Saturday, October 11, 2014

Beta 27: Animation Speeds

Solitaire Till Dawn BETA 27 is now available from our Beta Program page.

We're getting down to the little stuff now, and I seriously hope that Solitaire Till Dawn will be finished and available for purchase within the next few weeks.

Beta 27 addresses an issue that a number of users have complained about: the feeling that the new Solitaire Till Dawn feels "sluggish" in comparison with the old one. Part of this is due to Apple's Core Animation package, which did not exist when the old version was current. Core Animation is designed to make animations look smooth, rather than to make things happen quickly; and it operates in the background, so that I can't always guarantee that animations will happen promptly.

But mostly, Core Animation uses a different paradigm for expressing how quickly an animation should happen, and that made it difficult for me to translate the old speeds into the new paradigm. I spent some time on it this past week, and I think b27 is a big improvement. Animations are now faster by default than they were in b26 and earlier betas, and it feels much more like the old STD.

But wait, there's more: I have added an Animation pane to the Preferences window. There's now a slider to let you choose your animation speed. The slowest setting is the speed of b26 and before; the second notch is the new, quicker default; and there are two even faster notches that you can experiment with. If you feel that b27 is too quick, go to the Animations pane and select the slowest setting. If you find it's still too leisurely, select a faster setting.

In addition, I've fixed a bug that could display a game's final duration as being one second shorter than it actually was. The bug happens only in rare cases. Suppose, for example, you play a game and win it in just a hair more than 60 seconds. The clock display in the status bar might still be displaying 59 seconds because that display hadn't quite been updated yet, so it would look to you like you finished in just 59 seconds. But your game would be correctly recorded in your statistics as lasting 60 seconds. This made it look as though your 59-second game was not being recorded correctly; but in fact, it really was a 60-second game properly recorded. It just wasn't displayed correctly in the status bar. In b27, care is taken to ensure that the clock display is fully up to date after you win a game.

There are also a number of new menu items, each of which does the same thing as one of the toolbar buttons. This is for Apple's Human Interface guidelines: you don't have to have all those buttons in the toolbar, but there should still be a way to use their functions. The new menu items let you do that.

The Last Beta?

So is b27 the last beta? Probably not, but I am pretty much out of bugs to fix and features to implement for this first release. Unless I hear something significant from one of you, or find some new problem or issue myself, any further betas will not be much different from b27.

I have promised to keep a free beta available until the finished product can be purchased in the App Store, and I will keep that promise. Beta 27 will expire at the end of this month, and if Solitaire Till Dawn is not in the App Store by then, I will put out a beta 28 with a later expiration date.

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