Suggestion Box approved for the App Store

Apple approved Suggestion Box, my first app, for the App Store over the weekend. I’ll be setting it to “available” when I return from my weeks holiday, so I have time to complete a promotional video for it and prepare press releases etc.

It’s a busy week for me, I am also hoping to have MailShot ready for submission before I go, so that it doesn’t get caught in the AppStore backlog over Xmas.

Video update

Here is the new corporate ident video for Soluble, produced as part of the process for the “Suggestion Box” app which I am about to hit the promotional trail for.

Its best viewed in HD (set it to 720HD in the pop up menu along the bottom.)

The sound is the bubbling of a river, slowed down to 1/6th speed, and the ping is the sonar from a genuine WWII U-Boat. Visually it is a number of different 2D layered elements, with a number of Vegas plug-ins used in combination with hand animation for bubbles etc.

The caustic animation (the “underwater” ripple) was generated by a PC app I found on the web, then applied as a blend layer. It produces repeating, tilable caustic textures at large resolutions (1024 by 1024 in this case) and was a great help for this project.

My next app: MailShot

When I was working on Stripboard I added an email manager feature for the “pro” version which allowed you to email a group of people with the updated schedule. It occurred to me that I should spin this feature off into its own app as there is currently no way to email a large group at once built-in to the iPhone.

When I looked at what was already out there on the App Store it occurred to me that there was a better way to do this than that employed by existing apps, which make people compose their emails within them.

My solution allows you to mail to an entire group of people as though it were a single person, from inside any app that uses the built-in mail system, and with any types of attachment which that app supports.

A few days later and the functionality all works, just need to work on prettying it up now. Here are some choices for icon designs.

Suggestion Box ready for first submission

I have spent the past week or so updating my “Suggestion Box” app ready for its first submission. It is an idea generator for use in improvised comedy and drama.

After feedback from Ian McLaughlin and Bev Fox from The Suggestibles (probably the best-known and most long-established comedy improvisation troupe in the North of England) I have added a few new big features…

One is the ability to edit the suggestion lists. This is pretty great as it means you can make sure all the suggestions given are relevant to your audience or fellow participants. This probably affects the “Characters” and  “Accents” categories most as there is quite a difference between good suggestions for a UK and US audience in those areas. It also means you can add REALLY local celebrities and places that a local audience can relate to, or might have suggested.

The other is the ability to collect multiple suggestions at once. Press the main buttons as usual to get suggestions in the desired categories. Then, when you get one you like, just tap the top line to add it to the pool at the bottom of the screen. A single tap of the wipe button clears the pool to start over.

You can also now copy the edited suggestions file from iTunes, allowing you to copy the data across to someone else’s device so they can benefit from your edits.

I hope you enjoy the new features.

Narnia on Tyne

Haven’t blogged in a few weeks, so I thought I’d better get on with it.

The North of England has been in the grip of winter storms, which hit us out of nowhere at the end of last week. Schools are closed, and it can be hard to get about.

Weird thing is that the previous weekend I drove a 300 mile round trip to go to an artificial indoor snow slope (Xscape in Castleford) to get some snowboard practice in, little did I know I’d be doing it on our local hill the following weekend.

NFM Hoults Session

I was invited to a marketing seminar at Northern Film + Media hosted by Ewan McIntosh, formerly of channel 4’s 4IP investment scheme. It was an enjoyable and interesting day, though it took me around 4 hours to prepare the PowerPoint slides we were asked to bring, working until 1am the previous night, only to find I didn’t need them in the end. Doh!

Still, it helped me think through a few things to get the best out of the day.

Memory loss, and a memorable name?

I am down to my last few days of feature coding on StripBoard, but before I tackle that I need to get to grips with memory leaks. The dev tools aren’t giving me any clues to the source of the problem, but I can see memory trickling away slowly.

On another topic…I have toyed with stripboard or MovieScene as product names, Ian suggests combining them into “Movie Stripboard” as a name, what do you think? I was going to call it MovieTools Stripboard at one point, but there was already a Movie Tools, and a MoviTools on the web. No wonder people just make words up for product names now!

Source control

Managed to get source control set up for my iPhone app yesterday, not as scary as I was expecting, thankfully.

Only took half a day, although I did get into a tangle through moving all the files between directories- I must remember to do that via the GUI not Finder!

I used “Versions” as a GUI and “Beanstalk” for offsite hosting. Versions is a freebie for 20 days, then $39. Beanstalk is free for one repo.