Monthly Mewsfeed – Mar 2024

Happy Easter everyone!

Mood Meter

👴️ Felix: Old Man Mode activated. Get off my lawn!
🥷️ Sneaky: Picking unnecessary fights with old men
🤧️ Maryla: The snot arrived… and it brought prototype quality code. Could be better!

🪲️ Count Dartula: Some progress, some bugs. #AppLife
✨️ Website: Shiny new logo!
🐈️ Meowerlord Picture Page: Live!

4️⃣️ New Project Ideas:

  • Discord bot: funny message deletion comments
    • Potentially useful for auto-moderation discord bots! Will be a while before discord bots get any attention, but writing them is fun, quick, and… somewhere on the list. In the middle. Way after Count Dartula.
  • Bullet heaven roguelike
    • … where you die, but get more points if less deaths were needed?
    • Would be very cool and something different to do as it is not turn based 😱️
  • A secret thing that is secret (but small and has to wait until it fits a project)
  • (De)serialisation wrapper for Godot
    • Likely not feasible or useful the way I imagine it
    • Supposed to make it easier to store/load data by handling annoying boilerplate code

4 new ideas is quite shameful. Even worse if one of them is a full blown game. I won’t launch into some website side project this time though, promise!

Top 5 To Dos

Last Month
✅️ Update the Meowerlord logo
✅️ Meowerlord pictures
✅️+➡️ Count Dartula UI improvements
➡️ Count Dartula: more game modes
✅️ Get Ads running again

This Month
➡️ Ads consent implementation
➡️ Zoom into dart board on tap/hold
➡️ Code cleanup
➡️ Saving/loading games
➡️ Game mode: Around The World

Last Month

March wasn’t quite as productive as I had hoped. There was some unavoidable stuff (some travel, some 🤧️), but mostly things turning out to be more complicated than I thought.

Lots of that has to do with how I started Count Dartula: a little project that needs to be semi-functional within a short time. This worked out, meaning my developer account has not been closed for inactivity – but, on the quality side: helloooo technical debt! This month will have to focus on cleaning up, so future changes will be faster.

✅️ Update the Meowerlord logo

It’s not perfect, but I am happy for now!

Out with the old (top), in with the new (bottom)?

The goal of the redesign was to modernise and improve readability, and also move away from the self-made vector letters. I also hope that the little cat now looks more like a cat, even though its tail still makes me sad.

Part of the redesign ended up being a slight overhaul of the website’s colour palette as well. Feedback for everything is welcome 🙂

✅️ Meowerlord pictures

Yes, it is done! Yes, it was a silly distraction. None of these this month, I promise! But it was so much fun 😸🐈️

I will keep collecting the better ones and update the page on occasion!

✅️+➡️ Count Dartula UI improvements

This is the big offender!!! Thanks to a mix of broad scope and technical debt, I can only count this as “UI half improved”:

  • ✅️ Stop resetting “busted” rounds to all 0
    • Labels should now be marked red, but keep the original scores
    • Score totals/remaining will still be reset to 0
  • ➡️ Store scores after quitting the app
    • Needs some refactoring and cleanups before implementing this doesn’t make me scream
  • ✅️ Starting player selection
    • Pressing “New Game” or starting the app will now show a player selection screen
  • ✅️ Finishing score suggestions
    • Once you can theoretically finish a game with the darts remaining in your turn, there should be a suggestion of numbers!

Then there were the things that popped up in a test:

  • ✅️ Virtual keyboards opening/covering the screen when selecting board colours – I thought this was already fixed. It was not. Now it should be.
  • ✅️ Colours and splash screen updates: new logo everywhere!
  • ✅️ Re-design of the board and number hints around/on it (not in the app yet)
  • ➡️ Zoom in when player taps and holds the board

The last point turned out to be more difficult than expected (or I am being dumb about it, or both). With a complicated board on a small screen, I believe this feature is worth a bit of extra effort, especially for players with bigger hands! I hope I can figure this out next month.

… and then there was the time where I forgot that I was testing, and had released a version with a goal of 30 instead of 501. And the one where I tried improving the user experience when a turn ends, and ended up breaking the “Undo” button in the process. The first one has long been corrected, the 2nd one is hopefully live now as well 😅️ That makes 2 “Blimey, what have you done” releases in one month. Embarrassing!

➡️ Count Dartula: more game modes

It did not happen 😐️ sorry. It also wasn’t worded well – I am going to focus on a specific game mode next time, so the headline will be more clear next month.

✅️ Get Ads running again

The Admob account is reactivated, and now there is a little banner at the top! It is probably not 100% GDPR compliant yet, but that will follow soon. Compliance and user consent is important to me personally, so this will have some priority! If you notice I missed something or it doesn’t work for your region, please don’t hesitate to let me know! Discord catches my attention the fastest.

While not perfect, 3.5/5 ✅️ for March isn’t too horrible. Mistakes were made, obvious lessons (like “define your scope properly and stop lumping things together”) were learned, technical debt was assessed, appropriate grumbles were had.

Next Month

➡️ Ads consent implementation

I was hoping that this would be handled automatically, but it seems there is some setup required. Since this is important to me, there will probably be another update on Google Play as soon as it is implemented!

➡️ Zoom into dart board on tap/hold

See above! Playtesting suggested this could help more than I initially realised/hoped, so the feature has more priority since it could improve user experience. Once it is in, I am very interested in your opinions!

➡️ Code cleanup

The current handling of players and game state is a bit of a mess 😅️ This makes implementing new stuff trickier than it should be. So: cleanup first, shiny new features second!

➡️ Saving/loading games

A survivor from last month – the game should recover its state when/however it gets interrupted. Maybe it gets implemented this time around 😆️

➡️ Game mode: Around The World

Around The World seems to be popular for practising, and it is also fun to play! So this will be the first game mode I am implementing after the classic 501 mode. If all goes well, I would like to include some stats and customisation options with it, but it will be considered “done” when you can play it.

April’s list is a bit less ambitious than March’s. I hope it translates to a higher completion rate as well! While I am finding my speed for these Mewsfeed To Do’s, enjoy spring! I hope you are having a lovely Easter weekend.