Make WordSearch puzzles on your iPad with Puzzle Maker!

Last year, in the week between Christmas day and New Year’s Eve, I started a small side-project. I’d intended to finish it in the one week, but that was outrageously ambitious. I made great strides in that week (I think it was maybe 70% complete by January 1st), but progress slowed right down in 2013 as normal life resumed after the break.

Progress slowed, but I continued to plug away. If you go back to a post I wrote in December, I lamented my inability to complete these side projects, with my particular achilles heel being the point where design became the most crucial element of the project. This time, I chose my project carefully: I made sure that the design was simple enough that I could make it work, and that the concept of this app was self-contained enough that I could draw a line under it in a reasonable amount of time, and with no need for servers or logins to maintain.

Today, this afternoon, I wrote the last line of code that will go in to the basic version that is 1.0, and almost immediately submitted it to Apple for review. I might regret doing that, because I’m sure to find bugs and have to re-submit… but on the off-chance I don’t find bugs, it will have had a head start. That’s my thinking.

So what is this app?

Introducing Puzzle Maker: WordSearch

PuzzleMaker: WordSearch is a an app for creating great looking word search puzzles, from scratch, on your iPad. Here’s a screenshot of a puzzle that is in the process of being made:

iOS Simulator Screen shot 9 Feb 2013 14.56.25

Notice the style is quite flat, like the UI-formally-known-as-Metro, or the UI in Loren Brichter’s recent hit word puzzle game, LetterPress. That was a choice I made to allow me to create the UI myself and still have it look great.

I’ve had to make some concessions to hit v1.0, and lots of features I wanted to add just aren’t in there. That’s good though, because it means that feedback I get can shape 1.1 and beyond — it’s better to base work on the things that people really want, rather than just the things I think they’ll want.

Looking for Testers!

I think this app is perfect for educators of young people, and coordinators of activities/groups for children. If you’re interested in helping me test this app, please email me. There are a limited number of free codes/test installs available, and I’d love feedback/bug reports.

Fingers Crossed

All being well, the app should be ready to go in to the app store within a week. Current estimates for iOS app store approval is 5 days, so hopefully we should be approved by Thursday. I’m going to look in to what marketing I can do in the meantime, in terms of reaching out to bloggers. I’m not very good at this bit, so if you have any ideas, I’d really appreciate your advice. If I manage to make any progress with this, there’s sure to be a blog post about it.

Price, Goals

I’ve set the price at tier 3 ($2.99). I think that’s a great price for an app like this. I’m hoping I can reach $150/month in the first month, tailing off a little in subsequent months. That’s my goal. It’s not overly ambitious, and it seems like a good place to start.

More to come…

I’m really proud of this app. I’m going to be writing lots more about it over the next few weeks — pre and post release, with results and stats. I do think that writing the code was just the easy part, now’s where the real stuff happens…