Tag Archives: mobile app developer blog

Farewell Nook App Store…. (Barnes & Noble shutting it down on March 15 2016)

14 Mar
2016

The Barnes & Noble Nook App Store is set to shutdown on March 15th 2016. I first made some of my apps available and joined the Nook App Store on March 6th 2013. My relationship with the Nook App Store during those two years was positive overall. There are things that I liked and disliked about the app store, but overall I’m definitely glad I put in the work to release some of my older and new apps on it. One of the main aspects that I liked about the Nook App Store was its focus on educational apps for children. It was the only app store that had several specific categories for different educational segments like time & money, writing, math, memory, geography and many others. Another thing that I really liked about the Nook App Store were their seasonal promotions were they would let developers submit their seasonal apps for consideration to be a part of a special temporary seasonal section. Several of my apps were approved for these promotions in the past and one of them(Jumbo Egg Hunt 2) got extra recognition by being selected for inclusion on promotional banners.

I also like that the Nook App Store didn’t have a ton of low quality apps and clones of popular apps that could get in the way of high quality original apps being discovered. It had it’s fair share of those lower quality apps but it wasn’t incredibly overbearing like it often is on other app stores. However, the customer base of the Nook App Store wasn’t nearly as large as the Apple, Amazon or Google Play app stores so even though there was less competition there was also less of an audience to seek. Also, in regards to customer service towards developers. I didn’t have to contact them often but they were nice & informative when I did need to, although not nearly as timely compared to other platforms. Editing/updating metadata wasn’t as smooth and quick as Amazon & Google Play either.

The Nook App Store was never my primary app store, but overall I will miss it. Apple is and has always been my primary app store, with Amazon being my secondary since I joined them. However, in 2016 I’ll continue to focus more on Google Play also which pairs well with the Nook App Store closing since Nook users will be and have been directed towards Google Play for their app needs. I’ll end this little goodbye post with some screenshots of my apps being featured, customer reviews, and my apps that were available at the time of this post on the Nook App Store.

Farewell Barnes & Noble Nook App Store, and to all Nook tablet users, please look for and check out my apps on Google Play or any other app stores that you may have devices for like Apple, Amazon or Windows. Take care!

Photo Mar 14, 4 31 59 AM

My apps that were available as of March 2016.

Barnes & Noble_Seasons Best - Easter - 2014

Jumbo Egg Hunt 2 was selected to be featured on the Season’s Best Apps promotional banner during the Easter season.

Seasons Best on Nook app store Dec 2013

Light Up The Tree & Gift Wrap Difference included in the Season’s Best Apps during the Christmas season.

Photo Mar 14, 4 30 44 AM

Professor Piggy Bank included in the Back to School Apps promo. (Not shown: some of my Word Owl Word Search apps were also included)

Photo Mar 14, 4 28 09 AM Photo Mar 14, 4 29 25 AM Photo Mar 14, 4 28 45 AM Photo Mar 14, 4 29 59 AM

 

 

Advertisements

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 ∞

December Mobile App Development Report

1 Jan
2016

Most of the app development in December happened during the first couple of weeks. After that I had some major outside of app dev happenings that needed more attention. However, even with all the other things going on I believe I ended this year in app dev land very nicely, let’s get into it…..

The first order of business was finishing Word Owl’s Word Search Third Grade. I made the main menu music which took a little longer than I anticipated. I wanted it to sound similar to my previous sight word searches but also different at the same time. I ended up making it more different from I thought I would but decided to go with it because I like what it evolved into.

During testing I decided to add a little more animation to the level complete pop up. I didn’t want it to be too aggressive since this app isn’t necessarily a level based game, its more of a continuous game. So I thought it would be nice to have different color blocks kind of flourish in the background in a somewhat orderly fashion. So I took a simple(on the outside) animation setting from a previous app, changed the images and some of the attributes and it turned out just like I wanted it to look.

After that the testing continued and then I worked on improving touch recognition so unwanted letters aren’t shown as being selected when they’re barely touched. The code in my word search games take it into consideration that unwanted blocks may be touched and it knows not to let it interfere with the correct word selections, but I wanted to show the player this by making it were those unwanted letter are less likely to show as selected.

After those improvements were made I fixed various bugs found during testing, and then I went into release mode by working on screenshots, promo images & etc. Once the app was approved I put together the Word Owl’s Word Search Classroom Bundle and submitted it for review. Unfortunately bundles have to go through a review process and it didn’t get approved until after Apple’s holiday break, but it was approved on the day they returned….better late than never! I wanted the bundle to be available once this third grade edition went live, but I can’t be too let down though because overall I’m glad Apple even has a bundle option. They’re still the only app store that allows developers & publishers to create bundles and make them available at a discounted price.

After Word Owl Third Grade was complete I decided to work on an update for Word Owl’s Word Search Christmas Edition. This update included the touch recognition improvements that I added towards the end of development on the Third Grade edition. For this update I also fixed some UI(user interface) conflicts. Basically I made the menus look better by making the text & button colors change depending on what background was selected. 

Then during the last week of December I stayed up late one night and worked on new graphics for Ultra Fortune Ball! Yeap, the first app I ever developed and published is getting a nice well deserved makeover on the outside design and inside code. Aiming to have this finished in January and then released within the same month or February depending on what day it’s complete.

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….

——–

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 ∞

July Mobile App Progress Report

2 Aug
2014
  • Ported Professor Piggy Bank to the Windows app store. My apps on Windows are still only available for tablets & PC. I may eventually have apps available for the Windows Phones too, but not anytime in the near future. For some reason the architecture for Windows tablets & Windows phones isn’t similar like the iPhone & iPad on the main engine I use.
  • Released Word Owl’s Word Search First Grade and Second Grade editions on the Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Windows App Stores. The Word Owl Word Search series is now complete. I really enjoyed working on these apps, and I’m pleased with the way they turned out. I hope a lot of children & parents find them useful and enjoyable!
  • I arrived at the conclusion to only release my future apps in the Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Windows App Stores, in that order of importance because that’s the order in which I obtain the majority of downloads. My main focus will be Apple & Amazon though because I’m most impressed with their devices, user numbers, and app store design & functionality. Porting to different app stores and working on different builds is becoming too time consuming. I’m excluding Google Play completely because I continue to run into problems with it. The search on Google Play is horrible, which is odd because Google search is great, and I barely get any downloads on it. For now I’ll continue to keep my apps available that are on that store already though.
  • Decided on which app I’ll be working on in August. I’ll be working on an entertainment app that’s similar to a couple of my previous apps. It shouldn’t take that long to finish this app, and after I finish it I’ll be jumping right into development on an educational game for kids. The educational game for kids will feature a unique colorful art style and hidden object gameplay.
  • I have several ideas for different “indie games” I want to eventually work on, and I really can’t wait to start working on them. I’m hoping to start development on one of those ideas when my full-time career situation becomes stable. I’ll continue to have development plans for educational apps and other categories, but I’ll eventually start to focus a bit more on games.
  • Last but not least. Amazon reviewed all of my apps currently on their app store and approved the ones below to be also available for download on their new Amazon Fire Phone!
  • IMG_1480