Hey, it’s July already! Does time fly or what? I guess is time for a status update and see if I pick up blogging again (didn’t I create something to help with this? So much for that, is not going to be my turn in ages!).
In any case what better way to talk about the last 5 months than to do a quick recap of my old list of evil projects.
The Ones That Got Done
You are looking at one of the projects that I got (kind of) done: the new design for the site.
In case you are wondering how it used to be, here you have a couple screenshots:
There were a few things I wanted to attain with the redesign, but the important ones were improving readability (too many people complained about the white text on dark background), and featuring the multiple apps and projects I am involved in. That it took me this long to have a site that actually supports multiple projects just goes to show how confident I was on finishing more than one.
In any case, I made it live today with some parts missing. I will be adding stuff as time passes and, even through is not my turn in #iDevBlogADay, I mean to write more often in this blog; maybe I should go for the old ‘every Wednesday’.
Of course the big (and old, since it happened more than a month ago) news is we finished Casey’s Contraptions, it was featured by Apple as Game of the Week across the world on its first week, got fantastic reviews, and shoot up all the way to number 2 in the US apps chart. Some articles:
- Games From Within: Casey’s Contraptions on the Media
- Pocket Gamer: The Making of Casey’s Contraptions
- Gamasutra: Postmortem: Llopis & Friginal’s Casey’s Contraptions
- IGN: Casey’s Contraptions Review
- Kill Screen: Review: Casey’s Contraptions
Since then it has maintained a pretty good position in the charts, although sales have slowed down considerably. We have been working on the next version for a while now. The plan is to convert the current iPad-only game into a Universal version, and also sell an iPhone-only cheaper one. Is taking a while since we are recreating each one of the screens so it’s usable on a small screen, and boy, we have lots of UI.
The whole surreal experience of having success in the App Store requires its own post, and Noel also wants me to write about the specific changes we are doing to the iPhone UI, so maybe next week.
The third one that got kind of done is the #iDevBlogADay redesign. Let’s talk briefly about the kind of part.
As you can read here, I changed the rules slightly and made the new design live last February. Since then, I have not touched the site even once, except for adding people to the waiting list. And to tell the truth, I am growing more dissatisfied with its evolution. For one, doing it every 2 weeks doesn’t seem to help with the intended purpose of getting in the habit of writing; lots of people drop from the main list because they forgot about it, and I have read one too many “is going to be short this week because I didn’t have the time” posts.
I have also come to realize the new design is too cold. It was done that way so as to not impose a particular style to the blend of authors and blogs. But after following the #AltDevBlogADay design revisions, I recognize they make a way better job of representing their authors, with photos, bios, links, featured authors, and more.
Problem is I have not even created a basic Join Us form, or even an About page after 5 months. I have not had the time, and I finally didn’t recruit anybody else to help. So not sure what’s next. I think I would like to get closer to the #AltDevBlogADay spirit and support our authors and content better in the future. But maybe is time to point everybody to #AltDevBlogADay and close the doors here. As always, your thoughts on what’s working, what’s not, and how to fix it are very welcomed.
The Ones That Didn’t Get Done
So now for the downers, the other four projects that I did not have time for. iDevTracker, Notedo, and The Legend of Robin Hood received no attention at all. Pretty sad, but lets be serious… didn’t I write before about the reasons things get shelved around here? The first two enter straight into the “boring” category, and the game, although it really pains me, into the “scope creep” one. I should just pay more attention to what I write!
So what’s left? Well, the Elephant Run game! Since the last disgruntled post about Core Animation games I have not touched the prototype again. I still think is a pretty good, small, and doable game idea, so this one is not getting canned for sure. Also I promised to explain how to do a scrolling game with
CALayers without wasting memory, I just need to get to it.
You didn’t think I was going to be happy getting rid of projects without adding some more to the queue, did you? Some weekends ago I worked on a quick prototype for a different game after watching The Librarian TV movies and then Raiders of the Lost Ark a couple times back to back. Still no title, but I leave you with a screenshot of what I got done: