I’m writing this at the start of the week post-WWDC. The conference itself this year was an epic event, and not just due to the announcements relating to both iOS 7 & OS X Mavericks - those both were just the beginning of everything.
Like quite a few of my friends & peers in the iOS space, I spent last Friday at the third One More Thing conference. Against other conferences, OMT (to save my typing fingers) has always been about the stories, and has been a great way to think about why I do what I’m going (especially in light of some personal changes in the last few months, let along my thoughts & experiences with the Pocket Dogfights launch).
Just a quick post to announce that after a few little hiccups, the Macintosh version of Pocket Dogfights is now out on the Mac App Store. I’m quite happy with the result, primarily with the retooling of the control scheme (supporting the mouse directly over a touch-style scheme, as well as both Xbox 360 & PS3 controllers), and sharing leaderboards over Game Center with the iOS version.
If you’re interested, you can grab it from the Mac App Store.
As always, if you’re digging the game - I’d really love it if you could take the time to go and leave a review :)
It’s been a bit of a busy week last week - what with finally finishing up the work to get the Mac App Store version of Pocket Dogfights done & submitted to the review queue, along with the release of the 1.0.1 update for iOS coming out last Friday.
It’s given me a bit of a chance to reflect on a few things - some of which have been in my mind for quite a long time, and when I do so, there are a number of common threads as to what I do think about.
Primarily, there are the feelings I have in which I struggle with the feelings of legitimacy - that I don’t feel good enough as a developer (or that I deserve to even have a chance). But there’s also the feelings of frustration with visibility - the feelings of shouting out into the wider internet and only hearing the echoes of my own words out there. Plus, there’s just the frustrations of just dealing with & trying to grow a Fan base.
Whilst this has been swimming about for a while, I finally decided to put this together after a random conversation about some of it over the weekend. I definitely am not posting solutions, but I am hoping to at least reach out a bit - and hopefully make some connection with the wider interwebs.
With 33% of the year behind us (at least in Australia so far), it’s inadvertantly become the first part of Conference Season.
Over the next month and a bit, there’s two big ones I’ll be attending (and rightfully looking forward to).
First off, there’s One More Thing on May 24. For those who haven’t heard of it, it’s a conference aimed at the stories behind independent developers on iOS, rather than the technical aspects of the platform.
It’s always great hearing those stories - and being able to help refuel one’s own sense of passion with one’s own projects - which for me has come at the right time, post release of Pocket Dogfights in particular.
After that, it’s a short break, before a trip to the US for Apple’s own WWDC. I was shocked at successfully being able to get a ticket this time round. I’ve previously been in 2009, right as I was starting out with doing iOS development - in fact it was during that trip that the earliest parts of Eventbook were originally put together ;)
As a counterpoint to the developer stories & passions behind OMT, WWDC is purely about getting access to the latest technologies on both the Macintosh & iOS platforms. Whilst I’ve been more focused on the latter, I’m tending to look back to the Mac at least regarding a potential project I’m looking at.
Besides being connected to the metaphorical firehose, it’s also a chance to catch up with friends both in & outside of the development scene, as well as take a small break (being the first time in quite a while I’ve had the space to organise a real trip anywhere).
Certainly looking forward to all of it - and hopefully I’ll be inspired for some new projects afterwards. It does however mean that any further update work to PD might be delayed - as I’d like to have some questions for the labs come WWDC time :)
With the 26th Ludum Dare just past (at least the compo part of the competition), I thought I’d write a little bit of a post-script about the development of my game Onslaught In Space.
If you’ve not already seen it, the game is available here to play. If you have an account with the Ludum Dare site, I’d love if you could also vote & post some feedback. Otherwise, enjoy it :)
Just a quick one, but this post is mainly to cover that Pocket Dogfights v1.0.1 is being wrapped up, and I’m going through the process of getting it out there as I write this.
The main goal for this release was to just tidy up some of the little things which people raised having played the initial release, which really goes to show why it’s great to get things out there sooner rather than later.
There’s a number of small fixes, tweaks, and improvements - and it’ll be glad to have them out there :)
- Reworked the controls - as you drag/swipe, you’ll automatically fire your standard rounds. When you’ve collected the weapon Power Up, you fire that by tapping. This allows you to decide when you wish to use the ammo.
- Instead of solely communicating the amount of damage by the smoke trail, each plane (including the player’s) will slowly change colour to a shade of red. The deeper the shade, the more severe the damage.
- Instead of disappearing, a collected Power Up will now grow in size before fading out - helping to communicate which Power Up the player has collected.
- Power Ups are now kept on screen for a slightly longer period of time than before. In addition, rather than simply disappear, they now fade out when they expire, and there is a slightly higher chance of spawning them.
- The Credits & Instructions pages now include a counter showing the current page number & the total number of pages.
- With the damage tint in place for the player, the highlight which appears when damage is critical is no longer required. I’ve kept the audio cue, but the new colour shift is much more communicative.
- When backgrounding the game, all active touches are cleared - this helps prevent any issues with the input touch being stuck after a forced interruption.
- When pressing the Pause button, the player will no longer fire a burst.
- Enemy Planes are now less aggressive when turning - which should help the difficulty in the boss battles a little more.
- Changed how Power Ups are selected - instead of picking one of the three, the previously selected one is kept and used to filter that one out.
Right now, I’m completing final testing for the Android build - and I’ll be submitting to Google Play once that’s ready. For iOS, it’s going to be a extra couple of days, which is down to some extra testing to be done around Game Center - as with this release, I’m preparing it to share scores with the Mac App Store release, which I plan to submit alongside the iOS one. As these roll out, I’ll keep everyone updated via the Twitter & Facebook pages.
As again, if you’re enjoying Pocket Dogfights, you should take the time to leave us a review on the App Store or Google Play, and also tell your friends - the more sales there are, the possiblility that I can put some time aside to focus on content without having to be distracted by a Day Job (or a search for Contract work ;p).
The result of most of a Sunday afternoon was Space Arena - my own little take on an arena shooter without the twin stick controls. Although it’s less polished than I had planned (no audio, no real animations for feedback), I’m still reasonably proud of the results. At least since it’s the first fresh project I have worked on since I started the original Pocket Dogfights prototypes back in 2011.
I’m tempted to revisit this at some stage, at least depending on how I go for time - so I’m certainly interested in feedback from anyone who has checked it out.
As I’m writing this, Pocket Dogfights has been live for iOS and Android for two weeks (more or less).
It’s certainly been a heck of a ride. I think a thanks is a bit of an understatement to everyone who helped spread the word, bought it, enjoyed it, and generally been supportive over the last year or so of development.
I think this is the third attempt at making some form of blog. Both of the previous attempts being limited by the software I had chosen at the time. Which, ultimately was a consequence of how I thought I wanted to blog at the time.