The Story Behind iPACROSS – Launch on Mac

iPACROSS available in Mac and iPad AppStoreiPACROSS on Mac is almost the same as its twin brother, with slightly modified UI to adapt to different input styles. We started to create the Mac version as soon as we heard the news that Mac App Store is coming, and did the first submission to Apple on Nov 13th, 2010. We wished to be one of the launch titles of the Mac App Store. We did not worry much on the approval since we have never failed any submission to iOS App Store. And we had almost 2 months to fix the problem even if there was any.

But we had not made that happen. The Mac version were rejected for seven times. Each failure was a unique experience. We failed the first attempt because of the naming convention – we used the name “iPACROSS Mac” which Apple might not appreciate much. And then, we failed another few submissions for an incompatibility problem on one certain type of MacBook. After I fixed that finally, we got the latest rejection because of a slightly difference in App Store guideline that made our game good for iOS but unacceptable for Mac.

The game passed its eighth submission on the last day of February 2011. With all the experience we learned, the Mac version was almost perfect in its “1.0.0”, from the gameplay aspect. It has been featured in Mac App Store since the debut. The selling is beyond my expectation. And, on top of everything, the player feedback is truly fantastic.

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The Story Behind iPACROSS – Launch on iPad (#3)

iPACROSS available in Mac and iPad AppStoreAs soon as we realized that we didn’t really know how to make this game to appeal to casual players, especially after the frustrating first launch. We quickly decided to tailor the game to meet more hardcore puzzle players’ needs. Actually it was quite simple to do: simply adapt to the feedback from these players and continue to polish the game to the level where it provides the best Picross puzzle-solving experience among its competitors on iPad.

A few big changes were quickly applied to the game. Firstly, we double checked every puzzle and fixed every one we found that has multiple solutions. Secondly, we optimized the UI responding speed to achieve a smoother and more comfortable touch control. Lastly, we implemented the “free mode” in expert (20×20) and maniac (25×25) levels to ensure that player won’t be punished and auto-corrected when a mistake was made. This feature was among the most requested ones from player. Continue reading

The Story Behind iPACROSS – Launch on iPad (#2)

iPACROSS available in iPad and Mac AppStoreThe selling number was very low at the beginning. One of the reasons was because I made a brainless mistake in the submission. When filling the submission form, I chose “Entertainment” as the primary category, and “Games” as secondary. I did not know AppStore entirely ignored the secondary category, and our game had not appeared at the Games section at all. I noticed that immediately and submitted an update to switch the category. But we already lost our first chance to build the visibility.

That was bad but not the worst. There were some players already known our game from the forum. They downloaded the game immediately, and gave us feedback that we had never expected. They complained that some puzzles could not be solved, including one of the entry level puzzles.

Unsolvable puzzle in the initial build of iPACROSS

Which is the right solution, red or yellow?

Continue reading