The Little Things
Feb 11, 2018
It's usually the small parts of an app that help it stand out.
There's an app for that
What makes a app stand out amongst the rest? Unique features or charming interactions play the biggest part in answering this question. For example, discovering an Easter Egg offers the feeling of accomplishment.
Today the App Store is saturated in most areas, which can be discouraging. This can also be a challenge. Now an app's success is more difficult to achieve which will in turn make that reward all the greater.
When I'm making my own apps I try to think of ways to add my own special sauce. For example in my earthquake app I created a nice animation when changing the location. These features are nice to use and very enjoyable to create.
My Current Project
The personal project I'm working on at the moment is a card game. I was motivated to create this card game after playing an iMessage poker game with some friends. As you may know iMessage games aren't supported on macOS yet. This meant there was some friction in taking my turn while working at my desk with my phone in my pocket.
The goal for my game is to provide the best poker experience on iOS and macOS. I plan on launching with a few local games, like blackjack, and an online game, Texas Hold'em. After launch I plan on adding even more games.
There are quite a few poker games for macOS and a ton for iOS. Most of the popular ones push IAP and have real time multiplayer. There doesn't seem to be as many turn based games which is a need my game can fill. Furthermore a lot of the popular poker games don't feel native to iOS. They are more generic and as a result aren't as nice to use.
In the hold'em scene of my card game, you can view your current hand and the community cards. At the top of the scene is a message node that indicates who's turn it is. Finally, towards the bottom, there is a message node that indicates the score of your hand.
If you're new to poker you may not know what all the hands are. For example a newer player might not know that a full house consists of a three of a kind and a pair. One solution could be to add a help button to the scene. The help scene could show what makes up each hand. That would be pretty involved and not as nice to use. The user might want a quick glance at what their hand means.
My solution to this dilemma is to add a nice wiggle animation when a user taps on the hand value message node. This immediately informs the user of the cards that make up the hand's value. The effect is rather nice when combined with the new haptics APIs for newer iPhones.
I can't wait to add more of these niceties. This one especially was a fun challenge to get working.
The project is almost ready for a beta test. I'll post more about that soon.