Pinball Map iOS App Updated to 3.2

Oh what a day! A new Pinball Map iOS app update has hit the streets.

It’s a modest, yet important, release. Modest because it mostly adds some functionality that was already on the website. And important because 1) those functions are cool! and 2) it marks the end of programmer extraordinaire Frank Michael’s involvement in the project. If we had it our way, FM would still be ‘gramming with us. But FM has this thing called “free will” and he’s walking a different walk these days. He stuck around to complete this latest update, and for that we’re very grateful. Reminder, Frank Michael burst into our lives in 2014 and completely revamped the iOS app from the ground up. This the FOURTH app update of his. He played an important role in the app these last couple years, and now we wish him good fortune in his future endeavors.

Here’s the changelog for the 3.2 release:

[New] View PinTips for Machines
pintips.net is a great site for quickly grabbing some machine tips (and for easily contributing your own). We’re glad to be synced up with it.

[New] Show past Machine Conditions
We keep a record of comments made on machines. Previously, you could only see the most recent one. But now you can view past one’s, too!

[New] Show the last time a Location was updated
Is the data for this location two years old, or was it updated yesterday? The answer to this question is now at your fingertips.

[New] Ability to confirm the information for a given Location is up-to-date
Say the location data hasn’t been updated in two years, and yet it’s still up to date! If there’s no data to update, but you’d like to tell the world that you’ve verified the data, now you can with a click of a button.

and…
[New] Filter Nearby Map based on a set of distances (From 10-50 miles
from your current location)

[Fix] Update list of Regions when main site is updated
[Fix] Minor UI Issue where Machine names would not be formatted correctly

Pinball Map Android App v2.2

Gather around children, for I have a story to tell. Great! Nice job. So, this is the story of an app. This app’s name was Pinball Map, and it lived in the realm of Android, within the land of Pinballia. When this story begins it was 2.1.2 versions old, and was well-liked in the realm. Whenever folks were visiting a new town, or looking for some fun in their own town, Pinball Map of Android was there to help out. You see, Pinball Map had a special gift: it helped people find pinball machines to play. And each time it did so, the citizens of Android rewarded Pinball Map by updating its data and giving it stars. And while stars are cool and all, Pinball Map was especially grateful for these updates. Because if locations weren’t updated, then the data would be stale and smelly, and Pinball Map would be less valuable to people.

Then one day the gods gathered together in their cloud kingdom and peered down at little Pinball Map of Android. They saw it working away, and they saw the people smiling and playing pinball. Things were looking good in Android. But being gods, they were aware of happenings deep within both Android and elsewhere in Pinballia. They observed the increased capabilities of Pinball Map of Android’s brethren, Pinball Map of iOS and Pinball Map of Website; they read bug reports; and they examined user behavior. They also remembered that Pinball Map of Android, while blessed with gifts, was also cursed with the inability to grow up on its own. Version upgrades were the responsibility of the gods, and the gods alone. And so the gods soon decreed that Pinball Map of Android deserved an upgrade so it could better serve the people. Thus, they rode their personal hoverclouds down to Pinballia and fiddled with Pinball Map’s guts. They reassembled and appended, and then tested the results.

In the end, Pinball Map of Android version 2.2 was born.

The gods then dropped a nugget of knowledge down to the people, in the form of a large nugget with writing on it. When read, it read:

Please enjoy Pinball Map of Android version 2.2. Make note of the following updates (and bear in mind that it may be incomplete, because sometimes even gods are forgetful):

  • support for Android 4.0.3, Ice Cream Sandwich, and Android 5.1
  • new region selection screen
  • add multiple conditions
  • show last condition in location view
  • save position in machines and locations list when navigating back and forth between screens
  • distance to locations will change based on GPS movement
  • menu options and buttons changed (not sure how many were changed)
  • fixes for commonly seen app crashes
  • fix for showing locations on the map

We urge the people of Android to make use of version 2.2 by upgrading the Pinball Map of Android beacon on their smartphone. That way, when you call for Pinball Map, the latest and greatest will serve you.

Jackpots be with you.

Your gods,
Jah Ryan, Jah Scott, and featuring guest god Jah Brian

And that’s the end of my story. Hope you learned something.

Pinball Map Apple Watch App

Greetings, friends! This post is for all the iOS users out there (you know who you are). Some months ago we subtly alluded to the fact that we’re working on adding Apple Watch support to the Pinball Map iOS app. Well, the day has now arrived when we can proudly say the day of Apple Watch support has arrived. That’s right – the Apple Watch support arrival train scooted into the station, t-minus like two weeks ago. And now it’s just chilling there, accepting ticket holders. The Pinball Map Apple Watch App will help you find nearby spots with pinball machines, check for upcoming events, and see the latest map updates!

