Tuesday, August 2, 2016

RIP Kagi

We note with sadness the closing of the Kagi online store on August 1, 2016.

We have been selling Solitaire Till Dawn for a long time, over 25 years: the first version was released in 1991. For the first couple of years, anyone wanting to purchase it had to make out a check and send it to us via postal mail. Our few overseas customers would often send cash in their own currency, and usually we would just keep it as a souvenir because the cost and hassle of exchanging it for US currency was not worthwhile.

But then Kagi appeared on the scene. Kagi did two wonderful things for us, and for developers like us. The most important thing was that they acted as an online store for our products, where they would accept payment in cash (from nearly any nation), by check, by money order, or by credit card. This made it much easier for our customers to pay us, and our sales skyrocketed.

In addition, they provided us with a public email address that would auto-forward to our current real email address. This was huge; it meant we could put our Kagi email address in our products, and not worry about any later changes to our actual email address. I used my Kagi address for over two decades. (A couple of years ago I transitioned to using our own email server and domain and finally stopped using my Kagi address.)

But the advent of the Mac App Store was a compelling change in the market. If our sales were through Kagi, then we had to find ways to advertise, ways to distribute our product, and ways to drive customers to the Kagi store. The App Store took care of all that by making our product findable and easily purchasable by every Mac user with an Internet connection, everywhere in the world. The current Solitaire Till Dawn series is available only through the App Store.

But we kept up the Kagi store for the older versions. We know that some of our fans are still using older Macs, and we didn't want to leave them behind.

But now comes the news that Kagi has closed their doors. It's the end of an era, truly, and we are sad to see it.

Unsurprisingly, sales of our legacy apps have not been high. Kagi's closing will not affect our bottom line or our plans for the future. But it does mean that we will no longer be selling those legacy apps to new customers. We are sorry, but without Kagi's invaluable help, it would be more trouble than it is worth for us to try to manually handle new sales of old products.

However, we will not desert our existing legacy customers just yet. You may still download our older apps, including older versions of Solitaire Till Dawn, from our web site—just scroll to the bottom of the page to find the links to older versions. But you will need to have a previously-purchased registration key in order to use the legacy apps.

After a decent period of time, we may decide to simply publish registration keys for those old apps, and allow anyone to use them for free. But out of respect for our recent purchasers of those products (however few they may be) we will not be doing this any time soon.

Monday, February 1, 2016

25 Years!

This month Solitaire Till Dawn celebrates its silver anniversary! We released the first version of Solitaire Till Dawn 25 years ago, in February of 1991.

That's a long time, and it's been a long odyssey. In that quarter-century, we have written Solitaire Till Dawn from the ground up three times: first for Classic Mac OS, then again for OS X up through Snow Leopard, and most recently for Lion and all modern versions of OS X.

We are celebrating our history with a sale! For the entire month of February 2016, Solitaire Till dawn is half-price in the App Store. Tell your friends!

Visit Solitaire Till Dawn in the App Store

And if you'd like more detail on our 25-year odyssey, you can read The History of Solitaire Till Dawn at our main Web site.

The Future

Our journey isn't over yet, either! We are hard at work on an iPad version, which should be out sometime later this year. We've put a lot of thought into the best way to do solitaire on a tablet, and we think you'll like the results.

After that, there may be smaller versions for iPhones—we're not sure about that yet. The small screens of phones make it difficult to provide the rich feature set that is the hallmark of Solitaire Till Dawn. But we will certainly be looking into it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Version 1.1 is here!

As promised a couple of weeks ago, version 1.1 is now available for download from the App Store! (Well, in the USA at least. Other App Stores in other regions should have it soon.) This is a free upgrade for everyone who purchased the original release—and if you haven't purchased yet, the price is the same: just US $9.99 for more than 100 games and an unrivaled feature set.

For more info on the new release, see our previous post or visit Solitaire Till Dawn in the App Store.

And after you've tried out this new release, please take a moment to review it in the App Store! That will help us make more sales, which will help us continue to improve Solitaire Till Dawn and help fund our progress on the iPad version. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Version 1.1 is almost here!

We have submitted version 1.1 to the App Store, and we are now waiting for Apple to review and approve it before it will actually become available. This is a free upgrade, so if you've already purchased Solitaire Till Dawn, all you'll need to do is download it when it's ready.

As promised, this release includes the Custom Card Backs feature that allows you to create cardback art from your own photos and images. It also brings back the popular Magnetic Mouse feature that older versions once had, allowing nearly silent, clickless play. We've added six new solitaire games (bringing the total to 106). We've improved readability a bit by making the font size buttons in the status bar also affect the lists in the Games Drawer. And we've made a number of small, mostly cosmetic improvements and bug fixes.

There are two features you might not stumble across if we don't tell you about them, so here they are:

More detailed statistics
Some of you have wanted more fine-grained reporting of your statistics. So you're winning 49% of your games, but how close are you to 50%? Now you can option-click the status bar to change the display to show two decimal places: 49.68% instead of just 49%. Do it again to restore the default display.

