Gold Word Lives Again!

Gold Word is back!  It went live on the Apple App Store today, after being absent since 2017.
I had almost forgotten how much I love this game.  I started working on reviving it about 2 weeks ago.  There was a lot of work to make the game and my Mac compatible with the newer versions of iOS, MacOS, XCode and others.  I had to remove the multiplayer capability (match play, which I really enjoyed and was very proud of) because it relied on several 3rd-party frameworks that are now defunct.  But I had a working version on my phone about a week ago and I’ve been playing it like crazy ever since.  Gold Word is the perfect diversion when I’ve got a minute or 2 to kill… like waiting for the microwave or our coffee machine at work that brews one cup at a time.  Of course, Gold Word is also addictive and I have played for an hour straight at least once or twice in the last week.
Props to Apple for simplifying and streamlining the submit/review process to get an app on the app store.  It was easier and faster than it was 4 years ago.  I also am impressed that 90% of my code– originally tested on an iPhone 4S– works perfectly on the latest iPhones and iPads.  To me that shows that it’s a good investment to write code for Apple machines.
I had fun getting reacquainted with my own code.  Gold Word is filled with reusable components like the tutorial popups for new users, the database upgrade tools, the data browser (used on the Word History page), and matchmaking utilities to find opponents among Facebook friends, etc.  Much of it was written in C++, which is a programming language that I know and love very well.  But a lot of the code was in Objective-C, which I was learning for the first time.  It’s easy for me to see which parts of the Objective-C code were written early on, because I improved as I got comfortable with the language.  The latter parts (like the tutorial popups, which I added just before the initial release) are well-engineered and the code is neat and readable.  This was a great reminder of just how much I love programming– especially games.
Anyway, I hope you all enjoy a game of Gold Word soon, especially if you’re one of my former users who lost the ability to play when you upgraded to a new phone.  Thanks for reading my post and for playing Gold Word!

Gold Word v1.2 Available, with Facebook Matchmaking!

Version 1.2 of Gold Word and Gold Word Free was released today on the iOS App Store. The purpose of this release is to make it easier for users to find opponents for match play. If you like Gold Word but haven’t tried match play, I urge you to try it. I find the game to be far more exciting when you’re playing against an opponent. You never know when a word may be decided by a second or two on the clock, which can make the game pretty intense.

New features in v1.2:

  • Facebook matchmaking: Gold Word will display a list of your Facebook friends and indicate which ones have Gold Word v1.2. You can begin a match with any of your friends– even those who don’t have the game. If your opponent doesn’t have Gold Word v1.2, then a Facebook invitation will be sent to him/her, you can play your turn, and the match will be waiting for your opponent when he/she installs Gold Word.
  • Random matchmaking: You can play a match without finding an opponent ahead of time, and “post” your turn for another player to find later. If you don’t want random opponents to see your real name, then you can use any name you like.
  • Rematches: There’s now a rematch button on the match results screen, making it easy to keep an ongoing series of matches going against a favorite opponent. There’s also a Recent Opponents list, which allows you to begin a new match against anyone you’ve played against in the past.

Happy Auer Games thanks you for trying Gold Word v1.2, and we hope you enjoy it!

Gold Word v1.2 coming soon!

Gold Word v1.2 is coming soon! The overall theme is to make it easier for users to find opponents for match play. If you haven’t tried match play, then you’re missing out on the best part of Gold Word. It really is the best part of the game. “Intensity” is not something that’s usually associated with word games, but Gold Word can get pretty frantic– especially if you and your opponent are evenly matched and you know every second could be the difference between winning and losing.

I have spent the past month rebuilding the match play section so that users can use Facebook to find opponents. That means I’ve had to re-write all of the communication between players, since the original Gold Word relied on Apple’s Game Center for all of the match play communication. There are some nice side benefits to the new design:

  • Players can use anonymous nicknames to play against random opponents.
  • The game will keep track of your recent opponents, so you don’t have to scroll through all your Facebook friends every time.
  • The match results screen will include a Rematch button; this will also help you avoid searching for the same opponent repeatedly, and it will allow you to build rivalries against the opponents you find through random matchmaking.
  • Any given opponent will always “see” you by the same name. So you could find one random opponent and play as “Darth Vader”, and play another opponent as “Lord Voldemort”. Rematches against both opponents will continue to use the same respective names.

I have all of this behavior working on my test devices. Now I need to test it vigorously, find and fix as many bugs as I can, and make a few minor visual tweaks. The new version should be ready for release in April.

I have far more Facebook friends than Game Center friends, so I’m eager for this new version to be released!

Gold Word v1.1 Now Available

Gold Word 1.1 and Gold Word Free 1.1 are now available in the Apple App Store. In addition to a new icon and a much more attractive app store page, the new versions include the following improvements:


  • Small buttons (+/- signs, checkboxes, etc.) now have larger tap areas and those with labels can now be accessed by tapping the label.
  • Settings screen no longer requires a separate “save” step. Any changes are instantly saved.
  • Sound effect volumes are more consistent.

Bug fixes:

  • Potential crash when displaying Match Play screen for users with many Game Center friends.
  • Loss of Game Center connection while playing a match puts the match into a perpetual “Your Turn” state.
  • Paging control on Match Play screen appears unnecessarily for users who have played more than 20 matches on a different device.

Gold Word’s Future: Android & Facebook

It’s been 2 weeks now since Gold Word Free was released on the Apple App Store. Gold Word (standard version) was released 1 week later. The initial results are encouraging, especially since I have data that suggests users who try the game keep playing it. But I’d like to reach a bigger audience, and it’s clear that the game needs some improvements in order to do that. Here are my top priorities for the future of Gold Word:

1. App Store “Curb Appeal”
2. Facebook matchmaking
3. Android version

#3 is the most requested improvement so far. It’s obviously a sure way to expand the audience. But I can’t do an Android version without replacing Apple Game Center as the matchmaking system. So #2 must happen first… which is a good thing, because I’m very excited about it. Match Play, in my opinion, is the most fun part of Gold Word. But it’s underutilized because most users don’t have Game Center accounts, and it’s cumbersome to sign up and find your friends. So using Facebook to find opponents will be an enormous improvement and get many more people to play matches.

As for item #1: the icon, screenshots, description, and keywords don’t do justice to the game itself. One user told me he was surprised at how good the game looks on his phone after seeing the screenshots in the app store. This doesn’t surprise me, since I put much more energy into building the game itself than I did into marketing. I’ve been working on revisions for everything that’s visible on the App Store page. Those changes, along with a few minor enhancements and bug fixes, are nearly ready to go and should be released next week.

Please keep the feedback coming! I like Gold Word and I want to make it into the best game it can be… not just for me, but for everyone who plays it. Thanks for reading, and thanks especially for playing!

Announcing Gold Word

The first Happy Auer Games product, Gold Word, is a word game for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. A free version (Gold Word Free) and standard version ($0.99) are both available now on the App Store.  It’s been a ton of fun to create and play this game. I’ve played it myself over 14,000 times so far– partly because I did a lot of testing, and partly because I’m hopelessly addicted.  And I’m just warming up… the real fun will begin once I have more users to play against. Please check back here for more updates.