Fredrik Wahrman

Tag: iPhone

The evolution of iAssociate

by edi on Apr.11, 2011, under TicBits, iPhone development

Tomorrow, April 12th, will mark the one year anniversary of TicBits Ltd, and a couple of weeks after that will mark the two year anniversary of the release of my first iPhone game, the word association game Mercury Mind.

Mercury Mind was quite short lived and I quickly re-released it as iAssociate, with improved graphics and levels. After that iAssociate led it’s own life for almost a year, until me and my cousin in April 2010 founded TicBits Ltd and decided that our first game that we’d release would be iAssociate 2.

Since the release of iAssociate 2 for the iPhone in May 2010 a couple more versions have been released, the iPad version in November 2010 and then a version for Facebook in January 2011. (And yes, we still have a Android version under work =))

To show a little how things have evolved since then I thought I’d post some screenshots, of how it looked back in the early days, and how it looks now. (There’s even a screenshot from a version that is still unreleased…)

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Mark your calendars, on June 1st iAssociate 2 will be FREE

by edi on May.29, 2010, under iPhone development

Everyone please mark your calendars, on June 1st iAssociate 2 will be free as a special one day deal with FreeAppADay.com. So make sure you get it then from the App Store! And also, please tell your friends about this as well!

Link to the App Store: iAssociate 2

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iAssociate 2 has been released!

by edi on May.29, 2010, under iPhone development

After a lot of long days (and nights) iAssociate 2 has finally been released on the App Store! For those of you who are waiting for more content to iAssociate, this is your chance to get to play brand new levels as well as experience brand new gameplay features!

Here, let me show you quickly what iAssociate 2 looks like before I go into the new features that it has.

iAssociate 2

iAssociate 2

As you can see the game is visually already totally different from iAssociate, but those aren’t the only differences. As you already can see from that screenshot, a couple of the new features are visible there, namely, the much asked for Hint feature, which now allows you to get some help with words that you are stuck with (But be careful, you only have a limited amount of hints per level). Another visible feature is the Facebook ask for help feature, which enables you to quickly ask all of your friends for help on any particulary hard association.

Besides those there are also a number of other new features, new bonus words inside the levels, numerous starting points for certain levels such as X Marks the Spot, new speed medals that reward those who are fast at solving the levels, and more!

For those of you wondering when to get it I have one thing to say. Wait for Tuesday June 1st, as through a special deal with FreeAppADay.com it’ll be able for FREE on that day. So, be sure to mark June 1st in your calendar and grab it then, as well as telling your friends about it!

You can find the game in the App Store from here : App Store Link

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Is it possible to earn money on the App Store?

by edi on Nov.14, 2009, under iPhone development

A story of how my adventures in iPhone development have worked out so far, how iAssociate and Associate This have come to be and how my games have done sales wise.

The story begins

When I initially got into developing games for the iPhone one of the things that attracted me to the platform was reading about success stories such as Trism and iShoot. After reading about them it seemed as if it would be possible for pretty much anyone to just launch a game and wait for the money to come in.

That was then.

Now, about seven months after launching my first game, Mercury Mind, on the App Store I must say I think a little bit differently about the situation. When I launched my first game I think I was a little bit too optimistic about what kind of sales to expect, I was thinking that I’d real fast earn back the money I had invested in getting into iPhone development. The investments I had made to get started were :

  • Bought a Mac (Cost me 579 euros)
  • Bought an iPod Touch (Cost me 289 euros)
  • Bought a couple of iPhone development books (Cost around 60 euros)
    • The iPhone Developer’s Cookbook by Erica Sadun
    • Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X by Aaron Hillegass
  • Bought the iPhone developer license (Cost me 79 euros)

In other words, in total I had spent almost 1100 euros (translates to roughly $1600)

So, when I finally got Mercury Mind approved and marked as Ready for Sale I was pretty much hoping to earn this sum back in almost no time.

First day sales

After the first day had passed I was anxiously waiting for my first sales report to come in. I was pretty much constantly refreshing the reports page, hoping to see the report there. When it finally appeared I almost didn’t dare take a peak, I knew that I’d get a lot of sales, it was just a matter of how many, 200 ? 500 ? 1000 ?