This update marks Pinball Map iOS App 3.1.1. Once again, this great update is brought to you courtesy of Frank Michael Sanchez. We love working with Frank Michael, and the app looks fantastic and works fantastically.

Here are some screenshots:

Wearables make us think all sorts of crazy things (in fact, apps in general make us think of crazy things). Such as, what if we added a feature so it registers when you’re playing pinball (based on the angle you’re holding your hand). And then we can start tracking how long your balls are (say, if you take your hand off a flipper for a certain amount of time, it would register as a ball drained…?). It probably wouldn’t work… but it makes you think. Anyone else have any crazy ideas? Count how many times you scratch your butt while playing pinball? How many times you push up your glasses while playing pinball? How many times you say the word “pinball” while you’re playing pinball?

But for now, we can all be happy with the Pinball Map App available on TWO wearables (Pebble and Apple Watch). Pretty cool!

Pinball Map iOS Update 3.0.4

Hey friends,
Yesterday we released an update to the iOS app. Here’s what it does:

[New] Auto update region data on launch
[New] Today Widget now shows upcoming events
[New] Sort machines by manufacturer
[New] Support for @3x graphics for iPhone 6+
[New] Open app when tapping on Today Widget
[Fix] Various UI issues
[Fix] Incorrect launch image for iOS 7 devices
[Fix] Crashes when trying to search machines

That first item about auto updating is a good one. The app is meant to work offline, but as a result the data wasn’t refreshing as often as we’d like. So updates made via the website or android app wouldn’t show up immediately on the iOS app. There were a few ways to manually update the data (such as doing a “pull down” on the list of locations), but it wasn’t very intuitive. So now the app refreshes the data more frequently.

Also, as mentioned in other blog posts, it once again display machine comments on the “location view” screen. So like, when you pull up a location, it lists the the machines at that location and any comments that have been left for the machines. The next update will add support for multiple comments, like we recently added to the website.

Thanks again for your feedback! And thanks for using and updating the site!

Pinball Map Pebble App

POP QUIZ. Do you know what’s easier than pulling out your phone to find nearby pinball machines? Bzzzt! Time’s up. The answer is glancing at your wrist. Glancing at your wrist is easier.

Pebble makes a cool smart watch with a long battery and a simple interface. So we made a Pinball Map Pebble App.

Here’s what it shows you:

  • The closest locations with pinball machines
  • Recent updates to the map
  • Upcoming pinball events in your area

Nice and simple! Here are some screenshots:

Now you can have the Pinball Map app in the palm of your… wrist.

UPDATE: @FamilyFunArcade just made this amazing graphic of the Pinball Map Pebble app in action, and we have to share it:

Yes, there are downsides to this app: Dick Tracy might miss out on catching some baddies because he’s too busy playing pinball. Are we okay with that?? We are!

Pinball Map Android App 2.1

Following hot on the heels of our release of version 3.0 of the Pinball Map iOS app is version 2.1 of the Android app!

Pinball Map Android App on the Google Play Store

We added lotsa big and beautiful features and additions in this update that enhance the usability and stability of the app.

The most obvious update is to the visual appearance. Previously, it had a black background, with white text. This new version uses one of Android’s skins (light background, dark text). This gives it a look and feel that will be familiar (and pleasant!) to many Android users. We’ve also updated the look of the Location Info screen to be more usable.

Now to the meat! (screenshots showing many of these features can be found on the Store)

  • Search functions when browsing by Machine or by Location
    • So, instead of scrolling to a location, you can type in “Bob’s Bar” and that location will come right up!
  • When browsing by Location (or by Closest Locations), it lists how many machines are at each spot.
  • Machine info includes the manufacturer name and the year it was made.
    • This helps gives a fuller picture of the machines you’re looking at.
  • When adding a machine to a location, if you type in the name of a machine you’ll receive auto-completed suggestions based on what you’re typing.
    • This helps eliminate questions/inconsistency about spelling and punctuation when adding machine names. Similarly, when using the “suggest a new location” form, the machines field will autocomplete as you type in machine names.
  • When choosing a region, you can sort the list by distance.
    • This makes is super easy to find the closest map!
  • You can add a “Location Type” tag and a phone number to a spot.
    • When viewing a location’s info, hit the Pen icon up top to edit this metadata. Like, if the location is a Laundromat, then you can add that tag. (Not all locations are already tagged, because this is a feature we added later. The site will be cooler if ALL spots are tagged with a Type. But we need your help!)

