Archive for the ‘Crosswords’ Category

New Product Updates

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

We at Stand Alone have some major news on some product updates available today focused on and influenced by Apple’s release of iOS 7. The new app updates we are announcing today are: Crosswords for iOS 7, Crosswords Classic and Words Play 2.0.

Crosswords for iOS 7

The first announcement is an all new release for our long standing AppStore classic, Crosswords. The new Crosswords release is iOS 7 only and will be called simply: Crosswords.

We felt for that we needed to redesign the app from the ground up for iOS 7 since the app’s origins date back to iOS 2. Since iOS 7 presented such a dramatic change it provided us the opportunity to make the changes we’ve been wanting to on a clean slate. We aimed to simplify the app which grew complex over the years all while not removing the power user features that our fans can’t live without. We think you’ll like what we came up with.


Crosswords for iOS 7 iPhone Screenshots

This new iOS 7 version of Crosswords is also now free to play with various puzzle packages and subscriptions available for purchase if you so desire. In addition to individual puzzle packs, there is also a Crosswords Pro upgrade for $9.99 that removes all the ads and gets you all the non-subscription puzzle content in one bundle.



Crosswords for iOS 7 iPad Screenshots

You can download Crosswords from the AppStore starting today.

Crosswords Classic

The existing Crosswords is still for sale and has been renamed “Crosswords Classic” going forward. Crosswords Classic is the same app our customers have loved for years, and was even the Starbucks App of the Week earlier this year. Crosswords Classic requires a minimum of iOS 4.3 and is fully compatible with the newly released iOS 7. It just is not redesigned to take advantage of new iOS 7 features and functionality.

You can download Crosswords Classic from the AppStore as per usual.

Words Play 2.0

We also redesigned our competitive word puzzle game, Words Play, from the ground up for 2.0. The original concept behind the game was to make the best competitive word puzzle game, and we wanted to continue that tradition. The design we came up with before iOS 7 was revealed was already focused on creating a clean yet more colorful interface.


Words Play 2.0 iPhone Screenshots

Over the past six months we’ve iterated on that design quite a bit until we found something the whole team liked. Also since Words Play was a newer app so it allowed us to go with a hybrid iOS 6 and iOS 7 approach with little to no compromises.


Words Play 2.0 iPad Screenshots

As part of the redesign process we also went in optimized the game heavily, fixing a lot of old issues and also laying the ground work for some new features and modes that will be coming down the road.

Words Play will still be only $0.99 but now you’ll get one free game against our “Robot” artificial intelligence opponent before requiring a purchase. So users can test their luck against the AI once for free to see if he’s worth the extra dollar.

You can download Words Play 2.0 from the AppStore starting today.

Play Crosswords With Your Friends in Crosswords v2.51 for iOS

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

With iOS 5, Apple introduced Game Center’s Turn Based multiplayer system. It was appealing as it would allow us to build a better multiplayer word game without having to build a massive infrastructure to support it. After learning the ins and outs of that system in developing Words Play we thought to ourselves: can we use this system with Crosswords to make a multiplayer Crosswords game?

After some debating and thinking we came to the conclusion that Turn by Turn was not the right solution for a game of crosswords. It just didn’t make sense and you’d get a much slower game that took forever to be completed, that is IF you ever finished a game. So we decided if we were to add a Multiplayer mode to Crosswords, it’d have to be real time multiplayer game. It would have to mirror the real life interaction of two people working together on a puzzle.

2. Info Play Buttons iPad

While Game Center does support non-local live multiplayer, we felt the system as it stands wasn’t ideal because you’d just be sending invites to offline players who may not be willing to play at this moment. This is because Game Center doesn’t know when you are playing a game or not. But just because your iPhone or iPad is on, doesn’t mean you’re ready to drop everything and play a game once you get an invite from a friend.

So we felt for real time multiplayer we needed to know that the user was online, or people would be waiting forever for a game. So we built a “Online Status” system layer on top of Crosswords that shows your other Game Center friends who not only owns Crosswords but also those who are currently playing as well. It actually makes player discoverability and game setup much simpler. Now you see a player online playing the same game as you, you can send them an invite to play a puzzle together.

3. Friends List iPad

Instead of building Crosswords Multiplayer into a whole new app, we’ve also decided to make this an add-on for our existing Crosswords game. With the Crosswords Multiplayer add-on you can work on a crossword puzzle with a friend or race them to collect the most points on any given puzzle. As an added bonus, you also won’t have to worry if the player you want to play owns the Multiplayer add-on because actually you can invite anyone who has Crosswords into a game.

4. Matching iPad

The Crosswords Multiplayer add-on pack is available today along with Crosswords version 2.51 and is only $0.99.

Crosswords for iPad

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

iPad day is nearly upon us, and we’ve been busy! We’re extremely excited about the new platform, and can’t wait to see what developers are going to do with it.

In trying to move Crosswords from iPhone to iPad we ran into a number of difficulties, most importantly, of course, the fact that we’ve never actually played with an iPad, nor held one in our hands. We’re trying a few new ideas out with Crosswords, and hopefully they’ll work out. This is all guesswork for now: we’ll find out on Saturday!

Here’s a sneak preview of what we’ve got coming in Crosswords 2.0:

In trying to maintain the focus of Crosswords throughout the iPad version, we wanted to hone in one thing: solving puzzles. On iPhone, we’re forced to jump around to various screens, since you just can’t fit everything on one screen. With iPad, we can get the puzzle and most of the clues all visible at once, and eliminate jumping about.

For example, on iPhone, a typical puzzle playing session might see you select a puzzle from a list, enter some letters, get stuck and check hints, then look at the list of clues, etc.

iPhone Flow

On iPad, we wanted to try and keep you in the puzzle as much as possible. We made the puzzle list a popup, so you could quickly switch puzzles, or check info, without having the entire puzzle disappear. We also wanted to make hints a little more contextual, so we now pop them up right from the puzzle itself.

One of the initial design decisions we made with the iPhone version was a custom keyboard: there was just not enough space on iPhone to justify using an entire row for the space, number lock, and return key. Using a custom keyboard let us control a lot more of the screen, and also allowed us to customize the look of the keyboard. However, we spent a long time trying to match the feel of our custom keyboard to iPhone’s built-in one. For iPad, we decided that a custom keyboard might not be necessary. The built-in keyboard still leaves us a lot of room to show the puzzle, and if the user hooks up a bluetooth keyboard, we can get rid of the on-screen one altogether.

This allowed us to create a whole new look for the iPad version, one more akin to the familiar newspaper Crossword:

iPad Landscape

With this layout, you’re able to see the entire puzzle, as well as most of the clues. To get hints on a square, just touch and hold on it, and a hint popover will appear. To switch puzzles, you can just touch the Crosswords icon, and a list of all available puzzles appears.

Hint Popover             Puzzle List

Neither of these break the flow of solving; you can around from clue-to-clue, or even puzzle-to-puzzle, and always have a firm idea of the ‘big picture’ that you’re trying to solve.

Another of the major differences between iPhone and iPad solving is the length of a game session. Since your iPhone is always with you, you can pull it out, fill in a few clues, and then move on to something else. We think iPad is going to be used for larger chunks of time; you’ll probably sit down ‘ to do a puzzle’, rather than just solve a bit of one. With this in mind, we’re trying to show you all of the puzzle, and as many clues as possible, at once, instead of focusing on just one area.

We’ve got a lot more great puzzle-solving ideas that iPad is going to allow, and we’d love to hear feedback on what we’ve delivered so far.