Tuesday, September 21, 2010

More UI updates and Alpha 3 status

I've been working on the UI layouts for the Easy and Medium difficulty levels. So far it's been going pretty well with the change in direction, so I've got some ideas I need to get feedback on, so if you have an opinion, please share!
The latest version is showing the green and blue boxes around correct answers (green is correct placement). I'm trying to see whether the colors/placement/layout/style seem usable or if it's somewhat unpleasant. I'd like it to be a little more stylized eventually - probably rounded corners and they wouldn't necessarily abut one another - but for Alpha 3 it may be "good enough" to get feedback about the difficulty level game play. The good thing is that things have gone really well with this update. The only thing remaining for functionality is saving/loading and loading old games. The upgrade path has to be supported. I've also considered allowing games of more and less than 5 letters as that's all hooked up on the back-end already. And I'm considering allowing multiple games now, just no more than one game with a particular word length (no more than one 5 letter word game, for instance). Those would be some small updates but might make Alpha 3 a little bigger release.
I was just checking on my list of things that I wanted to do for Alpha 3 and I do have a little bit of work left. What I had on my list to accomplish was the following:
  • Online Leaderboard
  • Player data tracking for game play
Interestingly, I didn't do either of those, but the need to get difficulty levels was more compelling this time around. I may dump those for Alpha 3 just to finish this up and get it out to testers. I'm really curious how the game play works with the easy and medium difficulty levels. It may be cleaner as well because I'm going to be doing a LOT of back-end work with Alpha 4. That next big thing is two-player gaming, so that should be interesting. A LOT of things to do there; could easily take a couple of months to get everything working. It will be a huge amount of work to get all of the different elements integrated, but I do hope that I'll be finished with it by around November. I'd like to get it submitted to Apple around Halloween if possible so I can try to get it out to reviewers before Thanksgiving and out in time for the Christmas season. I don't think sales would be heavily impacted by the holidays, but folks who get a gift card for Christmas might drop $0.99 on my game.
So, if you have any feedback on the UI, please let me know. I think I like it "enough" for the time being to not really worry about it. I'm trying to get this all wrapped up by the weekend so I can get it released and then out to testers. Then it's all two-player games. Wowser!