2009/12/04

Ready to go!

Hello kids,
Gelex is available on iTunes AppStore all around the world. I don't know what more to say. It's here, it's free, there is contest running and here is brand new trailer:



I love this video even if I am not the author. Handjoy did it to promote the game.

Yesterday was really nervous and busy day. And Gelex was already available in some countries! Firstly in New Zealand, then Japan, Australia and so on. It was really excited to watch. Now it's everywhere :)

Today's post is just short article, but I wanna mention one more thing. Gelex is free to download, we all know that, but if you like the game, having fun playing it and want to support me or think that I should get something for my effort? Then you could donate something through PayPal donation, which Handjoy created for this purpose. But it's completely up to you, if you don't like the game and think it's worthless, then nobody pushes you to do anything :)

Thank you for reading, I hope to see your Gelex highscores on Facebook.
Granny Marie

2009/12/03

1 day to go! - Contests

Hello kids,
It's here. Tomorrow is the D Day. But before that, there are some things that need to be done and said. Well, you probably know what I am talking about. Firstly it's our already running price contest. And secondly it is brand new competition (which I mentioned yesterday) where you can win exclusive gifts!

But first things first. As you probably remember, 3 weeks ago I've announced on my blog new contest, where you will decide what will be the starting price for Gelex. It was also said, that if you really want Gelex for free, it's gonna happen. And I am happy to announce, that you've made a great job and the game will be for free! Here is the final result:



1 600 results is enough to make the game free for first two days after the release. But I've convinced Handjoy to make it free for whole weekend until Monday! That's awesome and I hope you won't miss this opportunity to get Gelex without any doubts.

Gelex competition on Facebook
In conjunction with Handjoy we have prepared another contest, which will start tomorrow, when you start playing Gelex :) This competition is very simple. You need to beat all other Gelex players, earn the highest score in the game and win great prizes!

If you wanna participate in this competition you need to do following steps:

 • Add me as your friend on Facebook
 • Download and start playing Gelex :)
 • Connect Gelex with your facebook account (In Gelex options menu click on Facebook icon and follow instructions. It's very simple.)
 • Play Gelex and try to reach best score you can :)
 • When you finish your game, boast about your score on Facebook (click on Boast button on “Game over screen”)

The first step is very important, because if you don't add me as your friend then I will not see your Facebook message and you won't be involved in this contest. So I advise you to do it now :)

This contest ends after this weekend. On Monday I will announce winners and Handjoy will send you your prize. And what are the prizes? Well here it is:

 • 1. Place – The Highest score: 40$ iTunes email gift certificate
 • 2. Place: 20$ iTunes email gift certificate
 • 3. Place: 10$ iTunes email gift certificate
 • 5 random contestants will receive promo code for Handjoy's iPhone game Jumboo (1,99$)

So what you think? I think you should try it, there is nothing to lose.

Bye bye and be prepared for tomorrow :)
Marie

2 days to go! – Facebook

Hello kids,
When I started this blog, it was just for one purpose> to let people know what I'm doing and maybe to help some of them start doing something similar. So obviously I wanted to inform people about my blog, that it exists and that they can find here some (maybe :) ) interesting information. But how to do that? All I've heard and read was -> you have to be on Myspace, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and maybe other social networks to be known and your blog to be known.

Well, I've listened to that advice and created my Twitter account and started writing there. I also created my YouTube account and with help of my grandsons I've created some videos and put them there. But no Myspace, no Facebook. You couldn’t find me there and I was not planning to change it in the future.

But I still felt, that if I wanna spread Gelex world wide as much as possible, I need to somehow connect at least one of these social networks with the game or this blog. It was shortly after that, when I found out, that many other iPhone games use Facebook integrated to them. You know the story already -> I started searching and learning more about it :) The result is Facebook Connect API for iPhone – small code and some libraries, which you can easily integrate into your application.

