You are not feeling the love. You keep looking at your creation in the iPhone’s screen, and is not clicking. Your best friend has been checking it out over your shoulder, and be keeps chugging his beer without a word. Finally he mutters something about it not being that bad, then goes to check out what’s all the excitement coming from the table in the back of the bar.

Not that bad! You cover your eyes. “Not that bad” is the kiss of death in the freaking App Store! You can already see your game  disappearing into the tide of forgotten apps, maybe get a few downloads when you finally make it free and it gets featured on Krapps.com. And the thing is… you don’t know why! Why is it so bad when it has all this cool stuff in it?

You remember when you started it. You were dating that daycare teacher, and inspired with how her sweet voice was always punctuated by the sudden screech when catching her rugrats doing something behind her back, you added to your game dinosaurs farting rainbows while juggling baby’s heads. That didn’t work out; actually, she got a restraining order. But the next date was such a great cook… you added the fire meatball shooter. Then it was the gothic girl (you added the fatty lipid-vampire), then the one in the military (the terrorist-skewer flag poles), then the veterinary (bi-headed chickens), then the farm girl (beheaded chickens)… Is all there on the screen in all its full-color animated glory.

You turn the iPhone off (for some reason is always running out of battery lately), and go after your friend see what’s up with all the laughing. What the…! Is that a gal wearing a mask that says “Evil”? Oh gosh, they are playing a board game in your bar! Disgusting! You knee your friend and point to the door, but is already too late; he is in perpetual snorting/chuckle mode now. You hurry out before it gets to you.

Wait a moment there buddy! Are you saying you don’t like board games? Aren’t you creating a video game? Not the same, eh? You sir are missing out! There are so many games out there with many interesting mechanics: board games, card games, dice games, role-playing games… They have been around for a while too, so I think they can probably teach you a thing or two about how to make your iPhone video game better, you know. Ah, now you are listening! OK, let me just explain you a few things about board games that can be applied to your designs.

Continue reading Learning from board games

Another week, another iOS release, another multi-gigabyte SDK download. You have been sitting all day in front of nondescript backdrops under the rain, coffee mug attached to your paw. Your doctor left a message saying your liver looks like last year’s filter from the hospital’s coffee vending machine. You lost your Barista of the Day 2010 Tracker Calendar and now every time you show up there is a dude with an apron behind the counter. iPod keeps shuffling once and again over the sad parts of the Start Wars soundtrack. You have to accept it. You are stuck again.

It all started with the interface. You were there positioning buttons, entering coordinates by hand: the score label, the Menu-pause™ widget, the alertness/drunkenness meter… it really started bugging you after having to re-compile for the tenth time just to find your designer (that is, you on Fridays) had decided to change the size of all the graphics. Then there was the turtle. I mean, how difficult do you think it is to calculate the mass of a freaking turtle? But somehow anytime you tried to change it the physics engine either made it go through the floor or bounce like crazy. Gosh man, didn’t we go through this already? Except your fancy level editor was of no help with any of this. You see, I may run the risk of repeating myself, but maybe is time to revisit the advice I gave you. First you need better tools.

Continue reading Tweak away

@mouse_stuck_on_a_coffee_shop_door

Eeeeeeeeeeeekkkkk! Oh, God, I thought you were going to step on mee! Well, don’t look at mee like that! You have never seen a mouse, or what? I am just… resting here, OK? I will bee on my waee when my back legs climb this damn bump. Who had the ideea of putting this stupid plastic trim in the middle of the entrywaee anywaee?

Ah yes, you want to know about the #iDevBlogADay thingy. Oh, I can tell you! I saw it all from the very beginning. I was sitting on the blueberry muffins… have you tried them? Oh, yes, they are good. Just don’t… don’t eat the ones with… eh… chocolate chips, OK? Just saying. Anyway, this guy was hanging around with one of those new iPhones in hand. Tweeting like crazy, not paying any attention to his wife that had just order a blueberry muffin with chocolate chips for him. He he. He he he hehee. He he was talking with somebody about how great his new blog post was. Full of himself if you ask mee.

Continue reading The True Story of #iDevBlogADay As Told by Things Seen During my Vacation

Levels

Posted on June 23, 2010

Let’s imagine that you, being the entrepreneurial indie iPhone game developer you are, are making one of those games with multiple levels; maybe old school, but at least easy enough for you to make a few levels, sell your game, then add more levels if sales permit. You start programming and after a few quick prototypes you have your little man running on the screen, bullets flying, dumb monsters chasing him. Since you have embraced the rapid prototyping method, and since you are having fun, you keep adding all kinds of stuff: flying quesadillas, cannibalistic herbivorous plants, trash cans full of cats (there need to be cats). For each new item you add to your test level, you write some code that more or less looks like this:

struct CannibalisticHerbivorousPlant
{
    CannibalisticHerbivorousPlant()
        : position(0,0)
        , velocity(0,0)
        , hunger(HungerType::Atrocious)
    {}
    Vector2D position;
    Vector2D velocity;
    HungerType::Enum hunger;
};

CannibalisticHerbivorousPlant cannHerbPlants[MAX_PLANTS];

cannHerbPlants[0].position = Vector2D(10, 13);
cannHerbPlants[1].position = Vector2D(-5, 0);
cannHerbPlants[2].position = Vector2D(13, 0);
...

I know, that doesn’t look like anything I would ever code myself, but we are talking about you after all, and you have to recognize that when you are in rapid prototyping mode, you are pretty sloppy.

Continue reading Levels

Hello there! Welcome to the site and blog of Mystery Coconut Games, aka that one person game company in Tacoma, Washington, that has not actually published any games yet.

Continue reading Not anymore… a 404