Magic Jar – update nearly ready!

Phew… been killing it today! We took the kids up to town to have a bit of Japanese food at Eat Tokyo (my daughter eats anything you put in front of her in a Japanese restaurant) and see the Lego advent calendar in Covent Garden. Then it was back for a quick brew of some mulled cider (the weather just got cold enough today) and a serious evening of cutting together all the music and voiceover stuff we recorded last week for Magic Jar. Lots of code interspersed with lots of music and sound editing.

The verdict here is that everything is SO much better with sound! Thanks to the people who gave the feedback on the iTunes store for making us get this going sooner than we’d originally planned.

The kids were amazed by the video flythrough – it shoots through the clouds with a nice WHOOSH and then space is nicely ambient, another whoosh down through the clouds and a whizzing descent shooting by the trees. And yes, we’ve got sleighbells in there. It was nice to hear my son Luka calling out across the room “Yeah, that sounds lovely daddy” when I was piecing together the ambient sound for the Magic Jar scenes. Its a combination of Jez playing the mbira and live sleigh bells with some very Brian Eno-esque ambient high piano which I tinkled away on at the time. End result? Its beautiful but not cheesy in the least. And it won’t get on your nerves.

Also a nice ambient intro music track to float under Jo Mason’s lovely voiceover intro – she just reads the intro sequence words with her “Radio 4” voice I’m so fond of (possessing a Northern Irish twang myself).

Feels like it’s all come together today, actually. Late in the day, perhaps, but its been a whirlwind of a journey, and it should clear App Store review in about 10 days if I get it in tomorrow (which is the plan once we’ve finished testing on the iPhone 3GS), so it will be ready in good time for the Christmas countdown.

Here are some of the changes and improvements coming in version 1.0.2:

  1. Intro music track, and Jo Mason’s voiceovers on intro.
  2. Auto next page on intro after 18 seconds. 27 seconds after final screen, goes back to main menu (except first time round when a grown up needs to take over)
  3. Sleeps display fixed – was showing wrong number of days on some phones. Sleeps display has a belltree sound when pressed
  4. Choosing name from menu plays a nice bell tree sound to ease the transition into video
  5. Video flythrough soundtrack – loads of layers, synced whooshes etc.
  6. Ambient music in Magic Jar scene, nice ambient piano on touches
  7. Improved magic on iPad (more particles, more speed)
  8. Touch dragging of magic improved on all device – follows finger for nice “drawing effect” when the kids have more magic.
  9. Accented characters added to font maps (a friend noticed a bug where they couldn’t get é for the name of their chinchilla “Padré”)
  10. Overall app size including all sound is actually smaller than v1.0

So yes indeed, been pretty busy. I’m going to bail now – get some sleep, as Vanessa will be taking over and kicking off our Magic Jar promo campaign tomorrow, aided by Leila from the rather wonderful <a href=””>House PR</a>