With Facebook Connect API you (as a programmer) have access into users' accounts (of course only if they agree with that) and use it for various purposes. The simplest one is to write some new status message (again, only if the owner of that account agrees with that). More complicated are things like take information about all your friends and compare your game score with theirs. In the game you can see all your facebook friends and compare with them.

So I've integrated Facebook API into Gelex, but for now only the simple way. That means -> if you finish your game, you can easily boast about your score in new facebook status message and ask your friends to beat it. You can see how it looks like on the picture below:



As you can see on the picture I’ve created my own facebook account. I did that yesterday and you can add me as your friend if you want :) I can reveal you little secret -> there's gonna be another new contest related to Facebook starting with the Gelex release! But I can't tell you more right now.

Back to Facebook connect topic :) I hope I will be able to improve it in future and add more Facebook related functions. Like achievements, this is good way to update your application and add new features.

Thank you for reading
Marie

2009/12/02

3 days to go! - Achievements

Hello kids,
I wanna introduce you another Gelex feature which you could saw in one of my previous videos if you looked carefully. This new thing is -> Achievements!

I must admit, that it was not my idea to include achievements into the game. Because few months ago I didn’t even know that something like that exists! You know, I always wanna add some challenges which would be keeping players to play it over and over (apart from trying to beat their previous score), but I was unsure how to do that. And then my grandsons came and told me: “Yeah, you should add achievements into it. It’s well known thing on consoles and lots of games got it.” So I started searching and learning more things about it. Again :) And I’ve realized that this is the perfect thing I wanna add into my game.

Current version of Gelex, which you could download just in 3 days! (I know ,I know. I’m annoying, but it is so close, that I must repeat it to myself again and again :) ), has got 30 different achievements. Some of them are very easy and simple, some are extremely difficult (I can’t achieve them or even be close to achieve them. But I hope you will be better player than I am. :) ) and some are just for fun, like the one where you should lose in first level to achieve it or the one where you should fill/cover whole playing field with Gelex bricks (this is also extremely difficult).

Achievements are simply good feature you should add into your game. Another positive thing about them is that it is good for updates. I have idea about many other achievements that could be added in future updates. So instead of 30, there will be 40, then 50 or even more challenges to achieve.

Ok kids, that’s all for now. One last thing I wanna mention -> there are still few promo codes left, so if you wanna try it before release and write about it somewhere, don’t worry to contact me or Pavel.

Bye
Granny Marie

2009/11/30

4 days to go! - Highscore

We have only 4 days till the release and I still have some arrears. For example: finishing these two articles (first, second) about online highscore system in Gelex.

Highscore in Gelex is very simple. There are 3 different tables. One for overall score, second for your best combo/chain (destroyed bricks in bonus time) and third table is handling number of destroyed bricks during whole game. Once you finish your game these data are stored into these tables and sorted. Information about date and time, when it was played, is also saved. There is nothing special about it. On the picture you can see how the result looks.

That’s the local part. More interesting is online part. First time you join Gelex online system, you will be asked if you really wanna submit your high score. That’s little bit annoying, but Apple wants it this way. Then you need to enter your nickname. But only once (first time) and you will be never asked again (only if you want to change it). And that means not just in this game, but in any other (future) game, which will be using this system. You are represented in database by unique ID and the system is able to recognize you. So no further questions, filling forms and anything. That’s it; whole registration is just about filling your nickname.

Right now you will see in online highscore your best score, your position in this global leader-board and few people with better score and few with worse. I’m planning to add some options to search these online leaderboards, but these will be implemented in some future update. Same thing applies to possibility compare your score with your friends.

