The Game Developer's Journal: Amoebas Like Apples

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Amoebas Like Apples

Recently, I've been browsing Mac computers on the internet. I don't need a really high-end muscle machine, just a Mac.
It only needs to be capable of exporting my game to iOS.

Yep that's right, "The Amoeba of Light" is targeted for iPhone and iPad. The Apple App store possesses an enormous audience, and I'll have the advantage of using that attention to bring in potential fans.

I actually planned for "The Amoeba of Light" to release on other platforms: PC, Android devices, Windows Phones, and more. For now, though, the iPad and iPhone are the only platforms I'm looking at. 

You may have missed something. If the game plays on these iOS devices, what does that mean for the control scheme? Right, it's touch-based. The player has to control the game using the touch-screen. As you can imagine, this presents several questions and considerations. I can only utilize so many different guestures. Tap, swipe, pinch, is quite limited compared to the 100 plus buttons on an average computer keyboard (of course I don't need that many choices either).

A simple solution would be to create on-screen buttons that could add further functions, but I don't want to do this because it will erode the rustic feel that I'm aiming for. Another solution is to program drawing gestures into the game. For example, you could quickly trace a circle to make Amoenu lasso a rope. You can use you imagination to easily think of other possibilities. 

Even if there are only a relative few control options, a creative mind can expand those few choices into many different possibilities. 

So in order to test on an iPhone or iPad, I must connect the device to a Macintosh PC. The Mac itself has to be connected to my laptop so that I can export an IPA file to it (IPA files are used primarily by iOS devices). To post my app on the store, I need some developer certificates, an Apple Dev Program license, and the OK from app reviewers. It takes some time to set up, but it will be worth it!

I want "The Amoeba of Light" to reach a wide audience--including children, the elderly, men, and women--and the iPad and iPhone will help make this a reality. In fact, that's a big reason why I originally planned for it to be a touch-screen game: to market towards the "average" gamer. By no means have I forgotten the devoted, enthusiastic gamers. I must not bore them by making the game too focused on the casual audience.

I need to welcome the casual, without alienating the hardcore

 Intuitiveness has also been a big idea since "The Amoeba of Light" began (though it has taken a back seat to creativity).

Here's what I've actually been doing these past several days. 

What you see is the outline of Amoenu's body in the game. The little dots are the actual objects that interact with the environment; the lines in-between are just drawings. You may need to click on the image to see what I am referring to.

I also downloaded a trial version of Adobe Illustrator CC and tested it out a little. I need to purchase an art software that will allow me to draw freely, and yet edit each stroke and shape individually. That has to happen soon!

To be honest, things haven't been going as I'd like them too. I'm behind schedule and creating Amoenu's body outline hasn't been a cake walk. But I believe that God is helping me and somehow, this project will turn out to be something I didn't expect.

In the meantime, I must press on.

Photo of young children playing on iPad is from Serious Gaming Market, "Disruptive Innovation in K-12 Education: Serious Games Across The Board." Article by 

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