations. 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 ∞

April Mobile App Progress Report

7 May
2014
  • Released Quiz of Medicine on the Apple, Amazon, Google Play, and Barnes & Noble app stores. It’s a neat informative app that has thousands of questions for over 400 drugs. (Finished the build of the iOS version in March, followed by the Android versions in early April.)
  • Continued working on the soccer/football/futbol themed app. Definitely aiming to release this app before the World Cup starts in June because I’m sure a lot of people will want to use it while watching the games. (Made a lot of progress on this app recently so it should be finished and released in May.)
  • Worked on the 1st Grade Edition of Word Owl’s Word Search. Put together a big compilation of sight words from different school lists. Wasn’t able to work on this app much because I was working on the soccer app during the sparse app development time I had in April.
  • Fixed a couple of issues and enhanced some of the graphics in the version 1.1 update of Word Owl Word Search: Kindergarten Edition.

 

 

March Mobile App Progress Report

5 Apr
2014
  • Finished the Apple iOS version of the medicine quiz app I’ve been working on. It will be submitted to Apple for approval once the Android version is complete and ready to be submitted also. The Android version will be finished very soon so I expect this app to be released sometime around the middle of April. 
  • Started working on a soccer/football/futbol entertainment app. I’m definitely aiming to have it released prior to the World Cup. Hopefully it will be ready for release at the end of April or beginning of May. Development has been moving along on it somewhat quickly when I actually have time to work on it.
  • Worked on some graphics for a random game idea that popped in my head. Might continue working on it, but I’m not sure. My app schedule is already super packed.
  • Started development on Word Owl’s Word Search 1st and 2nd Grade Editions. I’ll try to continue working on these two apps heavily in April and hopefully releasing them soon after in May or June!