★ TouchArcade needs your help. Click here to support us on Patreon.

iPhone: Behaviors that make an app a "good citizen"?

03-13-2009, 01:32 PM
#1
Behaviors that make an app a "good citizen"?

(I felt this question is aimed more at gamers than developers, but feel free to relocate it.)

I've taken the first big step to getting my (long-lost, never-finished) Mac/Windows game onto iPhone... putting a fake screenshot in my Photos Hey, you have to start somewhere. (Since I haven't, you know... paid the $99.)

But I've also been reading/studying a lot, and compiling a list of "good citizen" factors that every game should ideally have. (Of course most don't, and that can be OK--but these are things I'd WANT to do. An ideal to strive for.)


This list is NOT about:

• Pricing, selling, marketing and user-communication issues--that's a whole separate can of larvae

• "Nice things to have" like global high scores and a music track

• Unseen coding practices and behind-the-scenes developer-only issues

• Game play itself


This list IS about user-facing behaviors that people experience WHILE USING the app. Things that make an app a "good citizen" of your device. In the case of games, it's issues "around" game play rather than game play itself (which is more subjective).

• Auto-save progress on exit, sleep or incoming call

• Work in any of 2 or 4 orientations (if it makes sense for the game)

• Allow recalibration of tilt center (if applicable)

• NEW: Mute all game audio when ringer switch is set to off

• NEW: Offer visual feedback for all important sounds (including speech) to allow silent play

• Track own volume level separate from ringer volume

• Have on-screen volume controls for 1st-gen Touch users

• Use the standard OS keyboard if possible (and the right version: be it numeric-only, email-centric, or regular)

• Allow playing iPod music (started beforehand) and using the mini-controls, while still having sound effects

• Use internal settings controls instead of the central Settings screen (sorry, Apple!)

• Remember all settings/customization options (if any) including player name/login

• NEW: Use a login rather than device ID to track users/scores

• Not contain 3rd-party ads if any users paid for the app

• Clearly warn users if they're about to link outside the app (and use an in-game Web view if possible)

• Be usable with color blindness

• Be localized (largest audiences? English, French, German? Then Japanese, Spanish?)

• NEW: On phones set to a language the app doesn't support, at least show English (not completely missing text)


So... any thoughts? Am I missing anything?

Morgan Adams (GameCenter: “Adams Immersive”)
My upcoming first game: Scree (Forum thread)
My upcoming VR horror experience: This is Not the Church of the Worm (Forum thread)
Stop making lists. Organize with shapes and colors instead: DotSpace (Forum thread)

Last edited by Adams Immersive; 04-03-2009 at 10:12 AM.
03-13-2009, 01:37 PM
#2
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: California
Posts: 48
When the vibrator or silent switch is on, it's nice when games also automatically turn off the music/sound effects. I've had awkward moments at work with that.

03-13-2009, 01:46 PM
#3
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,446
*Sigh* If only all apps would have those
03-13-2009, 01:48 PM
#4
Too bad Apple doesn't have a rules checklist like that.

I also wish the majority of apps had all that.
03-13-2009, 01:54 PM
#5
Quote:
Originally Posted by eriathien View Post
When the vibrator or silent switch is on, it's nice when games also automatically turn off the music/sound effects. I've had awkward moments at work with that.
Ah--good call! I didn't think of that. I'll add that above.


And what about these?

• Allow all vibrate effects to be turned off

• Use an in-game Web view if necessary to access a Web page, instead of launching Safari


Those came to my mind, but I was thinking that those two are more "nice to have" rather than big deals to have on the list.

Morgan Adams (GameCenter: “Adams Immersive”)
My upcoming first game: Scree (Forum thread)
My upcoming VR horror experience: This is Not the Church of the Worm (Forum thread)
Stop making lists. Organize with shapes and colors instead: DotSpace (Forum thread)
03-13-2009, 02:00 PM
#6
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 4,568
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adams Immersive View Post
• Use an in-game Web view if necessary to access a Web page, instead of launching Safari[/b]
Or at least warn the user when a button will make them leave the app.

It's so annoying having to close an app and go back to your game/app to get back to where we were. And all the loading times in between all that is a pain.

Twitter: @Zincous
03-13-2009, 02:00 PM
#7
definitley, have vibration stuff off and on the list did you put being able to flip the screen so its not un-comfortable for touch users?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adams Immersive View Post
Ah--good call! I didn't think of that. I'll add that above.


And what about these?

• Allow all vibrate effects to be turned off

• Use an in-game Web view if necessary to access a Web page, instead of launching Safari


Those came to my mind, but I was thinking that those two are more "nice to have" rather than big deals to have on the list.
03-13-2009, 02:04 PM
#8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zincous View Post
Or at least warn the user when a button will make them leave the app.

It's so annoying having to close an app and go back to your game/app to get back to where we were. And all the loading times in between all that is a pain.
Good point. At LEAST let people know they're exiting--that IS important. Adding that to the list...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ibelongintheforums View Post
definitley, have vibration stuff off and on the list did you put being able to flip the screen so its not un-comfortable for touch users?
Yes, that's the second item (Funny--I find the headphone placement more annoying on iPhone--but I've adapted.)

Morgan Adams (GameCenter: “Adams Immersive”)
My upcoming first game: Scree (Forum thread)
My upcoming VR horror experience: This is Not the Church of the Worm (Forum thread)
Stop making lists. Organize with shapes and colors instead: DotSpace (Forum thread)
03-13-2009, 02:49 PM
#9
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 2,513
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adams Immersive View Post

• Be localized (largest audiences? English, French, German? Then Japanese, Spanish?)[/b]
But with a choice - i am in germany at the moment and so buy my apps there, that does not mean i want them in german
03-13-2009, 02:52 PM
#10
Is that normally just done just by obeying the device's own preference? (Settings > General > International > Language.) Would it be important for game to have a separate language menu independent of the system-wide choice?

And I'm wondering, what happens currently when your chosen system language isn't supported by a particular app? Who decides what the "next best" choice is--is that up to the app, or is it "always English," or do you get to rank your preferences?

Morgan Adams (GameCenter: “Adams Immersive”)
My upcoming first game: Scree (Forum thread)
My upcoming VR horror experience: This is Not the Church of the Worm (Forum thread)
Stop making lists. Organize with shapes and colors instead: DotSpace (Forum thread)