Wednesday, July 24, 2013


I'd seen some posts about iOS 7 and updating apps.  Insta-delete via daringfireball.  I think updating for the new iOS 7 look is a bit different than updating for the iPhone 5's screen.

We're of course updating ours.  While the designers and people who notice things like which variation and weight of Helvetica is used in the text may delete apps, I really doubt that applies to the other 99% of the iOS users.

Every time Facebook updates something, there's a petition that goes around to change it back.  Microsoft hasn't ever updated Windows without some level of backlash (especially Windows 8, but that's another story.)  Android gets around it by not having any one upgrade, people eventually just get a new phone--and nobody is surprised when their new phone looks a bit different than their old phone.

We've had years of learning about what is a tab in iOS, what's a button, what's a toolbar.  Now they look different.  For a decent percent of people, those un-updated apps, that still look like iOS 6, will be familiar.  There won't be that uncertainty about how the app will work.  That chunk of people will be sad and upset when those apps later get updated for iOS 7.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

iOS versions & developers

Apple published a nice chart of what iOS version people are using.

As part of the WWDC keynote, Apple has also said they've sold 600 Million iOS devices.  1% of that is 6 Million.

But people have broken them (which knock-on-wood I've not done yet), replaced by a new device (which I've done a LOT.)   Lets say 2/3 of the devices that have been sold are still active.

So 1% of that 400 Million actives is 4 Million who are using an iOS 4.x or older version.

Apple posts there are 275,000 registered iOS developers in the US.  It's easy to project that between registered developers worldwide and support teams (testers, designers, etc) there would be well over 1 Million of them.  Maybe even 2 million.  [UPDATE: in the recent Q3 earnings, Apple said there are about 500,000 developers in China, so that should make way over a million developers worldwide--so could easily be 3 or 4 million developers + support teams.]

If they're like us, they each have an old device or two they keep around for testing apps...I've got an old iPod touch and a first generation iPad.

What if that the majority of that 1% using old iOS versions is all the developers testing their apps on old iOS versions!

We're going to require iOS 6 on the next update to our biggest app, FTP On The Go Pro.

Sunday, July 7, 2013


I'm sure other computer makers knew battery life would improve with the new chips, but I bet they didn't plan that Apple was going to make all-day-battery-life "the new thing" in laptops.  The new  MacBook Air's battery lasts something like twice as long as last year's.

My older laptop's 2 hour battery life is pretty sad by comparison.

The same applies to the iPhone and other cell phones.  Every 2 years or so they can double the speed for the same amount of power use.  Which is what they've all done so far.  But someday they can choose to keep the same speed and drop the power use in half.  (Or somewhere in the middle: a small amount faster and lots less power.)

As all the other cell phone makers are caught in the same "fastest processor" race that the old computer companies were, they'll get left behind by Apple.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Idea to App: Chainsaw Jugger.

May 20, 2013
We've worked hard on lots of other apps and games, but Knife Dancing continues to be one of our most successful apps, and definitely our most successful game.  Fun, silly, stupid, super easy gameplay.  If you're good you can get a lot of rounds of action in just 1 minute.

We just finished up a nice update to it.  The gameplay itself hasn't changed much from the version 1.0 using UIKit and CoreGraphics(!)  It worked, but the frame-rate wasn't as high as it needed to be for cooler effects.  And I've learned a lot and gotten much better at making cool animated effects and stuff using cocos2d.  There's a new shatter effect I did for this when you finish, as well as seeping red for when you fail.

While doing that, I thought maybe we could do a similar app, something that would appeal to the Knife Dancing crowd.  What's more dangerous than Knife Dancing?  Juggling Chainsaws.  (We'd talked long ago about some sort of juggling game.  Cool to drag up one of those old ideas!)

A very quick prototype after an hour or so, spinning saws and tapping handles (though that's impossible to see in this screenshot).  Yes, it both feels like a game, and feels like one we can do quickly.  We're excited to see the spinning severed fingers when you fail...going for the full gore rating on this one!