Undo until this card moves
This is a feature for power users, who want to fully explore all the possible solutions to a tough game.  Just right-click (or control-click) a card, and a small popup menu will appear. If you click (say) a 5♣ the menu will contain two items: Undo until this 5♣ moves, and Redo until this 5♣ moves. This makes it easy to back up a game to the point where you made a critical choice, and then continue differently.

We'll post again when the new release is actually available, but if you're not watching this blog regularly, no worries. Your Mac will remind you about the update automatically.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Little Progress Report

Back in February, we reported that we have an upgrade to Solitaire Till Dawn in the works, and that we had (just barely) begun work on a version for iPad.

Today we are pleased to report that the upgrade to the desktop version should be out either late this summer or in the fall. It will allow you to use your own photos to create custom cardbacks, it will bring back the popular Magnetic Mouse feature, and it will include several new kinds of solitaire, along with a few other improvements. This will be a free upgrade for all purchasers of the App Store version!

We are also delighted to report that we've now made some serious progress on the iPad version. Today, for the first time, we were able to play part of a game on the iPad simulator! That may not sound like much, but it means that an awful lot of code has been written and is now working.

We still have a long way to go, though. We still cannot predict when the iPad version will be available; only that it will not be soon. (Also please note that we are not ready for beta testing yet, and we are not accepting volunteers at this time. We haven't yet decided whether we will hold a public beta for the iPad version, as we did for the desktop version.)

Pricing has not yet been decided for the iPad, although we will likely offer a free, ad-supported version.

Monday, February 23, 2015

News, and Tips: Play by Keyboard

We haven't posted for a while, but we haven't vanished! Here's a little news for you, followed by the first in a series of "Tips" for getting more fun out of Solitaire Till Dawn.

News

Solitaire Till Dawn has been in the App Store for nearly four months now, and it's doing well. (It could always do better—tell your friends!) We now have 70 ratings, all but three of which are a full 5 stars. (If you like Solitaire Till Dawn, please help us out by rating it in the App Store—thanks!) And our support email has been minimal, and mostly concerned with App Store issues; no big bugs have been found since the release, which is great!

So what's next? We have an upgrade in the works. The upgrade will be free if you've already purchased Solitaire Till Dawn through the App Store. It will bring back the popular Magnetic Mouse feature, and the ability to create custom cardback images from your own photos. There will be a new feature too, one that should please some of the hard-core players out there. We don't have a schedule for the release yet, sorry.

What about iPad? That's in the works too, but (sorry!) it's still a long way off. We have barely started on that project.

Tips: Play by Keyboard

We intend to post some tips, from time to time, highlighting features of Solitaire Till Dawn that you may not know about, or showing off some of the more obscure yet interesting games. You can look for these articles by searching for the Tips tag.

In this, our first Tips article, we'd like to tell you about playing without using the mouse. Mice are great, but sometimes it's easier and faster to just type, and Solitaire Till Dawn will (mostly) let you do that.

Selecting an Available Card
Whenever you can make a legal move (other than dealing from the deck), there are one or more cards that you can pick up. Although it usually doesn't show, one of them is always the "selected" card. Pressing the Return key has the same effect as clicking that card: it will fly off to one of its legal destinations.

If there's more than one card that can be moved, you can change which one is selected. Press either the left or right arrow key and you'll see a yellow oval appear over one of the available cards. The oval shows that that card is selected, and it is the one that will move if you press Return. Keep pressing the left or right arrow keys, and the selection will change: the yellow oval will move to another available card with each press. When you've selected the card you want, press Return to move it.

The yellow oval doesn't stop you from using the mouse. Make any move you like, and the yellow oval will disappear until you press one of the arrow keys again.

Multiple Destinations
What if the card could go to more than one destination, and doesn't go to the one you want? Sorry, at this time you have to hit Undo and then use the mouse to drag the card to your desired destination. We hope to address this problem in a future release.

Dealing
You can deal by pressing D, or by pressing the Tab key.

Undo and Redo
Press Escape (ESC) to undo, and press the Space Bar to redo.

There! Now you can play most games without reaching for the mouse. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Gifting Solitaire Till Dawn

The holiday season is upon us, and I'm pleased to have heard from some folks asking how to give Solitaire Till Dawn as a gift.

Sadly, the App Store does not provide any way to do this directly. But you can give a sort of online gift card which the recipient can use to make purchases in iTunes or in the App Store, and you can tell the recipient that you had Solitaire Till Dawn in mind. Here's how to do it:

Open iTunes, and click "iTunes Store". (In iTunes 12 on Yosemite, this link is at the top of the window, just under the toolbar.) You will have to log in to your iTunes account, if you aren't already logged in.

Now find the "Quick Links" section, on the right side of the window, a few inches down from the top. Click the "Send iTunes Gifts" link. A window will appear with a form for you to fill in. Enter the email address of the recipient, and select an amount. (The smallest amount is $10, which is enough for Solitaire Till Dawn.) You can add a message to the recipient, and tell them about Solitaire Till Dawn if you wish.

And that should do it. Although it's an "iTunes Gift", the recipient can still use it in the App Store, to purchase Solitaire Till Dawn or anything else.

Happy Holidays!