Super POTUS Trump!™ 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 🙂 :

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 app’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. 🙁

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 app’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

Gavin McInnes

First I have to apologize that this doesn’t look very much like the person it’s supposed to be. I’m not a classical illustrator who can crank out spitting image likenesses of people easily. Sometimes I can brute force my way to something close with enough hacking at it – but not my usual forte.

… But my lack of skills aside, this illustration is my humble homage to the legendary, Gavin McInnes.

I could write paragraphs on the genius, accomplishments and hilarity of this man. But since I don’t have that kind of time I have to unfairly, brutishly sum him up in ugly bullet points:

Like Milo Yiannopoulos, Gavin is originally from another country (Canada) but lives in the US now and fights for America’s future by pushing back against social and political nonsense (normally coming from the regressive left). In my opinion he is brilliant, hillarious and a true American hero and I “like him more than a friend.”

I’m proud of your boy, Gavin.

Artwork

Original Sketch:
Color Version:
Inspiration for sketch:

A bit he does on his CompoundMedia.com show where he talks about books while he cooks by the fire … cracks me up every time.
My Southpark/Hero version of him:


More Links

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

Moonlight Window Flower

You know I think I have some weird obsession with the moon. If you go to the main page of my blog right now 4 of the pictures there have a giant, full moon in them. Weird.

Anyhow … a few weeks ago I got the urge to paint a window scene of some kind. Here’s the final result after kicking it around for a few minutes every couple days. 

The most fun I had with this was doing the curtains and the wallpaper. Neither of them are amazing or anything but something about making them was fun and a bit outside my usual techniques. The thing I feel most bad about is the small picture frame to the right center. I wish I could have found a way to shine more light over there because that little picture was fun … but since it’s so dark over there you really can’t see/appreciate it. I also I really wanted to introduce some kind of animal or character in there but I think it would have been too crowded so I resisted … maybe next time.  As usual I used Procreate on the iPad to make this. 

Until next time! … 

Wooden Clock: Tibet!

Ever since I created my Wooden Clock for iPad app I wanted to update it to have the option of letting users pick from an assortment of different clock types for some variety once in a while. Well after over 2 years and many early weekend mornings I finally got around to doing that and the update just went live in the App Store.

wooden-clock-settings-201502The new skin – the first of hopefully more to come in the future – is the “Tibet” clock. I’ve been fond of Tibet for quite some time … probably in large part due to the film “Seven Years in Tibet” and my eternal fascination with Mount Everest – so I figured that theme would be as good as any to start out with.

The App Store database isn’t entirely updated yet so here’s the details of the new version in case it doesn’t appear in the App Store yet:

A brand-new clock has been added … the “Tibet” clock!

The new Tibet clock was hand-carved, assembled and painted in the majestic foothills of Mount Everest near the city of Lhasa. Ok … actually it was all done in Photoshop and a text editor in a dark office .. but that’s almost as inspiring right?! In any case I hope everyone enjoys the new clock!

Seven_Years_in_Tibet_coverFirst – in standard fashion I have to insert a disclaimer here that while I am calling this the new “Tibet” clock, I in no way am implying that I am capable of producing authentic, Tibetan artwork nor is the clock I’ve constructed anything anyone who actually lives in Tibet would recognize or find attractive at all. This is simply my humble attempt at creating a visual homage to Tibet … as well as a geek from the US suburbs is capable of anyway.

I did do some research on Tibetan furniture and artwork before starting. As one might imagine a large part of Tibetan culture and artwork is based on the Buddhist religion – but for various reasons I steered clear of that route and went with a more general, flowery and colorful approach instead. But even with that generic approach, I do hope the final product gives that classic Tibetan vibe … the bright yellows and reds against a bright blue (mountain) sky. On a technical note – the flowers and leaves on the clock were painted with the Procreate app on my iPad and the rest of the clock was created using Photoshop.

While I was packaging things up I went ahead and updated the app icon a bit too. I’m not in love w/the new version but like it much more than the last one I used.

New Icon

Old Icon

The update with the new Tibet clock went live on the App Store today so users will get it the next time they update. If anyone has ideas or suggestions on new clocks I could add in the future swing by the Facebook page and post it!

Oh yeah – here’s the short app preview in included in this update – it shows the new clock in action!

Christmas Card 2014

The printed cards have finally shipped out so it’s probably safe to share the digital version now. Head over to http://cards.chris-emerson.com for more detail about this year’s card, related sketches and artwork and a really cool time-lapse video.

As always – if you usually get a paper version in the mail and haven’t gotten one yet feel free to wait for that before checking out the online version. And to those who didn’t get a paper version please know it’s only because I either forgot, ran out of time/materials or simply don’t like you anymore … but usually not the latter. 🙂

Suburbs: You Are Here

I’ve been watching a lot of war documentaries this year from WWI to WWII to Korea and Vietnam – so I guess it’s no surprise that some artwork like this would come out. All these documentaries inspire me to create artwork that pays homage to the soldiers and the human achievements and tragedies from all the different wars … but so far I haven’t come up with much besides this yet. 

For what it’s worth this piece isn’t really what I intended it to be as it was originally going to be a standalone WWI scene more along the lines of that intense WWI scene in Legends of the Fall – but it morphed into something else. Anyhow even though it falls quite short of conveying what I’d like it to and the fact that it skews things a bit too much towards the USA – I figured I’d finish it off and post it anyhow. 

Beyond whatever issues myself or others may have about any given war, at the very least learning about each of them makes me appreciate (and feel plenty guilty about) just how fortunate I am to be able to raise a family in the safety (bubble) of an American suburb. Here’s to all the people, from the past to the present, who have put their lives on the line to defend the freedoms I enjoy today.

 
(My Grandfather’s WWII era photos)

Owls and Pals

Here’s a new iPad painting I’ve been kicking around a while that I’m finally calling done so I can move on. As with the last one, I started this one from a sketch I did while drawing w/the kids.

I had fun with this one but it definitely reminded me how hard it is to make realistic water – let alone with reflections, shadow and stuff! But I gave it my best shot.

Original Sketch



Bears of Anarchy

A couple weeks ago I drew this picture while coloring with the kids and I thought it might be neat to see how it would turn out in color so I brought it into my iPad painting app and gave it a shot.

While working on the iPad I added a couple references to the “Sons of Anarchy” – an awesome TV show on FX that I recently just finished devouring 6 seasons of.

In any case – this was a fun experiment – I may try it again…

Christmas Card 2013

This year’s Christmas cards shipped out a couple days ago so I guess it’s safe to send out a link to the digital version now.  I changed my mind on where to host them so they’re back at a (slightly updated) standalone website now. Head over to this site for card notes, related artwork and the time lapse video: http://cards.chris-emerson.com.

As always if you get a paper version feel free to wait for that before checking out the online version – and for those who don’t get a paper version please know it’s only because I either forgot or just ran out of time or materials!

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 – which Exports native mobile apps from HTML web apps – 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.  Overall 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.