Imagine my surprise when I finally took a look at it and saw that my sales were as high as 9! Yes, that’s right, 9 sales! (At $2.99 each) What makes it even worse is that out of those 9 sales a couple were to friends of mine, so basically I had earned almost nothing on my own. I obviously immediately panicked, thinking that the only solution to this was to drop the price to $0.99 as everyone else was, as surely then the sales would start to come in.

And sure enough, the next day when I got the report my sales had increased. To 19, so nothing much. After that the sales dropped at a steady pace, so that on the 8th day they were 0, followed then by 1-2 sales per day. After the first couple of weeks my total sales were 64, earning me around 45 euros ($60)

Lite version

After those two weeks my Lite version was finally approved and marked as Ready for Sale. I was once again expecting to follow in the footsteps of iShoot, after all, that story goes that once the Lite version of iShoot was released the game skyrocketed to the Top 100 lists and the rest is history.

For me it didn’t go quite that well. Sure, the first day downloads were better than the sales I got with the full version, they were just above 400. But they were still nowhere near what I was hoping for. But, being the ever optimist I was sure that they’d start climbing upwards immediately, so no worries really. What followed was then a day with around 300 downloads, then 200, then 150, then 100 and after that back to under 100, settling down at about 40 downloads for a long time.

Lite conversion rates

Despite really low sales, the addition of the Lite version at least showed me that the idea of my game, word associations, was good. I got pretty good conversion rates of people switching from the lite version to the full version. Depending on the country those varied quite a lot, but in the major, english speaking, markets I managed to get a conversion rate of around 15%, even a bit more, meaning that now I was at least earning a few bucks every day.

Enter iAssociate

After looking at those kind of stats for a while I decided it was time for a change. I decided that I’d try to re-brand my game to something a bit more easy to understand and remember, something that would be easier to sell basically. That’s when iAssociate was born. I felt that with the name iAssociate I had a much better chance in succeeding, the name both uses the popular “i” prefix, as well as describing exactly what the game was about. So, my hopes were again really high when the release of it was nearing.

iAssociate - iTunes Banner

iAssociate - Get it now from the App Store

Results from name change

When the first day sales for iAssociate were due I was once again really nervous to see what they’d be. This time I was sure that I’d make a much bigger impact, after all, the name was now perfect so nothing could be in my way. When the stats then finally came, I saw that yes, I had indeed managed to sell more, it was nevertheless quite depressing to see that it was just 13 sales. And even though the sales didn’t drop as fast to 0 as before, they still dropped to 0 after just 2 weeks, just before I got the lite version of iAssociate out.

The results I then got off the lite version were actually worse than with Mercury Mind. The downloads for that version dropped down to just around 20 after only two weeks, meaning that I was still only managing to sell a few copies every day.

2 1/2 months == 500 euros ($750)

After having had my games out for about two and a half months I had barely managed to scrape together 500 euros, and at the rate I was selling games I was now earning around 5 euros ($7.50) per day, meaning that with this rate it’d take over half a year until I would’ve recovered the money I spent to just get started.

Publicity: Reviews, forums and ads

Even though the sales weren’t really as good as I had expected one thing I was still happy about was the fact that of my customers actually quite a few emailed me back, letting me know that they really liked the game. Some even went as far as stating that it was the best game they had every played on the iPhone. Anyway, all this feedback kept me encouraged to try to make something of my game, as I knew that with the right kind of publicity it might still make it.

The obvious way to get publicity was to try to get some reviews out. As I knew some other people who had managed to get decent reviews out for their games earlier in the App Store’s lifetime I figured that it shouldn’t be a big problem for me either, after all, I thought that I had a really good game, a game that a lot of people seemed to be really addicted to, so it should be nice and easy to convince a reviewer to spend some time to play it, right ?

Wrong.