I hope you have better idea about Gelex highscore system now. Maybe it is just little thing for the game, but it is really important thing. At least I think so :)

Bye
Granny Marie

2009/11/29

5 days to go! - First review

I must little bit apologize for my last article. You know, this is my private place, my own personal diary, where I should write my thoughts and opinions. But last time I was asked to make a change a put here some official promotion/presentation text about Gelex. And I must admit that it was kind of reasonable request, because lots of people came here last days to find what Gelex is all about and instead of that, they’ve found what I think about price, social network systems and so on :) So I hope you understand that it was necessary, but I promise you, that this was one and only exception and will never happen again :) There are better places to advertise Gelex than my blog :)

Anyway, the important thing is that we have 5 days until the release day. I’m helping Handjoy with some promotion materials – some extra pictures and things like that. I’m slowly starting to plan and design some additions to Gelex for first update. Releasing updates and adding new and new things into the game is really important if you wanna keep the game alive.

But first update is distant future and I will write about it more sometimes later. What I wanna mention today is my very first review of Gelex. That’s so awesome! There have been some previews already – English ones or in different languages which I don’t understand, so I don’t know if it’s positive or negative critique :D (I hope for positive :) ) But this is full review and it is really great. So here it is: http://diygamer.com/2009/11/tetris-foolproofgelex/

I wanna thank DiyGamer for it. And that’s nice end for today’s post :)

Bye bye
Marie

2009/11/26

Gelex – Granny Coder & Handjoy

Hello kids,
This article will be used as official introduction of my upcoming game Gelex. If you are regular reader of my blog, then you won't find here anything new except the video at the end. That’s something completely new :)

INTRODUCTION
Gelex is brand new iPhone/iPod Touch game for both casual and hardcore players. It combines physics elements with traditional match 3 concept. It is designed and fully optimized for the touch screen with easy to learn controls.

Help crazy physicist Alex and destroy his newly invented matter called Gelex. Gelex takes form of small, quite annoying, jelly bricks and the only way to destroy them is to match them by color in special vaporizing machine. The more matches you make, the higher your score. So what are you waiting for? Enter Alex's awesome laboratory and start your helping mission.

MAIN FEATURES:
• Jellylike physics
• Progressive difficulty
• Funny voices and animations
• Challenging achievements
• Online and offline leaderboards
• Facebook integration

If you like puzzle arcade games, then you will love this one!

Release date: 4th December 2009

PRESS INFORMATION-MATERIALS

PICTURES



VIDEO


Love,
Granny Marie

2009/11/24

Approved!

Hello kids,
This is just a short post. Gelex has been approved by Apple and it is ready for sale. But don't look for it on iTunes AppStore right now, it isn't there yet. As I mentioned before, the release date is set on December 4th.

Ten more days and the game will be out. By the way there are more than 1200 results on that contest query on Google. I hope you know what that means :D Gelex will be for free the day when it hits the AppStore :) And maybe even the other days. It's up to you!

Bye bye
Marie

2009/11/16

Submitted or not submitted?

Hello kids,
After my last blog post there is only one thing I can write today, because anything else would mean that something went horribly wrong. But don’t worry, everything went just fine and I’m proud to announce that the game was successfully submitted to Apple! and now it is in their hands.

If you look at the picture on the left side of this blog you can find that I’ve completed all tasks including the last one “submission to AppStore”. So the project is finished. What now? Well, I’m gonna take some rest :) But right after that there are tons of other things that need to be done. I will try to write all about it in future.

Last part of my today’s article will be some formalities which I must mention. Lots of people ask me about promo codes. I’m really happy about that, but I can’t send you them. Firstly the game is in approval procedure and it is not on AppStore yet. Because of that nobody has any promo codes yet. At least I don’t know how to receive promo codes from Apple before the game is on iTunes. And secondly my publisher is responsible for these activities so you should probably ask them.

I’ve told them about this promo codes problem and there is very simple solution. So if you are reviewer or blog writer or anyone else who wants to try Gelex before release and write something about it, they will be happy to send you AdHoc version of the game. AdHoc version is normal version of the game and certificate for your own iPhone which gives you permission to start this application. It’s needed to know your iPhone UDID to create this certificate.

