The End: Ascension

Over a year ago, I programmed, designed, and shipped Ascension. It made a small headway as a live wallpaper but never did particularly well. Live wallpapers occupy a niche of the Android Market, now Google Play, and serve no utility. They provide mild entertainment and pleasure, but developers give you little reason to purchase one. The best we can do is show a picture of it that looks pretty cool. Ascension looks pretty cool. I still think it looks pretty cool and represents a sort of higher-end in live wallpapers. Users customize it to suit their tastes, and customization sits as the most important feature of Ascension. Folks still wanted more, but I didn’t.

I privately declared Ascension a finished project some time ago, mostly around when I finally decided Android development depressed me. A few users have since contacted me and learned this as well. I’d never declared a project finished before, at least not a user-facing one. Sure, I’ve made libraries and they’re finished, but nothing sold directly to consumers. The decision came easy, though: I wanted nothing else out of Ascension, wanted nothing to do with Android, so I stopped. I prefer to work on what makes me happy. Working on Ascension brought only the opposite feeling. So I stopped.

Ascension became feature complete the day I released it, with bug fixes and small additions afterward as a sort of bonus while it continued to sell well enough to cover a cheap meal a day. But sales slowed down despite updates and I decided then that only bugs would get me to update it. Then I decided that only bugs that I could test would get me to update it. Turns out Ascension lacks many bugs, if any. I’d received a few bug reports of unusual foreign handsets failing to run it, but I honestly didn’t care. They appeared to fill the cheap phone role, and I had no interest in supporting those users. They were all Lite version users anyway.

The Lite version may have been my one big mistake. I released a feature-stripped version of Ascension for users to try, mostly as an experiment. If it resulted in increased sales, the free version would stay. If it hurt things, it would go. Unfortunately, results were mixed, and I let the Lite version be. Ultimately, it seems more likely that only people interested in getting a free app downloaded the Lite version. I pulled it from Google Play earlier this year.

In the end, Ascension pleased a good number of people. The e-mails users sent me seem to prove that. The comments on the app seem to prove that. The consistently high rating on the Market seems to prove that. I made something I wanted for my phone, sold it, and easily made back the cost of development. It was a worthwhile project. But it’s done, so I suppose I should get back to my current project. Back to the project that makes me happy.