Timecrest: The Door major VoiceOver update coming

iOS and iPadOS Gaming

We've just submitted to Apple a major update to Timecrest which is the culmination of us focusing on VoiceOver support over the last couple of months. We turned on screen curtain, put on our headphones, and played through the whole game using VoiceOver. As a result, we've added a ton of new features and improved a lot of UI for our VoiceOver users.

We'll update this thread again when the update is out, probably in the next 1-2 weeks. Below are the detailed patch notes so you know what's coming.

Timecrest 2.3 Patch Notes

We're back with a massive update, bringing Timecrest to over 200,000 words. We've rewritten Chapter 1 & 2, adding 30,000 words, and dramatically improved VoiceOver support for our blind and low-vision users.

We've completely rewritten Chapter 1 & 2 from the ground up. Writing Timecrest 2, we learned so many things about writing interactive fiction, and wanted to bring this high quality to the beginning of our story. This should still feel like the same Chapter 1 & 2 you've played before, but with more conflict, drama, faster pacing and choices that change the story a lot more. The new version adds 30,000 words.

You will see it the next time you play again from the beginning. If you are currently in the old Chapter 1 & 2, you will continue to play the old chapters, and will only see it on your next playthrough.

We have turned on the screen curtain and played through our whole game with VoiceOver on, redoing and reworking most of the features in our game to better work with VoiceOver. THANKS TO APPLEVIS.COM USERS FOR ALL OF THE FEEDBACK!

- Better accessibility labels across all UI. We've added and rewritten many labels, and even reworked UI to make it more accessible.
- Message sound effects. Indicates when a new message is delivered, when all messages have been delivered, when your VoiceOver cursor is over the last received message but more are incoming, and so on.
- Pronunciation mode. When pronunciation mode is enabled, the spellings of text will be changed to improve VoiceOver's pronunciation. Disable it if you prefer to learn the correct spellings of words or if you are using a Braille display.
- Text indicators. For UI that previously relied on visual indicators, such as the red handwritten text at the beginning of Chapter 6, and specially indicating which messages are System Messages, or even the green "Turn back time" button, descriptive text was added.
- Descriptive help. For each of the main tabs, there is a button in the top left corner of the screen that can provide help text describing how each feature works from the perspective of a VoiceOver user.
- Improved pouch and merchant. You can now tap to get the description of an item, and magic tap to use it.
- VoiceOver specific settings menu. Where you can adjust the music volume, enable or disable Pronunciation Mode, and turn on or off the VoiceOver messaging sounds.
- Descriptive map & characters. We have made all of the maps accessible, adding detailed descriptions of what Ash has drawn for you as you run your finger across the map. In the Relationship tab, we've written out accessible descriptions of the images of the characters, so you can know what is in the pictures of them.

- We've done a pass to make our UI and dialogs look more Timecrest-y and less ug-ly.
- We've added a Settings bookmark button to the message tab, so it's a bit easier and faster to access this dialog.

- We now allow other music sources in background. (Thanks Dustin Perez)
- Fixed an issue where an option became text in Chapter 9. (Thanks Jess Dempsey)
- Fixed Ash from repeating the same line about the gardens twice (Thanks Joshua Hebert)
- Fixed various spelling and grammar issues (Thanks Sashimioishi)
- Fixed a path in Chapter 10 where a character is said to be dead, even if your decisions in Chapter 4 cause that character to live. (Thanks Justin Ekis)
- Added an option to disable sounds in the settings menu (Thanks Joel Goguen)
- Fixed an issue where you could sometimes get stuck on Aion in chapter 9 (Thanks G.R.)
- Fixed a multitude of watch syncing issues and text issues. (Thanks Ben Rose)

- With this release, we're granting a Player Appreciation Award to @DiannaMuircast, who has gone above and beyond on her engagement with Timecrest, bringing many new wonderful people into our game. A.C. has forged "The Mighty Bat", an exclusive item and an exclusive new scene accessible just for her.