Getting reviews out for an iPhone game is pretty much as hard as it gets. With the hundreds of new games coming out every week, and the huge number of games already out there, it means that most review sites already have their hands full just picking and sorting through the correspondence they get. I probably sent hundreds of review requests out there, to some sites more than once, and the response I got was pretty much non-existent. Only a couple sites responded in any way at all, and of those one actually picked up my game for review, so not much luck here in getting any attention for my games. (Later on, as my app was starting to get more downloads a few more sites have taken it up for review, but still there’s only a handful reviews out there, one of which you can find at AppleTell : iPhone Word Game Round Up at Appletell.com)

Despite not having any success there I still kept sending out those emails constantly, every now and then re-sending them to the most popular sites, hoping that one day someone out there would accidentally stumble upon my game and find it entertaining.

So, as I wasn’t getting any reviews out in a hurry, the other option for me was to try to post info about my game to various iPhone and gaming forums. This was actually fairly straightforward, find a forum, create a profile, add a post with general info about my games, repeat. I do think this helped boost my downloads a bit as this way I managed to get the word out about the free version of my game, which people then could try on their own to see if they’d want to purchase the full version. Forums such as MacRumors.com and TouchArcade.com seemed to work farily well, at least my posts got a decent amount of views there.

The last option I then tried was to actually spend some money on buying the publicity, it was time to start using ads with my non-existent budget. The first ad I picked up was at a game review site that promised somewhere between 100K and 200K visitors per month. I figured that I’d make an ad for the free version of my game, thinking that if people see an ad for a free game then they’ll click on it, who could resist that kind of an offer. (Little did I understand at that time that clickthrough rates for ads are extremely low.)

The plan was to get people to download the free version, thus boosting it in the rankings, leading to more visibility for the game. So, I quickly put together an ad and submitted it for the site, along with some money for having it there for one month. Once again I was there at that same step, waiting for something to go live and seeing how much it would earn me. The first day the ad went live I thought I’d see an immediate increase in the free version downloads, which meant that the next day I was again up for a disappointment when the sales report came in, showing absolutely no change at all(well, actually a small decrease). The same thing went on for the rest of the month, with me never seeing any results at all for this.

That was the first, and last, ad that I tried for a really long time (Just recently I’ve started trying out AdMob, not sure yet what my opinion is of them, I’ll try to update this later on when I can see the long time results)

Something more needed

While these efforst had produced a small increase in my daily downloads there was still no great reason to celebrate. I barely managed to earn a bit over 10 euros ($15) per day, so, while a nice extra income to get, it wasn’t still as much as I had hoped for. So, it was once again time to work on a new strategy.

To get to my new strategy I’ll briefly go into how the App Store worked at that time. Back then it was such that whenever you made an update to your game it would appear on the What’s New list, thus producing a larger amount of downloads for a few days while staying high on that list, before again dropping back to normal. These apps were sorted in such a way that every App that was updated on the same day was sorted alphabetically, meaning that my game, iAssociate, appeared in the middle of the list as it starts with an i. This meant that when I had an updated out I sometimes didn’t even make it to the first page of the What’s New list, which meant that I got less downloads just because of the name of my App.

So, because of this I decided to re-brand the free version of iAssociate and name it Associate This.

Entry of Associate This

When the first day downloads of Associate This came in I was for the first time pleasantly surprised. It actually managed to get around 1000 downloads the first day. After that the downloads then slowly dropped down to around 300 per day during the following week and a half, a really slow pace compared to my previous efforts. Thanks to this it now seemed as if I finally had a game that would keep generating income at a steady pace (I was now earning around 50 euros ($75) per day). For the first time in the 4 months that I had had my games out there I was really pleased with the way things were going, patience had paid off.

Associate This - iTunes Banner

Associate This - Get it now for FREE from the App Store

Back down again

After a couple of steady weeks the downloads for Associate This then dropped for a few days in a row, dropping as low as just under 150. I was already thinking that this was it, now it’s again gonna drop down to close to 0. Even when it the next day got back up to 200 I still didn’t feel to good about it, but as it was to be that climb then actually continued for the next few weeks, so that I eventually got up to around 500 downloads per day. The reason behind this is the App Store ranking system.