Let’s sum it up. If you are journalist who wants to try Gelex, please contact Pavel Barak from Handjoy – his email address is barak@handjoy.cz Send him some lovely email :) and your iPhone ID and I can assure you, that he will be nice on you and give you Gelex game for review. Of course you can write me – email, comment under this article, or message on Twitter, but I will just resend it to him.

And please don’t forget -> I want Gelex for free! There are more than 100 results already, but I want more :) And you should probably too. :)

Bye
Granny Marie

2009/11/14

… and what about price?

Hello kids,
I am very happy to announce that THE GAME is finished! Everything on Gelex is set and done and I will submit it tomorrow to Apple. I’m still asking myself – will people like it and enjoy it as much as I do? Is it good enough? Shouldn’t I add something more into it? But the main question in my head is: What about the price?! So here is an article about it :)

From very first day of my game development journey I was sure, that this is just my hobby, I’m doing it for fun and mainly to prove, that I can do it. So it is not surprising, that I planned the game to be for free and I still think that it should be for free, but the guys from Handjoy still trying to convince me, that the game is good enough to be commercial. They say that it is even better than most other commercial games on iPhone. Hehe :) I don’t believe them a word :)

But I know they are putting money into marketing. There is professional trailer in development and other things that can’t be done without money. So here we have little dilemma. And of course I was little bit arguing with Handjoy about the price. But in the end, we have found the conclusion -> Gelex will be for free!!!

But there are conditions... like always :) The game will be completely for free, but just for limited time after its release. And only if people will really want it for free :) And how to prove, that you really want it for free? It’s simple. Just write anywhere on the internet message> I want Gelex for free! You can write it into YouTube comments, various discussion forums, on your twitter/facebook page, on your blog, write article about it or into comments under some other article. Simply just anywhere :)

If the Apple approval procedure will go smooth, the game will be released on Friday the 4th of December. The day before (Thursday) I’m gonna search Google using the quoted query “I want Gelex for free!” (This whole sentence with quotes. link ) and the results will set the price. Right now, there are no results on Google. So, people have nearly 3 weeks to change it :)

And how many results there should be? Well, Handjoy wants the game for 2,99$. I want it for free. Together we’ve agreed that:

• 50 results on Google -> Starting price will be 1,99$
• 100 results on Google -> Starting price will be 0,99$
• 500 results on Google -> Gelex will be first day for free (Friday)
• 1000 results on Google -> Gelex will be for free on Friday and Saturday
• 2000 and more results on Google -> Gelex will be for free whole weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday and maybe Monday in the morning :) ).

So if you are waiting for Gelex and want it for free, then here is your chance. I hope you appreciate my effort in lowering the price as much as I could. Handjoy would make it for 2,99$ without comments – bad guys. Hehe. No no, they are great, but sometimes they must stop thinking only about business :)

Bye bye my dears
Granny Marie

2009/11/08

Beta version in action (+video)

Hello kids,
This time I won’t write too much, because I wanna give you something better. It’s brand new video that my grandsons created last week. You can see there beta version of Gelex from start to finish. That means – short intro, menu with little sneak peek into help section, little bit of ingame play and menu again, but this time another section. Here it is:



So, what you think? I’m spending so much time with this game, but I still love to watch it :) I hope you enjoyed this short video preview as much as I do.

Love
Granny Marie

2009/11/05

Silence before the storm

Hello kids,
After 3 weeks and something I have finally time and energy to write my new post. I don’t know how to apologize for such a long pause. But you know what? Maybe it is like silence before the storm :) Because storm is coming! It has a name and that name is Gelex! Even my Jasmina is excited about it :) I have so many great news for you that I can’t wait to write about them.

