Deep Green 1.2

This has been a difficult release. I’m very happy it’s out.

From the day the iPad was announced, more than a year ago, I wanted Deep Green to be a universal binary. You should’t have to manage several versions, and you certainly shouldn’t have to pay for it twice. So here it is for you, as a free upgrade.

Deep Green 1.2 on iPad

Even if you bought it more than two years ago, you’ll be able to run it on any of your current iOS devices. And at no point in time have you had a reason to regret buying Deep Green at a higher price, because it has stayed the same since after the short introductory period. If anything, price will increase as more features are added over time.

On a related note, I’ve decided to discontinue the free Lite version. The difference between Lite and the paid version (Lite doesn’t save games between app launches) has been practically eliminated by iOS 4.0’s multitasking.

For all you Lite users, I hope you’ve enjoyed the free ride enough to upgrade to the full version. Lite will stay in the App Store for a while to support older devices and iOS versions, but it will never run native on the iPad or support the Retina display.

If you appreciate the new version, please rate it on the App Store.

Another Happy New Year

While you can say I don’t post to the blog very often, at least I do it regularly. Let me use the start of the new year to post a short update.

2010 started out with the following ambitious, professional goals:

  • Launch Deep Green 2.0
  • Launch another iPhone app
  • Launch a Mac application
  • Launch a more personal site for my free software

None of these can be ticked off completely. But it’s not far from, and many other interesting things happened in 2010.

I just managed to create a more personal blog where I’ll start talking about all the subjects that don’t strictly belong to Cocoa Stuff. That leaves us with Deep Green here for now…

Deep Green Is Thriving and Well

2010 saw the introductions of iPad and iPhone 4 with higher resolution displays. On the Deep Green forum I’ve told a little bit about the turmoil around the graphics design of the next version, so I’ll just list a few forward looking statements about the next version:

  • Version number will be 1.2
  • Graphics will be optimized for Retina and iPad displays
  • Binary will be universal
  • Release date will be in Q1/2011
  • Lite version will be discontinued

I’ll elaborate on two of the statements, universal binary and Lite discontinuation, in separate posts.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year

It’s been a very long time since my last blog post, so it’s about time I tell you what I’ve been up to the last year as well as what you might expect from me in the one that’s coming.

Writing for Apress

What started out as a an impulse ended up taking most of my time in 2009. When Dave Mark wrote me in December 2008 asking me if I wanted to write about the creation of Deep Green, I was so flattered I immediately said yes. My chapter ended up in Apress’ popular book, iPhone Games Project, and is available for free as a PDF download here. Go get it while it’s still there.

It was a very exhausting process, simply because I’d never tried it before, and writing – for me, and not just software – is a demanding process. Even more so when it’s not in one’s native language.

However, I’m very happy with the result. I think it encapsulates why Deep Green has been, and still is, so tremendously popular on the App Store. Apress also liked, and so much that I ended up contributing to another two books: iPhone Advanced Projects and iPhone User Interface Design Projects, the latter as the lead author and technical reviewer. Finally, I’ve been technical reviewer on another iPhone related book coming out soon.

I’ll probably be elaborating more on some of the subjects in these books in separate blog posts over time.

Coding Deep Green

Deep Green got a very nice feature upgrade in May.

One of the more important features was rich, acoustic type sounds. I was very lucky to work with Diego Stocco who’ve done some amazing work. Most lately as a featured soloist on Hans Zimmer’s score for Guy Ritchie’s latest movie, Sherlock Holmes. Read more about it here and be sure to check the video out.

Client Projects

Going indie as the sole provider for a family with two little kids is not something I’ll be doing overnight. Although Deep Green is doing very well, it’ll take a bit more than that. So while I’ve started other Cocoa Stuff projects, I’ve also been doing Mac OS X and iPhone consulting.

One of the these projects is the magnificent, Capture One RAW image workflow application from Phase One. In terms of image quality, it beats Adobe Photoshop Lightroom any day.

My latest iPhone client project is iSki Instructor by Danish iSki.

Other Ventures

Before focusing on Cocoa Stuff I used to consult and raise capital for early startups. As if the above didn’t keep me busy enough, it’s been difficult for me not to engage in some of the ventures my network is starting and asking for my advice on. I hope to be able to talk about some of these in the future.

2010

Like most other people, I have lots of ideas and very little time. These are my ambitious, professional goals for 2010:

  • Launch Deep Green 2.0
  • Launch another iPhone app
  • Launch a Mac application
  • Launch a more personal site for my free software

Please check in from time to time to see the progress or, even easier, subscribe to my feed.

