Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What Happens When I Get to the End?

My five year old daughter was giving the new game I'm working on a test run, but the game isn't done yet.  I've got the puzzles working, but I haven't implemented the rewards.   There are very few bells, whistles and animations to encourage and motivate her to advance through the levels.  She was losing steam, but she was determined to get to the end.

"What will happen when I finish it?" she asks.

I answered, "Well, nothing.  I haven't created that part yet."

Poor kid.  I guess that's what happens when you play a game before it is done.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Amazon's New Test Drive Feature

Amazon has come out with a new feature that allows you to test drive apps on your computer from their website.  This feature allows you to use a paid app for free with some restrictions.  This is especially nice for apps that don't have a free lite version available.  On Google Play you can return an app within 15 minutes of purchase if it doesn't meet your expectations, but on Amazon all sales are final.

The feature is limited in that you are using the app via an emulator on a computer.  If the app makes use of GPS, a camera, etc, you will not be able to test those features out.  The response time from the emulated device seems pretty good.  The sound might be a little delayed, but overall I was satisfied with how my app performed via the emulator.

I like the idea of this feature, but I am concerned about Amazon giving away my content for free.  Amazon makes you give up a lot of control over price and use when you sign their terms of service.  This probably falls under the terms that I begrudgingly agreed to.  It seems you get ten free minutes every time you load the app.  The way Learn To Read works, reloading every ten minutes doesn't really hinder the overall experience.  If it was limited to a one time ten minute evaluation I would not have a problem with it.   While the maximum learning benefits come from a child having the device in their hand, and running their finger along the words while they read, the app is still usable on the computer.  I wonder if I will lose sales because of this?  Right now I need to maintain my current level of sales for about 3 years for me to make enough money for it to have been worth my time.

What is your preference for evaluating an app for purchase?  Screenshots, video, a free lite version, buy and return, or use in an emulator?  Would you still buy an app so you could use it on your device, versus only using it on the computer?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Corvids At the Zoo

What do I like to see when we go to the zoo?  The crows.  There is a large crow population at the Woodland Park Zoo and they are very vocal.  I always wonder what they are talking about. I'm sure the large population is due to the potential food they can steal, both from the visitors and the animals.  They especially seem to enjoy the flamingo and penguin exhibits, and visitors' bags! 

The girls were playing on the awesome playground that is at the zoo, and I had left our backpack that contained snacks in it, by the stroller.  The bag was unzipped a bit on top.  A crow hopped on over and quick as a flash, pulled a plastic bag filled with snacks out of the backpack, and attempted to fly off with it.  I chased the crow and yelled at it.  It dropped the bag due to its inability to fly high and carry the bag at the same time.  I then put the snacks back in the backpack and zipped it completely up.  The crow came back and stalked the bag in an attempt to make a second try.  While I was annoyed at the crow for trying to take my homemade Larabars, I did admire its spunk and quick thinking.  Later in the day I noticed a sign, with a picture of a crow stealing a snack from a bag, warning visitors to stow their snacks completely.  

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Coming to iOS

I bought a used iMac on craigslist so I could publish apps for iOS.  I haven't turned it on yet. :S  I don't really know much about Macs.  My priority right now isn't to port Learn To Read,, but the apps I am working on at the moment will be for both Android and iOS.  Right now I'm shooting for release in July.  But working on the app while two kids use me as a jungle gym makes for slow progress. ;)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Learn To Read Featured on the Jellybean Tunes App Report

If you haven't checked out the Moms With Apps blog or site you should.  It is a community made up of parents who either develop, review, or illustrate mobile apps for kids.

Yesterday Learn To Read was featured in the Jellybean Tunes App Report that is regularly released on the site.  Please check out the apps listed and review the ones you like.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Android Apps for Kids on Pinterest

I've created a pinterest pin board for android apps that my kids like.  It is kind of hard to find good android apps so I thought it would be nice to get a good list going.