A blog about Erik, Cats, Newts, Owls, Crafts, Cars, Toys and Microsoft! I liked Erik before he was popular.

 

Temporus

In case you missed it, I’m making a game :)

I’m just a leaf. Pay no attention. #herp

I’m just a leaf. Pay no attention. #herp

My Mobile Experience

I’ve been a mobile developer for about 3-4 years now. I started on Windows Mobile 6. I wrote a Flickr app for my phone, so I could easily browse content. After Windows Phone 7 Beta came out, I jumped on it. I made a couple of apps for things I wanted like an app to find concerts and an app to regulate my sleep schedule.

This year I also complete my first game for a phone. But this is where the trouble began. I created the app using an HTML5 Engine. I had to use a wrapper of some kind to deploy it, since I wanted it in the app store. This is where Ludei stepped in. Intel XDK+Crosswalk and Ejecta are options as well, but I found the performance made the app unplayable.. The problem is Ludei isn’t ready for the prime time yet either. Calls for support go unanswered, emails ignored. This leaves me in a bad stop where I have a game, but the tools to get it on the phone aren’t ready. I’ve had to remove a lot of functionality because the platform just wasn’t ready.

This isn’t where my problems end. First off, I updated my Concert app to the latest version of WP 8.1. This broke the app. Now it won’t install on phones, even though it passed certification and is in the Store…And my game is worse, even though I can build it, I can’t even deploy it to the Apple store because of some deployment error (not code) in XCode that no one seems to know how to fix. So all my apps run great on my computer and test phones, but here is the status after pushing it to the stores.

  • Sleep App: 1/1 (Works in Windows Phone Store)
  • Concert App 0/1 (Used to work in the WP Store, now doesn’t even though it was certified, no one seems to know what is wrong)
  • Game 1.5/3 (Sort of works in Google play, can’t get it to work in Apple at all, and the WP 8.1 Version crashes for no reason)

All of the problems are outside of my control, at this point I am just begging on Stackoverflow, the forums and twitter for help.

This is the current state of app development.

I am just throwing a pity party ok.

My favorite time in the garden. Return of the ghost fern!

My favorite time in the garden. Return of the ghost fern!

Game Maker: Studio thoughts after a week or so.

Take this with a grain of salt of course as I am new to this. I compiled some thoughts on using Game Maker to make a platformer. Another point to note, I have been using Construct 2 for over a year now. So my skill level of understanding these simpler IDEs is above average. I have a game headed to iOS and Android markets now, along with applications in the WP Market for almost 2 years now. Lastly, I’m a C# developer with over 10 years experience. So I felt pretty good going into this.

Things I noticed right away are listed here. Curious what others think.

Good stuff

  • Export functionality seems pretty robust. The ease of creating exported items is very customize and easy to navigate.
  • If you have any game making experience, the concepts are pretty simple to understand.
  • Forums are pretty nice and seem to have some good information.
  • The tool set is robust enough to handle almost anything you can throw at it, shaders, time lines, scripts, pathing, particles, etc.
  • API documentation is decent and easily navigated.

The not so great

  • The “Room” concept is not very intuitive. When I work in a “room”, what others would call a screen or field or whatever, I would expect it to act more like a canvas to paint on, but I found the UI a little complicated and limited. Instead of draging and dropping objects into the room, you have to use this strange UI. Clicking the room will paste an object instead of selecting.
  • As far as I can tell, there is no easy way to manage the depths or visibility of objects in the editor. So lets say I have 50 large objects all stacked on each other, there is no really easy way to show/hide them in the editor and there no easy way to move them in the depth order. Yes there is a way to change it of course, but I don’t think it plays nicely with the concept of a room editor.
  • Lack of very basic common game functions such as PAUSE or entire sets of platformer functionality. You still need to roll your own. That was a great feature of C2, I could get a fully working platformer running in about 60 seconds with built in behaviors.

That’s it, I think the main editor, the part you the spend the most time in, is not the best as far as UX goes and frankly could be totally redone. But other than that, so far this as good as it gets. The only more advanced would be Unity3D with a 2D platformer template. That’s saying a lot. 

Little space man button. Come to #GDC if you want one. #gamedev

Little space man button. Come to #GDC if you want one. #gamedev