On top of all of this (or below it?), are lots of code updates that, among many other things, increase stability across devices.

We hope you like this update! We’re proud of it.

As usual, the code is on Github in case you want to submit patches or suggestions.

Pinball Map iOS App 3.0

We’re happy to announce a MAJOR update to the Pinball Map iOS app!

This is the first update in, uh, four years. A lot has happened in iOS-land in those years. New phones, new tablets, new native UI, new resolutions.

The original developer of the Pinball Map iOS app, Isaac Ruiz, put together a solid app that held strongly for years and was instrumental in growing pinballmap.com. The last version of the app (2.0) worked great and lots of people loved it, but it was missing some important features from the website. Over the last four years, we came up with a nice list of improvements for it. Just like the website, where we’re continuously rolling out updates and new features, we’re always looking for ways to improve the user experience. “Oh, a user didn’t know that they can REMOVE machines from locations? WHY didn’t they know that? Seems like we can probably improve the user interface/experience there.” But, we have limited resources! We (Scott and Ryan) work on the website basically every day (current count: we’ve committed code updates 1,340 times), and Scott does the entire the Android app and also spent time refactoring the iOS app.

Then along comes Frank Michael Sanchez! He’s an illustrious iOS developer who saw that the app was in serious need of modernization. He reached out to us and volunteered his service to it. And he immediately proved his expertise. Scott put together a new Pinball Map API, so that Frank Michael could easily access all the data in a clean and efficient manner. And Frank Michael rewrote the entire app starting from scratch. We worked closely with him to make sure that key features were added, and we had a squadron of regional administrators beta testing it. The entire time we knew the app was in good hands. And no joke, he put the entire update together in like three months!

As always, the app is free (and makes no money from ads). Frank Michael put in his time for free, all so we can supply a better experience to you folks who use the site/apps (and who support it by updating it). If you’re looking to hire an iOS developer for your project, hit him up! We can’t recommend him enough.

Pinball Map App 3.0 has a modernized interface, supports retina displays and has both iPhone AND iPad versions, and has new features. And we plan to roll out updates with regularity. Since the app was released yesterday, we’ve already received a bunch of feedback (send yours here). And yes, we’ll add back “recently added” in version 3.1!

New features:

  • iPad support, retina support, iPhone 5 support, new look, and MANY updated interface elements.
  • Offline access
  • Submit new locations to be added to your regional map!
  • When adding a machine to a spot, it’s now way easier to choose from the list of machines in the database.
  • You can add a “Location Type” tag to a spot. Like, if the location is a Laundromat, and isn’t already tagged as one, then you can add that tag. Then, when users “filter by location type” they can choose Laundromat and the spot you tagged will show up. (Not all locations are already tagged, because this is a feature we added later. The site will be cooler if ALL spots are tagged with a Type.)
  • Add phone numbers to locations
  • View manufacturer, year, and Internet Pinball Database information about a machine
  • In general, it’s easier to do a lot of things, like add/remove machines from locations, add machine condition comments, etc.

See more screenshots here.

The iOS and Android apps both play a humongous role in spreading the word about the site (and about pinball in general). It’s just nice to be able to carry it around with you, with a simple, intuitive interface (though if you don’t have a mobile device that supports either app, please note that we added a simple mobile skin to the website – try it out!). Thanks for using the site/apps to support your regional pinball map.

Get the updated Pinball Map iOS App!

PBM Android App 2.0

We’re happy to announce the release of version 2.0 of our Android App.

Previous, our app was targeting Android 2.2 or higher. Unfortunately, we have been using some location finding technology that was completely removed in Android 4.3. This broke features like “closest locations” for 4.3+ users. So, we took this opportunity to start targeting 4.3 and updating a lot of features that were deprecated. You probably won’t notice a huge difference in the way things look, but here is what you maybe might notice:

  • improved location finding services (“closest locations” should be snappier and more accurate)
  • new mapping system (we’re using the fancy Google Maps Android V2 api now)
  • speedier/response interface in general

Unfortunately, only users of Android 4.3 and above will get the opportunity to upgrade. That’s just a limitation of the technology available in older OSes. Sorry about this. I’m pretty sure that the older version of the app is stable for older versions of the OS.

A final note here.. I didn’t notice there were any issues with the app until they were reported by an alert and responsible user. I had been using Android 4.0, and was just kind of blissed out and blind to the whole terror that was hammering 4.3+ users. So, please, never hesitate to report any bugs that you find with the Android App (or the website or the iOS app). We’re not cool with stuff being broken, and we’ll jump on fixes as soon as possible.

Thanks for checking out the app, and good luck with all of your pinball games.