Gauntlets of Recursion (+3)

Times, trials, and turbulence.

Silence != Slack.

I have been waiting far too long to make this post (read: six months), but yet here it is.  Let’s quickly recap on what happened on yesteryear’s episode of, “I’m that guy who likes making games”:

Stephen: Wow, I’m working for local start-up X doing iPhone development!

Stephen develops iOS software and learns much about iOS, Objective-C, and OS X.

Stephen: This is sublimely grand.  I should get my own hands into this.  This mobile market is going to be huge!

Stephen purchases a MacBook Pro, an iPhone 3G, and an Apple iOS Developer License.

Stephen: Wow, I’m bloody broke!  But that’s okay; I’ll whip out a quick iPhone game based on one of my simple existing games, GunDown, and make back my expenses lickity-split.

Stephen works on GunDown, as he has free time, for ten (10!) months.

Stephen: Holy macaroni, it’s been nearly a year and this blasted game still isn’t done!  Sure, it’s real pretty-like, but still not finished.

 

Missile time!

And so here is where I now stand, with GunDown approaching a year of development, and my iOS Developer License gearing up to expire as of this March.  That’s no good.

What’s the problem?  I mean, GunDown — I’m going to assume that you’ve either played it or took a good long look-see — is ostensibly a simple, straight-forward game.  When I first started the iOS port, it was just that: a port.  As close as I could get to a 1:1 mapping of the desktop version to a touch screen version.  Heck, at one point the “port” had virtual controls and looked much more like the (admittedly hideous) original:

 

Rockin' the virtual thumb controls.

So one might say that I took GunDown to the next level: professional artwork, vastly improved controls that just work with a touch screen interface, smooth animations everywhere, a killer soundtrack, and lots and lots of attention put into the details.  The devil is in the details, they say.  Goodness knows how true it is.  I feel like the last half-year has been details without any sensation of “major” accomplishment.  The pay-off: this game feels nice and sleek to play.

There is not a whole lot left to be done before I can flag the first release of the game as “complete”.  The last 10% does have a way of taking 90% of the time though, so innocuous-looking items on the todo list like, “balance enemy waves” can easily take a fortnight to get just right, since there is really no way of testing this other than playing the game through over and over again until it just “feels” right.  Why oh why did I commit to having thirty levels? *grin*

 

Why I’m Hugely Excited.

The future.  And, by extension, the possibilities.  Oh goodness the possibilities.  When GunDown is ready for release, I will have the (entirely pleasurable) experience of marketing my game to the (literally) millions of iPhone and iPod Touch owners out there, getting heaps of feedback (the good and the bad), and, maybemaybemaaaaybe, all or part of my initial investment (MacBook, iPhone, license, etc.) back.

Then comes the even more exciting item: I get to start on a new project.  Rapture!  I have a list of possible/exciting iOS games a mile long that has been growing in my game development notebook for the last ten months.  I cannot wait to get cracking on them.  Of course, this will be nicely tempered with the release of updates for GunDown as well.

One more fun item full of promise: the iPad.  I realize that I’m a year late to the party, but this is a really hot and powerful device that utterly reeks with potential for amazing and immersive games.  Of course, many developers have already demonstrated this with great skill.  Assuming GunDown does well enough, I would love to get my hands on one of these and experiment with all of the possibilities that game development on it presents.

There is also Android, which is another really exciting topic that I wish to drone on explore at length.  My goodness, what a fantastic time to be a game developer. =)

Until next time.

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