WWDC 2015 Keynote highlights

This years WWDC was divided into 4 key areas.  The overall keynote felt more of improvements to current systems / apps instead of anything ground breaking.  This is not a bad thing if it improves the user’s experience.

iOS 9

  • Apple News app allows you to get all the latest news in a very rich way (pictures, animations etc). I been told by others it’s like Flipboard,  sad times for Flipboard.
  • Apple Pay is coming to the UK and Apple Wallet allows you to group your store / credit cards together.
  • Maps now show Transit routes for major cities.
  • New iPad only split screen / multitasking modes that allow you to use 2 apps at the same time.  Looks super fun and cool but the best parts are only supported on a iPad Air 2.
  • Swift 2 announced and is going open source.
  • iOS 9 installation size will be a lot smaller than iOS 8!

WatchOS 2

The biggest announcement from a developer’s point of view was WatchOS 2

  • Native Apps.  This is the big change, you now have access to the watch hardware (sensors and buttons).  The watch can now do stuff without being connected to the phone.
  • Third-party complications.  Complications are basically watch face widgets that you can create.  You could create a Complication that shows your heart rate as part of your watch face.
  • Better health and fitness performance
  • New Siri capabilities.  You can now ask Siri to start a 5 mile run, or go for a 300 calorie bike ride

OSX El Capitan

Lots of small improvements however it felt like a maintenance release instead of a new big shiny thing.  The support for split screen for apps is cool, but Windows 8 has had that for a while.  Mac gets the 3D engine called Metal which iOS got in iOS 8

Apple has merged it iOS and Mac developer program which is a good move, the Mac app store is a bit of a graveyard.

Apple Music

This was Apple’s big announcement.  In summary, imagine Sportify + a 24 hour radio station managed by Zane Lowe.  $9.99 a month or $14.99 for families (up to 6 people)

Hack24 2.0 out now!

So, finally I got some time to update Hack24, my first ever MMO for iOS.  2.0 is not as big upgraded as I hoped but added some more fun to the game.

  • You can now customise the colour and building type
  • You can now message online players
  • NPC have been introduced to add more fun
  • Bug fixes
  • Game balancing
  • iOS8 fixes

Next, I plan to improve performance, the game keeps getting new users, and so development will continue

You can get it free from iTunes

Whats going on and what have I learned so far?

Good evening all.  Your probably wondering why I have been a little quiet lately, maybe it was the marathon I just did, or maybe it was all the bloody colds I have had.  Could it even be the kids?

Short version

Though all of the above is valid, things are still happening.  I am still chasing my dream of my own Virtual Reality world (in Android), I am learning iOS8/Swift and also READING BOOKS, the ones that contain stories!

I am trying to slightly step back, review what I have learned, and move forward in a more productive focused way.

New stuff will be coming soon.

Long version (sorry)

As a dear friend of mine once said (paraphrasing) , Burf, you like building frameworks but then you loose interest.  Try finishing something.  He was completely right and this helped spawn Burf Development, and the GameJam event I organise at work.

Since I started Burf Development at the start of the year I have released 2 Android games (both part of a game jam so need work), started sharing code on GitHub and released 6 games and 1 app for iOS!  The largest one, being Hack24 which has had quite a few downloads (currently rated 4.5 out of 5).

I learned some obvious lessons with Hack24.

The first one being that I should of only shipped the game out once I was happy with the features.  I should of waited until APN’s where enabled in the game as this is a great way to remind players to come back and inform them that they have been hacked, robbed etc.

It seems that once the initial download rush is over, it is pretty hard to get that boom again.  On the first few days I was receiving 100-200 downloads a day, now its like 40 a week.

I also had some server issues, I guess I could of done more testing however most of this was down to a time validation issue where the clock got out of sync with the client, this caused users not to be able to login 🙁

Waiting 7-9 days for a iOS release is annoying! Especially when you find a bug within minutes after release!  Do more testing, get friends to do it to!  My wife was top bug finder!

Check the support email, oh boy I never actually expected people to contact me, but yes they do!

Work out a road map, or a plan! I am a little stuck on what to do with Hack24 now?  I feel I keep moving on to new stuff!

Whats the plan now?

Well I have a load of idea’s in Trello,  I have a few started projects and lots of new technology to learn.  I have a ton of online course lined up and have started reading books.  Oh and there are the 2 awesome kids I have to, I try to focus my time on them!  Oh did I mention I have a wife and a full time job!

Android and Virtual Reality

Virtual reality has been one of my favourite topics since I saw Lawnmover man.  I have tried to make my own VR world many time since I was about 12!  VR is now starting to take off with Oculus Rift (Facebook), Sony Morpheus, Google Cardboard and Samsung GearVR plus many others!  Apple sadly has nothing in this area, and so I either develop for the desktop or for Android.  As I quite enjoy learning Android, this is a double whammy!  Also, you can generally release anything to the Google Play store (a VR framework would not be allowed).

device-2014-10-03-221016

 

Learning Swift & iOS8

As a senior iOS developer, I really need to rock at Apples new programming.  I have played with Swift a bit but I really feel its time to freshen up my skills.  There is also a lot of cool stuff with iOS8.  My aim is to build a couple of simple but pretty apps (master that AutoLayout) in Swift.

 

iBeacon

A bit more fun than the normal day at work, I was asked to investigate iBeacons.  We had been sent 4 3rd party iBeacons to try out which had been setup with different Major and Minor settings and transmitting frequency (seconds).

To be honest, I did not know where to start, however a nice tutorial on Raywenderlich.com covered everything I needed to know to complete the tutorial.

iBeacons Tutorial

 

UISearchController and custom cells

I have just spent the last hour banging my head against the table and I thought I would blog about it incase others use UISearchDisplayController.

This allows you to add a nice search box to a UITableView, and is really easy to implement.

Except!
If you are using custom UITableViewCells, performing a search will not return the cell you think it is in cellForRowAtIndexPath.  It looks for a cell in the SearchController (not visible or in the storyboard), not your table that’s in the storyboard.

A simple fix that seems to work is. (fingers cross)

From:
TalkListTableViewCell *cell = [tableViewdequeueReusableCellWithIdentifier:cellId];

To:
TalkListTableViewCell *cell = [self.tableViewdequeueReusableCellWithIdentifier:cellId];

However custom height cell’s may require more work. See:
http://stackoverflow.com/questions/15892651/uisearchdisplaycontroller-not-correctly-displaying-custom-cells

Hack24 : Whats coming next?

So Hack24 has seen some downloads, and some regular players. 1.01 was a fast update to fix a few issues however 1.02 (which may become 1.1) will hopefully see quite a few improvements.

New stuff coming (hopefully) soon

  • Steal player buildings (done)
  • Rob player item (master key for players basically) (done)
  • Claim all money for buildings (would save a lot of time)
  • Scan renamed to probe. (done)
  • New scan item to list online players
  • Some in game help to guide you on your way (done in a basic way)
  • Avatar colour changes based on level / rank?
  • APN’s (may not make 1.02)
  • Some server securities (done)
  • More game levels (may not make 1.02)
  • Joystick improvements (done)

Near Future:

  • In game messaging
  • Customise buildings
  • Heads up display of near users  (may not make 1.02)