The Deep, Green Sounds

When users started asking for sounds in Deep Green, I couldn’t really see what chess and game sounds could possibly have to do with each other. I mean, you’re sitting there concentrating. Who’d want to be disturbed by annoying sounds?

However, being the weak person I am, I couldn’t resist. And when Diego Stocco wrote me after he saw the preview of my website on the Behance Network, I jumped in.

Diego is a sound designer and composer that particularly likes to work with acoustic sources and creatively turn them into unique sounds. This got my attention, because I couldn’t possibly accept the beep-beep type of sounds you normally find in chess programs.

I wanted a sound universe similar to what I imagined it in The Golden Compass movie: acoustic, mechanical, old. I.e. the sounds from an old English study with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves in noble wood, filled with old leader-back books, thick carpet, massive polished teak doors, brass hinges, crystal glasses, an old grandfather clock chiming now and then, a beautifully worn mahogany desk etc. You get the picture.

There wasn’t a lot of time to do the work, so I was quite amazed when I got not only what I’d asked for, but in most cases several variations I could randomly switch between at runtime. So for putting down a piece for example, I’m alternating between 14 sounds to make it more varied and realistic. All sounds are recorded originally with no use of sound libraries, Diego used a real chess board, a vintage desk, an old watch and other mechanical objects to create an interesting set of sounds that enhances the gaming experience.

The result, I think, is extremely successful. Today, I couldn’t imagine using Deep Green without the sounds enabled. Watch the videos to check out some of the sounds. Or even better, get Deep Green on your device now.

So I want to thank you all for suggesting this features. Please keep them coming. Although I have a lot of functionality planned already, I’m sure there’s even more I haven’t thought of myself.

And Then There Was Lite…

Previously, there wasn’t any way of trying Deep Green without having to purchase it. I can appreciate users wouldn’t necessarily just want to do that, although $7.99 US is cheap for an application of Deep Green’s caliber. And only very recently did I provide you with videos to ease the buying decision, let alone a website that would imply the quality I stand for.

By downloading Deep Green Lite, you can now get a feel for its big brother. In fact, they’re exactly the same – with just one exception: Lite won’t restore your previous game at application relaunch. So if you answer a phone call during a game, for example, you won’t be able to resume it, because Deep Green Lite will have terminated.

Luckily, getting the full enjoyment is only a few taps away: Game Info > Help > About:

About Deep Green Lite

Tapping the Buy Deep Green button will take you to the comforting shelves of the App Store. So to all of you with a need to kick the tires first, have a go at it.

The Best Chess App for iPhone Keeps Getting Better

Deep Green 1.1 was just approved by Apple. It’s been four months under its way. That’s a long time. And it feels even longer. Perhaps because I’ve been doing a lot of other things while creating the best Deep Green yet. More on that soon.

Version 1.1 offers the following improvements over 1.0:

  • Built-in Help
  • Application Settings:
    • Rich, analog-type sounds¹
    • Callout notification for check, stalemate, and checkmate
    • Vibration on check, stalemate, and checkmate²
    • Board coordinates
    • Board auto-rotation
    • Prevent device from going to sleep
  • Added piece animations for check, stalemate, and checkmate
  • Improved animations for captures and move suggestions
  • More comfortable auto-playback speed in Playback mode
  • Display of Engine Strength next to player name in Game Info
  • Animations when swapping colors in Game Info
  • Quick-link for sending e-mail to Support
  • Other minor improvements and bug fixes

I’ll be writing about several of these enhancements in greater detail in separate blog posts. For now, check out the videos on Deep Green’s product page.

¹) Sound is only available on first generation iPod touch when using headset or external speakers. The device must be unmuted.

²) Vibration must be enabled on the iPhone (Settings > Sound) for the currently active Silent/Ring state. Vibration is not available on iPod touch.

Hello, world!

I’ve been reading blogs since 2004. I remember this because that’s when I went back to using a Mac. Now, five years later, I’m ripe for my own blog. Just before they become obsolete, taken over by some new, exciting technology, I reckon.

So why this billionth blog? Mostly for my own sake. I need somewhere to put my thoughts on the code I write, on user interface and design. That’s what I feel strongly about. I’ll be discussing my iPhone applications, perhaps others’ as well.

I’ll strive to make the content both entertaining and thought provoking, so you might want to check back. You may even take it so far as to subscribe to it. Like now.