Super POTUS Trump!ā„¢ The Game!

My grandfather fought in WWII and I make silly animations, artwork and games/apps. It’s embarrassing but that’s how it goes…
– Me

Super POTUS Trump is a “mini” indie video game I made as a tribute to President Trump. It’s currently available now for Windows on Steam and soon should be available for iPad as well (pending Apple review).

Game Development

While I describe the game as “mini” the effort it took to produce it was quite the opposite. At face value the game may not seem like a very big project since a person with average gaming/computer skills could play through the entire thing within 45 minutes (or less). But the making of this game was, by FAR, the biggest, most exhausting personal/hobby project I’ve ever undertaken. Not only was it my first time building a game with the (awesome) unity3d.org game engine – it also involved a ton of iPad artwork production, C# coding, audio hunting/editing, learning an entirely new game store workflow (SteamWorks, on top of Apple) and just about every social media/web skill I could muster as well. For the past ~6 months this project was pretty much a black hole that sucked up every free minute I could find.
While it was a lot of work it was, for the most part, a ton of fun. I do have to admit that towards the end I started wondering if I would ever finish it, questioning why in the world I was making it and wondered the odds that anyone else would even care or enjoy, etc. Fortunately I didn’t give up, called it “done” about a week ago and since then it’s been release for Windows and sent to Apple for review.
I have to say it was hard to call it “done” as there were so many ideas I had that I just had to leave out otherwise I’d never finish it! I told myself *IF* I lived through it and if more than 12 people enjoy this version I *MIGHT* consider making an Episode 2 (since a lot of the coding/etc would already be done). But I can’t even think about that right now!! …

Few Development-Related Images

Initial Feedback

Given how greuling things got near the end I have to say comments/reviews like this sure are great to read:

This is just art. Not a game but a piece of art. 10/10 would play again.
– Razor_One (Steam)

And this one just nails it too – we won’t hold it against him that he didn’t vote for Trump šŸ™‚ :

No, I didn’t vote for Trump (and god no I didn’t vote for Hillary), but I love you none-the-less for making this! Your passion and inspiration shows. You should feel proud of your accomplishment! (Also love the Russian theme thrown in. The part Russian in me adores it!) …
– Shrodu (Steam)

Reviews as of 20170811There have been a few naysayers but thanks to how Steam works you can’t leave a negative review unless you’ve installed the game so hopefully that means not very many haters will bother spamming the reviews – which as of today are holding mostly in the Positive category.

Soap Box

In case it’s not obvious I did not make this game to get warm fuzzies reading positive reviews or to rake in the few dollars it hopefully makes to at least make small dent in the the few hundred I sank into making it. I made this game as my tribute to President Trump and to show the world (or maybe just 23 people) that Trump’s support is strong and made up of rationale, talented people whose bond with the man can not be shaken. With the non-stop onslaught of self-righteousness, condescension and vicious calls for violence coming from the news media, Hollywood, college cry-babies and all the other far-lefties in between I felt I simply had no choice but to make this game.

I am well aware this is just a small silly game and I don’t imagine it will get that much attention – outside a few fellow indie gamer fans and friends/family I’m sure the install base will be pretty small. But knowing that even just a few people will see it – whether they’re pro-Trump or not – it will have been worth it.

Thanks to everyone who tries it out! … and thank you, President Trump!

Additional Screens/Media


Video/Gameplay?

I realize some friends/family may not be able to play the game so at some point I may create a video showing a little bit of each level of the game so people can see it that way. In the meantime if you can stomach random people on YouTube I’ve started collecting videos about the game made by other, random people on YouTube – most of them include gameplay video of some level. Here’s that playlist if you want to see video gameplay sooner vs later.

Links

Store Links

To be updated when (if?) iPad version comes out
Windows (Steam) | iPad (App Store)

Social Links

Please like or share where you can!
@SuperPOTUSTrump (Twitter) | Facebook/SuperPOTUSTrump

R.I.P. ResumeTube?

