During the crafting of my Gauntlet-esque game I lost some motivation. The issue of rotation vs collision took its toll. I needed something to just jump in to so that I could get a game completed. It’s hugely frustrating for me not to finish something once I set my mind to it.
So I took a look at the iPhone. I’d looked at Objective-C and scratched my head enough to ask the question “Can I make games for the iPhone without Objective-C and Cocoa ?”. So much infact that I punched exactly that in to Google.
When it came I devoured it. It’s not a big book but gives you every bit of markup and code that you need to present a game in an iPhone / iPod Touch.
Safari Mobile is sturdy and executes at a good pace. I tested the game using desktop Safari on a PC and my wife’s iPod Touch. Although the framerate drops on the actual device it’s certainly good enough to present a good game.
It’s not quite finished but you can still see it here: www.wilfscorner.co.uk/sandpit/iphone
I didn’t waste too much time on game design issues. I pretty much knew from the outset that I wanted a colourful game with a wizard battling another evil wizard in a fixed arena. I wanted the game to feel nice. When you touch the screen the character moves to that point. I also reflected the target position using a simple red blob sprite that fades over time. The effect when you drag the wizard is quite pleasing if totally accidental.
As a GameBoy artist I learnt very quickly that colour is vital. Bright, vibrant colours can make a simple game experience really enjoyable. So I set out to create bright colourful sprites.
The easiest way to achieve this was to wash out the backdrop. So I set the entire game on a patchwork stone floor that is actually quite dark. I then crafted a bunch of sprites using the opposite end of the spectrum. The effect is very nice and rather rewarding for an artist / game designer.
When I first set out to create the game I was concerned about frame rate. I needn’t have been. Safari Mobile handles things nicely. So much so that I was able to spawn my trademark spark flashes all over the place. The process of picking gems and stars up is dull if you don’t visually reward the player. The 8 way explosion of sparks is perfect feedback.
I also invested some time making this bob and bounce a little. So stars, gems and bonuses don’t just appear they drop a short height and bounce in to position. Very little code used for a thoroughly worthwhile effect.
I hope to blog a bit more about the game’s development once it’s complete. Just now I’m wrapping up the sound issues (AUDIO tag) and tightening up the code and resource files. I’m desperate to keep the whole project under 300k.
Have a look at the game. You can play it on a PC using the mouse to click the arena or the keyboard arrow keys to move the wizard.
Let me know what you think.