A few weeks ago I made an app called Descrumbled for cheating at Boggle. I wanted to see if I could build an app in a single afternoon. I built it and released it in one day. The next weekend, I found myself with some more free time and I decided to see if I could do it again. The idea was that I would take my Boggle cheating app and turn it in to a Boggle playing app. So I branched Descrumbled and got to work.
The hardest part of a Boggle app is knowing what words are valid. You need to take a grid of 16 letters and evaluate the thousands of possible combinations against a dictionary of over 200,000 words. Luckily, that was already done.
I didn’t want this to be quite as simple as Descrumbled. I wanted to make it actually worth playing. To do this I added Game Center achievements and a social challenge option.
Basically, there are achievements designed to get you to play the game more. The achievements require you to do things like play 100 games and get certain high scores. There is also a leader board that people can use to see how they stack up against the rest of the world.
Achievements and leader boards are great, but I wanted to add a little bit of a multiplayer aspect to the game. So I added a feature so you can send someone a game board as a challenge. When they click the link in a text, tweet, or email it will open up that game board and let you play it.
The only other sort of interesting thing I did was with advertising. Instead of relying only on iAds, I put in an ad of my own, for Descrumbled. Sometimes iAds fail to load. When that happens, I show a button with an ad for Descrumbled asking the user if their puzzles are too hard. It’s not super exciting, but it might drive a few more people to download one of my apps and it looks better than a blank space where the ad didn’t load.
This app didn’t take a single afternoon. I think I spent probably 3 afternoons on it. When I had it mostly working, I decided to add the social challenge feature and had to change the way the app was architected. That took a little bit more time than I wanted it to.
Be sure to check it out and let me know what you think.