iPhone 5: The Game Designer’s Perspective [Gamer by Design]

After all the talk about the iPhone 5 in this big week of Apple announcements, I thought it would be interesting to put my thoughts on paper. After all, I’ve been talking about it with my fellow game developers for about a week now. If you follow my blog posts, you know that I am an indie developer who spent the last year making Zig Zag Zombie, a puzzle game on Android, Mac, and iPhone. But like most mobile games, at this point, we have to really pay a lot of attention to the iPhone market, because it’s still where people download our game the most. That being said, the schedule and nature of hardware releases by Apple has a pretty profound effect on game designers. So I’ll talk about the basic points here. Changing resolutions and dimensions so often is un-Apple If you see in my previous posts about Apple products, you’ll know that I’ve given a pretty unbiased lover/hater account of Apple’s decisions to keep a limited amount of devices and prevent third party devices from using their OS. Well, in the last year, I’ve felt that some of the device releases have fragmented the line-up. One of the things designers love the most about making games for Apple devices is that  you can test on a limited amount of screen resolutions, yet reach a huge amount of people. So basically, the cost/time to test a game per devise vs. the potential sales on the marketplace are great. For Zig Zag Zombie, we made high resolution art (for an iPhone 4 retina display), and we were able to adjust the game slightly so it displayed well on iPhone4 screens, iPhone 3gs screens (because they are half the resolution but the same proportions),...

How iPhones have made all of our lives Better(worse) [Gamer by Design]

If you read my column on the reg, then you know I spend about half my waking hours designing iPhone games. Oh and I also use an iPhone for my PHONE. So basically there is almost always an iPhone in my hand. This is a sad state of affairs, considering the fact that I’m not an Apple fanboy. All kidding aside, I give the iPhone its due; it made GPS maps actually usable on a handheld for the first time, it created the App store and improved the whole industry of making games for phones. We could go on, but let’s complain, that’s more fun. So here it goes, the reasons why iPhones make my life worse. Texting While Driving I think texting while driving is super duper dangerous, and I’d advise you to never ever do it. But remember when I had my T9, old school texting phone? The one with 9 numeric keys? You could text with that thing with one hand like it was your job. And because it had tactile, physical keys, you could do it without looking. So though you shouldn’t text while driving, you could text and walk, while looking at where you were going. With iPhones, you have to look AND use both hands to text. So with the advance in tech, you lose some of the very mobile functionality of the more simple phones. Oh and we all have to look like chipmunks with a nut when we text now. And that’s just not sexy. People talking on that stupid white headphone Mic That’s really nice of Apple to include a headphone with a mic with all iPhones, but we need to issue a PSA: You’re not really  supposed to use it that way. It’s supposed to be...

Purple on the Side [Fierce Foodie]

Warmer weather makes us lazy as a species. Unfortunately, ice cream for dinner every night will lead to a myriad of problems, such as running out of pants that fit. Thankfully there are some easy and relatively healthy recipes that require no attention to the stove. Someone once told me, “You don’t have to cook cabbage, it cooks itself.” All cabbage on the stove asks is that you add liquid and leave it alone. With a little apple, onion and chicken broth, a beautiful and tasty head of purple cabbage cooks itself into a delightful side dish which is even better cold the next day. This is a bonus because a head of cabbage is not easy to finish in one sitting, no matter how good. This purple cabbage recipe goes very well with another lazy dish: oven cooked pulled pork. The making of this version of pulled pork is less complicated than following the directions on boxed macaroni and cheese. You cut up pork shoulder into large chunks, cutting off as much fat as possible, and put it in an oven safe dish with a whole bottle of your favorite barbeque sauce. I have used Baby Ray’s successfully. Cover with foil and stick in the oven at 250 degrees and completely forget about it for 5 hours. Your nose will remind you. After the slow cooking, the pork will be fork tender and easy to shred. Add a squirt of ketchup if it needs a little tang. Eat this pulled pork with the following purple cabbage recipe, and potato salad if you can get a hold of it. Cole slaw, cornbread and lemonade are other good ideas. Find someone else to take care of the dishes. Purple Cabbage and Apples I head purple cabbage, chopped coarsely 2 small apples, diced, you can...

Dev Blog (or How to Make a Game) Part 1: Misconceptions [Gamer By Design]...

This here is gonna be one of my most spontaneous blog articles. I’ve been thinking about doing a how-to of games, but didn’t know where to start. Then today I got inspired by a lot of facebook traffic about marketing-driven games vs indie games and the creative process. This traffic was all spurned by a really well written article by Josh here that I felt went great as a companion to my first article in the series “Why you should love/hate Apple.” The indirect benefits/drawbacks of the Apple model had me thinking that a great place to start is the “common misconceptions” of what happens when you make a game. Stuff that’s not obvious from the outside. A lot of time it is also the dirty work. The un-fun stuff. So You’re Gonna Make a WHOLE game? You film dudes are gonna here something familiar. “Everyone’s a director.”  That’s the film saying, right?  Well in games, everyone is a designer. Here are all the people who think they are better designers than the best designers: Programmers Pimple faced 17 year olds That kid fresh out of school in his first design job The dude bagging groceries at the store Dogs Cats Single-Celled Organisms Aliens that are spying on us and pirating our games from another galaxy So that’s everyone right?  If you’re gonna be a designer, you have to really learn to accept that. The misconception is that designers make game ideas, characters and stories. Well some of that is true. We do that stuff. The misconception is that outsiders, even people in the game industry who haven’t designed an entire game, think that’s all we do. If that were the case, then yes, it would be all kitties and happiness and GREAT GAME...

What Console Makers Can Learn from Apple [Game On}

With Nintendo recently posting some horrible losses, a lot of which can be attributed to the rise in iOS gaming popularity, it occurs to me that if Apple really does plan on making a foray into gaming, there are some things that Nitntendo, Sony, and Microsoft can do to prepare for this by learning from Apple’s past successes.  Things like… Have an Ecosystem (Or Join One) Apple makes beautiful devices.  Simple, elegant, and highly functional. However, pristine as the iPad might be, it wouldn’t be very drool worthy if not for the variety of content available on it. I’m directing this point particularly toward Nintendo. For years they’ve hamstrung themselves with lackluster online experiences and clunky marketplace offerings. Making matters worse is that the bulk of their content consists of rehashed first party titles from years past that we’ve already purchased on another system Microsoft and Sony had a little more foresight here.  Both offer the ability to purchase movies, music, and games.  The meteoric rise of indie games is at least partially thanks to Microsoft’s outstanding support of 3rd party developers on its system. The difference between Apple and Nintendo is that while they’re similar in their pursuit of end-to-end integration, Apple’s model is more adept at leveraging the creativity of self-starters with its lush support of iOS development. Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication While motion controls were novel at their debut, Sony and Nintendo’s offerings looked archaic next to Microsoft’s Kinect. It had largely the same capabilities, but the package was more enticing without multiple accessories, batteries, and add-ons being required to make the experience fun. The same can be said of game design to a degree. Angry Birds is an astoundingly simple premise — slingshot birds to eliminate pigs. Five words. Done. In an age where...