Super POTUS Trump!‚ĄĘ 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 ūüôā :

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

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

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: ¬†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!:¬†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*¬†I was able to get this functionality built out and working.¬†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 means¬†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 things¬†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 Pantone¬ģ 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.

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!

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.

App Update: PocketSwatch 1.4

Just a quick post to announce that an updated version of my PocketSwatch app is now available in the App Store. The main things in this update are:

  • New (lowered) price of $1.99.
  • Support for the larger iPhone 5 screen! (The app is lightning fast on the 5 and looks great!)
  • Some streamlining for iPhone 4 and older
  • Various bug fixes
  • New blue icon just for fun

Check it out here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pocketswatch/id509958461?ls=1&mt=8

 

New App: Kana Cards HD!

I’m excited to announce that my new app “Kana Cards HD” is finally finished and is now available on the App Store!

So what in the world does this app do?¬†Well as some of you know I am a big fan of the Japanese language and culture – or at least the parts of it I’ve heard of or learned about over the years. I’ve made multiple attempts to learn to speak the language but I’ve sadly never gotten very far. Anyhow – a year or two ago I got the idea to make an app that would help me learn the japanese language – or at least their phonetic syllabaries (kana, or “alphabets”). I kicked around many different ideas for the app – ranging from ninjas, to bunnies to basic flash cards – but after a while I realized I wanted to make an app that was functional but also a tribute of sorts to the japanese language – something that would hopefully reflect my fondness for it. ¬†Whether I achieved that last part or not is a subjective question – but I feel good about the final product as I think it does include something very functional, but also very polished and “shiny”.

Unlike my previous app, PocketSwatch, I decided a few months back to make Kana Cards HD a “universal” app – which means it is specifically designed to run on both the iPhone and the iPad. Achieving this added quite a bit of complexity/time to my already super-scarce development time (sometimes only couple hours a week) – but in the end I’m glad I did it as it gave me some good experience dealing with two completely different user interfaces that shared the (basic) same functionality/code base.

Some additional behind the scenes trivia:

  • All Hiragana and Katakana letters were hand-painted by me on the iPad
  • All the “male” pronunciation audio was recorded by yours truly – but I shifted the pitch up a bit because I couldn’t stand listening to myself over and over during development! ūüôā
  • Paintings used for the card textures were pulled from the public domain
  • It took over 8 hours for the app to actually go live once it was approved by Apple … that wait was¬†excruciating!!

As with many other apps out there, the concept and general goals of this app aren’t super unique. There are quite a few apps out there to help people learn the¬†Japanese¬†language. Some of them are really great (example) and quite robust – but far too many are pretty lame and a bit ugly. ¬†I don’t claim that my app is THE best app out there for learning the¬†Japanese¬†language but I will, humbly, say that I believe Kana Cards HD’s core game mechanic and level of polish are one of a kind!

In the end my hopes for this app are that 1.) it helps some folks learn or enjoy some of the¬†Japanese¬†kana (alphabets) and 2.) I don’t offend any¬†Japanese¬†people by any mistakes or inconsistencies in the app!

See below for videos, links etc and let me know what you all think if you grab it.

Kana Cards HD: Screenshots

 

 

 

Kana Cards HD: Links

Kana Cards HD: Demonstration Videos:

Here are a couple demonstration videos of the app in action. As always, make sure to click the HD and fullscreen icon to view the videos properly!

iPad Version:

iPhone Version:

FYI to my friends and family

Please don’t buy the app unless you are truly wanting to learn the Japanese language! I have promo codes I can send you ¬†to download it free if you want to check it out.

Screenshots

[slickr-flickr set=”72157630853262024″ type=”gallery” size=”large”]

Wooden Clock in the App Store!

Well I wasn’t sure if I would actually get in … but as of this evening my first public iPad app is now on the App Store! Official link here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wooden-clock/id491552855?ls=1&mt=8

If you’re feeling nice, why not stop by the app page and write a review… assuming you try the app out of course (or even if you don’t)!

As I mentioned a few weeks ago this app is super basic/simple – for the most part it was just my attempt to see if I could get something up on the App Store. That said, I have to say it was a very interesting (and fun) process to go through from start to finish – and I’m definitely psyched to come up with my 2nd app soon!

