What’s shaking at Shaking Earth


Well, a lot has been going on, but few posts have gone out.

A while back I decided to pull the Camera Streak app from the market. It simply never performed as well as I wanted it to, and while there were certainly people who liked it, there were some really negative comments that I just didn’t want to deal with. If ever I find myself with more time on my hands I’d love to revisit the project to see if I can get it to work as well as I’d like.

Spellbook РD&D 3.5 got a huge update! I finally implemented multiple spellbooks and gave the app a big face-lift. It was obvious that not everyone knew about certain features of the app, so I added an action bar to expose the most obvious features  (search being most prominently featured). Big thanks go out to the creators of ActionBarSherlock, who made my work a lot easier.

before

Before

After

After

I also implemented in-app purchases to try to get some sort of return from this app. The response to this has been pretty mixed. A few of people complain and call me greedy. Some don’t like the tiered structure and feel there should just be a paid app (a pro version, so to speak).
First off, I took off 2.5 weeks from work to develop this version. That’s 2.5 weeks unpaid. So no, I’m not greedy. I really like programming, and I really like D&D, too, but you can’t just ask for features and expect them to come from nowhere. Everything takes time, and sometimes you just have to pay for stuff. Realistically I’ll never get back the amount of money I lost by not working those 2.5 weeks.
There are 3 options for purchase: 15 gp for $0.99, 75 gp for $2.99 and 1000 gp for $9.99. 15 gp gets you one new spellbook, whch is the only thing you can use the gold pieces for right now, though more things are coming. Why did I set it up that way? To give people options, and also just to see what happens. For $2.99 you get enough to add 5 more spellbooks, giving you 6 total. Most people don’t have that many spellcasting characters. Let’s say you add 3, then have a bunch of gold left over for other features. It’s pretty reasonable, I think, and the best deal out of the bunch. But hey, some people don’t want the commitment, so for the minuscule sum of $0.99 you can add another spellbook. This is a great option if you don’t change characters much and just need to keep track of one more, or maybe want to keep another list. Finally, there’s the $9.99 purchase, which gets you 1000 gold pieces! If you’ve been paying attention, that 1000 is probably more than you can ever spend. If, however, you did manage to spend it, there’s a little surprise for you: It comes back. That’s right, you’ll never run out. One other nice thing about this purchase is that it’s available across all your devices and also comes back if you replace your device. If you have an Android tablet or loose your phone, that 1000 gp will be waiting for you as soon as you try to add another spellbook. Dungeon Masters are an obvious choice for this purchase.
Finally, a LOT of people are now asking for the ability to add custom spells. It’s coming. I’m working on it. It’s a bit tricky, but you’ll see an initial version sometime soon.

Other than that, I’ve been trying to figure out where to spend my time. There are a lot of things on my plate. I have to bring multiple spellbooks to the Pathfinder app (which I want to do very soon, since I just started playing another caster myself). I also got very excited when Google launched the API for Google +. Admittedly I’m slightly addicted to the new social network. I started working on an app which will pull pictures from your stream and set them as your background using a live wallpaper. There isn’t quite enough functionality in the current API to make this happen, but I’m laying some of the groundwork. I’m also doing a lot of research and experimentation with user experience elements and different ways of interaction. Based on feedback from my apps I can tell that not everything that should be obvious to people, is. I’m always trying to come up with new ways to display information, new ways to interact with elements which give you a richer experience and make using my apps a fun and simple experience. Making my life easier is why I started this whole thing in the first place!

-Jens


3 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Dave S

    I think a “pro” version and free version seems fair. pay 1.99 or whatever and get all the spell books you want. But then again, you’re right, its not that common to have too many spell casting characters. I was thinking its just more clean cut. Pay and get this, free is this. No figuring out what and how much.

    September 28th, 2011

  2. Chibi-Zel

    I thought the gold system was a pretty neat way to implement things. Either way, I’ll be buying at least one more book, I play a lot of clerics and paladins. However until the add your own spell feature is implemented, it’s not very useful for most of them, their spell lists sort of wander off across four or five reference books. Very heavy to carry around to each game! I’m really hoping that feature does get added eventually.

    October 18th, 2011

  3. Mike G

    Thank you for this app I love it! It’s a shame a lot of the other stuff is copyrighted and can’t be used but what can ya do. Any news on it’s progress? I’m excited for the custom spell feature.

    January 31st, 2012

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