Archive for August, 2008

Yes, I Will Accept More of Your Money

Friday, August 29th, 2008

A number of people have written in things like, “I love your app! You should totally be charging more!”, which is very flattering. But I think it’s at the right price, especially since I value having more happy customers than having more money. That said, I’m certainly not averse to having more money. For example, on my current development wish list is:

  • a Wacom Cintiq to create better graphics
  • Photoshop
  • reference manuals
  • a giant underground lair filled with a team of minions to do my bidding

And let me tell you, those things don’t come cheap. So if you’d like to support my development effort even more, feel free to click the “Donate” button on the right, below the tall image. All proceeds will go towards helping me make even better apps for you! (Either that or beer.)

Multiple Views

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

See this heinous looking screenshot? This represents the culmination of several days of effort to completely rehaul my code so that the dice rolling occurs in a custom view. Now, I can create the dice boards dynamically. More importantly, it means that I can have more than one and hopefully switch between them.

Also, I figured out a way to hide the navigation bar so I should be able to retain much of the original look, which people seemed to like.

Navigation Bar

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008


Apparently, there are some issues with transparent navigation bars so I won’t be using those. But I managed to get an opaque navigation bar set up. Here are three versions:

Which do you like best?

  • a) the original without any bar
  • b) the one with just a bar on top
  • c) or the one with both

Doing navigation without a bar (getting it to look back like the original) would be kinda tricky for me because I’d have to write custom code to do all the switching and the other pages (history and settings) look better with the bar since they’ll be more standard iPhone interfaces. So I wanted to get a gauge of people’s opinion as to whether it was worth putting in the effort to do something like that.

Reply in the comments section!

Developing for the iPhone Part 4: The Notebook

Monday, August 25th, 2008

I’m working furiously to get a few of the most requested features in (dice locking, colored dice, history, etc.). A word of advice: if you ever plan to have multiple views flipping back and forth with a navigation bar, code that up before you start working on your main view, especially if you want to do something tricky like have a view to the left of your main view… Ah, hindsight.

Anyways, I thought I’d take a bit of a break from that and go into one of the most important pieces of equipment when it comes to developing software: the notebook. That’s right, this humble notebook is vital to your project because it represents planning. Without the notebook, you might just start adding features and UI elements willy-nilly and then where would you be? Stuck with a crappy product, that’s where! You could use anything to plan, really; loose sheets of paper, napkins, a blackboard. But I prefer a notebook for a few reasons:

  • it’s portable so you can jot down ideas wherever they occur to you
  • the pages are connected so they won’t get lost or mixed up
  • it makes you look cool

Well, okay, maybe it won’t make you look cool. But hey, the director of Pan’s Labyrinth, Guillermo del Toro, has one and he’s pretty darn cool.

Planned Features

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

Whooh, after spending a couple hours replying to emails and comments for the second night in a row, I think I need to come up with an FAQ or something so I can get back to coding! Well, here’s a start:

  • Updates are free and automatic! So if you’re just waiting on a feature that I’m planning on implementing, you can buy it now and not have to worry about checking back here to see if I’ve implemented it yet. But I certainly welcome people to read this blog if they’re interested. The RSS feed is great for that.
  • Dice locking is the first feature that I’m planning on implementing next (I want to play Yahtzee, too)! Hopefully, I’ll be able to get that done this weekend.
  • Colored dice are definitely coming! I just have to work out an elegant interface for it.

Update: see the full list of planned features on the Apps -> Mach Dice page.

    I’ve Hit the Big Time!

    Friday, August 22nd, 2008

    Well, maybe not the big time, but certainly bigger than when I started. It’s been a heady couple of days.

    A couple nights ago, I created a little YouTube video to demo my app. It got a couple views. Yesterday morning I posted on it in the apps forums of MacRumors. Again, just a few views. But one of the people who saw it was Arnold Kim, the guy who actually runs MacRumors! So then he posted on it in in the front page of the iPhone section and that got a few thousand views. Of course, only a small portion of those people actually purchased the app but still, it’s been exciting. I spent several hours last night responding to a lot of great comments and emails.

    So thank you Arnold, and thank you MacRumors community, and thank you YouTube community! If you bought Mach Dice and enjoy it, please tell your friends about it. I plan to continue blogging about developing applications for the iPhone so if you’re interested in that sort of thing, please do check back occasionally or subscribe to the RSS feed.

    Demo Video Now on YouTube

    Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

    Hey, after many requests (okay, just one) I created a YouTube video to demo my dice rolling app. So now you can check out the demo before deciding whether or not to buy it on the iTunes store. Enjoy!

    “Mach Dice” Now on the iTunes Store!

    Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

    Yay, my little dice rolling app is finally available on the iTunes Store! Please go check it out. Now, I’ve got to go see how quickly I can create a YouTube video demoing it…



    Friday, August 15th, 2008

    I’ve been in L.A. this past week attending SIGGRAPH, a conference on computer graphics. I enjoy going because it’s a chance to catch up with old friends and meet other people in the same field. I also got a chance to show off my latest version of Mach Dice. People thought the tilting 3D effect was cool but hey, we’re a bunch of computer graphics geeks.

    So, the good news is that my app has been approved by the reviewing group! Sadly, it hasn’t actually made it onto the store yet, but I think it’s just a matter of time. I can imagine that they’re quite flooded with app submissions.

    Developing for the iPhone Part 3: Software

    Saturday, August 9th, 2008

    When it comes to software, there’s really one thing you need: the official iPhone software development kit. I can’t go into much detail about the SDK because they require confidentiality when you sign up for it, but I can tell you it’s good. It contains Xcode (Apple’s software developing environment), Interface Builder (to create user interfaces), the iPhone Simulator (which does just about everything the real one does except take pictures, use the accelerometer, and make calls), lots of documentation, and lots of sample code.

    To get the SDK, you just need to have an account with Apple (like iTunes) and you have to agree to their terms and conditions. Mostly, it’s stuff like confidentiality and that you agree not to write abusive software. They says it’s $99 (for the Standard Program) and $299 (for the Enterprise Program if you want to write programs that are only for your company). But you don’t have to pay until you are accepted to the program (which may take several months) and even then, you can change your mind and choose not to enroll. In the meantime, you can download the SDK for free and try it out.

    The only thing the SDK doesn’t come with is media creation stuff, like graphics and sound creations tools. For graphics, the standard is Photoshop but if you’re just starting out and you’re on a budget like me, you might want to take a look at the Gnu Image Manipulation Program (gimp) which is free. That’s what I used to create all the graphics on this site and in my dice rolling app. Sure, they’re not the greatest graphics in the world but to be honest, the limiting factor isn’t the software, it’s me. Da Vinci could do more with charcoal than most people can with a full set of oil paints. Don’t let lack of graphics software be a hurdle. Just get out there and do what you can with what you’ve got.