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.

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 (?).