Since Frogatto started selling on the App Store, we’ve had mostly really positive feedback (which has been great!), but there’s also been a lot of complaints about the controls; ranging from “needs some work” all the way to “horrible!”. At first our reaction was along the lines of “well that’s too bad, but there’s not a whole lot we can do about it…”. A few days later though, I was looking at the code, and discovered that the active areas for the controls were not at all what we thought they were.
When a finger is touching the screen, the iPhone only tells your program about the center point of it; nothing about the area of the touch. Because of this, you generally want to make the actual active area of buttons on the screen bigger than the image that’s displayed for them (because people expect a button to work even if just the edge of their finger is touching it). We thought that we had done this, but what I discovered was that not only were the active areas of our controls not bigger than the images representing them, they were significantly smaller! Here’s a screenshot showing the control buttons, with their active areas overlaid on top (also note the much improved arrow graphics):
One person said it seemed like we hadn’t even tried the game before submitting it to the App Store, but in fact, the opposite is true: we tested it so much that we all got used to it and thought it was fine. Another person said that it seemed like we got lazy near the end of development, which is almost true, but not quite – we didn’t get lazy, we just rushed it a bit. It had been over 2 years, and we just really wanted to get the game out there. We fully intended to release updates after 1.0 though, and that’s what we’ve done; last Friday (July 29th) we submitted a minor update, 1.0.1, which Apple will hopefully approve soon.
As you can see, the active areas in 1.0.1 are much bigger, which should make them a whole lot easier to use. The water controls have also been improved a lot. They look the same, but the active area of the circle is now 2.4x the size of the circle you see, and once you put your thumb down inside it, it will work until you lift it up again, no matter where you move it to (suggested by howiedeano on the Touch Arcade forum).
Besides the controls, a lot of people complained about lack of auto-saving. We did actually make auto-saving (we agree, it’s important!), but none of us have a device new enough to support iOS4′s multi-tasking, and it turns out it didn’t work with multi-tasking. This should be fixed in 1.0.1 as well (by simply disabling multi-tasking for Frogatto), along with a bunch of other less significant bugs. Hopefully this will fix all the significant technical issues, and we can get back to improving the rest of the game!
Update (08/06/2010): 1.0.1 is on the App Store now!