Over The Line!


Today, at 7.45am, I finally got GrappleApp over the line and produced a code-complete build (v1.0.11, if you’re interested). It’s been years since I started work on this.

I still need to run the credits/disclaimer past Colin to get his permission to mention the gym (I’ve got no problem removing it if he prefers), get some proper accountancy advice etc. and actually release it on the Play Store, but the hard work (the coding and production) is already done and I can’t believe it!

Right now I’m just preparing some screenshots for the Play Store listing, and I’ll be screen-capturing some video etc. in the next day or so, just generally getting ready to finally release this thing.

Watch this space. No, really.




Finish Line In Sight

The day is almost here where I can declare GrappleApp v1.0 (Beta) code complete. Can’t believe it’s so close, after all these years.

I literally have two tasks remaining, one of which is a minor tweak to the tourney intro sequence, and the other is to finalise how Pro Mode is going to work/can be activated etc.

Aside from that I have some business/admin things to do, but the the release is basically right round the corner.


Watch the space, I’ll be back on to update soon.


Hey Coach!


2 o’clock this morning I finally completed the coaches images, and gave them proper names (no more “Master Baiter” etc.), which was one of only 7 or so remaining tasks until release.

I comfortably missed my arbitrary 9th April release date, so I’ll come up with a new and equally meaningless date later. Nothing like having a specific goal to ignore!

But yeah, quite pleased with the current state of things. It has taken 5 years to get here, but it has taken shape nicely and I’ll be proud of the body of work no matter how successful – or otherwise – the app ends up being.

Next few steps will be to get the sponsor logos implemented properly, do a little bit of work around what gets displayed in the sponsors node and the sponsors page, and then I’ll be able to sign off the character generation stuff completely.

After that, a few minor tidy-up tasks and then it’ll be off to Kaobon to check if it’s okay to include the gym in the credits before I release it. Whenever that might be.




Character Building


Last week I received the completed work for my GrappleApp character generation templates from my man Amund (amundfarifteh.com), and it was exactly what I wanted.

Aside from the fact I love his style, he produced it in precisely the format/system I required – I was able to immediately slot it into the pre-existing structure that I’d already implemented in my app. Superb value for money and a really good guy to work with, I’m already lining up some follow-up work that might need doing.

The remaining tasks for the character generation system (and related) are:

  • Save resultant images in same size as source templates
  • Render image in correct dimensions on all pages, info panes etc.
  • BUG: Image generation on-the-fly during tourney intro writes the same image to subsequent profiles
  • Use better +/- icons
  • Do proper relief-shaped sponsor logos for body/chest
  • Redo generic profile image to be a silhouette from new system
  • Confirm that new .cif and image files are created for new whitebelts that are added after a promotion/resignation
  • Look at/improve performance of tourney/championship intro
  • Add pure white as a hair colour option (and possibly lighten the pure black)
  • Manually put eyeballs into eye templates, and remove eyeballs as a variable option in the editor etc.
  • Edit image templates to remove artifacts that become apparent after colour replacement
  • Get coaches’ images sorted

That covers it, really. Gonna be done soon – I promise!




All Sequences Complete

Yesterday I finally completed the sound sequences for all move sequences in GrappleApp, marking a milestone in its development.

I actually thought I’d already done this a while ago, but somehow 40 or so sequences managed to slip through the cracks. All sorted now.

I’m now full-swing into finishing development on GrappleApp, and have a pretty comprehensive plan to get this done over the next 3 months. I’m getting excited again.

I made a list of blockers to release, with 25 items on it, and so far I’ve done 10 (putting me at 40%) but – for some indication of the pace I’m working at – I expect to have 5 more done by the end of tonight.

I have commissioned a guy to work on the character images too, and I’ll reveal more about this as he starts to send work over. Pretty exciting 🙂

That’ll do for now. Watch this space!





This week I finally got round to implementing genuine SSL certificates on my sites/domains. I’d made a few aborted attempts previously, hampered mainly by an inept ISP that seemed unable to process my SSL certificate orders, but decided to give Let’s Encrypt (https://letsencrypt.org/) a try this time, and I’m very pleased I did.

Done purely through the terminal, the setup process was as follows:

1. Download and install Certbot

> sudo apt-get update
> sudo apt-get install software-properties-common
> sudo add-apt-repository ppa:certbot/certbot
> sudo apt-get update
> sudo apt-get install python-certbot-apache

2. Run Certbot with automated Apache plugin

> sudo certbot --apache

And – after following the on-screen instructions – that was pretty much that. I did have to ensure that the correct port was open on my server, to allow confirmation of domain ownership, but the whole thing was otherwise trouble-free.

The only annoying thing is that – in my haste – I’ve already pointed zacksmohawk.com away from the IP address currently hosting its content, and directly at the box hosting zmserver.net, which means I’ll have to spend some time amalgamating the content. It will probably get messy as f-

Anyway, very happy about the whole HTTPS situation. It’s almost the kind of thing a professional developer would do…