Thursday, May 14, 2009

The first decision

After deciding on the game I wanted to develop, the first major decision was: do I use OpenGL or not?

I have absolutely no experience in OpenGL, but was prepared to slog through learning it. I really did not want to use it if I did not have to, though.

My requirements for the game were:
- Drag a square from a "tray" area to the game board and double-tap to place it
- Rotate the square in 90 degree increments
- Animate tokens along a pre-calculated path made of lines, arcs, and curves

So, I looked through the view and animation APIs, and I bought the 3 available books on iPhone programming. It looked like I would not have to learn OpenGL. The trickiest part would be doing the animation along a path, since rotating a view is fairly straightforward. From the docs, it looked like the CGAnimation class had what I needed, and it turned out that it works great for me.

So, one major design decision down, and a sigh of relief from me, because I would not have to learn OpenGL for this game.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Putting my Daughter to Work

Last night, my family went to see the new Star Trek movie. While waiting in line, my 9 year-old daughter asked me if she could use my iPhone to play "Daddy's game." Not having sold any copies of the game in about a week, I told her "Sure," but she would have to hold the phone out prominently so that someone might catch a glimpse of the game and be curious about it. Yes, I'm that desperate.

Sure enough, the people in line behind us were quietly watching my daughter play the game, and looked interested, so I told them about it. They bought and downloaded a copy on the spot! Good thing my daughter doesn't know about the concept of commission yet :) She did get a big hug from Dad!

This underscores the need for exposure when developing a game. I know that people will like the game, but how do I go about competing for attention from the > 10000 other games (over 2000 in the same category)? That's my next big hurdle. I've made a fun game with good quality. I have solid enhancements planned and already well under development. I just need a way for people to know about it.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Yet another iPhone game is born

For anyone interested in writing a game for the iPhone, I thought that I'd try to journal some of my experiences developing Pathology.

My sons and I regularly play board games with friends, and someone brought in a game called Tsuro, which my sons really enjoyed playing. I took a look at the game, saw how simple the rules are, combined with deceptive strategy and depth, and I thought "This would be cool to play on the iPhone." I had also been looking into the iPhone APIs and I saw a good fit. I could leverage animation along a path as well as touch/drag, and the core of the game was born in my head.