So a week or two ago I dusted off ResumeTube for my own use and figured I’d push a fresh build through the iTunes App Store review process (no new features just some house cleaning/maintenance stuff). Anyhow … to my surprise I got back a quite unexpected “app rejected” message from Apple! Eesh!… Check it out:

Guideline 4.2.2 – Design – Minimum Functionality

We noticed that your app only includes links, images, or content aggregated from the Internet with limited or no native iOS functionality. We understand that this content may be curated from the web specifically for your users, but since it does not sufficiently differ from a mobile web browsing experience, it is not appropriate for the App Store.

Important Information

As a result of violating this guideline, your appā€™s review has been delayed. Future submissions of this app, and other apps associated with your Apple Developer account, will also experience a delayed review. Deliberate disregard of the App Store Review Guidelines and attempts to deceive users or undermine the review process are unacceptable and is a direct violation Section 3.2(f) of the Apple Developer Program License Agreement. Continuing to violate the Terms & Conditions of the Apple Developer Program will result in the termination of your account, as well as any related or linked accounts, and the removal of all your associated apps from the App Store.

We want to provide a safe experience for users to get apps and a fair environment for for all developers to be successful. If you believe we have misunderstood or misinterpreted the intent of your app, you may submit an appeal for consideration or provide additional clarification by responding directly to this message in Resolution Center in iTunes Connect.

Weird aye? I realize that some (maybe most) fancy-pants – for whom being an Apple Developer is a full-time job and not a hobby like me – may know the above rule/logic already and wouldn’t be surprised by Apple’s bringing it up … but personally I find it a bit surprising since A) I took quite a bit of time making the app UI/experience very clean and responsive and B) … I give the jerks $100 bucks every year just to keep my Apple Developer license active!!

I of course wrote them back trying to explain that while I realize it’s not some world-saving feature-packed app, the core usefulness of the app is based on a feature/need that 99% people who are “mobile web browsing” (or desktop/laptop web browsing!) don’t have a solution for (i.e. “resuming video!”) … but no idea if they’ll reconsider.

So at this point I have no idea what will happen. The app may or may not make it through review /or (worst case) may be pulled from the App Store! Sad too because while Apple may think the app isn’t “native iOS” fancy enough for them I personally still use this app a lot! Here’s hoping they reconsider. šŸ™

Update 1

Well … things look pretty grim. Just got this back from Apple after my initial replies to them:

Hello,

Thank you for your prompt response. Due to recent policy changes apps which primarily interact with content aggregated from the internet are no longer appropriate for the App Store. As the main features of your app revolve around watching, saving, and resuming aggregated videos we have found the app to not be in compliance with guideline 4.2.2.

Once the app has been modified in order to address this rejection we would be happy to resume our review.

Best regards,
App Store Review

Seems like there’s no chance of survival here but I guess I’ll write them one more please. Still seems very odd to me that a “utility” app like this that is (at least IMHO) very helpful/time-saving would be considered unwelcome to the app store. If we can’t have apps and utilities that we want and actually use on our expensive tablets why in the world do we buy them!?? Ugh … to be continued .. or not. =/

Related

Update 2 (2017072x)

The End?

Well I submitted a formal written “appeal” to the App Review Board. I actually was starting to think my case was pretty solid … but sadly, they still don’t see things as I do. My appeal and their response below for the record. I have to say it seems beyond INSANELY SILLY to have to write all these words about an app that’s all about keeping you efficient and saving time! Lordy the irony is killing me.

I’m not sure if Apple will take down the existing version of the app from the App Store or not (still there as of today). I’m too scared to ask them directly fearing they may take it down after I ask … so for now I’ll be quiet and hope they leave it there for now (?).

As for what’s next I don’t know. Maybe I’ll think of a way to make it do more stuff so the App Review board approves it – though the notion of forcing functionality like that seems like a dumb idea (even though they basically are suggesting that). Or maybe I’ll just port it to a web app. Who knows … too busy with my Super POTUS Trump game right now to deal w/it.

