Tag Archives: mobile app development

September Mobile App Development Report

7 Oct
2016

September seemed like it passed by incredibly fast. I told myself I wouldn’t try to do as much as I have in the previous months and slow down a bit, but September went by so fast I’m not sure if I did slow down or not. App development started with work on a financial educational app I’ve been working off & on in small increments. The work on it mostly consisted of researching, gathering, and organizing data. I’ve got a couple of other updates I plan on working on and finishing this year so I’m not sure when I’ll finish this new app, but I’m looking forward to continuing progress on it and eventually releasing it.

Most of my app development time in September consisted of working on the six app Word Owl’s Word Search update. Since I’ve been able to enhance standard text to better formatted higher resolutions I wanted to put that into use on more apps that have prominent text in them. The standard text in my word search apps mainly appear on the left side displaying the words within the word search. I already created higher resolution letter blocks and buttons so they didn’t need enhancing and they’re unrelated to how the standard text displays. I really like my word search apps especially the educational aspect of them and how they look overall so I knew I wanted to improve these apps. I worked on and tested each app individually to keep the process more organized since there were going to be 6 different app updates on different app stores which in the end equals over a dozen individual builds. With each Word Owl Word Search app I learned new things in regards to touch recognition and focused more on presentation. Since I knew I was definitely going to improve text resolution in all of my word search apps I decided it would also be a good time to go ahead and improve touch recognition in those that didn’t have it. The touch improvement does a better job of not selecting unwanted letters. Sometimes a letter block would change alpha as if its being selected because of its close proximity to the letter being selected, but now there’s a less chance of that happening. The code within the app already took this into consideration initially and made sure to not let it interfere with the correct selections. However, now with the update there’s a better chance of a letter block not thinking its being selected externally even its momentarily touched on the edges.

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Making a promo banner for the update in Pixelmator

In terms of presentation, I decided to add a little game complete animation to the apps that didn’t have an additional one. All of the apps had a level complete/good job pop up but with some of them I took the level complete congrats a step up with some sort of firework type explosion depending on what the app theme was. Snowflakes for Christmas, bats for Halloween, and different color word blocks for the sight word classroom editions. The holiday versions already had this implemented, but some of the grade level versions didn’t so I added it to them. After finishing all of the builds I tested them on different devices(tablets & phones) on each platform(iOS, Amazon Android & Google Play Android). I ran into a few bugs throughout testing which involved a lot of back and forth with finding and fixing the bug, generating a build, & testing. Eventually all of the apps turned out fine so then I proceeded to uploading builds and updating metadata. I looked into which keywords each app had, and decided to add some new ones to each one that weren’t used in the others to kind of spread out the chance of a person finding at least one of my word search apps. I also updated some of the screenshots and descriptions. After releasing an update I like to pay closer attention to update numbers, and most of these apps ended up receiving nice update numbers so far. Getting a lot of update downloads lets me know that a lot of people must be enjoying my apps and finding them useful at least to some extent. I’m sure there are some that download apps & updates without even using the app yet because I do that sometimes but I think most people will usually check out an app somewhat soon after downloading it initially. 

Ok enough rambling about that update but that’s what took over most of my dev time in September. The update themselves didn’t take long individually, but since it was six different apps on various app stores the overall time was dominant. Towards the end of September I added some more data for the finance app I mentioned earlier. In October I plan on updating the RX Quiz of Medicine app with enhanced text resolution and possibly Strike the Goal since they have a fair amount of standardized text, especially RX. Until next time ∞

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July Mobile App Development Report

2 Aug
2015

July was an all over the place month in app development land. Worked on new apps and updates to previously released apps, and then there were even some updates to updates. This is what happens when I develop without a clear organized plan…..

During the beginning of the month I worked on my new relaxation app. I continued tidying up the UI that I’ve been working on previously, and then I started implementing logic. As I was deep into development logic I released that I may not be able to finish this app this year because I’m not sure if I’ll be visiting a beach this year. No, that’s not a typo or a mismatched sentence. I really want to incorporate beach sounds in this app, and I want it to record them myself like I’ve done for various other sounds that will be in this app. This app will have a heavy focus on sounds and I want the sound of the beach & ocean to be a segment of it. So the conclusion of this little tangent is that I’ve decided to stop development on this app until I’ve gathered and edited all of the main sounds for this app. I’m still really interested in working on this app and I can’t wait to release it, but I feel like I would prevent a lot of backtracking if I have one of the main focus points of the app finished before I get too deep into implementation of rules, attributes, and other developmental aspects.

