Archive for January, 2013

Remarkable!

Posted: January 31, 2013 in News

In the space of about 2 hours, Numberheads moved from “Waiting for Review” to “In Review”, to “Processing for App Store” to “Ready for sale”.  It’s moving a bit faster than expected!

Wrapping it up

Posted: January 30, 2013 in Programming

Finally, Numberheads is in App Store review. I haven’t been posting to this blog because, frankly, I’ve been working overtime rewriting a lot of it after the first round of beta testing got me a lot of “it’s too confusing” comments. I finished up the major revisions around New Year’s, and wrapping it all up took a few more weeks. Wrapping up is what I want to talk about in this post.

It’s hard to wrap up any software project. It’s even harder when you are working in a small team or on your own. Software engineers love to tweak and play with their work, but eventually ya gotta wrap it up and freeze the features and come up with a release candidate.

  • make a punch list: make lists of what you need to finish, don’t just keep it in your head.
  • have discipline: mentally prepare yourself for the time when you have to stop adding new features and freeze the code. An old ex-boss of mine had a saying: the last 10% takes 50% of the time.
  • there is no number three…
  • do a code review. Get back in there and reread all your code. Go thru and comment anything that you missed while you still remember what you did.

The last one is the least fun but is probably the most useful. You’ll find yourself questioning stuff you did earlier, maybe even forget why you did this or that, and I’ll betcha you’ll find bugs.

You also have to prepare for App Store review. Apps for iOS have to be “just so” when you submit them– there’s all sorts of simple things that you can get wrong, and there’s a lot of folklore about the process. It’s important to read developer blogs; searching for “app store rejection” and things like that, you’ll be surprised what you can find by googling for info on what made other apps fail out of the app review process.

Be sure to have done some real work on nice app icons, splash screens, and game graphics. Apple suggests using an actual artist, not just fart around on your own with photoshop and illustrator. I have to admit doing a little on my own, but I used an artist for creating the playable elements of the game. Let someone tell you how awful your choice of fonts turned out to be, and how you have too many of them. I did, and the end product is better because of it.

The app icon better be good, it’s the very first thing your prospective customer will see when they open the App Store page for your app; there’ll be a big blown-up copy of it right at the top of the page.

Take a while and see if you can fit in the 50 Mbyte size limit for over-the-air downloads. Maybe there’s no way, but if you’re close try to squeak in. The “App size” button in Xcode’s “organizer” is a useful tool for that, as is looking at Unity3D’s Editor log to see what’s taking up the most room. More likely than not it’ll be Textures and Audio files. A small trim or a different import technique may help out.

Finally, change the code signing to your distribution certificate, upload, and wait. Pray to the programming godz that you don’t find a bug the next day. If its minor, leave it for version 1.01, since pulling out (called “rejecting”) your uploaded program and then uploading a fixed version will put you on the end of the review queue again.

Then breathe 🙂