We just released Placescore to the public. Not a big deal, just one and a half years of work suddenly in the hands of a few thousand people. Oh my god, hold me.
I had the idea for Placescore a long time ago. Remember Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 on the original Playstation? I loved that game, it made me buy a skateboard. Not that I ever tried to drive it, it just stood there for a couple of years. However, THPS 2 didn’t only have a great soundtrack (AND I’M TNT! DYNAMITE!), no, it had one of the best multiplayer modes I ever encountered: Graffiti. It was easy: Two players land tricks on ramps, every ramp gets a highscore. The player with the highest score owns the ramp and it gets the player’s color.
I needed forever to get this into something that was actually usable on mobile devices. I thought about maps and colored circles above them. Urban districts tinted in a color of your choice. Some kind of color gang wars where you reduce the highscore of the other team and many other stupid ideas that didn’t really work out.
Until I ditched everything and decided a list of places would suffice. A few rough sketches later it was relatively clear what Placescore needed to be: As pure as possible. A list of locations and some kind of finite mechanism that creates a score.
The first version of Placescore’s design was built in Photoshop and with iOS 6 in mind. iOS 7 was a long time away and nobody was really thinking about it. Here’s how it looked. Quite similar to the version you find in the App Store but at the same time a lot different:
However. We slacked for about half a year and Apple released iOS 7 without asking us if we’re fine with what they have planned. It became clear that our previous design wasn’t suitable anymore and I decided to built a new one. This time with the help of Sketch.
I never used Sketch seriously before. Photoshop is my tool of choice, there is a reason I write the HTNSAP series here on the blog but I wanted to take a closer look at the new kid on the block and decided Placescore would be the right project for it.
Let’s say it like it is: I get why everyone is so amazed by Sketch and sure, you can do whole projects in it already and yes, there definitely are features Photoshop lacks (Artboards are awesome. Aweboards?). But I somehow… didn’t like it as much? Everything feels slow, the app feels sluggish because all you need to do happens in that abominable sidebar on the right side of the app. It slides open and closes and everything you need is only one hundred clicks away. No idea how one could ever like to work with that thing. Choosing fonts, font colors and font sizes feels slow enough to justify a whole task on your to-do list that reads “Change font size to 22”. That would be one thousand story points. Yeah, I just made a joke based on Scrum. Good grief.
Another thing that bothered me was the highly advertised export feature. I know, Photoshop’s Generator is pretty new and the absolutely amazing Slicy is third party software and somehow all friends of Sketch don’t like third party software in combination with Photoshop, but:
Sketch’s export function is a huge mess. I draw rectangles around elements then choose from a huge dropdown which layers are supposed to be included and after that press a button to save everything on my hard drive. The whole process feels slow, imprecice and like something Sisyphus would LOVE to do in his spare time.
One more thing: Sketch Mirror? Great idea! At least if you have never used xScope’s Mirror feature before. The latter actually works most of the time and for a period of time that’s longer than five minutes.
I don’t know, guys. I guess I need to write a longer and more detailed post about my feelings towards Sketch. It’s a great software, sure, but it’s just not the redeemer some of you are trying to proclaim.
Now to something more interesting: I decided to share my Placescore_v1.sketch file with you. I didn’t optimise it in any way, it’s the real deal. The file is the one we used to build the version that’s on the App Store right now. I thought that could be interesting for some of you. Here you go:
Oh and while we’re at it: Go download Placescore from the App Store. I’m kind of proud of it and am very much looking forward to your thoughts about it.
After the huge success of HTNSAP #2, here comes the third part.
There are two kinds of people: Those who rename their layers and those who don’t. If you’re the latter: GET. YOUR. SHIT. TOGETHER.
Renaming layers and groups is a substantial part of our work. When you’re working in a team and you save a file without easy understandable layer names, you’re a selfish prick. There, I said it.
If you’re working on your own you owe it to yourself to rename layers accordingly. You never know if there comes a time when somebody needs to work with your file. Even you will have problems working with a file from six months ago that doesn’t offer renamed layers.
If you’re one of the good guys and you’re already renaming everything, here’s a shortcut that’ll help you do that more efficiently.
Open Photoshop and go to Edit —> Edit Keyboard Shortcuts. Now search for “Rename Group…” under “Layer”. The shortcut of my choice for this setting is:
⇧ + ⌘ + R = Rename currently selected layer
You’ll save yourself and the cursor the whole way over to the layers panel and the click to make the description field editable. Just select the layer you want to rename with ⌥ + ⌘ + Right Mouse Button, hit ⇧ + ⌘ + R, type the new name and you’re done.
And for god’s sake, do yourself a favor and rename everything as you go along. Don’t tell yourself that you’re going to rename everything once you’re done. You won’t.
Here’s a list of all HTNSAP posts.
Was für ein Mac bzw. Ausstattung am Workspace hast du?Anonym
Dazu das übliche 27” Thunderbolt Display, standard Apple Tastatur (Mit Numblock! Keine Ahnung wie irgendjemand produktiv Photoshop ohne Numblock benutzen kann) und diese Maus. Macbook ist stark genug und eine 250GB SSD sorgt für krasse Geschwindigkeit und die Alternative wäre ein flotterer iMac, aber die sind nicht sonderlich mobil.
No question — just wanted to say the Paper team saw your post, and we are profoundly delighted to be able to impact your life in any small, positive way that we can. It is truly our inspiration, and your characterization of our work really resonates with us. Thank you. [Scott Goodson, engineering manager for Paper]Anonym
This “question” came in a just few hours after my “Why Facebook’s Paper is important. (At least for me.)" post through the "Ask Me Anything" form. I’m just going to leave it here for archival purposes. It nicely shows how small the internet really is and that there are real people behind the products we’re bashing all day. I really appreciate Scott’s response.
Facebook kauft WhatsApp. Was machst du? Wechseln - wenn ja wohin? Nicht wechseln - wenn nein, warum?Anonym
In erster Linie lehne ich mich zurück und gucke mir hochgradig entspannt an, wie alle plötzlich der Meinung sind irgendwas tun zu müssen.
Das eigentlich Spannende an Geschehnissen wie dem WhatsApp-Verkauf ist, dass plötzlich alle aufwachen und anfangen nachzudenken. Das mag ich. Endlich mal ein bisschen Selbstreflexion in den Timelines. Klar, das mittelfristige Ergebnis ist aktionistisches Geplapper, aber immerhin wird mal über etwas anderes als das Dschungelcamp gesprochen. Zumindest für zwei Tage, danach ist nämlich wieder allen scheißegal was sie nutzen um über DSDS zu reden.
Ich für meinen Teil nutze WhatsApp nicht, das meiste passiert über iMessage und Facebook Messenger (Hoffentlich kauft Facebook den nie!). Ab und zu stoße ich auf Personen die es für sich und ihren Freundeskreis offenbar als Hauptkommunikationsmittel erkoren haben, darum ist es bei mir zumindest installiert, aber ich würde es keine Sekunde vermissen, sollte Facebook entschließen es von jetzt auf gleich einzustampfen.
Gut für die Threema-Jungs, dass sie im Zuge der kopflosen Panik etwas Geld machen konnten, aber ich denke nicht, dass Threema oder Telegram durch die Angelegenheit wirklich ernstzunehmende Konkurrenz darstellen werden. Facebook wird WhatsApp nämlich nicht schlechter, sondern besser machen.
Dementsprechend: Ruhe bewahren.