Development Update: Flip!

A couple of weeks ago I set myself a target of getting my first build out by the end of the month.  Well, the month end is looming and I think I need to review that target.  So what’s changed?

Well, first of all I’ve had a look at the name and changed it to just be “Flip!”.  Homogeneity proper will come some other time, so Flip! will end up being the first app deployed to the Market.  Speaking of such deployment, that isn’t going to happen by the end of the month.  I just don’t have enough spare time at the moment to focus on app development and I don’t want to release something that’s utterly flawed.  Limited is fine, as I’ve got no issues with pushing something out that’s going to need some polishing later.  I intend to release the first version with some art assets that may be subject to future change, but the app must work and have the basic structure stable.

What I am getting done by the end of the month is the first set of alpha testing.  The game works, and has content, so I’ve pushed it to my flatmate’s tablet and my phone to test it.  This means I’ve already hit tablet support, so one goal checked off.  I’ve also gotten score recording wrapped up (not really hard to do tbh) and the extensible game engine built.  So, what’s left to go before I get a market release done?  Other than fixing any bugs that are thrown up or taking on board any suggestions for refinements from my testing, I need to do the following.

  • Generate some consistent artwork and make sure it’s not too big!
  • Sort out performance issues on low end devices
  • Implement Admob
  • Implement Analytics
  • A few UI tweaks
  • Make sure the application lifecycle is correct

After the release I can do a bit of re-factoring before I add new features.


Setting a target

I’ve begun work on my first app. It’s called Homogeneity and it’s a game built with libgdx.  The aim is to make it a new take on an old theme of turn based puzzle game.

I’m going to set myself a release target for the end of the month so I need to work out what has to be in the first build.  Off the top of my head I think I’ll need the following:

  • Extensible game engine.  As I have an idea where the design is going I should plan to support future features from the go.
  • Score recording but not score evaluation.  As I said, this game is turn based.  Now, I have some ideas about how to evaluate scoring (i.e. what’s a “good” number of turns, what’s a “medium” number of turns, etc.), but it’s going to require either a dedicated bit of work to create, or a complete abandonment of my plans and I’ll just fudge it …  If I at least capture and record the best score so far I can map this back to evaluations later.
  • Two sets of levels to give an idea of what I plan to expand in future releases.
  • All permissions I’ll need.  Now, this won’t be quite right.  In the future I may require SD card access for a planned feature, but this can be made obvious at the time I request them.  The last thing I want to do is keep adding little extra permissions with each release.  It annoys me as a users and I can’t believe I’m alone with that.  I want to have my minimum permission set in place up front.
  • AdMob support.  This’ll be a LITE release so I should start as I mean to go on.
  • Tablet support.  My flatmate owns a Xoom and I’m eyeing up a Thrive.  ‘Nuff said really.
  • Basic rendering.  I just want it to work for now.  I can improve things later.

Anything else is a bonus.