You Can’t Win But You’re Still A Good Person is Now Free on iOS

Hello, good people, last night an update to “You Can’t Win But You’re Still a Good Person”, a game Scope Creep Studios made almost 6 years ago, went live on the iOS App Store!

About 30 days ago Apple emailed us to say we had 30 days to update it or they were going to remove it from the App Store. Since you are all such good people, we didn’t want to deprive you of the opportunity to lose at this game. Therefore, we had to update it and chose to do so in the following ways:

  • Removed all vestiges of ads and in-app purchases
  • Dropped the price from .99 US cents to FREE

Enjoy!

The icon for You Are Good hints at the lessons you are about to learn while playing the game.

On Confronting What You Did Before

It’s painful to look at code you wrote that long ago. However, to our credit, the game works and does what we intended, which was to make a digital game of endless whack-a-mole that purported to teach you patience and acceptance. You know, standard indie game nonsense from the 2010’s.

Revisiting the game itself was a delight though. The art design by Kyle Latino and the sounds/music by Steve Kemsley are phenomonal. It’s all so lovely and tranquil and maddening. Do yourself a favor and play with headphones on and chill for a few minutes making a little sonic landscape to yourself while you lose.

I will admit that the name is terrible and impossible to search for, that’s on me. I still love it.

On The Meaninglessness of High Scores

There’s nothing stopping any of you from overtaking Steve’s high score other than the fact that you just won’t do it.

Seriously, the strategy will be immediately obvious. It just takes a lot of patience to pull off and if you push your luck you can beat him faster. But if you push your luck you’ll get in trouble and lose. That’s okay though, being good at a video game doesn’t matter. Let Steve have the high score. You don’t need it to know you are good just as Steve is. You’re both on the leaderboard, after all, just he’s a little higher than you.

That’s okay!

It’s okay.

….Totally okay…

Bug Drop! Ad Findings

After releasing Bug Drop!, my collaborator, Steve, started to get curious about running ads for it using Apple’s ad platform. He decided to give it a shot because it wasn’t that expensive and, hey, if it works that means more people get to experience the game!

So he fired up a few ad types. CPM ads run a block of impressions for a fixed cost whereas the “cost per install” ads are a fixed cost per install and it’s up to Apple to effectively display the ad in order to get the install.

The ads ran for about a week and here’s what he found:

I ran $9 worth of ads on the CPM based “Advanced” Apple ads and it got 7 taps, 0 installs.

The other cost per install based “Basic” ads haven’t done anything yet. They are suggesting a $2.15 cost per install, making it not worth it.

Ads are a racket.

Look, I’m not a ruthless businessman; however, I can be practical when needed, but our initial experiments with Apple’s ads are dispiriting. We will not be continuing them.

I also find it galling that they would suggest we bump our price for the cost to install to above the current price of the app. Maybe we just need to charge more so we can pay apple more for people to buy the game. Oh well!

Anyway, go buy Bug Drop!. It’s fun!

Bug Drop! is Live on iOS

Go buy and download Bug Drop on iOS! We have a special launch price of $2 and it’ll go up to $3 later.

Steve Kemsley and I just published our latest game for the iPhone! It’s about a parachuting bug and is called Bug Drop! It’s a lot of fun. If you like platformers and puzzles you’ll like this game. We’ve been told by multiple people that it has a “just one more attempt” quality to it.

Plus, the art is SO cute. Steve did an amazing job with it and there are outfits you can unlock! My personal favorite is the Wizard Bug although Dr. Bug is also rad.

Music and sound effects by OJON! He did a fantastic job with it and it really ties the game together.

Exterior House Colors

In the summer of 2021 we had the exterior of our house painted by a friend. This post serves mostly as a reference for ourselves about the colors we used. At some point we’re going to redo the roof too to really complete the look.

Front of the House

Closeup of colors in context

Paint chip samples

Colors are all from Behr at Home Depot:

  • Alpine Trail
  • Tuscan Herbs
  • Rustic Tobacco – used for the foundation

Paint used

We used Behr’s Premium Plus line. Exterior Satin Enamel.

Display Case for Science Bee

My wife does craft shows as the Science Bee and she needed a larger display case for her table. This absolute unit is two 2’x4’ pegbaord panels on a hinge:

Here it is closed up. You can see the handles on the top that make moving it around much easier:

And here it is in context on the right side of the table. The smaller case on the left of the table was supposed to be a prototype before I made the “real” one. That was many many years ago. I guess it did serve its purpose though since the new one follows it as a plan, just larger:

And, for Ann Arbor superfans, the frame for this was repurposed wood from the old Workantile Phone Booth project!

Dice Tower

This year my podcast, Roll for Topic, held its first convention. For one of the door prizes I made a dice tower reusing some ash flooring that a friend had gifted me. Here’s the finished piece:

I’m very happy with out it turned out. The brass discs on the outside are for the internal pins that help randomize the dice rolls. Sanded up to 400 grit and finished with paste wax. It has a super smooth feel to it and dice make satisfying sounds as they go through the tower.

Process

First up planing to get the wood down to the right thickness. I really need a planer with any dust collection…Or a bandsaw that can accurately rip boards down to size.