App Store Rankings

The biggest deciding factor of how many downloads your game gets is how it’s ranked in the App Store. Visibility in the App Store is limited to searching for a specific game or browsing through a list of all the games in certain categories. Besides these there are various list of the most popular games. There is for instance a “What’s Hot” list, a “Staff Favourites” list as well as Top 100 list in all the different categories, such as Games, Entertainment, Action Games, Word games, etc. Being on any of these lists means that you get additional exposure, which means that there is a much better chance that someone notices your app.

When it comes to the sudden increase in Associate This downloads that can pretty much be credited to the fact that I managed to get on these Top 100 lists. Every game can have two categories that it belongs to, for Associate This and iAssociate these are Word and Puzzle. In the App Store there is currently over 1000 Word games as well as somewhere around 7000 Puzzle games, so obviously getting into the Top 100 list for Word games is much easier than with Puzzle games, but at the same time being at the Top 100 list in the Word games category doesn’t translate to nearly as many downloads as being there in the Top 100 Puzzle games list.

So, the reason behind my improving downloads was the fact that I had just entered the Top 100 Puzzle games list. I had always been in the Top 100 Word games list and now I had finally managed to climb into the Top 100 Puzzle games list.

Positive Spiral

Once Associate This started to get more downloads this then it started a positive trend. Since Apple calculates the rankings somehow magically based on the last X days it means that whenever I get new downloads from today it at the same time replaces the downloads from X days ago when calculating the rankings. Which means that as long as my downloads are rising then the days I “lose” when calculating the rankings have much lower downloads, which means that my average is getting higher all the time. That way I then again rise in the rankings, which yet again will give me more downloads, resulting in a positive, self feeding, spiral.

And besides this working for Associate This, it also works for iAssociate. Thanks to the conversion rate of about 15-20% the sales of iAssociate slowly started to climb, so that iAssociate also managed to enter the Top 100 Puzzle games list from where it also could start a climb upwards. That is pretty much the situation today, both games are continuing their climb in the rankings, while I am putting as much effort into promoting them as possible.

Current Rankings

iAssociate : 30th among US Puzzle games, 8th among US Word games
Associate This: 35th among US Puzzle games, 11th among US Word games

So far I’ve only once been ranked at the number 1 spot, it was a couple of days ago when I managed to get into that spot in the Word category in the Finnish App Store. Hopefully more rankings like that would follow, I do have a couple of #2 and #3 rankings so who knows…

At the end of the Rainbow…

Right now I must say that I’m really happy about how both iAssociate and Associate This are performing in the App Store. The income from iAssociate is now at a level that far exceeds my salary from my normal day job, even though the time I spend with this “hobby” is much less (well, it’s less due to the fact that I have to spend 8 hours a day at the office).

My daily downloads are now at a level that is almost as much as what they were in total during the first 3 months, and so far I still haven’t seen them trending down so hopefully I will still be able to take them to another level.

Summary

Considering that I had no skills with iPhone development or Objective-C programming when I started with this project I must say that the results are currently far above what I expected. I had initially seen this as a way of getting a small steady income every month, nothing more than a supplement to what I was already earning from my day job. What I instead now have achieved is an income that far exceeds that, and who knows, if everything goes my way I might still even be able to increase it further.

So all in all, after a lot of long days, trying to push this game out to the general knowledge of the masses I must say that it has totally been worth it. Not only because of the fact that my sales are high right now, what is actually just as important to me is the fact that I feel proud of iAssociate. I feel that I’ve created a game that is actually really enjoyable, a game that almost anyone can enjoy.I’ve heard back from people everywhere between 12 and 76 years old, boys and girls, husbands and wives, and everyone seems to be having a good time playing iAssociate.

So, a big thanks to all of you out there who have purchased or downloaded my games! And especially to those of you who have sent me feedback, I really do appreciate any feedback I can get, good or bad, as I will try my best to keep improving this game. So keep the feedback coming, don’t hesitate in contacting me if you have anything that you’d want to suggest or ask!

Fredrik

P.S. If you wish to support me, please spread the word about iAssociate, let your friends know about it and ask them to try out Associate This to see if they like it. Any kind of support is greatly appreciated!