My Appeal

Hello,

Thank you for the opportunity to submit an appeal for my app ResumeTube to remain on the App Store.

Firstly, I agree with the general notion posed by the App Review team that my app ResumeTube is a web content aggregator of sorts in that it’s primary content is a user-curated list of videos from YouTube and Vimeo. I disagree, however, that this means the app fails to pass Design Guideline 4.2.2 and/or doesn’t deserves to remain on the App Store (as it has for 1-2 years now).

This app’s value is akin to other, fairly famous and popular, apps like Instapaper or Pocket that center around user convenience when it comes to saved articles on the web. Just as it is far more efficient for users to read articles in those apps vs. where the articles originated, it is more efficient for users to watch (certain kinds of) videos in ResumeTube than it is to watch them on YouTube or Vimeo. Here is why:

* Neither YouTube nor Vimeo currently allow users to “resume” where they left off in a video.

* For example, if a user was watching a 1 hour video tutorial class on learning Swift or Objective C (or maybe a 2-3 hour Apple Keynote video) and they had to stop watching and finish it later, when they came back another day they would they have to scrub around the video trying to remember and find where they left off.

* This act of scrubbing around a video trying to find your place is inefficient, frustrating and often leads to people giving up and not bothering to finish watching the video in the first place.

* Additionally, this video scrubbing can sometimes even strain a WiFi/router to the point of having to be restarted due to the bandwidth choking/throttling caused by excessive scrubbing. Multiply this times X number of people in an office or household (like me) with often kids and parents both competing for bandwidth, this situation/scenario is even worse.

ResumeTube was created to solve the above problem(s). Yes it’s content consists 100% of YouTube or Vimeo videos ** just as Instapaper’s content consists 100% of web articles ** … however it serves as a small but powerful solution to giving the user a more efficient, and less-frustrating experience. Simply stated – ResumeTube saves users’ time and frustration and encourages the consumption of more video content vs. less.

If YouTube or Vimeo one day (finally) introduce the ability for users to “resume” where they left off in a video then I would admit ResumeTube’s wouldn’t/shouldn’t need to exist – or at the least the need for its existence would be fair to reassessed. However as of today if ResumeTube is taken off the App Store I, my colleagues and however many other people have purchased the app, will have to return to the world of scrubbing around videos trying to remember where we left off – and sadly giving up a lot of the time.

There are other aspects of ResumeTube that I believe make it worthy of remaining in the App Store but the above points sum up the most important things – which again really boil down to: if ResumeTube is taken off the App Store, myself and other users will A) become less efficient, B) lose value we previously had in our iPads and C) watch fewer web videos.

Here is a video of the app in action in case you are allowed to include material like this in your consideration:

Please do consider my points above and do approve ResumeTube to remain on the App Store! Let me know if you have any follow-up questions.

Thank you.
Chris Emerson
* Apple Developer and Customer since 2011 *

Their Reply

From: appreview | Sent: Thursday, July 27, 2017 2:30 PM
Subject: App Review Board Submission Results

Hello Chris,

We are writing to let you know the results of your appeal for your app, ResumeTube.

The App Review Board evaluated your app and determined that the original rejection feedback is valid. Your app does not comply with App Store Review Guideline 4.2.2.To resolve this issue, please ensure your app includes features, content, and UI that elevate it beyond being primarily a repackaged website or marketing materials.We hope you will consider making the necessary changes to be in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines and will resubmit your revised binary.For questions regarding your appā€™s review, please respond in Resolution Center in iTunes Connect, where a reviewer who is familiar with your app can assist you.

Best regards,#SomeGuy#
App Review Board

New App: ResumeTube (iPad)

Resume What?

A few months back I finally decided to try making an app to solve an issue that has been a (nerdy) annoyance of mine for quite some time. The issue, if you haven’t deducted from the title of this post, is the fact that neither YouTube nor Vimeo “remember” the place you last left off in a video if you can’t watch the whole thing in one sitting. So the core idea behind ResumeTube is to always “resume” where I leave off in a YouTube or Vimeo video.

