Another one bites the dust

Tonight Abstract Puzzle got a slight refresh, removing some expired App Store links, as well as adding headers for “Forthcoming” games Puzzle Prison and ActionGo, and “Retired” games ActionChess and Oppo-Citrus that were removed from the app store last September.

I also added Root Down to the lineup, and changed some wording here and there.

Sadly, For The Win will be moving from “Mobile Board Games” to “Retired” sometime in the next month or so. I got the same email from Apple about it as I got for the other two games. I don’t have time to update it to support all the new screen sizes (and that app in particular would probably require some new graphics).

Catchup v.0.8.1 now available in the Apple App Store

Catchup - Abstract StrategyThe day is finally here, and my latest game, Catchup has been released for iOS. The game is a two-player abstract strategy game, with asynchronous multiplayer via Game Center.

Here is the app store description:

Catchup is a simple game of surprising turnarounds.

Can you have the largest group at the end of the game? Connect your hexes to master this beautiful abstract strategy game.

– an interactive tutorial to teach you how to play
– a challenging AI opponent whose difficulty changes as you play
– online turn-based multiplayer via Game Center
– two-player pass-and-play on the same device
– beautiful and haunting music by Tori Kamal
– minimalist graphics with customizable colors
– GameCenter Leaderboards & Achievements
– simple and easy to learn rules and gamplay
– difficult to master strategy

Here are all the rules:
1. One player plays all the hexes of one color and the other player plays all the hexes of the other color. The first player begins by claiming 1 empty hex for their color.

2. Starting with the second player, each player must claim 1 or 2 hexes on their turn.

3. If the largest group of hexes at the end of a turn is larger than the largest group of hexes at the beginning of that turn (regardless of color), the next player may claim up to 3 hexes on their turn. (This does not apply after the first player claims a single hex in step 1 above.)

4. The game ends when the board is full. The player with the largest group wins. If the players’ largest groups are the same size, compare their second-largest groups, and so on, until you come to a pair which aren’t the same size. Whoever owns the larger of the two wins.

Catchup is an original Board Game designed by Nick Bentley.

For posterity, here’s the “What’s new in this version” text for the last few versions (because I’ve been submitting all these versions to Apple for approval, these are actually visible in the app store if you dig):

What’s new in Version 0.8.1:
– Spanish, Simplified Chinese, and French localization
– Added a link to the game rules from the game menu
– Lots of bugs fixed in prep for launch!

What’s new in Version 0.7:
– Fixed crippling bug starting Game Center async games.
– Localized Rules text.
– A few other minor formatting and bug fixes.
– …more hexagons!

ActionChess 1.7 Release Notes

new-iconActionChess 1.7 has been submitted to the app store. It’s a very minor release, and here are the notes:

* fixed leaderboard submission for Highest Level Reached
* new app icon courtesy of John Grider (
* updated default graphics and one or two other minor changes

I hope you like the new icon, I really dig it!

Promo Codes for Oppo-Citrus

I have some promo codes for my latest game, Oppo-Citrus that I’d like to give away to anyone who reads this.

Just leave a comment on this post, (and maybe double check to make sure your email is correct), and I’ll email you a promo code. If you’d rather not comment, that’s fine too, just send an email to promocodes [at] abstractpuzzle dot com, and I’ll reply with a code as soon as I get it.

UPDATE: promo codes are gone. Thanks.

My latest game, Oppo-Citrus

Hey, in case you haven’t already seen it, my latest game, Oppo-Citrus is now available. It’s got procedurally generated puzzles that are unique every time you play, with 11 different game modes (levels) of varying difficulty and gameplay. Each level has it’s own GameCenter leaderboard, and there are some achievements in there as well (more coming soon). It’s a take-your-time-style puzzle game, where you can think about what move you want to make as long as you want. I’ve been told it’s an unforgiving game. It can be really hard. Some game modes rely more on luck, but there are definitely ways to optimize your strategy. The game also keeps track of a lot of statistics for each level. Please consider giving it a shot, especially if you like my first game, ActionChess. Thanks for playing!

ActionChess 1.5 Release Notes

I’m in the middle of the process of submitting ActionChess 1.5 to apple. There is a ridiculously long list of things this build adds from the last one, which was… oh back in October of 2010. That’s over two years ago, and that means I’m a slacker! Anyway, that list includes:

* GameCenter achievements and leaderboards for all game modes.
* Retina graphics for normal iPhones (iPhone 5 support in the next version… probably).
* New “tap-based” input method. (The old drag-based method still works also.)
* New AbstractPuzzle/ActionChess news feed.
* New help button on the home screen.
* New “wiggle” animations when pieces get near the top of the screen.

There are probably about 500 other minor changes. Unfortunately, that list doesn’t include fixing the one or two UI bugs I know about (that annoying flashing that happens *sometimes when the level changes is still there, I’ve seen it). Here’s a list of things I want to tackle for the next version:

* release the more or less completed static-Puzzle mode
* modernize the interface to support iPhone 5, and possibly (hopefully) the iPad
* fix those bugs I mention, and quite possibly give the graphics an overhaul

Thanks for playing!

ActionChess is free until the next version is released

As extra incentive for myself (and possibly to drum up some pre-release interest in the next version), I’ve changed the price of ActionChess in the app store to free.

The next version will have Game Center support, as well as retina display graphics and iOS 4 multitasking.

It’s really very close to complete. I just need to copy over all the achievements (there are over 50 of them) from OpenFeint to Game Center. I’m hoping to get to that this weekend.

Thanks for downloading!

ActionChess in the Star Tribune

ActionChess was featured yesterday in a list of apps made in MN — in the Star Tribune.

UPDATE: Here is the entirety of the mention (for posterity):

Cross the line-clearing aspects of Tetris with the moves of chess pieces, and you get this fun puzzle game.

It was featured in the upper left-hand corner of a page with an iPhone in the middle and all the local app icons on it. It ran with another much larger and longer article about MN made apps in general titled Land of 10,000+ apps. (That article also briefly features Clockwork, where I am gainfully employed.) Both were written by Randy Salas, who I do not know and have never communicated with. Thanks Randy!

ActionChess Update 1.1.5

A new ActionChess update (1.1.5) is in review. Here are the changes in the update:
– Minor changes to help text across the board.
– New scheme for saved games. One save per game mode is allowed. You can return to the menu to save your game, so when you unlock a new game mode, go try it out right away!

If you’ve been paying attention, (and I don’t know why you would be), you’ll notice that the version numbers should all match now also. There was a discrepancy between all the various versions because I wanted to number things 0.1.x, but I’d launched with 1.0 (by default, I just hadn’t changed the string in my plist project file), and since apple only allows upward version number changes, I had been trying to mirror the “real” version number, but with one instead of zero. This is a silly little discrepancy, but I’ve given up and moved everything to 1.1.x to avoid confusion.

As I mentioned in an update to a previous post, I wanted to get “global high scores” and a new “Puzzle Mode” into this update, but both features are proving to be fairly time consuming endeavors. I do have some progress into both tasks. So far, I’ve finished most of the shell for puzzle mode (still needs some UI love, and there are a couple of bugs). I’ve also programmed enough puzzles in to figure out that this mode is totally worth the effort. It is harder to make puzzles than it is to solve them, but I should have some more progress made by this weekend. I’d like to launch the feature with 100 puzzles. I don’t know how realistic that is, but that’s my goal for now.