Update 17.11 – 2009 – I made it into the Top 100 Games list

The positive spiral continues, I’ve now managed to climb even further in the rankings, actually going as far as making it into the Top 100 list for free games! (As of writing this I’m 97th). Right now it’s looking like there is no end in sight for this climb, the only thing certain is that it’s an interesting ride!

Also, if you are interested in an interview I did then check out iPhone Savior from here : www.iphonesavior.com

Update 19.11 – 2009 – Almost in the Top 100 for Paid Games

I’m apparently ranked as 101st in the Top Paid Games list now, in an hour or two I think I’ll make it into the Top 100!!! Seriously, who would’ve thought just half a year ago that it’d be possible to make it into that list, considering that I’m competing against about 10000 other paid games. That I, as just a random independent developer, would have a chance of making it that far up in the rankings! (That hour or two has since passed, I’m 89th!)

And the truth is, I actually wouldn’t have been able to do it on my own… those of you out there who have told your friends about this game, thanks to all of you, you have helped spread the word, which was just what was needed for me to start my climb. If it wasn’t for that I wouldn’t have a chance in competing against companies that actually have a marketing budget (and someone who knows how to create marketing material =D). So thanks a lot to all of you!

Also, another thing, I had my first ever live interview today with the newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet (www.hbl.fi), I think it went fairly well, even though I probably was rambling on for way too long =D (HBL is the biggest newspaper in swedish here in Finland)

Another thing that has happened during these last two days was that I got a review out for iAssociate. Erica Sadun wrote a review for www.tuaw.com, she contacted me first on tuesday evening and yesterday(wednesday) she then got the review up. What was funny about that review was that after she sent me the second email, requesting some additional details about my game, her name suddenly rang a bell, it somehow sounded familiar. And sure enough, after thinking about it for a while I knew where it was from. The book that got me started with this whole project, “The iPhone Developer’s Cookbook” was actually written by Erica Sadun! I had to ask her myself to make sure I was dealing with the same person, and sure enough, it was! How cool isn’t that! I at least think that that’s a Really cool coincidence!!! So, thanks a lot Erica for contacting me, and thanks again for the review!!! (The review can be found here : iAssociate – Mind Mapping Fun)

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Going strong!

by edi on Nov.12, 2009, under iPhone development

For the first time I just made it into the 1st spot in the App Store. Yesterday (and today) iAssociate was ranked at the 1st place in the Word category in the Finnish App Store, a big thanks to those of you’ve who’ve made that possible, I hope you enjoy the game. Also, I now appear on the What’s Hot list as well, hopefully this will mean some more exposure for iAssociate as I do believe that this is a game that has the potential to appealing to a really large audience!

Outside of Finland I’m also having a pretty good success right now, in the US store I’m now in the Top 10 in the Word category and Top 40 in the Puzzle category. In the UK those figures are 5th in Word games, around 30th place among Puzzle games. All in all, really good rankings, considering that there are in total around 6500 Puzzle games and 1000 Word games out there.

For those of you who want to support this momentum, please download the free versions, I now have three versions of Associate This out there, Associate This, Associate This: Movies and Associate This: USA.

Links to the free versions:

Associate This in iTunes

Associate This: Movies in iTunes

Associate This: USA in iTunes

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Why I develop for the iPhone

by edi on Jun.05, 2009, under iPhone development

Ten reasons that I have for developing for the iPhone and not some other platform.

1. I’ve always been a Mac fan, the first computer I had (well, my parents had) was a Macintosh LC, which at that time totally kicked ass (256 colors, built in soundcard, System 7, you name it… =))

2. The iPhone is one of the coolest phones out there, nice and sleek design, plus a UI that you can actually use, unlike some other phones that I’ve had(or have), such as the Nokia 6600 (S60), HTC S710 (Worst phone ever!!!), etc. (Mind though that I’ve had a few good phones as well, the Nokia 7210 (S40) being one of them)

3. The App Store business model sounds to me pretty fair, getting 70% of the proceeds sounds pretty reasonable, considering that Apple takes care of the billing, sales channel, review process, etc, etc… The only thing left for me to do is the coding ;-)

