Plans for the Site

As I’m in the process of redesigning and re-launching this website, I’ve been asking myself what direction I want to take the content. One of the main things I want to ensure is that I am producing something of value to anyone who is taking the time to read a post or check out a page on my site. As the title of the blog suggests, there will be some degree of me rambling about my game development process. That being said, I think it is really important to have some focus to ensure value added to the reader and that I’m not wasting anyone’s time.

My initial thoughts were that I would divide my posts up into categories relating to the various aspects of game design. But after thinking about it a bit more, I would like to also take some time to deal with more general topics related to computer science: for example, nondeterministic and deterministic finite automaton. This is mainly inspired by how hard fought my own search has been for resources that adequately cover the nuances of computer science, while partly serving as a repository for my own research and findings. Or, in other words, at least it’ll be a place for me to put my notes.

Since I started making iOS games about five years ago I have learned a heck of a lot. It hasn’t been the easiest process, but I had the benefit of learning from some excellent teachers through books and services like online blogs.  I think it’s only fair that I start to give back. It’ll be a nice feeling to be able to help someone in the same way that I was helped over the years.

So, one of the other focuses of this blog will be to eventually cover all the nitty-gritty, ins and outs of iOS app development. This will cover everything from how-to effectively place iAd banners, to using game center, to SpriteKit and SceneKit. Also, I would like to show how I make 2-D and 3-D graphics and music. In the end, I would like this to be a one stop shop for anyone who wants to learn or is interested in making iOS games or apps. It’ll be a place to come and be able to find the information you need in an easy to understand and succinct fashion.

This won’t happen overnight. But, I think it is a worthwhile endeavour. I hope that once I start to establish some content on the site, it’ll help people get over the hurdles and get back to the fun stuff of making games and applications.

Wish me luck!



iOS 8 Orientation Issues

After iOS 8 was launched, some of the games I had made with my original home-spun game engine had orientation problems. I opened the game, and for some reason, half of the screen was sideways. Not a good look.

My first instinct was to simply look at the old code and… well, fix it. I dusted off an old external hard drive where my old projects go to spend the rest of their digital days, and opened it in XCode. That’s when my jaw dropped.

I’m sure that mangled mess of code made sense to me once upon a time. It was obvious that my approach to software design was writing code, and then constantly banging at it with a hammer until it (sort of) worked. If I hadn’t learn it since, one thing this experience has taught me is to comment your code… even if it’s for your future self.

The other thing it has shown me is that you never stop learning. That being said, I closed the project (for good) and started from scratch. Reusing some of the old graphic assets, I rebuilt Pattern Blaster from the ground up. So, in the process of “fixing” the bug, the game now supports all iOS devices and has retina display… pretty standard fare these days, but to accomplish that with my old code would have taken longer than just rebuilding from scratch.

Is it future proof this time… probably not, but it’ll probably do until the game itself is ready to spend the rest of its days in relative ease, job well done, on the hard drive in the basement.

So, in short, comment and plan, plan and comment.