This post is not going to talk about how to do anything. But it's still about (iOS)Impact

Posted on July 5, 2012 | 4 minute read

This post is not going to have a single line of code (I can hear the collective sigh of relief from here). It’s more going to talk about whatever I want to talk about and I haven’t decided what that is yet. So I’ll just ramble:

Over the past two days I learned:

  • How to convert an ImpactJS project into an iOSImpact project

  • How to work with (or at least stumble through) provisioning profiles, App IDs, etc in the iOS Dev Center and Xcode

  • How to deploy a build to my iPhone

  • How to make gesture controls

  • How to bind touch areas

  • How to make all the little tweaks and fixes that I had to make to turn this mess of JavaScript built to run in the browser into a deployable iPhone app

Setbacks

Background maps not rendering

I also ran into some problems. For example: iOSImpact isn’t rendering my background maps, at all, when I deploy the game as an app to the phone. It’s fine in the emulator, just not on the physical device. Dominic (the creator of ImpactJS and iOSImpact), has confirmed that this is a bug and hopefully there’ll be a solution within the next couple of weeks! In the meantime there’s still plenty to learn, so I’ll keep working without the backgrounds for now.

Performance

The other issue is performance - this is why I was worried before. I won’t outline all of the problems here and what I have is playable and smooth 90% of the time, but the performance is definitely not up to scratch right now.

But…

[caption id="attachment_48501” align="alignright” width="300”]iOSImpact on iPhone 4 That white blob is actually a placeholder Play button. And it works![/caption]

Being able to run what I have now (even though it isn’t much) on an actual phone when it’s still at such an early stage has been way more helpful than I expected. For example, actually seeing everything running on the retina display has made me realize that I need to alter much of the entity sizing and proportions to make them look right. What seemed to be good sizing for a browser with a larger screen just doesn’t look right on the phone. It’s good that I’m seeing all this stuff now while still in placeholder mode and not using finalized art assets because I can still change whatever I want without having to scrap/rework a whole bunch of stuff.

This is the first time I’ve gotten any of my JavaScript experiments to run anywhere other than a web browser and I was surprised at how simple it was to get things functioning despite the background map and performance issues I mentioned above (no jinx). I mean, so far all the controls are working, the entities move, the res is correct, the randomized stuff is being spawned just as it should. I’m surprised that iOSImpact makes it quite so easy despite being in beta and still somewhat buggy. Like I said, I’m sure there will be plenty of hair-pulling and frustration soon enough, but at least I have something runnable.

What’s next

I mentioned on Twitter that I need to zoom out from the code side of things and evaluate exactly what it is I’m making. This started out as a quick experiment to make randomized levels, so I didn’t have a particular idea or vision in mind when I started other than some vague “oh this could be cool” thoughts about a theme. It’s still an experiment, but I don’t want to just keep dumping in a bunch of functionality that won’t really benefit the project as a game, so I need to figure out exactly what it is that I want to make out of this thing.

So for the next few days I’m going to try to stop all coding and just brainstorm, doodle, and jot stuff down. Maybe the fix for the background maps will be ready just in time for me to get back into it.

In other news, I’m pretty sure I found my new favorite song:

[youtube]slj3UEPgZuo[/youtube]




Categories:game dev dev games
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