Submitted by Missy Hoppe on Thursday, September 1, 2016

As someone who has been slowly but surely working my way through the TimeCrest story, I just want to say thank you to the developers for putting so much effort into making this app as VoiceOver friendly as possible. Your efforts are extremely appreciated, and knowing how much effort you're putting into the app makes me even more determined to finish the story so that I can play it again. I'm a bit confused about something, and maybe you can clarify. When I first open the app, there's a menu that says I can start a new TimeCrest 1 or TimeCrest 2 game. Are those separate apps, or do I already have access to both stories? I'm on Chapter Five now, but have no idea which TimeCrest I'm actually playing. All I do know is that I'm enjoying it very much, even if I sometimes go a few days without remembering to check in with Ash. LOL! Anyway, thanks again for all of your hard work. It is always a wonderful feeling to find app developers who are so dedicated to making their apps accessible.

Submitted by cowbunny on Thursday, September 1, 2016

Missy Hoppe, thanks so much for your feedback. This community has been so kind and supportive of our game, so the least we can do is ensure you all have an excellent experience with it.

I'm sorry that the top menu is confusing. Let me try to explain it a bit better. These are not separate apps, and just affect the current game you are playing.

If you press "Start Timecrest 1: Fated Connections", it will start your current game from the beginning, but you will keep the current Gold, Time Crystals, Relationships and any special key items you may have earned.

If you press "Start Timecrest 2: The Door", it will list out every time you have completed Timecrest 1 (That is, chapters 1 through 5) and a summary of any major decisions you made. From each completed run, you can choose to continue the game there, and it will start on Chapter 6, based on the decisions you made in Timecrest 1. You will also keep the current Gold, Time Crystals, Relationships and any special key items you may have earned.

Again, I'm sorry this was confusing. Please feel free to ask me any questions if I am not explaining this feature clearly.

Thanks for playing Timecrest!

Submitted by Ken Downey on Friday, September 2, 2016

I've literally spent 40 bucks on this app, well worth every cent. Third time through story, would love an undo feature. People who complete the story should get a bonus.

Submitted by tunmi13 on Friday, September 2, 2016

I'm going to be making a podcast on this when the new release is out. I'm far beyond from deleting this game off my iPad, far beyond, not even close to deleting it.
I could keep this game on my device for ages!

Submitted by Ken Downey on Saturday, September 3, 2016

Please don't read the rest ofthis until you're either the dev gone through the story about three or four times... spoilers I think that there needs to be a third choice in Timecrest 2. I'm running through for the third time and I'm purposefully going to kill one of Ash's friends. I know the one I'm going to kill, I've run through all the timelines. So tell Ash I'm the same as Chronos. I know most of what's going on. Tell Ash that I really like A.C. but he's going to die ... to save Princess Riley. Man I'm still so into this story. I just bought time crystals again, even though I've done this ... WAIT! I see another way... But tell Ash not to seek Ezra. He's got to go with Roger. He promised. But there's a new opening in the timeline... Elise is going to take us somewhere... She's obsessed with death, ... Tell Ash from the beginning that A.C. can cast lightning... HE's gotta get Riley's amulet fixed first thing Ash, food isn't it... and don't ever take off your dispell ring again!!!!! Petora is trying to look like Riley and fool you. They are all with Chronos. Sol Ignis has turned to the dark side, and it was really him... not an imposter. You'd know all this if you had that amulet fixed and coated in irillium to harden it. Of course, that takes blood... to solidify the irillium. That's why Riley is purposefully giving blood to Chronos. It keeps the irrilium solid. It gives Aion the power to float, and if she doesn't give her blood, the whole island in the sky will fall down. and kill thousands and thousands. Then there are the zombies. Every game's gotta have zombies!!! TELL ash to be careful... in the human world his story is just a game, not a real connection. That means there are dozens of people running through the story lines, and Ash doesn't remember any but one because the amulet broke.

Submitted by cowbunny on Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The update is out now! You can get it at this link: https://itunes.apple.com/app/apple-store/id1027546326?pt=117839576&ct=A…

Please try it out and tell us what you think. We've tried hard to make changes that made the game enjoyable for us when we had screen curtain on. But what matters more is your experiences. Any feedback you give us we'll take seriously as we consider changes in future patches to the game.

Ken Downey, thank you for your idea to help out people who have already completed the game. We are thinking of ways that can make replaying a bit easier without breaking the fiction. Time travel is a core component to the storyline, and the rules around when the player can turn back time may make an undo feature (short term time-travel) not make sense given the rules of the universe.

