ActionChess 1.1.3 – release notes and update plan

Just thought I’d write a quick note to let you all know that the bug-fix-only release has hit both ActionChess and ActionChess Lite today. (Yesterday now.) I don’t think I’ll have the next update submitted until at least this weekend. I’m planning on at least one of the following features (but hopefully all of them) in the next update:

  • A new game mode: Puzzle Mode
  • Global High Scores (working with GeoCade)
  • Multiple Game Saves (one per game mode)

Realistically, if I shoot for all of them (and I am), it might not be until the following weekend. But we’ll see. I’ll keep you posted.

Update (5-10): I may have been a bit ambitious guestimating two weeks for these three features. It’s been two weeks now, and I’m partway through all of them. I should finish the multiple saves tonight. Maybe I’ll push that to apple for approval before the other two, but I’m not sure yet. So far, I’ve got about a half-dozen puzzles for puzzle mode. It’s harder to make puzzles than it is to solve them, but I’m far enough along that I’m now confident it’s worth the effort. My only worry is that it may be difficult for me to make mid-level difficulty puzzles. So far all of them have been really easy, or really pretty hard. We’ll see. I’d like to launch the feature with 100 puzzles. I don’t know how realistic that is, but it’s my goal for now.

ActionChess 1.1.3 submitted

ActionChess 0.1.1 was released last Thursday (along with ActionChess Lite). I submitted another update to ActionChess tonight that fixes a bunch of bugs (see below). I think ActionChess Lite will probably lag a day or two behind it, since I just need to port these changes to it. I wanted to get a lot more into the second ActionChess update, (how about a new game mode or two?!?), but alas it was just not to be. I had too much going on this weekend, and too many bugs to squash.

Here’s the changelog:

* fixed bug with saving multiple high scores after a game
* fixed can click start game from the info screen (and possibly config)
* fixed can click “(opens in safari)” text to open a text input box
* fixed game didn’t save when sleep button is pressed
* replaced Icon.png with better render

Special thanks go out to my friend and co-worker Justin (Dez) for finding a lot of these bugs the day the update was released. Thanks Dez!

ActionChess “Lite” Submitted to the App store!

ActionChess LiteI spent some time yesterday… and again some time today… getting ActionChess Lite all ready to go. I decided on allowing three game types, 3-minute Timed Mode, Specific Piece Mode: The Whole Set, and Specific Piece Mode: Bishops. I went back and forth about that last one. I thought about choosing Queens, but feel like it’s too easy. Thought about Pawns, but that’s too hard. Bishops is a nice compromise, I guess.

I also gave away a bunch of promo codes for the game today on Touch Arcade. I hope that got it some much needed eyeballs, and I also hope it wasn’t premature. The impending 0.1.1 release should fix a whole bunch of bugs, and generally performs much better than 0.1 did. (I hope that gets approved soon.) If it’s not approved by Wednesday, I’ll probably send an email. It’s been a week and a day already, although I suppose technically I re-submitted the binary a week ago today. I don’t know what that does for the app submission “queue”.

The other big thing that took the most time about the Lite version is that I decided to incorporate AdMob ads into the menu screen. They’re at the top of the screen, where you don’t click anyway, and as soon as the app is released, I’m going to switch it to display (as much as possible) only the link exchange ads. This means it’ll just show ads for other games that show ads. And then those games will show ads for ActionChess Lite… hopefully exposing more people to ActionChess who might not otherwise have seen it. It’s all about the evangelism here, not about making money. (I’ve seen the statistics on how many views you have to get to make money on iPhone ads, and it just doesn’t seem worth it at this point.) Anyway, hopefully the ads won’t detract from anyone’s enjoyment of the game.

There’s also a handy button to purchase the full game from the App store. The button doesn’t take you there before asking if you’re sure though. I don’t want anyone getting pissed off about that. Obviously, the screenshot shows that dialog in action.

ActionChess Update part duex

So I’ve heard from some folks that they couldn’t play the game without 2.2.1 installed. It sounds like this is because I compiled the binary for 2.2.1 without thinking about it. I “rejected” the previous update that I submitted last night, and submitted a new one that should work with everything back to 2.1. I can’t see a way to change the date I said that update should be live though, so it looks like I’ve missed my chance to get onto the “recently released” lists again. Oh well, there should be plenty of updates in the future. (I have so many plans for this game that I can hardly wait to work on them all!)

ActionChess available in the App store …and the first update has been submitted

I just received the approval letter, but I don’t know how long it’ll take to show up in the app store.

I spent all afternoon working on a bug where the up button will occasionally get stuck, ending your game prematurely if you’re not quick enough to pause or hit the physical home button to “unstick” it. I hope the bug is not terrible to play with, but I’ve already submitted the update to apple, and I think the way the up button works now is a significant improvement.

Also in the update is a new menu image. The designer of my chess pieces, Peter Wong, saw the previous menu image and sent me an upscaled version without my even asking! Anyway, hopefully apple won’t take a week to approve the update.

ActionChess 0.1 submitted to Apple!

I just completed the long and rather arduous task of submitting ActionChess to apple. I think everything went well. The hard part was generating a new development “code signing certificate”, and getting that all hooked into xcode and building the game again using the new certificate. This seemed to go off without a hitch. I guess gathering all the “stuff” necessary for submission was also a chore, particularly the 512×512 pixel “large version” of the icon. Since I was working from tiny icons when I built the icon for the game, scaling it up looked mostly awful. I just have to hope that the only place it’s used is in the game description page in iTunes, where it appears to be scaled down quite a bit.

I also gathered a bunch of screenshots, and took the 5 that I thought were the best to include with the game. I didn’t spend terribly long on that portion, so I don’t know that the screenshots are really all that great. (Read more to see all the ones I chose.)

I also created a new page on this website withe the current game description.

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