Technical Notes:

  • It will take a day or so to show up in standard iTunes/App Store searches – but if you use the link above you should be able to see it either in your browser or in iTunes via a direct link.
  • I also just realized that the sound effects are all “off” by default so if you download and try it make sure to go into the app’s settings and turn on the ticking and hourly chimes to check them out
  • The app takes a few minutes to download/install from the App Store right now but I’m guessing that’s just standard weeknight/evening bandwidth/traffic (?).

My New Year Resolutions for 2011

Are you allowed to talk about new year’s resolutions before Jan 1st? December 28th is close enough right? In any case here I go. But before talking about next year I’ll review how I did in 2010. As some of you might recall, I set two resolutions for 2010: “Save My Fingers” and to do a “365/Sketch-a-Day Project“…

2010 Resolutions Review

2010 Resolution #1: Save My Fingers | Grade: F-

Sadly I failed miserably on this one.¬† I did OK for the first couple months -I¬† even had one trip to get a manicure – which was weird, surreal and fascinating.¬† But around March I started to realize that to truly accomplish the goal I’d set for this would actually take up a decent amount of $ due to all the various nail/hand products needed for the daily “care” involved. I guess I should have expected that – but I didn’t think of that at the outset so I opted to save the $ and let this resolution go – probably ending this year in the same (bad) shape as last year.

Oh well! Maybe I’ll find some frugal finger care blog somewhere to encourage me to try again.¬† If nothing else – this was worth the attempt for the manicure experience alone. I hope Jane the manicure girl is doing well. ūüôā

2010 Resolution #2: 365 Project: Sketch-a-Day | Grade: A+

Fortunately I succeeded with my second resolution of 2010. At first it was a bit hard to get my brain to squeeze out even a 2 minute sketch of anything at the end of the day – but I eventually got in a habit and found ways to keep the ideas going. One of the more helpful things was that Lincoln and Corgan would often draw a “picture of the day” themselves next to me – which made it a fun group thing a lot of the time. Plus when I had artist’s block – Linc would always have an idea for a sketch topic… “Hey Linc… what should I draw tonight?”.

Here’s a link to all sketches for the year – the numbering may be confusing but there should be 365 in there (after the 31st).

2011 Resolutions!

2011 Resolution #1: 365 Project: iPhone-Painting-a-Day…(or Week!)

Most of you know I really love doing paintings on my iPhone so this one seems like a natural evolution of the “sketch” project. Of course, pretty much all iPhone paintings I’ve done to date have been 5+ hours each so doing something in 5-10 minutes every day may turn out to be quite a challenge – so I’m reserving the right to downgrade this resolution to an iPhone-Painting-a-Week if the first couple weeks go badly.¬† I have no idea what kind of art styles/techniques this will lead to – we’ll find out I guess. Will be interesting to see if I miss the pencil/paper from 2010…

2011 Resolution #2: Submit an app or game to the Apple App Store

Gulp.

Here is the big one – the one that will take actual focus and hard work.¬† This will make doing a silly 5-10 minute iPhone painting a day/week seems like cakewalk. Make sure to note the wording of this one though – my goal here is to submit an app or game to the App Store. Whether it gets accepted/listed or not is not part of the deal! It’s ambitious enough to aim to get something in a state that’s worth submitting to the App Store – so as long as I submit the app or game by December 31st, 2010 I will consider this one a success.

As some of you may/may-not know – there are companies you can “sell” you idea to who will handle the actual development of the app/game for you – my goal (at least at this point) is to NOT use a service like this! I want to build the whole thing myself! (ask me that in 6 months though…)
I have a couple ideas for what I might do here but I’ll give that a month or two before committing. Of course if any of you have ideas (for an app or game) by all means chime in!

Ok that’s it. I’m sure I could come up with 5 more resolutions to aim for – but I think 2 is a nice manageable number for me. I have other goals for the year – but they’re not year-spanning in scope so they’re not going to be listed here.

I just noticed… both my resolutions are completely connected to my iPhone – funny. Just goes to show that it is STILL the best money I ever spent on an electronic device and my most precious possession…after my kids, wife, my health, life – you know… the small stuff!

Chime in if any of you have set resolutions for yourselves!