Submitted by Chris on Wednesday, September 7, 2016

This is awesome! I haven't downloaded this yet as I'm on cell data and don't feel like downloading about 100 megs right now. Keep up the awesome work. I will check this out as soon as I'm back on wi-fi. Thank you for this great game that has kept me hooked for about a month.

Submitted by cowbunny on Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Your TOD generator will stay with you if you update the game, or use "Play Timecrest 1" or "Play Timecrest 2" to play again from the top menu. It is a key item and will stay with you through all playthroughs.

The only way to lose this and other items is if you delete the app or load a save file from Game Center from before you had the item. We do not recommend deleting the app as it will lose your items and progress.

We highly recommend that everyone uses the settings menu to log in to Game Center, and backing up their progress regularly with the "save" button, in case you lose your phone or accidentally delete the app.

Submitted by JeffB on Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Cool thanks for the quick reply!

Submitted by Ken Downey on Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Loving the new update but have a recommendation. For pronenum©pronunciation, try for more natural alternate spelling, like elise instead of eh rees. Love this game!

Submitted by cowbunny on Friday, October 7, 2016

Now that the huge VoiceOver and accessibility update has been out for a few weeks, I wanted to gather any feedback you all had for Timecrest.

Was it better?
Was it worse?
Which specific things worked well, and what didn't?

If you are new to Timecrest, what is your impression of the accessibility and fun for our game?

The original VoiceOver update was based on your feedback, so we want to keep asking and keep in touch with this excellent community so that we can keep improving it.

Submitted by JeffB on Friday, October 7, 2016

Hi there used to be a button for the Top Generator but there is no longer 1 and there is no way to get the Teleport orbs.

Submitted by cowbunny on Friday, October 7, 2016

Hi Jeff. I just tested this and it works for me. Please try these instructions.

1. Select the "Pouch" tab at the bottom of the screen. It should be the fourth tab.

2. Select the "TOD Generator" row.

3. Perform a magic tap with this row selected. To perform a magic tap gesture, double tap two fingers.

Please note that any item in the pouch indicated as "actionable" can be magic tapped to use the item. This is also mentioned in the description when the item is highlighted, though this deep at the end of the description.

If even with these instructions, you're still having trouble with the feature, please contact our support by selecting the Settings button, then the Contact Support button at the bottom of the dialog. In the email, describe the problem and they'll help you with your Teleport Orb Generator item.

I hope this helps you, Jeff!

Submitted by Justin Ekis on Friday, October 7, 2016

I can see where the confusion came from with the orb generator. The message about how to activate it is not spoken if hints are disabled in voiceover. Many people who are more familiar with how to operate VO turn hints off, as the built-in hints get a bit tiresome to here over and over. It's a weird thing, because many third party apps actually include useful things in the hints, but Apple's own included hints are so abnoxiously repetitive that it becomes more frustration than it's worth to leave them on.

Submitted by Paige on Saturday, October 8, 2016

I actually keep my hints on for that reason, even though they are annoying sometimes.

Submitted by Toonhead on Saturday, October 8, 2016

I leave hints on too, because yeah, you're gonna hear a lot of repetitive crap, but when you get a new app with hints enabled like Timecrest, you're really going to benefit from them. I'm not having a single problem with accessibility. I guess I keep making the wrong choices, because I keep having to go back in time, and having to essentially start over. At this point, i'm inbetween games. Also note that there's an extra health item, called Irillium available only on the iPad since the screen is larger. It's too bad there isn't a way to translate it to the iPhone because I believe it would make the game a little more useful and fun. Other than constantly killing Ash, and making tons of mistakes i'm liking the game. Guess that's why we have multiple choices in the game. HEy, you can't always make the right ones or it wouldn't be challenging.

Submitted by cowbunny on Saturday, October 8, 2016

Justin, thanks for the mention about hints. We had no idea people turned them off, which is why we appreciate feedback from the community.

Toonhead, Irillium is available on the iPhone too. Because of limited screen size, it only appears on the iPhone if you have at least one piece of Irillium, and only on the Merchant tab, because in later chapters it is usable there.

