The next Project…

With the Dice Calculator published to many platforms, good analytics coming in, almost 1000 users, and decent feedback so far, I thought it would be a good time to being thinking about my next project.

I would like the next project to be larger in scope, and to help me explore new concepts and development on the different platforms, possibly including things like advertising or in-app purchases, or something interesting.

When I first started showing the Dice Calculator to some friends, almost immediately, the requests came in for other features that would help make their gaming experience easier.  Things like an initiative tracker, health tracker, character sheet, etc…  Also, other game master aids such as random dungeon generation, encounter generation, random tables from the books, etc…

This lead me to an interesting question. Could I design a companion application where you could show up to a game with nothing other than your device and be able to play the entire game.

I like it.  Clear, simple vision.  With a model like that, I could imagine in-app purchases where you could add additional rules sets, or support networking with friends, etc…

Quick side note: I’m not in this to make money, and my history with role-playing games has ingrained in me the notion that the vast majority of role-players don’t have a lot of money.  Well, at least they didn’t when I was originally playing a lot.  Today, when I look at the price of books, starter sets, dice, DnDInsider subscription, etc… I’m left with the feeling that a lot of the players are just older versions of those who played a lot when I was younger, and they must somehow have more disposable income.  This may require some actual market research.  If most people don’t have extra income, then I definitely don’t want to make my application less accessible to folks just for me to experiment.

So, with that vision, I’ve started designing my next project… the

RPG Table Companion

As I do development on this project and design items, I hope to keep the blog updated and solicit feedback.  I hope you come along for the journey.

 

Current Status of Dice Calculator

It’s been about a month since I released the first draft of the Dice Calculator.  In that time, I’ve learned a LOT!  I thought it would be great to share some of the stats and learnings from the journey so far and give you a sneak peek where things are headed next.

At this time, the Dice Calculator is deployed and supported on the following platforms:

I have also built it for MacOS, but have not released it to the MacOS store.  If you’re interested in that version, or a Linux version, drop me a note.

This is what it looks like running on all of those devices (iPad Mini, iPhone 5, Nexus 7, Nokia 1520, Windows Laptop)

Dice Calculator on all Platforms

 

One of the best decisions I made was to integrate Google Analytics into the application.  This allows me to anonymously collect basic usage data about the application.  Specifically, it tracks which screen you’re on, what formulas are used and some basic system information (screen resolution, operating system, etc…).

With that information, I can go to my analytics dashboard and understand how many people are using the application, if they’re using it more than once, and how many users I have.  Here’s some examples of the stats as of right now:

417 Users

The Windows Phone is the largest audience.  I suspect this is due to being the first platform released and I suspect fewer similar applications.

Installed in 40 countries.

This one really surprised me.  I intentionally tried to use as little descriptive English as possible so that folks around the world could use the application, but this really impresses me. Top 10 countries so far:

  1. United States
  2. Brazil
  3. Canada
  4. United Kingdom
  5. Vietnam
  6. China
  7. Italy
  8. Germany
  9. Slovakia
  10. France

28,311 User Events

This data is really only since May 15th since that’s when the first version with Google Analytics went live.  The biggest event is people actually doing a calculation, with it being almost a 50/50 split between folks manually calculating by using the number pad, versus those who use the saved formulas. Top three formulas are d20, 4d6k3 and d100.

0 Crashes or Exceptions

I’ve not had any reports of crashes or hangs from the released versions.  This makes me feel good.  (if you’ve had a crash or hang, drop me a note with a repro).

Next Steps

Well, with a good version out for everyone to enjoy, I thought it would be a good opportunity to start on my next project… The RPG Table Companion!  I’ll have some follow-up posts to this one to describe the vision and timeline for getting it out to folks and how you can participate in the design!

 

 

Finally Deployed for iOS – iPad and iPhone

As of yesterday, June 6th, 2014 @11:55am PST, my Dice Calculator App went live in the iOS store.

Image

I had actually submitted it almost a week earlier on June 1st.  From that point, it sat in a nebulous queue known as “waiting for review”.  Given the amount of work to submit the application, and reading through their submission guidelines, I was almost positive that the application would be rejected based on some nuance of how I spelled a keyword, or that a picture wasn’t exactly the right size, or that the reviewer didn’t think it met with the high standards of Apple UI design.

Happily, I’m passed that now, and the application can be downloaded at

https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=884855002&mt=8