Getting Production Data Out of Google App Engine And Into your iOS App

This following post is probably going to be useful to an extremely niche audience: anyone developing a multi-user iOS app that has a GAE backend. I’m currently working on Outwitters and debugging turn-based games on the local dev server (dev_appserver.py) is really quick and painless. The problem arises from the nature the game. It’s a multiplayer game, and as such, requires multiple users to function. You can only go so far with creating ‘mock user' accounts, and fake data populating your local server....

September 9, 2011 · Alex

Gameplay Choices in Outwitters

We’re still balancing Outwitters gameplay. When thinking about changing, removing, or adding gameplay I try to keep two aspects in mind, choices and unpredictability. I’ll speak to the choices aspect today, as I’m still trying to grapple with that whole unpredictability thing in a turn-based perfect-knowledge setting. When we set out to create Outwitters, we wanted to make a simplified strategy game. One where players can easily pick it up much in the same way they pick up an iOS arcade game....

August 29, 2011 · Alex

The Ever Daunting To-Do List

My first week off the iDevBlogADay rotation and I miss my usual Friday post. Go me. We’ve kind of hit a period where a lot of work is getting done, but an ever growing mountain of work is coming up on the horizon. Polishing a game is hard. Polishing an online turn-based strategy game is really hard. The simplest things take 3-4 more extra steps to do whenever you incorporate a server into your game’s architecture....

August 15, 2011 · Alex

Srs Bidness Mode Engaged

I’ve been making a ton of progress on Outwitters lately. Although when I step back and look I still see a mountain of work left to do. But I *do* feel like I’m whittling away slowly at it. All of the core gameplay has been implemented for local play. Online play works in a non user-friendly manner and is still missing a few bells and whistles to make it stand apart from the typical affair....

July 29, 2011 · Alex

Crazy Busy And A New Work Style!

Wow, Friday almost flew right past me. I’ve been working on Outwitters practically non-stop. A lot of the major ‘components', as I like to think of them, have been figured out and implemented in some sort of fashion. Now I have to make this big herculean effort to get it all integrated and seamless: 1v1 and 2v2 pass-n-play A couple of teams and their animations and unique powers The ever crazy complicated (implementation-wise) UI Asynchronous play using Google App Engine Aside from team animations/powers, all those things exist in kind of their own isolated ‘prototypes' in one way or another, and now I’m trying to get it all under one “roof”....

July 16, 2011 · Alex

Observations of the Casual Mind

Keep in mind, a lot of the rambling below is in the context of me being neck-deep in working on Outwitters, which is a strategy board game. I’m constantly thinking of ways to present games, their systems, and their objectives to people. Notice I said people, not gamers, or casual gamers. Sometimes I even look around my own environment and question “why the designer wrote that message the way they did”....

July 2, 2011 · Alex

A Year of Being Indie

Tomorrow (June 18th) marks the first year anniversary of me becoming a full-time independent game developer. Wow did the time fly by fast! Over the course of the past year I helped launch Tilt to Live HD, Lite, a couple of major gametype updates to Tilt to Live for free, a paid Viva la Turret update, and finally released a multiplayer co-op mode for both our games. When I think about it that way, it’s definitely been a busy year....

June 17, 2011 · Alex

More Witty Progress

It’s been a rather busy last couple of weeks. I’ve actually had a few coding sessions at night, and that hasn’t happened in months. Been having a blast working on Outwitters and we’ve been play testing maps on a weekly basis. In other news, Craig and Gavin, of Retro Dreamer fame, recently released their Velocispider iphone/ipad game. If you haven’t checked it out by now, then you’re missing out on some good old-school arcade fun....

June 3, 2011 · Alex

Playing Around With Flash on iOS

About two weeks ago I mentioned I was looking into using the open source library, gameswf to integrate into our little 2D engine for iOS. I was at the point where I needed a UI solution for Outwitters, and I had a few options: Keep doing what I was doing with Tilt to Live and create the UI by handing coding everything and procedurally animating it Create a UI editor to help automate some of the UI features I had created in Tilt to Live Look into gameswf and see if I could go for the whole she-bang and just use Flash for the UI....

May 20, 2011 · Alex

UI Woes

So what’s new in the world of OML and Outwitters? Not much really. Just keeping our heads down and working through some of the boilerplate stuff. We iterated a bit on the prototype over the week for visual elements to help make the game more approachable. I got my feet wet in Google App Engine and threw together really basic asynchronous functionality into the prototype in about a day just so I have a clearer understanding of how those things are going to work....

May 6, 2011 · Alex