First of all Gelex is in final stage of development. It contains all elements I wanted to be there and right know we are just testing it. Yeah, I said “we” and that’s right, because of second great news -> I’ve got publisher! Can you believe that? Me, old lady, who just wanted to prove, that even in my age you can do something like that. And now, after few months, my game is nearly finished and there is someone who will publish it to the world! They just read my blog and after that decided to contact me. It was few weeks ago, but everything was so unsure that I didn’t want to write about it earlier. But now we have a deal and I hope it will help Gelex find a way to more people.

The publisher is Handjoy company. They are also from Czech Republic, so it was easier for me to communicate with them. They are such a nice people. This weekend they will be presenting the game on Game Developer Session. It’s amazing! They even helped me with some last parts of development - especially with sound effects and music. But I will write about it sometimes later.

I wanna write more but I must keep something for tomorrow :) I hope I will be able to write every other day like before. I also wanna thanks to all your support, it’s marvelous. Thank you

Granny Marie

2009/10/10

Social network system - part 2

Hello kids,
Oh my dear! Nearly one week without any new post on my blog! Finalizing the game takes me so much time, that I’ve completely forgot to write some fresh news here. But don’t worry, I’m fine and Gelex is really close to finish. It could be like two weeks or little bit more and it’s gonna be done.

I would like to continue with the topic about “social network systems”. As I’ve already said, they are fine, quite easy to implement (as far as I know) and they offer a lot of functions. But these positive information you can find easily on their web sites. What you can’t find so easily is – what’s wrong with these systems. Like:

- Visual customization – you must stay with the design and visual style they have done, even if it’s completely different from visual style of your game

- They don’t guarantee you anything – now it’s free, but if they decide to change it, you can’t do anything about it. Or if they decide to put advertisement into it. Or if they go bankrupt or something and close this service. Part of your game simply depends on somebody else and you can’t really control it.

- Too much functions – when I’ve seen OpenFeint for the first time as a user (in game StickWars) I was so confused. I just wanted to put my high score online! It’s like – you wanna buy small car for shopping and going around the city, and they give you spaceship :) I don’t need that.

- Useless functions that make it even more confusing – like that chat function. It has no reason for that game (StickWars) and it was kind of confusing (at least for me) to enter a room and find other people to chat with.

For me all these negative things I’ve mentioned are just small problems. Sometimes you can even avoid or solve them. In some systems the visual style can be changed, if they put advertisement into the system, you can switch and implement another one; some systems offer you possibility to make them as simple as possible with just one function. So, there is a way, how to deal with all these problems. But there is one thing that I really hate; it is in all social networking systems and you can’t avoid it anyhow.

It is registration process and the need of making some account. For example: you as a user play you favorite game and you’ve just made a huge score and wanna impress the world with it. So you click “submit” button to put it online. But hey, there is a login screen! You don’t have any account like that, so you spend next five, ten, maybe even more minutes registering – filling all those forms, confirming that the email you’ve entered is valid (so you probably need to turn on you computer and check the email), waiting for activation and so on. Just because you simply wanted to put your score online.

Maybe it’s a banal thing, but for me it really matters. I don’t want to bother players. If I’m playing a game I wanna have fun, not to be bothered. Like in the game Flight Control. I really love it and I admire authors. There is online system that is exactly what I’m talking about. You wanna put your score online? No problem, just click submit, enter your name/nick and it is done. In few seconds! And if you want to control your score from PC, to have an icon and other features, you can register and make account. But only if you want, if not – the system can deal with it anyway.

But for my bad their online system is not for public. So I had to invent my own system. It’s already implemented in Gelex and it’s working great – that means the way I wanted :) Next time I will write more about it and what features it brings to players. Thank you for reading.

Bye bye,
Granny Marie

2009/10/04

Social network system - part 1

Hello kids,
Few people asked me if I'm going to implement some "online social network system" into Gelex. And I was like: "What is it? I don't know what you mean?" So I started searching the web for some information about that and after a while I've realized what these systems are, that they are mainly for handling online score and…. that I'm NOT going to use anyone of them. And here is story why.