I’ll admit this may sound like a silly, shallow “problem” to some people but I think anyone who consumes YouTube and Vimeo video content on a regular basis will understand and appreciate the frustration factor here. However, ultimately I made this app for myself so I’ll judge it’s success on whether I continue to use it or not long-term.

See below or head over to the Apple App Store if you want to read the full app background, future ideas, etc. Head over to the ResumeTube Facebook page if you have any questions, comments or suggestions about it! Please leave an app review or a Facebook like if you can to help out!

PS: Any friends and family interested in trying this out let me know and I’ll send you a promo code.

1.x Video/Screenshots

App Store Details

Finally a YouTube and Vimeo video player that saves your place!

Have you ever found yourself scrubbing the YouTube or Vimeo video progress bar back and forth trying to remember where you stopped watching a video last time only to experience one or more of the following?
* You can’t remember where you left off
* That the 6 minutes you had to watch a bit more of the video are now gone
* All that excessive scrubbing makes your video player or network go haywire?

Maybe I’m the only one who has far too frequently found himself in the above situations … but if you have also been frustrated by this kind of thing as well I hope you find this app useful as I do.

I made this app for me but if other people find it useful that’s great!

App Purpose
————————
The main purpose of this app is to make it easy to watch videos from YouTube and Vimeo over multiple sittings without losing your place. The goal is to never have to scrub back and forth to find your place in a video ever again!

App Features
————————
* Simple web video player for YouTube and Vimeo videos
* App will always resume a video where you last left off!
* Can import YouTube and Vimeo video URLs as well as YouTube playlist URLs.
* Jump-ahead and jump-back [15-600] seconds!
* Jump-to specific time in video!
* HD video support
* Time stamp detection in video descriptions (tap a time stamp to move the video to that point!)
* Allows up to 48 videos at once in playlist
* Basic playlist filtering and search functionality
* 4 color themes to choose from

Future Features?
————————————
Pending time and interest I may add some of the following features:

* iPhone version
* Dropbox Sync (so your video progress data syncs across your devices)
* “Favorite” video flagging
* Favorite time stamp video bookmarking (save spots in a video to return to later!)
* Playlist categories
* Better video list edit options (batch delete, etc)
* More intuitive YouTube playlist management
* Support for other video services besides YouTube/Vimeo?

Other Stuff
————————————
* On a side note I have to give a shout out to an app/platform I use named “Plex”. Plex reminded me that all video can (and should) have intelligent “resume” functionality and I use it exclusively for all my TV and movie watching. However Plex’s system for resuming YouTube and Vimeo videos has been fairly buggy for me for the past couple years so I had no choice but to make my own app!

* All YouTube, Vimeo and example video content copyrights belong to their respective owners.

Known Issues
————————————
* Sometimes if there are network connection issues on your end or a video host’s end this app or your device may need to be restarted before video playback will continue.

* Certain videos may not play through this app depending on how the author or video host have configured the video embed settings.

* Tapping the YouTube or Vimeo logos in the bottom right corner of a video may cause the YouTube or Vimeo app to “take over” this app’s window. If this happens you’ll need to do a full close of the app and relaunch it. Still looking for a fix for this.

* Report any issues found at the Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/ResumeTube-139143359823864

Eat the Eggs! Minecraft Mod 01

I’ve always been a (PC gaming) “mod” nerd. One of my favorite things about Minecraft has always been the vast amount of super fun and creative mods that the community has produced of the years. Anyhow for various reasons I recently I got a small itch to try my hand at making a Minecraft mod myself. It was part developer curiousity and part gamer need. Basically for whatever reason Minecraft has never let you actually EAT the eggs you get from chickens in the game – yet in survival mode your player can die from starvation by day 2 or 3 if you don’t find any food. So my mod concept was simply to make eggs edible. Just to be clear – this isn’t a new idea … others have made similar mods or mods that incorporated something around the same lines. However most if not all of those mods are outdated and no longer work.

