Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Stringy Things on 4.0

Anonymous said...
Is there something so technologically advanced about Stringy Things that allows it to run ONLY on iOS 4.1 or above? It would be great if it would run on the thousands (millions?) of devices that will never be able to run iOS 4.0 and newer.

Of course, the simple answer is No.
There's nothing technical stopping me from releasing this on 3.x, or probably even 2.x
It's a simple throw of a switch, a recompile, and a sending to the AppStore.

The problem though, for me, is that without any 3.x devices to test it on, I'll be doing it blind.

Whilst developing the main Framework (Which I then used to rapidly build Stringy Things within a matter of days) I learned not to trust the Mac's little Emulator. As soon as I'd struggled to fix one little quirk, I'd connect up the iPod and blammo... There'd be a whole network of silly little things to have to faff about with.
The emulator's a fantastic little tool, it works amazingly well, but it's far, far away from being perfect.
You REALLY have to test your apps on the real thing.
If you don't, you're going to have random crazy problems turning up.

Of course, there are solutions to this.
For starters, I could downgrade, test on 3, upgrade, test on 4, rinse repeat.
But, without sounding like a self-important crazed maniac, I'm currently juggling a whole mountain of stuff here! I've got iPhing development going, I've a weekly "Write an entire game within the space of a week" game for Windows going on, a weekly newsletter to write, and let's not forget the half-a-dozen forum communities that I'm struggling to keep up with.
To then have to keep waiting for my iPod to restore itself half-a-dozen times a day...
I think I'd probably end up crazier than I already am!

Another solution is to grab another iPod, keep it at 3, and use it as a testbed.
Well, I'm too cheap for that! I'm living on a low budget, here. You can't give yourself enough time to do all of these online escapades, and expect a decent paycheck at the end of the week... .. Sux, but it is what it is.

So, yeah. It's doable, but it's just ever so slightly out of reach, right now.

Given enough time, I'll have a little rest from constantly adding new games to Stringy Things, and I'll instead have a play about with all the 3.x stuff. That's not a promise, but it's something to look into in the future.

On the other side of the argument, there's the iPad.
I know the iPad is technically stuck at 3.x, and I'm looking at it, and worrying about it's upcoming upgrade to 4.x
I worry because, as of yet, I have absolutely NO idea if this'll run on the iPad at all!
And even if it does, it'll be reduced to "iPhoneWindow" mode, not "Proper" mode.

So, I've been putting away a little bit of cash each week, (and then having it flow speedily out of my hands again) in order to finally get ahold of one of the little beasties. Once I've got one, I'll be hopping through the hard-coded numbers of Stringy Things, fixing up all the quirky areas, and ... hopefully.. manage to wrangle it properly into the iPad world.
But again, it'll come down to me having one to actually test it on!

I'm not really one of those developers who'll happily fling something together, slap it out in the shop, and plain hope that it works.
Anyone who saw the extensive testing of my BlitzMax framework can certainly testify to how much I stress tested the thing, and how sick of all the constant testing they became!
But now that I'm asking people to PAY for the privilege of playing some of my games, I'd rather they not also end up the guinea pig to my random coding styles.
I want to know that something works, because I know how annoying it is when it doesn't.

So, I apologise, but Stringy Things isn't available on 3.x
I'm only one man, and I've not a lot of time to do it!


  1. Thanks for the very thorough answer! I had wondered ever since iOS4 came out why many of the newly created apps would not run on the older OSes. I thought the new apps might have features that use the microphone or maybe the camera. You cleared up the confusion for me.

    Now if all descriptions of apps would just begin with something like, "Works with iOS4 or newer," then those of us with older devices could immediately skip apps that we cannot run rather than reading the description and the reviews, deciding to install the app, entering our password for the iTunes store and then being informed that the app will not work on our OS.

    Once again, thanks for your thorough explanation!


  2. It doesn't tell you at any step before that?! That's a bit annoying! Never really noticed, tbh.
    Um, just waiting for the update review to get done, and then I'll go tweak the blurb a little to account for that.
    (It said "In Review" about 5 hours ago, so I think it'll probably take a day, or something similarly silly!)

    Thanks for letting me know!
    Hope you get your upgrade soon ;)