Fredrik Wahrman

Tag: Mercury Mind

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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Reader ideas for Puzzles wanted – Comment below if you have any

by edi on Sep.16, 2009, under iPhone development

Hey, just thought I’d ask those of you out there who read this blog for some help creating puzzles. If anyone out there feels that they’d have some great ideas of words / phrases around which they’d want to create a puzzle then feel free to drop me a line with some suggestions (email is edi (at) wahrman.fi), as any help I could get to create more levels would be greatly appreciated both by me as well as by everyone else out there who is playing both Mercury Mind and iAssociate.

Or if you have any quick topics of interest, that you think could make it into the game feel free to add your suggestions as comments below, maybe some other fellow readers will then further comment on associations that could be made around those words.

Anyway, I sadly can’t offer you anything much in reward for these ideas, other than the fact that getting them would mean more levels for all of you out there, which I hope would count for something =)

Thanks a lot in advance for any feedback that I’ll get, I really appreciate you taking the time for this!

Fredrik

P.S A big thanks already to Pontus who already has given me some help with the game, in fact, the latest level, Elements, in Mercury Mind is created by him, and I’ve got another one from him ready to be included in an update now. (This one I think I’ll add to iAssociate)

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Updates on the way

by edi on Aug.04, 2009, under iPhone development

I’ve finally got updates for both iAssociate and Mercury Mind on the way. They have all been submitted already and are now waiting for approval from Apple. iAssociate v1.2 will bring a new level, as well as a new bonus mode to the game. The bonus mode is enabled once you hit 100% in a level, after that you’ll get an additional challenge that you need to clear if you wish to get a Gold medal for that level (as well as some more points, to boost your rankings on the highscores).

Mercury Mind has also been updated to v1.2, that update also includes a new level (one which isn’t present in iAssociate). That level was designed by a friend of mine, I’ve only made a few minor tweaks to it after that, hopefully you’ll enjoy it! I’ve also gone and tweaked the graphics a bit in MM v1.2, so that they’d be more up to the standards set by iAssociate.

Anyway, more stuff is on the way, I’m working on some other projects as well as these, more info about them sometime later this year… stay tuned!

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Small updates on the way, v1.1.1 just submitted

by edi on May.15, 2009, under iPhone development

This week I’ve tried to post my game to a few review sites, I sent out promo codes to I think almost ten sites and so far the only site which has shown any interest toward my game is The Free App Store Review. I emailed back and forth a few times with Eric March, who’s the co-founder of the site, and he seemed to like the game pretty well, in fact, you can check out his review here: Mercury Mind Review.

He had some good points about the game, that usability wise there is still lots of room for improvement. Some of the things he mentioned were that:

- If you click on multiple words in a row, while the keyboard is visible, the “de-selected” ones will be drawn as blank. – Fixed in 1.1.1
- If you click on a word, which is down on the screen, the keyboard will come up and cover it. – Fixed in 1.1.1
- Problems to figure out that you can click on already visible words if you want to match your answer against every word that is associated from that. This is mentioned in the help, but from what I’ve seen with some friends who’ve playtested this as well, it’s clear that I’ll need a tutorial mode in the game, just something that quickly shows this feature. I’m gonna implement this now in a future release, I didn’t have time to put it into 1.1.1 as I just wanted to get those small fixes out there asap.

Besides the reviews I’ve also tried to post some info about my game to various game & iPhone forums, but so far I must say that getting any kind of publicity for this game seems to be really hard. The competition for attention in the App Store seems to be really high right now(no wonder, with 35 000 apps and counting…), and I have a feeling that if you’re an independent developer, then just having a good application won’t be enough, beside that you’ll still either require some good marketing efforts, or some luck in getting your game posted on the right review sites, so that it would generate a lot of views.

A screenshot of the look of the game in v1.1.1

Surfing the Web, v1.1.1

Surfing the Web, v1.1.1

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Mercury Mind 1.1 and Lite Submitted

by edi on May.03, 2009, under iPhone development

Last night I finally got the update to Mercury Mind submitted, version 1.1 is now under review and will hopefully be released within a week if the review process is as fast as it was for the first version.

v1.1 most important fix is that it should fix the memory problem that there was in 1.0, which caused the application to crash after a certain amount of time. (The crash comes after the app gets the second didReceiveMemoryWarning). What I at least learned thanks to this crash is that the Simulator does in fact allow you to test the memory warning behaviour by having a ready method for that in the Hardware menu, Simulate Memory Warning.

Other changes in v1.1:
- The levels have been tweaked, much new words have been added and the links have been tweaked.
- Notifications for level completion and level unlocks added, you will now be notified when you unlock a new level
- You can now see the lengths of the individual words in a long phrase, no longer just the total length of it. For instance, if there would be a phrase “Mercury Mind Lite” in the game it would show up (before being revealed ;-) ) as “——- —- —- (7+4+4)”
- Some graphical glitches with the UITextFields were fixed, they sometimes displayed a one pixel wide transparent line before the rounded parts, this was caused when I had both odd and even width UITextFields and then tried to centre the words at a certain coordinate. This has been fixed by making sure that the textfields are always of an even length.

After getting v1.1 done and submitted I then started work on the Lite version, which actually wasn’t that big of a project as I had already earlier thought it pretty much through, what would be included and what wouldn’t. So it was just a matter of making those needed changes and getting a new certificate from apple (since for the first app I hadn’t been smart enough of getting the com.doman.* certificate but instead a specific one). 

 

App Store Situation as of May 3rd

App Store Situation as of May 3rd

Hopefully after I’ve gotten these two new version out I’ll be able to try to somehow advertise my game a bit and submit it for reviews, as so far it hasn’t gotten that much attention (which I guess is a good thing considering it did contain a few bugs =)). Anyway, thanks to all, around 50 of you, who’ve already bought v1.0!

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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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