I have read quite a few tutorials on integrating Cocos2d and UIKit, unfortunately when you rotated the iPhone they would not display correctly. I needed to have portrait UIKit views for settings and landscape Cocos2d views for the “game”. While trying to figure out how to fix this issue I ended up finding my own solution. You can read about it here.
I have had a few weeks of being able to work on my Math Explosion App, which is in serious need of an update. It was the first app that wrote way back in 2009 and has not been updated since then. I always keep expecting it to break when Apple releases a new version of iOS. I am doing more than an update, I am doing a complete rewrite. The original app was written using UIKit and Core Animation but I have felt for a very long time that the app needs to be more gamey to get the kids more interested in playing. As a result I am doing a complete rewrite using Cocos2d. I have dabbled with Cocos2d in the past but have never been able to spend much time using it until now. One of the first things I missed from UIKit was the UIPickerView. I also noticed quite a few other people out there also looking for a UIPickerView equivalent but with no success. In the end I wrote my own CCPickerView with the desire to make it as similar as UIPickerView, but for Cocos2d. If you know how to use UIPickerView you will have no problem finding your way around setting up CCPickerView.
I want to mention some of the differences. Firstly CCPickerView does not create a picker like UIPickerView. It simply creates the components, you have to supply your own “overlay”. I did this deliberately for two reasons. Firstly it was way simpler for me to code and secondly I figured everyone would want to have their own picker image that matched their app. The CCPickerView can be as big or as small as you like, which is not true for UIPickerView unless you incorporate some tricks.
I also added some extras like continuous components. With UIPickerView you add your rows, but if you want the last row to appear to be next to the first row as if the component has been rotated through 360 degrees you had to do the extra coding yourself. I also needed the components to spin. This was a bit tricky for me as I wanted something that was flexible as I could see many possible uses. As a result you can configure settings like the speed of the spin, how many times the components spin and if the components ease in and out when starting and stopping. You also get to control the stop row. How else are you going to have a winner.
You can find the code on GitHub https://github.com/fidgetware/CCPickerView
I was just reading on Mobile Orchard that 148Apps is holding their second annual “Best App Ever Awards” for iPhone Applications. There are 55 categories, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was a “Best App for Primary School Kids”. That is so great that the educational apps have been broken down into sub sections as many educational apps are geared toward different end users.
I naturally nominated my “Math Explosion Multiplication and Division” App as it is a great way to get kids to learn their Multiplication and Division facts without using boring flash cards. The game is pretty simple and is based off minute math, where you have to solve as many equations as quickly as possible within 1 minute. It is race against time as the fuse burns down on the dynamite. The equations are initially easy and get progressively harder. The kids use a calculator type interface to enter their answers as I think the multiple choice approach leads to guessing. If you are successful you are rewarded with fireworks and you get to go to the next level. If you are not successful the screen “blows up” and you have to start again.
For parents and educators the application only shows equations you have not seen or have previously got wrong. The game also has a high score system so you can see how well a child did. Plus it gets kids motivated to try to do better each time.
For the kids the buttons make fun sounds which of course include fart noises. Having levels and a scoring system gets them trying to beat their friends and they try to go so fast to beat the fuse.
So go and nominate “Math Explosion Multiplication and Division” for “The Best App for Primary School Kids“
I decided to update the icons for the Math Explosion games as I felt the old ones did not convey what the applications did. They looked a bit static and more like an application that taught time. So I added an equation to each icon to make the purpose very obvious, these are math applications. But in order to jazz it up a bit I made the clock faces blurry to give it a sense of urgency. I kept the grunge look for the Multiplication and Division game and kept the clean look for the Addition and Subtraction game. Hopeful this will get peoples attention and more downloads.
Last night I submitted the updated Math Explosion Multiplication and Division to Apple for approval. Hopefully this update will be reviewed quickly too. I did find a last minute memory leak that Clang did not find. Not sure why it did not find it as it was pretty obvious. Fortunately it was a small leak as Math Explosion Addition and Subtraction has this problem. I will have to send a new update to Apple to fix that.
The update for Math Explosion Addition and Subtraction has been released to the App store. You can now change the colors of the Spinner and the keypad. In addition you can turn the grunge look off and on. I hope the kids don’t spend all their time changing the colors instead of learning. Math Explosion Multiplication and Division has been updated and I am busy testing it before submitting it to the App Store. This update was very quick it went to the App Store on Oct 1st, just 6 days. Thanks Apple.
It took more than 12 hours after I had finished the Math Explosion update to upload it to Apple for review. Itunesconnect has always been slow for me, but it was timing out and simply hanging there. I tried again the next morning and was still having the same issues with zero response when I tried to upload the binary. A quick check on Twitter and I saw many other folks were having problems too. A few hours later I finally manged to upload the new version. So in about two weeks time it will be released. I changed the app from free to $0.99 thinking that I was changing it for the new version only, but it appears there is only one place to have a price. So the price changed early, which is fine as I should have been selling it already. I decided to change Math Explosion Multiplication and Division to be for sale for $0.99 too. The update for the Math Explosion Multiplication and Division should be complete early next week.
Have a Fantastic Friday.
I had a nice surprise to find out that the Math Explosion games was featured in Network World. It gave the game a little lift in the iTunes store, pity I am not charging for it yet, which is my intention, now that Pill Puzzle has been released. I want to do a few updates to allow users to change colors.
Here is a link to the article 15 smartphone apps you shouldn’t live without – Network World
We are on slide 14.