Gauntlets of Recursion (+3)

Times, trials, and turbulence.

Category Archives: iOS

GunDown debuts on the App Store.

So it’s been a painfully long time since my last post. Over the last few years my steadfastness to maintaining an online journal of my development adventures has slowed down. Or, perhaps, the overall amount of game development that I’ve been doing has dwindled instead. Such are the quirks of getting older and shouldering more responsibility. Still, it’s important to me that I chronicle my work, so I intend to be making a solid effort to get back into the routine of posting here.

That aside, I have a lovely announcement to share: GunDown is now live on the App Store! Believe it or not, this is actually somewhat old news. GunDown 1.0 went live right near the beginning of August, and its corresponding promotional website (link) was put up shortly after. Web design, not being one of my fortés, was done by the talented Kristina Foster (link), while I cobbled together the necessary tidbits of HTML, CSS, and minor graphics manipulation. It’s a bit slow to load — grumblegrumblelargePNGsgrumble — but on the whole it’s pretty easy on the eyes and I think it does the game justice.

As of yesterday, I pushed out the first update to GunDown, version 1.1, to the App Store. It includes several bug fixes as well as a cleaned up HUD and some tightened-up controls. The free version, GunDown Lite, has been submitted to Apple, and is just awaiting their thumbs-up before going live as well. Interest in the game has been fairly low, but I expect the relase of a free version will garner some degree of interest amongst the legions of iOS gamers out there.

Barring some adverisement here and there, and maybe a few bug fixes, I more or less perceive GunDown as a finished product. Its development was definitely an enlightening and horizon-broadening experience, but I’m ready to move onto something new after a year and a half. So yes: I am definitely ready for a brand new, exciting project. Several ideas are incubating in my head; expect more from me when I have something a little less ephemeral ready to share. Thanks for reading!

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.