Monthly Archives: July 2013

To Launch An App — Reduce

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This post is part of a series of updates leading up to the launch of Double Dynamo for iOS.

Previously

“Hofstadter’s Law: It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.”

Douglas Hofstadter

The time just before launch is a tricky stage of any product’s development. This is the time when expectations and reality butt heads, when the demon of bad planning reveals itself and reminds you from its position on your sinistral shoulder that it’s been there all along. Immature organizations tend to respond to this inevitability by going into crunch mode, something I’ve experienced and would prefer to avoid. I now find myself with a long list of desiderata and not enough time to check them all off. So what can I do about it?

Scissors

Cut, cut, cut. Is there a feature that isn’t absolutely essential to the product? Cut it. Is there a feature that can wait until after launch? Postpone it. If what’s left still won’t fit into the time remaining, then and only then should you think about adjusting your deadline.

Last time I talked about Facebook and Game Center integration. I spent a little time doing some research and decided that both are strong candidates for postponement until after launch, so I put them on the back burner. Meanwhile I plowed through a long laundry list of small bugs and tweaks (14 items since Friday) that I’d been putting off. And in the back of my mind I continued thinking about priorities.

What’s Next?

The winner of the priority game is a set of final changes to the basic flow of the game. This has a few different parts:

  1. Currently each stage of difficulty is broken up into 3 or 4 waves. You play through the waves and get an aggregate score at the end. The first change will be to make these waves more meaningful by requiring that you do well enough on each wave before moving on to the next.
  2. Each wave has a fixed number of opportunities to make matches, which means there’s a hard limit to how high you can score. The plan is to add bonus match opportunities under certain conditions, which will lengthen gameplay when you’re playing well.
  3. Clearer messaging around the game structure, how you get a good score, and how you’re doing compared to previous attempts. This sounds vague, but I’ve made it explicit in my notes.
  4. Generate harder stages with a smooth difficulty curve for more advanced players.

This represents a lot of work, and I expect it will take all of this week and likely a day or two into the next. I’ll write another quick update on my progress later in the week. Ciao!

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To Launch An App — In-Game Tutorial

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This post is part of a series of updates leading up to the launch of Double Dynamo for iOS.

Previously

Last Thursday I presented a timeline of how I got to this point in the development of Double Dynamo. I also mentioned I’d be working on an in-game tutorial for new players that would be done “some time Tuesday or Wednesday”. So how did I stack up? Continue reading To Launch An App — In-Game Tutorial

To Launch An App — The Story So Far

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This post is part of a series of updates leading up to the launch of Double Dynamo for iOS.

Previously…

Let’s start off the series with a quick summary of how the project got to this point. (Since there’s a lot to catch up on this will probably be the longest TLAA update ever.) The seeds of Double Dynamo are years old, but the real story starts at the beginning of this year: Continue reading To Launch An App — The Story So Far

To Launch An App — Intro

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Index of TLAA Updates

Introduction

As Double Dynamo gets closer to launch, the question people ask me most often is, how am I planning to get the word out there? Three months ago I had no idea, but I’ve done some research and I have a strategy:

  • Build the best, most compelling product possible, given the resources available
  • Build relationships with others in the industry
  • Communicate progress and keep fans in the loop leading up to launch

It’s easy to forget that the development process can appear opaque from the outside. This is why I’m announcing a new series of updates: To Launch an App: a Dev Log. Each update will be brief and will cover what I accomplished over the last week (or few days) and what I plan to work on over the next week, plus lessons learned. This process will also help to keep me organized, keep me honest, and provide a record that I and other devs can look back on for insight and direction.

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