When I last updated
ARG Tools back in August, I alluded to an upcoming new version of the app called Puzzle Sidekick. I am pleased to announce that it is now available. If you are familiar with ARG Tools, you already know what it does and I suspect you will be quite happy with the update. If ARG Tools is new to you, take a look. It is a collection of tools and reference sheets helpful for folks who play The Game, puzzle trails, Alternate Reality Games (ARGS), and so on. It does everything from crossword-style word pattern searches to decoding common ciphers to quick-reference for schemes like Morse code and braille.
This update embraces iOS 7 and pulls in the flat visual style. In fact, it is iOS-7-only. If you need compatibility with older devices, ARG Tools isn’t going away, but it will no longer be updated.
Navigating to the tool you need has been greatly optimized. Instead of scrolling through a long list of everything, as in ARG Tools, most things fit on one screen. The navigation menu is a bit more deep, but it means everything will be in fixed positions on the screen, so your muscle memory will play a bigger part in navigation. Additionally, the genres of tools are now color-coded. This helps you better find what you’re looking for at a glance as well as get a feel for where you are in the navigation.
This release was a little bit rushed. As I mentioned, I announced it in August and reserved the App Store name, domain name, and Twitter account at the time. I got a friendly poke from Apple a few weeks ago stating that I had been sitting on the name for too long with an ultimatum to publish soon or they’ll revoke the name. Because of this, there are two things that are a little unpolished:
The graphic design. I’ve had a textual description of the UI and graphic elements in my head for months. “The main menu is interlocking puzzle pieces, three different colors that carry into the sub-menus. The app icon reflects the colored puzzle piece motif to quickly recognize the app at a glance.” Turning that into real pixels only happened a few weeks ago. I feel what I have is adequate, but it doesn’t really feel the same quality as the Cryptex stock art I bought for ARG Tools. This will probably go through a couple of rounds of revision as I find a design I like better. At the very least, I need to alter the simple rounded-corners to better match the strange bezier curves used for the iOS 7 icon corners. (I didn’t realize they’d switched from simple radii when I made it.) But hopefully there will be more quality changes than just that.
The iPad version. Wait, what iPad version? Exactly. My goal was to release Puzzle Sidekick as a universal iPhone/iPad app, but I ran into some technical snags and didn’t want to risk my release deadline. It got pushed out to version 1.1. Coming soon.