Anyhow … after tinkering around with things and watching a few tutorial videos by the Minecraft mod genius Mr Crayfish I was able to create my first ever Minecraft mod which I decided to call … “Eat the Eggs!”. By the way Mr Crayfish’s mods and other projects are simply awesome – that guy is an all around genius.

Anyhow … after I got to a good stopping point I posted the mod for others to check out and as of this post ~650 people have downloaded it so far! That doesn’t speak to my mod’s awesomeness by the way it simply speaks to the crazy number of people who play Minecraft and who are also “mod” nerds like me. Either way – very cool! Some kind soul even made a 5 minute showcase video of it! Check it out.

I by no means claim to be any kind of Minecraft mod developer expert now – but I definitely had fun making it and may even try my hand at a 2nd mod soon … we will see.

PocketSwatch 2.0 Update

I’m excited to announce that the 2.0 update to my color swatch app “PocketSwatch” is finally finished and released!

What’s New?

  • Apple 64bit Requirement: Ā First of all – the main reason I decided to update the app in the first place was because PocketSwatch would have been taken off the App Store if I didn’t update it to meet Apple’s new 64-bit requirements before June or July this year … so I was forced to let that happen or at the very least republish it w/the updated 64-bit stuff.
     
  • Photo Mode!:Ā While I was dusting things off I got the idea to re-research the notion of adding a “Photo” mode to the app that allowed users to pull colors from the camera or photos since I wasn’t able to do it for the initial release. After a helpful boost in the right direction from a helpful article written by my pal Raymond Camden*Ā I was able to get this functionality built out and working.Ā So … as seen in the banner graphic above there is now a full-fledged “Photo” mode to the app that let’s users select photos or take new photos w/the camera and create color swatch sets from them! So if you’ve ever wanted to know what the RGB color value of a yellow Skittle is … now you can find out!
    The functionality isn’t perfect yet by any meansĀ but it definitely does the job and I think it’s a fine starting point at a minimum.
    *Raymond has no idea who I am – I just pretend that he and I are pals
     
  • UI Update: Naturally I couldn’t resist cleaning up the look and feel of thingsĀ to keep up with the times so the app icon and overall look of the app both got a mini face lift.
     
  • Other Misc Stuff: There are a handful of other updates (additional background textures, bit better PantoneĀ® color handling and a few other things.

Google Play / Android!

One last thing … the other idea I had while working on updating the app was to attempt to take another stab at getting PocketSwatch compiled and working on Android devices. I tried this during the previous/initial version of the app but I had very little experience with Android dev at that point, plus the framework I use (PhoneGap) was a bit more rough around the edges then. Anyhow – thanks to having a bit of a better starting point on both of those fronts this time I was able to do it … so PocketSwatch is now available on the Google Play app store as well!
On a related note – since the Google device situation is so insane (i.e. way too many types of phones and even worse variety of operating system versions across devices) I wasn’t able to go overboard testing Android much. I think most modern phones will do fine w/it but older ones with older operating system versions may/may not perform great. If anyone actually downloads it on an Android device and reports trouble I will look into it of course … as time permits yadda yadda.

Until next time! …

PocketSwatch App Store Links:

 

Oh yeah – here’s the preview video of the new version in action!

PocketSwatch 2 from Chris Emerson on Vimeo.

My first Chrome App: Searchr!

I stayed up far past my bedtime tonight to get this thing wrapped up and shipped so I figured I’d put up the post for it now too.
This evening I finished the first release build of my first Google Chrome app named “Searchr!“. What in the world is it? Well here’s the app description I’m going with:

Searchr! is an easy-to-use flickr photo search app for Google Chrome focused on speed and convenience! Tired of clicking 15 times just to get to a download link for your favorite flickr photo? This app makes that simple and fast in addition to other time-saving features.

Honestly I figured there would already be dozens of this kind of thing out there – and I’ve looked for them for last couple years – but unless I was looking in all the wrong places it’s just not. Yeah there are a couple flickr Chrome apps and extensions that do various thing – but nothing that useful or impressive AFAIK.
Anyhow – if it’s not obvious this was an app I made for myself because it drives me nuts how long it takes to get to a URL or download (original) link for an image on flickr … plus pretty much anything on flickr takes too long for my impatient self – so this app addresses that.