4. You have to use a Mac to develop for the iPhone. Seriously, while some might think this is a bad thing I actually think it’s awesome! As I realize that there must be thousands of developers out there, who all have heard about the various success stories on the App Store, and now have come up with some ideas of their own, this really limits the amount of those who actually end up turning their ideas into products. Which in turn means less competition, and a bigger chance for me to get some publicity for whatever I do. =)

5. One platform! One of the things that was a challenge back when we developed mobile games at SilverBirch Studios, was that there were TONS of different devices out there, which all had different system resources and screen sizes, etc, and all these would have to be taken care of in the code & design of the game. (Worst of all, they even had different API bugs…) Now with the iPhone (and iPod Touch) there is only ONE platform to develop for so you don’t have to create hundres of different SKUs of your game, instead you can just create one build, knowing that it’ll look the same on every device out there. So no need to keep in-house hundreds of different devices and testing the code on all of them.

6. Learning something new. Both Objective-C and the Mac platform are totally new to me, so this is a great opportunity to learn both =) Also, at work I don’t get too many opportunities to learn something totally different, so if it wasn’t for these kind of projects I would be limiting myself to much narrower field.

7. It’s fun!!! It’s really fun to develop products that you’ve thought of, and designed, yourself, as you get too see your ideas come alive and you get to share them with lots of other people out there. It’s been really fun for me to hear back from people who’ve played Mercury Mind, to know that there’s actually some people out there who really like that game (even though most would like more levels =))

8. Money. Even though I can’t say I do this for the money, I still must admit that the thought is there at the back of my head, that if I only could create something that people really would like (and find) then there’s a huge potential out there. It’s kind of like taking part in the lottery, assuming I did come up with something cool and then Apple in turn would lift that up to one of their Featured lists then who knows where that’d lead… =)

9. The dream of making something bigger than just a few random games. To one day be able to launch something bigger than just small one man projects.

10. Because I can ;-)

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iPhone development rocks!

by edi on May.24, 2009, under iPhone development

I’ve just had a four day weekend during which I’ve actually managed to get quite a lot of stuff done, both when it comes to iPhone development as well as when it comes to thinking of various future projects that I have in mind. I’ve just got a new app submitted to the App Store an hour ago, I’m trying to re-brand the Mercury Mind game, I’ve just submitted a new version of it which I’ve called iAssociate. Hopefully Apple would approve it, even though it content wise isn’t that different. Game wise it’s a much better version though, it looks much more like a game and it also offers you online high scores, so that you can compete against others as well as keep track of how well you are doing in the game compared to others.

After having been developing and designing this project now almost non-stop over the weekend I can’t say anything except that developing for the iPhone just kicks ass! First of all, game development is a lot of fun, just having an idea an being able to turn it into a game is just awesome. And secondly, developing for the iPhone is so nice and easy, the whole API is really nice and easy to use all most small things, such as adding animations, internet connectivity, etc, can be done just like that without the developer having to worry too much about the technical details.

A few screenshots from iAssociate 1.0

 

iAssociate 1.0 Level Select

iAssociate 1.0 Level Select

Out of the blue on iAssociate 1.0

Out of the blue on iAssociate 1.0

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Mercury Mind Lite sees the light of day

by edi on May.10, 2009, under iPhone development

Mercury Mind Lite was yesterday approved by Apple, late on friday evening I got the mail from Apple saying that it has been approved and is ready for sale =) Overall I’m really happy to have the Lite version out there, and I’m hoping that it will generate at least some additional sales for the full version, as I’m counting on the fact that the idea for the game is good, it’s only a matter of getting people hooked to it =) The only downside to this is that v1.1 of the full version hasn’t been approved so far, so my apologies to any of you out there who get the Lite version and then buy the full version (v1.0), first of all you’ll get a version that has a few bugs, but secondly it will also soon be updated and you will then lose all the words you’ve entered into the mind map so far (because I’ve updated the levels). In future updates I will try not to touch the original levels at all, so that they’ll remain the same then and no save games will be lost. I will however try to add more and more levels in each update, so that there’ll always be a good reason to get the update.

