Add your own teams to Starting 11

Version 2.0 of Starting 11 was just submitted for App Store review and should be available on the store shortly.

New features

The new version lets you add any number of your own favorite teams and players.

Formations you prepare are stored for future modifications, meaning you don't need to start over from the beginning the next time you want to prepare a starting eleven.

How to get it for free

Version 2.0 will be priced at $2, but it is a free upgrade for users of version 1.0. So if you haven't yet downloaded Starting 11 you can get 2.0 for free by acting now, before it goes online at the store.

App store link

The evolution of an iPhone app interface

I recently released Starting 11, an iPhone app in which you can pick your own football team line up and share it via e-mail and Facebook.

From idea to app store submission took about 10 evenings of work. The lions share of that time was spent perfecting the user interface. Below are the design iterations from idea to App Store release, click the images for full versions.

Since I had the idea for this app just before the FIFA World Cup started, I quickly decided to use the Xcode template "Navigation-based Application" to simplify development, hoping to get it published before the World Cup had finished. By focusing on polishing the pitch view, which would be the view where the user spends most of his time, I figured I would get the most bang for my efforts.

Initial idea sketch

Starting11_idea.png

Using the brilliant and free Adobe Ideas app on my iPad i quickly sketched the basic UI and zoomed the resulting image to match the size of my iPhone. This gave me a feel for the size of the UI components, allowing me to decide that it would be feasible to have a full football team on screen at once.

Grass and scoreboard

To generate the grass for the pitch I followed Andrew Houle's Photoshop tutorial, ending up with a huge image of grass texture. My brother graciously provided me with the chalk lines marking the pitch and with the scoreboard graphic which has a nice detailed mesh effect only visible with the extra resolution available on the iPhone 4.

Player kits

I had decided to represent the players on the pitch by having their jerseys show the number on the back, the name would appear beneath. My first effort used a combination of rectangular UIViews to create the illusion of the jersey. I was hoping this would allow me to save time, but it just didn't look good enough to match my vision for Starting 11.

I had to implement my own UIView subclass to handle drawing the player using vector graphics. This allowed me to create something that more closely resembled a jersey.

I also decided to add a dark background to the player names.

After using the app in this state for some time I decided that the shoulders needed to be more rounded, and that a black outline around the player added some needed contrast, especially important when using the application outdoors in the sun. For the same reason the color behind the player name was darkened.

I also added a small line to indicate the separation of the player's legs, without which it looked like the players were wearing skirts.

Finally the flags for all countries had some shine added to them, then the Share button was added and I decided that instead of having the team's name appear on screen twice the navigation bar should contain the application's title.

And there you have it, the UI of version 1.0 of Starting 11. What do you think? What would you change?

Looking forward

After the World Cup is done and we have a new world champion team, the next step will be to add the possibility for customers to add and modify teams. This will make the app useful for the club competitions that start up after summer.

Regarding the iPad I think Starting 11 would be a wonderful fit for the larger screen, so I plan to make it a universal app that supports both the iPhone and the iPad form-factors.

Until these steps are done the app will remain free. I will eventually start charging.

Starting 11 for iPhone in HD

It has yet to be listed in the App Store, but I'd like to introduce you to my latest effort. Starting 11 is an app developed for the ongoing FIFA World Cup.

You choose which team you want to manage and position the players on the pitch in the formation you prefer. You can then share the resulting lineup via e-mail or Facebook.

Starting 11 has been in review at Apple for a over a week already so it should hopefully go live shortly.

Retina Display ready

This is my first attempt at an app supporting the full resolution of the Retina Display of iPhone 4. The difference in detail level is simply astounding, as you can see for yourself below.

Click the image for full size comparison.

Euro2008: Go Germany! [Updated]

So, now it's just a few hours away. The single biggest sporting event of 2008 - the Euro2008 final between Spain and Germany!

They're both great teams who truly deserve their shot at gold, but only one can go down in history as winners. No matter who wins I'll be happy, but I've chosen to throw my support behind the Germans.

The spaniards have more star players, especially Fabregas is a genius with the ball, and they have played brilliantly all the way through the tournament. Nevertheless I feel more for Germany and think that with their enthusiastic style of play they may well pull off another miracle in the Alps.

Jetzt geht's los!

UPDATE: Congratulations to Spain on a well deserved victory.

Summer reading

Scott Stevenson points out that the third edition of Aaron Hillegass' book Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X has been released. Since it appears to be a sort of Cocoa newbie bible I went ahead and ordered it immediately. The affordable price also helps of course.

Let's call this my first major step towards becoming proficient in Cocoa. Now I know what to do with my summer vacation after the Euro 2008 finals have played out.