A temp chainsaw, likely one we'll get.  Smoke behind looks sweet.  [No, we didn't get this chainsaw, it was an illustration rather than photo.  Blurred out temp ones we didn't get.]

MAY 21.
We want people tapping low on the screen, since that makes it harder.  So a combo of ideas from Pete, Shawn, and I ended up with a bonus line.  Tapping a flying object below the line increases the bonus--but the higher the bonus, the lower the line gets.

Right now, we're talking about a few chainsaws, a circular saw, an axe, a bowling pin and ball, and a tennis ball as the items we can mix and match to make a dozen or 20 combinations.   Then like Knife Dancing, you get a few for free and upgrade to unlock all the rest.

MAY 26
Getting close, Pete is out of town so it's all temp graphics, but it's all looking great and many of the pieces are working.

The temporary menu, the basic layout probably will stay, but we'll do better big button squares and backgrounds.  You'll get the top 3 for free, everything else you'll have to buy to unlock.  And that's most of the cooler ones like the flaming bat, blowtorch, and more.

One of those happy accidents.  There's a tag value used in the tool for building the menus that I check to add fire to the torches when loading the menu in the app.  When adding a new page, I mixed them up so had the fire on a chainsaw.  YES.  Flaming Chainsaws.  A bit of work, and 10+ particle systems going per chainsaw and it ends up with a really great looking fire.  Looks even better in the app than the screenshot as they're flying and spinning.

We didn't want to skimp on the gore for this one.  It was mostly the strip in the middle at first, but Bec kept asking "where's the arterial spray".  All the streaks are for her :)

MAY 29

Looking great, sounds and graphics all working together.  Putting in things like GameCenter for high scores and buying.

Shawn did some cartoony drawings, to use for a splash/tutorial.  We'd thought about using them as the splash, then fading into the game so there wasn't a separate tutorial.

But we ended up using about half of the little bits (pointing hands, but not thumbs-up, etc.)  It became a nice little 10 second animated intro that gives the basics for playing.

MAY 31

Shawn and I had similar ideas, to use the other button on the 3rd page as a "Random" one.  Shawn thought of a slot machine, and it turned out great!  He did the slots and background for it.  Bec wanted it nice and Vegas-y :)

Not sure if the hand or something else will be a bonus thing that you can only juggle by winning it in the slot machine.


Pete got home, so all of the final graphics are in.  Probably submitting Monday :)

Pete (unless it was Shawn?) suggested switching from the set groupings of things to all random to use the slot machine for every game.  Lets it have much more variety, and 4 simple buttons on the main menu.  There's a 2nd page for some special sets: bowling ball and then pins, all big knives, all circular saws, and all flaming chainsaws.  Since all the regular games start with a chainsaw 3/4 of those are combos you could never get from the slot machine.

You get Easy for free, one purchase unlocks all the rest.

Different backgrounds for each of the difficulty levels in the slot machine.  And some nice flashy particles and sounds when the slots hit.  There's only ever chainsaws in the left spinner.

Same background I'd gotten for testing, but far better quality and Pete did much better black/white on it.  Also a better red line and spinning saw blade for the multiplier line and number.

Game over, uses the same buttons from Knife Dancing, with the font matched to the rest of the game.  I know I drew some button outlines and scanned them for the very first temporary Knife Dancing buttons.  I think these are still upgraded versions of the quick scrawled buttons from years ago.

JUNE 11.

A few final fixes, and then submitted to Apple!!


Delayed because of a bug and most of us being out of town and waiting until home before releasing...but it's now out!!

iOS 7

Is not really 100% flat with no drop shadows as everyone says.

Pulling a few images from Apple's public preview site:

The best example is the simple switch.  The button part is raised.

Same for the button on a slider control, which is easy to see in this screen.

There are others, type and hold on the onscreen keyboard on an iPhone, the popup letter that shows what you're typing is raised up as well.

Not sure why these particular things use a little shadow and nothing else does...