As for making "mistakes", one of our principles in writing Timecrest is that there aren't really incorrect choices, just different storylines to explore. A good story has conflict, and a beginning, middle, and end, so it was important to us that the choices you make can never eliminate bad things happening, because conflict is the essence of a story. Just, maybe, different bad things. :)

Submitted by Ken Downey on Saturday, October 8, 2016

Great update. The pronunciation mode needs work. Instead of typing things in phonetically try pronunciations like this. Mayges for mages, potion is pronounced fine as is so don't know what voice you're using. Alinsia is the best I can do for that name. Would really like to be able to nag Ash to fix that amulet. It would be great if he could someday fix it and remember all our runthroughs together lol. Also, if you have a chrono wand you should be able to fast forward not needing time crystals any more. Just my two cents.

Submitted by Ken Downey on Saturday, October 8, 2016

I'd also like an undo feature for if I accidentally do something I already tried. Also, how the heck do I get an LSD shirt?

Submitted by AbleTec on Saturday, October 8, 2016

Subject says it all, really. I haven't bought/played this yet, but it is now high on my priority list. Developers who go to this much work to help us need all the support we can provide. Thanks so much, cowbunny & all, for your great work on this. & I hope when nominations come up for induction into the hall of fame, these folks will be at the top of the list.

Submitted by cowbunny on Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Hi Ken. The pronunciation mode is very difficult to do. We tried to make it work with different voices. We hope it can give people some idea of what we're trying to accomplish, but if it is not working, you can always turn the feature off. What voices do you use? The LSD Shirt can be found if you encounter the Luthor's Supreme Devotees club. The hint I'll give is that it is somewhere in Chapter 8.

We chose not to include an undo feature because we had the principle that each choice creates a new valid storyline, and an undo feature felt like you could turn back mistakes, which we tried to avoid creating paths that were 'mistakes' but just different stories to explore. That said, you can use the Game Center save and load feature to go back to a point, but it will save the full state of your game (Time Crystals, Gold, Items, etc) so be careful when using this feature that you don't lose items or progress.

AbleTec, thank you for your kind words and feedback. When you do try the game, please tell us what you think. We'd love to make the game better for you.

Submitted by cowbunny on Thursday, October 20, 2016

We've had some feedback from the audiogames forum that the VoiceOver narrator constantly describing dot-dot-dot as ellipsis is annoying.

Do you agree? Should we have pronunciation mode just pause in these segments, more like a period? Or is it fine the way it is? The ellipsis is used to indicate the character trailing off with an unfinished thought.

Submitted by cowbunny on Tuesday, October 25, 2016

I wanted to mention that BlindfuryKat has started VoiceOver Let's Play on Youtube for Timecrest that we are enjoying.

It starts with this video which combines a review with a Let's Play here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zbhr6Obe2DA

And it continues into Episode 1 here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gr_ojgCf4g

Please join us in encouraging her to continue creating this content! We're really enjoying it and we hope you do too.

Submitted by vulcansummer on Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Thank you so much for explaining the purpose of the ellipsis. I did think it had to do with Ash not finishing a sentence, but now I know for sure. I don't mind the ellipsis in there.
Also, I finally got to the point where I can use the maps. I am just amazed and so thankful for the descriptions you have so kindly put in there.

An idea I thought would be cool, is to have our names as part of the game. For example, Ash could ask us our name at the beginning, and if your name was Tom, Ash would say something like, "I'm pleased to meet you, tom."
Then throughout the game Ash could periotically say your name. It just seems like it would make the game more personable than it already is.
Thank you so much for allowing us the opportunity to play this game.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Saturday, December 24, 2016

I'm very new to this game, just started at about 5 this morning. So far so good. I'm loving this game!

Submitted by cowbunny on Saturday, December 24, 2016

@Robert Kingett. I think I replied to you on Reddit, but I'll also respond here for visibility. Right now, you're running into a bug with the game. Normally, you should be able to select the map in your pouch, and select the "View" button at the bottom. When using VoiceOver though, it crashes. The workaround is to use Magic Tap on the map (double tab two fingers) but we understand this gesture will not work for you.

We have a bug fix ready that should allow you to view the map with your keyboard, but since it is the holidays, Apple isn't accepting app updates for a few days. We'll have the update within a couple of weeks and get back to you when you can use the map again!

