Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Morocco HD

It's hard to believe it's been two years since I wrote Morocco for the iPhone. It was one of the first apps available in Apple's App Store. I made it available for free because it had been written as a hobby and a way to learn iPhone programming.

I was unprepared for how popular it would be. Mind you, it's easier for something to be popular when it's free. But beyond that, I appreciated the nice comments that were left in iTunes and the constructive criticism from people who wanted it to be better. Even now, with no updates to it since August of 2008, it gets almost 2,000 new downloads every day.

I'm happy to announce that Morocco HD is now available for the iPad. In writing it, I tried to keep in mind what people said they liked about the original — particularly the clean, easy-to-use interface that lends itself to quick pick-up-and-play games when you want a break.

I also fixed a few valid complaints. Morocco HD has instructions to teach new users how to play Reversi. And there is now an option to require the user to acknowledge forced pass moves, instead of having the game automatically take multiple turns in a row when the player has no legal moves available.

Finally, the graphics and user experience have been greatly improved to provide the level of quality I believe people expect from iPad apps. Nik Daum once again came through with beautiful backgrounds and game boards, as well as outstanding layouts for the game in both portrait and landscape orientations. Honestly, the game would look like poo if it weren't for him. I've also added sound (which can be turned off, of course).

Morocco HD is now available in the App Store for $1.99. The original Morocco, which will run on an iPad although without the beautiful new graphics and other features, remains free.

View Morocco HD in the App Store

Monday, August 11, 2008

Morocco 1.1.0 Now Available

Just got confirmation from Apple that the latest update to Morocco is now available. This update provides slicker graphics as well as animated disc flipping. It also briefly highlights the most recent move.

The new artwork and layout were provided by Nik Daum. I urge you to check out his highly irreverent, and deliciously fun, website and travel blog.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Morocco downloads and update!

I clearly underestimated the popularity of Morocco. Apple has only released the number of downloads starting on Monday, July 28th, but in the first four days of that period it was downloaded almost 24,000 times! The largest number of downloads during that period were on Monday with 7,500 downloads. The fewest were on Wednesday with just over 5,000 downloads.

Based on those numbers, I've come up with a few methods to help me estimate how many total downloads there have been since the App Store opened on July 10th. I came up with a range of between 150,000 and 200,000 downloads in its first three weeks! Wow.

My first method is just to extrapolate backwards from the numbers I have. It seems reasonable to assume that the download counts have been declining, especially since it fell out of the top 10 free games after the first week. If we use the maximum daily number available (7,500) and multiply that by the 16 days for which we don't have data, that gives us 120,000. Add to that the 24,000 known downloads through Thursday, July 31st, and we get 144,000. But it seems likely that the average downloads for the first two weeks were higher. Picking a not unreasonable number of 10,000 average daily downloads gives us 184,000 downloads between July 10th and July 31st.

My second method is based on using the number of reviews as a proxy for the number of downloads, as suggested here. I was very skeptical of this method when I first read it — and, honestly, I still am. But using their value of approximately 1,600 downloads per review puts us in the same ballpark as above. With Morocco having just over 100 reviews as of Thursday, July 31st, that suggests 160,000 downloads.

Finally, I looked at the number of hits to the Morocco page on this website as a proxy for downloads. It peaked during the first two days the App Store was open, declined slightly for the next week and a half, spiked up when the 1.0.1 update was released, and has been steadily declining since then. Using the downloads-to-hits ratio for the known days and extrapolating that for the prior two weeks, gives an estimated download count of 190,000.

Did I mention, "WOW!"?

Morocco was written both as a hobby and a way to pick up programming for the iPhone. I figured I'd throw it out there in the hopes that a few people would find it fun, but then forget about it. Between the wonderful reviews it is getting, the emails I have received, and, now, the number of downloads, I've become excited about continuing to improve it.

In case you are worried that the download count has me seeing dollar signs and that I am thinking about charging for future versions, fear not. Morocco will always remain free. Frankly, you can get world class Reversi / Othello programs for free and I'm not presumptuous enough to think that Morocco is better than them.

My next update will address the most common complaint, that the graphics are not polished enough for an iPhone app. I agree completely. Thankfully, Nik Daum stepped up and generously offered his artistic services for free. I think you'll like the results. In addition to updated graphics, Morocco will now include a disc flipping animation and an animation that highlights the most recent move. And, finally, I am adding instructions in the game itself to help those who have never played Othello before.

I was hoping to have these updates finished tonight. But I'm not 100% happy with it yet and there remains one bug to squash. I'm not going to send an update to the App Store until I'm as happy with it as I can be. Look for another post soon announcing the upcoming release.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Morroco Now Available!

Morroco is now available for the iPhone and iPod Touch through the iTunes App Store. You can download it here.

Monday, July 7, 2008


Yesterday I submitted Morrocco, my version of the classic strategy game Othello, to Apple's iPhone App Store. It's being distributed as a free download for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Hopefully it will be available through iTunes and the iPhone App Store when it opens on July 11th.

For more information, please see the Morocco web page.