Bruce Lee

Counts as a Milestone

What an awesome week. I got a full three days of game dev done, and even if that does not sound like a lot – would you believe, I work more or less normal 8-hour days even on “my own game dev days” – there was significant progress made on the game. Unfortunately there’s not enough new art in it to cater for a Screenshot Saturday, so I’ll just list the stuff I got done instead:

  • As I finally have a development device, I tested and tuned the multi-touch gesture handling I already coded like 3 months ago in Spain. Funny to see that the code actually worked – the log was filled with the expected gibberish as I played around with the real device. Funnier still, I did not know that one can actually test, if not all, at least some multi-touch gestures on the simulator by pressing the Option key on the keyboard while clicking the mouse. (Don’t know exactly which gestures, but at least the pinch gesture (zoom-in and zoom-out) can be simulated with that.)
  • Scenes and layers, baby. I have now real, functioning placeholders for all the scenes in the game. So far I had only “Start Menu” and “Play” scenes. I still use “placeholders” as the word for them, as they contain only mock-up art and animations.
  • I tied the scenes to the game state machine and therefore made the game really playable for the first time. What an awesome feeling when firing it up on the iPad Mini!
  • I adjusted various game mechanics details, as I have had doubts on how the multi-touch gestures and the game mechanics I came up with a year ago after a glass of red wine will actually work in real life.
  • I tested, a.k.a. played, the game quite a lot.

So now it’s really rollin’ and I assume I could say I will be a game developer when I grow up. The game is fun enough and I’ve got so nice feedback on the art that the game is certainly up for releasing in the App Store. Release a game -> Officially a game dev -> Great success!

I haven’t ever had a real schedule or deadline for the game. My initial “probably by change of year” was just a guesstimate, so it does not bother me much that the releasing will be shifted with a couple of months to about February/March. This is mostly due to me moving back to Finland and all that – the practicalities shaved away about 5 weeks of proper 3-day-a-week game coding. If I estimate the hours I’ve put in and how many I still need to put in, my initial guesstimate is actually quite accurate. I’ve still got one big part left – audio. I will commission that and hope there won’t be any nasty surprises. Hey, if you’re into game audio, drop me a line on Twitter!

Alright, conclusions and next steps after first real game testing:

  • My initial thought that the game will be best on an iPad or iPad Mini probably turns out to be true. Well, this is not that surprising: MOST games are probably better on a tablet than on a phone due to the screen estate difference. The iPad Mini seems a particularly good gaming device.
  • The tuning I’ve done to the game mechanics was certainly required, but luckily I haven’t diverted too far from the original idea. On the contrary, together with some new ideas like the “Level Up”-style game progressing, I think game is simply better. I noted one “severe” issue in the current version in how the Kisau Veela’s are behaving, but that will be an easy fix for the next version.
  • We will start finalizing the character art and the “static” art like the backgrounds for all the scenes with Pietari now. This will make the game look much more finalized and that will certainly trigger a need for a Screenshot Saturday and a teaser trailer, right?
  • Trailer making. Sheez, don’t get me started, I have no idea how to do that stuff…
  • I will need to whip up a spec-kind-of-document for the audio part. It’s probably good to start earlier than later with that.
  • I’m still a bit unsure, but I think I’ll need one more scene. Currently there’s “Start Menu”, the play scene, “Level Up”, “Options”, and “Game Over”. There are two ways the game can end: game over, and game over, and I need a scene for the “good” game over kind.

Oh, yeah, the icon of the game is awesome, me thinks!

AppIcon76x76

Simple, clear, clean. Stands out amongst the hugely crammed icons of nowadays’ games. I scientifically tested that: I put it on my iPhone in the middle of all the other games, and this one shines through, take my word for it!