So sorry for the bug.

@KE7ZUM Thanks so much for the feedback! Don't hesitate to tell us what you think and we'll make the game better!

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Saturday, December 24, 2016

Thanks. I gave you an audio feedback at yoru twitter. Let me know if you need me to clarify and I'll do my best.

Thanks so much.

Submitted by cowbunny on Saturday, December 24, 2016

@KE7ZUM We saw your tweet and listened to your feedback. Thanks so much! We focused on iPhone and iPad accessibility, since it seemed most people here were using that. But you make a good point that we can do better on Apple Watch. Based on your feedback we'll work to improve the Apple Watch labels in a future release.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Monday, December 26, 2016

In the descriptive help for the bank it says I can view ashes' rank by touching the middle of the screen. I do that but I don't see anything about his rank. I'm in chapter 4 by the way. Did I brake something to cause this?

Take care all

Submitted by cowbunny on Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Dear KE7ZUM,

You're right that we mentioned Ash's rank previously. In our last update, we changed the Morty page to include a larger graphic of Morty and we took out the rank. We'll look to put this back in a future version.

Ash starts in the Timecrest guild as the lowest rank, Copper. If your Ash ever has the opportunity to attend the guild trials, Ash may be able to promote to a higher rank.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Yeah dunno, I'm in chapter 5, or at the end of it, I won't spoil it, but I have a 24 hour time wait, and after what I just saw I need it myself, that ending was not what I expected. Ok, so I'm not going crazy and I did not brake it lol!

Take care and be blessed.

Submitted by Kimbowen on Wednesday, January 4, 2017

I downloaded this game two days ago and I am absolutely loving it. I think it's the best roleplaying game ever created, even better than the Lifeline series! I have noticed some minor grammatical and spelling issues, but they aren't a deal breaker for me, this game is just too awesome; I can't seem to put it down! Thank you so much for implementing VoiceOver accessibility and I have A question: I'm confused about Riley, at the end of the second chapter, she helps Ash, but now she is his enemy? Darn, I was starting to really like her and hoped she would get together with Ash. thank you so very much for creating this incredibly unique and addictive game, so now I'm going back to playing chapter 3 of the first story! keep up the awesome work, Cowbunny and I'm definitely looking forward to the next update, hopefully with the ability to have ash say your name every once in a while ( like in the Choice of Games series ), it would make the game more personable. congratulations on winning the Golden Apple, you definitely deserve that honor!

Submitted by AbleTec on Thursday, January 5, 2017

I just wanted to congratulate you on your 2016 Golden Apple award as presented by the Applevis community. It was truly well deserved. I said in a previous post that if you folks didn't get an award, I'd cry. I'm glad I won't need the Klean-x now--or at least not for that reason lol.

May 2017 bring you much joy & success. Thank you again for your efforts in making this game usable by those w/low or no eyesight. Often, our recreational opportunities are limited because of the inaccessibility of games & sports. Sometimes it obviously can't be avoided, i.e., if the game is strictly visual in nature, for example, but sometimes the barriers are artificial, in the form of poor color schemes or the app not working w/Voiceover, etc. You've gone above & beyond to eliminate those artificial barriers, & I for one appreciate that tremendously. Thank you! Warm regards & all the best.

Submitted by cowbunny on Sunday, January 8, 2017

Thanks for all of the kind comments. If you ever find any spelling or grammar mistakes, please be sure to contact our support through the in-game button in the Settings menu and report them. We always give credit in our update notes for the people who helped us. Also note that some of the grammar is intentional--Ash is messaging you, and since we are trying to make a realistic person, they may not speak with perfect diction at all times. That said, the language should never feel distracting, so please report anything you find.

We are looking forward to making 2017 an even better year for Timecrest in the ongoing story and improved accessibility. Please don't hestitate to contact us or write to us with feedback and we'll keep working to make the game fantastic!

Submitted by cowbunny on Wednesday, February 1, 2017

We wanted to thank everyone for all of the positive feedback we received for our appearance on the AppleVis Extra podcast. Please know you can feel free to reach out to us about Timecrest anytime here or support@sneakycrab.com