If anyone out there is interested, some stats on my path to riches and glory ;-)

Mercury Mind – 64 sales (12 days in the App Store)
Mercury Mind Lite – 34 “sales” (1 day in the App Store)

Get Mercury Mind: Mercury Mind in iTunes
Get Mercury Mind Lite: Mercury Mind Lite in iTunes 

 

Television Series Level

Television Series Level

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Mercury Mind Released

by edi on Apr.28, 2009, under iPhone development

Much to my surprise, today when I logged on to my iTunes Connect account and checked the status of my app, there was a green light in it’s status bar saying that it was ready for sale. Apparently it had been approved already on the 26th, same day I opened this website. It didn’t appear on iTunes until a bit later today though, as initially I had marked it’s target release date as the 30th of April, which I then changed to today, the 27th, when I noticed that it was already ready for release.

So here’s hoping this’ll be an app that someone out there will actually enjoy =) If you happen to have played it, and liked (or disliked) it, please let me know so that I’d get a chance to make any necessary improvements in future versions. Right now a v1.1 is on it’s way, I hope to submit it for the review process by end of this week, sunday night the latest. This update will fix a few bugs in v1.0 and also possibly some tweaks to a few of the levels might make their way there. Also some other improvements should make their way there, but more about those when it’s out on the app store.

If you came to this website from some other way than through the app store and you wish to check out my app on iTunes, follow the following link: Mercury Mind

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Mercury Mind Submitted

by edi on Apr.26, 2009, under iPhone development

I’ve finally gotten around to completing my long ongoing project for the Apple iPhone, a game called Mercury Mind. This game has now been submitted to Apple for approval, after which I hope it’ll appear in the iTunes AppStore shortly.

This project was started already about half a year ago, sometime in the fall of last year, when I was inspired by my cousin who published one of his games in the AppStore (check it out at www.asteropegame.com). After I saw what he did with that I became really motivated to try something out myself so I decided that the best way to get started with it would be to simply buy a Mac and an iPod Touch so that I could start testing out the platform. 

Getting started with developing for the iPhone was real simple, just install Xcode and the iPhone SDK and everything was set, and in almost no time I was getting familiar with the platform (and Objective-C). The only thing that took some time getting used to was the Objective-C syntax as well as the default keyboard setting on the Mac. But after that was done it was time to get started with coding on a real project and I immediately decided that since this would be my first project for the iPhone and I’d be working on it just myself it’d have to be something that isn’t too large, so that there wouldn’t be any risk of it just being completed halfway and then dropped.

The idea that I decided to stick with was to create a word association game, a game where you start each level with a word or a phrase, and then you have to guess which words or phrases are related to it, so that you’ll in the end have a complete mind map around it. For instance, you could start out with the word Apple, and that in turn could then be related to for instance Fruite, iPhone, The Big Apple, etc.

After deciding that this was it I got to start coding the game engine, which wasn’t technically that big of a deal which meant that I had a prototype up and running in pretty much no time. (Which was were having a real device to test on came real handy, as the initial prototype did work well on the simulator, but on the real device it didn’t function, due to there being a limitation to how big of a UIView you can create). Anyway, after that I started working on the levels, which I initially thought wouldn’t be that big of a task, but in the end they turned out to be much more difficult to make than I had envisioned. The project then pretty much stood still while I was trying to find the time to finalize the levels and in the beginning of April I then finally decided that I absolutely had to get it done now as otherwise this’d just turn into a 90% complete game which never gets published. So I set a personal deadline for April 20th, and decided that I’d devote most of my free time after work and on weekends for fine tuning the game and getting it ready for the review process. And after quite a few long days of level design and some final fine tuning to the game engine I then actually saw the light at the end of the tunnel and sometime after midnight on the 20th of April I finally got it Submitted.

So now I’m just waiting anxiously to hear from Apple if they’ve accepted this or not, hopefully I’ll see it out there now within a week or two =)

A screenshot from the games first level, a few words are already visible, lots more waiting to be uncovered…

 

Gameplay from level 1

Gameplay from level 1

 

 

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