Monthly Archives: October 2012
There have been malicious rumours of foul intent spreading that we’re not in fact real people and that you’re all being Punk’d by Siri.
Well, cast no further aspersions, ne’erdowells!
I give you, the current Flat Earth team!!! (Well, except for Josh, our animator, who’s in Melbourne, and Eliot, our musician, who wasn’t in on the day we took it, and Morgan and Damien, who are actually part of the Epiphany Games team, but dammit-just-lemme-share-a-picture-of-us!!)
Last year it was one of the driving and most inspiring forces which led to me actually throwing myself into trying to level-up my experience points in videogame-makery.
This year, hearing from Robin Hunicke on creating Journey was absolutely stellar. She described in some detail how utterly not fun the game was until they were almost 80% through (something which, as a huge fan of ThatGameCompany, I was afraid of when first seeing the title).
They outlined the process of iterating on the design by creating, seeking feedback, then recreating, and repeat ad nauseum.
At the same time as this was going on, I was chirpily (yes, I chirp – I’ve been known to chirp on occasion) running around the Exhibition Centre showing an early build of our game to many a person.
The four straight hours of drinking red wine and plugging ideas for things you could craft into an Excel spreadsheet felt very productive indeed.
Neither the Minecraft system of putting things in a grid nor the mini-game mechanics of other craft-centric titles was the right fit for us, necessitating too much guesswork for the impatient iPhone user. We instead opted for having items be more specific than their raw materials, opting for the ability to create a long wooden pole or short wooden pole (for example), rather than placing a different number of ‘wood’ items in a line.
Six months later, we actually had XML data files in place and could start plugging those items into our engine. One at a time, we began to weed out the ones which were superfluous (shrubbery), redundant (gold-tinted, wood-handled copper axe) or just plain silly (advanced fishing rod).
Lo, the ditched items were buried, but not forgotten, fodder perhaps for some future update to the game once we’ve launched.
This post by Rohan originally appeared on Kotaku…
It’s T plus a fortnight-odd now, and we’ve had time to put the iPhone 5 through its paces – both as a gaming platform for our enjoyment, and as something to build our own games on. Can anything be said that wasn’t said on launch day by the myriad of developers putting in their two cents? Well, two things popped into my head…
I was always going to buy an iPhone 5. Not because I’m some frothing-at-the-mouth Apple fanboy with a turtleneck and a shrine to Steve Jobs mind you (The turtleneck IS the shrine to Steve Jobs – Leigh) – but because I’m a mobile developer, and a game nut.
Being an indie developer at a fledgling company, without the benefit of a well-staffed QA department or team, my house resembles a “Museum of Modern Mobile History”. Between old devices of mine and hand-me-downs from people answering the call for debug devices, I have almost every iOS device Apple have released, two android devices, one laughable Symbian phone and a few other obscure bits of tablet hardware.
But the iPhone 5 was something special – something I knew I was going to have to buy if I wanted us to be able to make a good show of being up to date with our current project, a mobile title designed to take advantage of the ultra-high res devices the average mobile gamer carries in his or her pocket these days. The first thing made the iPhone 5 special wasn’t so much the A6 chip (a chip so fast it can belt out 1080p 3D graphics to your TV which look better than almost any Xbox 360 title I’ve seen) or the myriad of smaller features which Apple advertises – it was the screen.
So, last month I blogged about how we were building the UI for our game. One of the things we’d decided to do was keep our options open for porting to other platforms by making our UI scale to whatever sized screen we cared to throw at it.
When we first got the game building fine on the iPhone 5, this made me smile – having the UI just smile and quietly use more space for the inventory screen when given more screen real estate was pretty good.
And yet this week, I find myself blogging about how we’ve nuked that feature entirely. How I’m now no longer using a Scale9 system for our in-game UI objects. The code is still there, for now, but we’ve just stopped using it.