There is definitely more I want/need to do here. Right now it’s heavily reliant on “tags” for finding photos. Eventually I’ll expand the search scope to parse more than that – but since I live and breathe by tags this will work for me for a while. So when I want to find my “favorite,lincoln,corgan” photos between 2009 and 2010 … I can now do it in seconds!

On a technical note – this thing wasn’t very hard to build. Most of the work here leveraged skills I use at work (and play) every day anyhow so while I did learn a few things along the way it wasn’t a big deal at all to put this together – it’s really just a wrapped up web app. I also had a good laugh that I got it published in mere minutes after uploading the files to Google … contrast that with Apple’s 1-2 week review time for the App Store!

Hopefully other folks will find it useful. If any of you dig it or think of things that I should add or alter drop by the Facebook support page and post a note!
https://www.facebook.com/searchrapp

The official download link for the app on the Google Chrome web store is here:
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/searchr/phldilnakifhbgllkiopclbdchkdcfoc

Wooden Clock Update for iOS 7

A large part of the reason I made Wooden Clock a couple years ago was just to try out the, then new, Adobe AIR-to-IOS development and deployment process to see if there was any life left in the notion of hanging on to my Flash “developer” roots. In the end while I obviously got the app published to the App Store I was not won over with the Adobe tools or workflow for the job. It wasn’t as bad as Android development (still is) but I still definitely did not enjoy it since the app’s performance wasn’t what I’d hoped for, the testing workflow was annoying and buggy and working in the Flash IDE was often infuriating for multiple reasons.

As time went on I worked more and more with the Cordova (a.k.a. PhoneGap) platform –Ā whichĀ Exports native mobile apps from HTML web apps –Ā and I grew pretty fond of it. Naturally after a while the question popped in my head:

“Would Wooden Clock re-written in HTML perform as well or better than the old Flash version in the App Store?”

Since free time was (and still is) so hard to come by this wasn’t something I could justify trying out anytime soon so I just tabled it for a rainy day that would likely never come. But after getting a few blog comments and emails about Wooden Clock having problems with Apple’s latest software update (iOS 7) I decided I may as well kill two birds with one stone and attempt to migrate the app from Flash to HTML.

So over the past couple weeks using an hour here and there I exported the various clock graphics from Flash and rebuilt the app as a HTML web app. Ā OverallĀ Things went fairly smooth and I was surprised to discover that the app’s performance seemed as good if not better than it was in the Flash version.

New Flat Style

As I was rewriting the app I wondered what difference, if any, using flat imagery would have on the performance of the clock so I created a secondary set of graphics to allow users to toggle between a flat style or the default (wooden) style. Honestly it would have probably made more sense if I had tried comparing the image performance against canvas object performance since I’m pretty sure image complexity/color-count has very little affect on performance – but I’m not a canvas pro so I stuck with images. The clock does seem slightly more fluid/responsive when using the flat design but the difference is pretty subtle.

Flat Style

A side-effect of throwing in this flat style is that I may actually be able to create full-fledged additional clock skins in the future too – this would never happen if the app had stayed Flash-based.

Flat Icon?

Since iOS7 has a new “flat” look to everything I made an attempt to update Wooden Clock’s icon to fit in. However since most of this app’s cool-factor is based on how realistic and rich the graphics are coming up with a flat version of the icon is a pretty challenging (possibly impossible) task. I landed on something I could live with for now but I’m not in love with it – so maybe I’ll come up with something more interesting later.

iOS7 Icon
iOS7 Icon
Original Icon
Original Icon

For comparison here’s how Apple changed one of their own icons:

iOS7 Icon
iOS7 Icon
Original Icon
Original Icon

App Store Timing

The updated version of Wooden Clock is currently in the Apple App Store review process and should be live in a few days.