Next cutting the pieces to size. A crosscut sled and an adjusted miter saw were key here:

The glueup happened in stages and like all glue ups was difficult and annoying:

Lots of little pieces that wanted to slide everywhere:

Right when i was “done” I decided to add in some brass rods to help with the randomness of the rolls. This added a lot to the overall look and feel of the piece and I’m very glad I went for it.

Here’s a test fit. Once I was sure of the sizing I pulled these out and rounded the sharp edges a bit more:

And what they looked like on the outside after finishing:

Twice Reclaimed Ash Box

A while back, a friend had an ash tree from their yard milled into floorboards. Those then those sat in storage until they moved and he donated the lot of them to me. As a thank you gift I made this small box for him:

I tried to keep details from the floorboards intact. The pull on the lid is part of the tongue from the boards and the lip on the box is from the groove. The bottom I planed down thin enough to show a bit of the separation between the boards (I swear it was intentional!)

I’m particularly proud of the tight miters on this one and the fact that the lid will fit no matter the rotation.

Materials: twice reclaimed ash

Finish: two coats of shellac and a coat of paste wax.

Happy Holidays!

In lieu of physical cards this year I spent way too long putting together a digital version that has a few jokes that made us laugh:

2020 Salzman Holiday Card

I really do want you to have a happy last few weeks of the year. If you celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas! And here’s to a happy new year 🙂

Nerd stuff

There’s a github repo if you really want to delve into it. There’s not a lot there that you can’t envision from what you’re seeing on the site. It’s not meant to be open sourced, it’s not meant to be more than what it is. Robin Sloan’s idea of apps being home cooked meals applies here. I honestly wouldn’t have put it on github normally. Github pages required it though.

The highlights are:

  • React. I don’t really need React for this. It’s overkill; however, it’s what I use at work so I reached for it. In the future I’ll probably use Preact.
  • Tailwind for styling. Again, we’re using this at work and I’m a huge fan. Once you get used to the syntax it’s fast to use and powerful.
  • Using github pages to handle serving the file. This is the first time I’ve used that and was surprised at how easy it was to get going.
  • The “Too Cool” shades is just a png the same size as the jpg family photo. It’s such a simple trick. When I was looking around for ways to approach this I ran across this method and was amused at how simple of an idea it is and how well it works.
  • Depending on your combination of buttons the fonts change and that delights me to no end. No one else will notice this. Sometimes you do things for you though.

Issues with the Microsoft Sculpt on USB-C MacBook Pros

Feel free to skip this if you do not want to hear about a very specific hardware issue I am having. I’m writing this so I have a reference document to point back to and share!

Updates

Update February 3rd: calling this fixed! I bought an individual Anker USB-C to USB-A dongle just to try one last thing before fully giving up and it’s been rock solid for a week straight. Here’s how it shows up in the System Report:

I have no idea why this connection would work better than using the USB-A port on Apple’s official Multiport adapter, but that’s just how bad USB-C is as a “one port to rule them all” solution. Leaving this page up as a reference for anyone else who has this issue!

Update Dec. 10: Thought the powered USB hub had done the trick, but had a drop this morning. It did last a lot longer between drops than before. Back to the drawing board.

UPDATE Dec. 9: cautiously optimistic that I’ve found a fix! Chris Dzombak mentioned trying a powered USB hub. I found an Anker hub with a wall wart power supply in the closet and have been using the keyboard/mouse for 24 hours without any drops.

The Problem

A few years back after having some bad back pain I picked up a Microsoft Sculpt keyboard and mouse. It’s been such a lifesaver in terms of limiting pain. The only downside is that it uses a proprietary USB-A receiver that is linked to the keyboard and mouse it came with. Lose the receiver and you have bricked your keyboard and mouse. To use it on a USB-C equipped mac it needs to go through hub or a dongle to connect to the computer.

Normally this isn’t an issue, however, with this setup about once or twice a day the mouse and keyboard completely stops working. To fix it I need to unplug whatever hub the receiver is on and move it to another USB-C port. It’ll then merrily work again fora few hours until it happens again.

Oddities

  • In the “System Report” the receiver shows up as connected, but it just no longer accepts inputs.
  • Unplugging the receiver from the hub and plugging it back in does nothing. The whole setup needs to move to another port.
  • Any other USB 2.0 devices over USB-A that are plugged into that port via the hub also seem to freeze. My webcam, for example.
  • I have a backup setup and the same behavior happens with that one too. I’ve tried the official Apple multport adapter as well as a 3rd party option and it happens on both of them.
  • This all works on my iMac using its USB-A ports

But, the weirdest thing about this is that I leave the mouse turned off the keyboard will happily work fine with no issues.

I’ve contemplated just buying a good mouse and ditching the included mouse, but I would much rather just use this.

How can one even diagnose what’s going on?

I have no idea what to do from here. I’m open to trying literally anything if you think it might help.

Is there something I can check in console.app to see what is happening with USB devices? Is there an app out there that can help this?

Has anyone else run into this before? If so, please email me or reach out in another way!

mA Draw?

Yesterday I began to think that maybe it’s being caused by some sort of power draw spike? Like the mouse is requesting something from the receiver and it’s spiking the mA request through the hub and MacOS just cuts it off?

Would it be worth using a powered USB-C hub? Does that exist?

What about alternative setups?

I’ve looked for a similar style keyboard/mouse to replace this with, but no one seems to make one that is tenkeyless, which for my style of upper back pain is crucial. If someone knows of one though, please let me know!