To Shrink your App, Rearrange your Frogs

We know we’ve got to reduce the Swamp Talk app size to under the magic 20Meg mark, so that people will be able to download it over phone networks. One angle is to optimize the visual assets. We factored the lilypad out of all our frog frames, which reduced each individual frame by 35%. Imagine our surprise when we built the sprite sheet file (a single file that combines all the frames in a sequence) and got almost no reduction in file size. Uh-oh: we were really counting on saving some substantial file size here! Eventually we figured out that file size is surprisingly dependent on frog layout. We got our 35% by arranging the frogs wide instead of narrow, using Zwoptex’s “shelf” algorithm.

Naïvely, I would have expected .png compression to reduce essentially the same pixel data to the same size. But apparently it’s quite orientation-sensitive.

Swamp Talk is headed to the App Store!

We did it! After months of work, today we sent Swamp Talk to the App Store for review. We’re all keeping our fingers crossed that approval is quick.

For weeks we’ve been testing the play modes, refining the word list and perfecting the custom settings. Here’s the Swamp Talk team hard at work this afternoon, furiously testing the game before submitting it to the App Store:

Join the Swamp Talk team in Montpelier at “Name That Movie” Trivia night, Fridays July 22 and 29 from 5-7 p.m., downstairs at the Savoy Theater. We’ll offer plenty of chances to test-play the game, and great prizes too.

Swamp Talk is an addictively simple game for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. This family-friendly game challenges word lovers of all levels. Swamp Talk is perfect for a quick break during a busy day or an engrossing diversion during a long car trip. Play for minutes or stay for hours – there’s fun in the Swamp for everyone!

Hint: Suffixes

Working on this objective?

          “In one game, use 5 of these suffixes: -al, -ed, -er, -es, -est, -ful, -ing, -ly.”

Of course, these aren’t the only suffixes in English. For example, there’s also -able, -hood, -ify, -ish, and -ment, to name a few. This objective focuses on the ones that are most likely to be useful when you’re playing Swamp Talk. They’re short; most use common letters; and they can make a lot of words. If you cluster these letters on your word line, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to make a word with them.

Check out these lists of common words that end with these suffixes.

As with the prefixes, any word ending in these letters will do, even if they’re not functioning as a true suffix. So QUEST counts as well as OLDEST, and STRING counts as well as DOING. You just have to have at least two additional letters in the front (so BED, JEST, RING, and SLY are too short).

We’re almost there!

The team is working furiously today, putting all the finishing touches on the app before we submit this addictively simple, family friendly word game to the AppStore. David is making sure the frog doesn’t eat too many flies during any one game, Derek is whittling down the file size, and Kathryn is working patiently, still, on the word list.

Please! Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and tell ALL your friends about this exciting game that challenges word lovers of all levels.

We’ll be launching on July 22 and 29 at “Name that Movie” trivia, downstairs at the Savoy Theater in Montpelier, Vermont. Subscribe to this blog to get all the details!

The last Swamp Talk test-play before we launch!

Over the past weeks, many friends have helped us get Swamp Talk, the exciting, addictively simple family-friendly word game, ready for launch. Our LAST pre-launch test play is this Tuesday, July 5, from 4:30-6 p.m.

If you play games on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, we need YOU to play this super-fun game app, give us feedback on the tutorial, and help our programmers make it GREAT before we submit it to the App Store.

Test players can get the app installed on their iPhone/iPad NOW – no waiting for the App Store! No iPhone? No worries. Use one of ours and have a great time.

Be a part of Montpelier’s FIRST iPhone game app. Join us Tuesday, anytime from 4:30-6 p.m. at Tertl Studos.* Stay for 20 minutes or an hour. Bring a friend, bring your kids and their friends – beverages provided for all ages.

Swamp Talk is perfect for everything from quick brain workouts to long car trips. Play for minutes – or stay for hours – there’s fun in the Swamp for everyone!

*Tertl Studos is located at 29 College St., Montpelier (the yellow house at the corner of Kemp Avenue).

“I feel so smart right now.”

Today was another great test day at Tertl. Melissa brought her son Alexander and his friend Nicholas to try out Swamp Talk. They loved it – particularly the simplicity and originality. Nick noted, “It’s not like any other word games.” Alex explained, “It’s original, not like others trying to be like Angry Birds.”

Alex’s favorite feature was Time Attack. “It goes really fast. It makes me feel smart.”

Nick said, “I really like the music. It’s so catchy. It’s perfect.” Also, “I like the sound the frog makes.”

“I think it sounds like a duck,” Melissa interjected.

“I don’t care what it sounds like, it sounds funny.”

Thanks also to Zach, whose favorite mode was 100 Letters, and to Jan for stopping by.

Complex gameplay and simple interface

This morning was another Test Play session at Tertl Studos. Kate and her brother Jonah stopped by to check out Swamp Talk and offer their feedback. Kate admitted, “I’m usually really bad with technology– I tend to break things. I like that I’m not breaking it so far.” She laughed. “I like that I can use it and it doesn’t confuse me. It’s fun. I think I should be doing better at it– I’m a writer!”

Jonah declared, “It has enough simplicity. It’s not too complicated, but not too easy. Most of the word games I’ve played eventually turn into Scrabble, but this one doesn’t.”

We saw a bit of sibling rivalry as brother and sister attempted to one-up each other with long words and high scores.

Thanks also to Eli and Gabe for coming in to play! Special thanks to Gabe for bringing a friend.

There will be another test play tomorrow, from 10 to 12:30 at 29 College St. Follow the signs and come on in!