During the middle and end of the month I worked on several updates to previously released apps. Some of them were minor and some of them were more substantial. Gift Wrap Difference, Light Up The Tree, & Zompy Jumpy all received 64-bit support updates which also decreased loading times. Right after the Light Up The Tree update was released I realized that I needed to fix a couple of links within the app. So I quickly fixed those issues and published another update which is currently waiting on review with Apple. After the Zompy Jumpy update went live I realized that I forgot to include a pre-typed hashtag within the tweet feature. I know it’s a very minor mishap that can even be added or deleted by any user, but I’m really into minor details. Usually the minor details I may revisit pertain to graphics, sound, or code, but this time it was a preloaded tweet. Yea kind of ridiculous, but I should have noticed it during the initial update I did this month. If I would have been more patient I could have avoided these two back to back updates. The latter two updates were minor but they were still time consuming in a month were I didn’t have much app dev time to consume. I’ve learned my lesson from these mishaps though and hopefully I’ll avoid these similar situations in the future.

In July I also worked on the Fireworks Showeator 1.4 update. More info on the update itself and the reasoning behind a part of it can be found on the linked post. Fireworks Showeator also received a minor iOS update after version 1.4 went live that was similar to the additional update that I submitted for Zompy Jumpy.

Last month I also finished my newest game. It’s a quick fast paced arcade game that I initially created during a space themed game jam. After the game jam I put it off for a while and went back to working on other apps. I recently decided to revisit the game, finish it, and release it on the Apple App Store. I may end up including the main gameplay of this game into a larger game in the future so I want to see how it’s received by the public. Most of the game has been finished for a while, but in order for me to feel fine with releasing it on the App Store I wanted to add a leaderboard and fully test it on different devices. So in July I incorporated Game Center leaderboards, added a main front screen to prepare players for the challenge, and then I tested it on different devices. The game has actually already been in front of you multiple times, but it’s just waiting on August 8th…..that’s a really lame inside joke that will make more sense when it’s released….

I recently quit a job that wasn’t related to my two separate ongoing careers (healthcare & app development) so things are going to start ramping up even more in app development land for me. My career focus is to stay on track with my two different paths, any other work is kind of a waste of my time, and I really don’t like wasting time. Anyways, I’m really excited about working on various new apps and sharing what I’ve been working on! I think I’ll start incorporating more images in these post too. I’m a visual person and I know a lot of other people are too. I’m excited about my healthcare career that’s been going well too, but this site isn’t about that. Back to the mobile apps. Until next time ∞

8-Bit Avrin Mobile App Vines in 2014

8 Feb
2015

A compilation of my app videos that I made on Vine in 2014.

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 ∞

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….

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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 ∞

August Mobile App Progress Report

4 Sep
2014
  • Updated the free versions of Ultra Fortune Ball, Chinatown Fortune Cookie, & Jumbo Egg Hunt 2, and re-released them on the Apple App Store. I initially made free versions of these apps to test how they would perform on the Apple App Store, and see if they affected the downloads of any of my other apps. I’m not totally sure if they directly increased downloads of my other apps, but they did get a lot of downloads themselves and confirmed my thought that people would really like free apps from 8-Bit Avrin. I’ll be embracing the idea of making certain apps free(with ads and/or in-app purchases) in the future. However, they definitely won’t have annoying ads that constantly pop up or ridiculous in-app purchases that make the apps worse.
  • Completed a massive update on the Amazon App Store. More info on this can be found on this post.
  • Created a new icon for Light Up The Tree! Made the iOS version universal to work efficiently on supported iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad devices.
  • Also updated Gift Wrap Difference to become universal on the Apple App Store. Previously there was a separate iPhone version and iPad version. The iPad version had more downloads so I removed the iPhone version and made the iPad version universal so now it works full screen on supported iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad devices.
  • Added full screen support for Saving Bunnies on the Apple App Store. This update hasn’t gone live yet, but it should available soon. I also added full screen support for some of my other apps including this one on the Amazon App Store which was a part of the massive update mentioned above.
  • Started minor development on the entertainment app I mentioned in the progress report post last month. Also started working on graphics for the educational children’s app mentioned in that post. However, both of these apps will be pushed back to make way for a game that I’ve started working on. This game will feature challenging gameplay with a minimalistic design and quirky characters.  I’ll jump right back into development on the children’s educational game followed by the entertainment app after I finish this game.

 

As you can tell, August was a super busy month in app development land. I was also busy trying to make substantial progress with my full-time career, but things have been moving slow in that area so I used some of the time I had available to work extra hard on apps. App development in August mainly consisted of updates, but I improved the quality of some of my older apps, and learned a lot while working on them. Looking forward to eventually releasing new apps though. 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!
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