There are quite a few social network systems (or frameworks), which can be implemented into your application. Some of them are free, some open source and some are just commercial and you must pay for using them. Right now many iPhone games use OpenFeint, Scoreloop or Plus+ system.

The main purpose of social network system (which I’ve found) is to handle online high score. You can compare your results with other people all around the world. These systems are closely connected with facebook or twitter and (for example) you can compare your score with your facebook friends, which played that game too. You can also send some kind of challenge to your friend. That means that you send them invitation to play that game and that invitation includes your highest score and he/she must beat it.

Social network systems usually offer much more - like chat system, where people can talk to each other online. But this functionality is not really useful for the game. At least for games I've been playing.

Overall I think it is quite good thing to have system like that in your app. But I’ve decided to create my own high score online system with features that fit exactly a needs of Gelex.

Next time I will write more about reasons why I have decided for my own system and how the system works. That’s all for now.

Love,
Granny Marie

2009/10/02

Creating main menu

Hello kids,
Today I've got lots to write about and some pictures to show you, so let's move straight to the topic which is main menu of Gelex.

Firstly I wanna remind you one of my last article, where I was writing about the story. I've showed you some sketches of the physicist. Here you can see new visual look of him. He still doesn't have a name, but this picture is final. There will be some sort of "introduction animation", in which he will be playing the main role. You will see whole his laboratory and part of this room will create perfect place for main menu screen.

I've already drawn whole laboratory, but for today I will show you just the main menu screen. Here it is:


From the picture you probably get idea how the menu looks like. But let me describe few more things:
- the flip chart is the place where you will see all these menu items, but it's quite small. So there will be some kind of "zoom trick" when situation needs it.
- name Gelex will be animated in some bouncy jelly way :)
- physicist will be little bit animated - he is alive not a statue :) - and he will be pointing at the place where you touch the screen
- there will be some Gelex bricks and they will be interactive - you can grab them, move them, throw them away :)

As you can see some of the menu parts are useless for the menu purpose - like the physicist's pointing or Gelex bricks. But I hope people will like that there is more than just few simple menu items which start the main game or setup some options.

Ok dears, thank you very much for your support and if you want, write me some name sugestions for the physicist.

Bye
 Granny Marie   

2009/09/27

Evolution! (+video)

Hello kids,
it's been really busy two weeks and Gelex made huge step forward. With all these polishes and optimizations I've implemented, the game plays and feels much much better. At least for me :)

As I've promised before I've prepared new video where you can see all these new things in motion. On top of that you can see some elements which I didn't mention yet:
- numbers for score now have an animation when they change
- there is an animation when you make combination of same colored bricks
- new animation for faces when they are destroyed
- there is implemented level system - after you destroy some amount of bricks the game becomes harder - you can see your progress in the upper left corner - the green "level window" slowly turns red, if it's all red you will go to the next level



If you watch the older video and then this new one, on a first look you will feel that it is still the same game. But on a second look you will realize (I hope you will :) ) how much the game has changed and I like to say "evolved" :)

For me the ingame part of Gelex is complete. I know, I know there are still no sounds, but I will deal with music and sounds in the end. Right know I'm focusing all my skills on one thing -> The Menu!

If you've read interview with me on PocketGamer.biz (I really wanna thank Jon for this opportunity and the article!) you would probably know, that I want my main menu to be more interactive, more animated or simply just more fun. Wait for the next article and you will know more how I wanna achieve that.

Love,
Granny Marie

2009/09/23

How to polish your game - part 3

Hello kids,
All these polishes I did last week are great, but i was still feeling that it needs something more. So i decided to add one more animation. It's related with score system and I didn't explain that system yet, so I write about it today.

The score system is quite simple, but it's kind of tricky, because it is the key to master the game and earn lots of points. So here are the rules:

1) if you make combination of 3 bricks, you will receive 3 points - first 3 bricks are worth 1 point each
2) when you make any combination, timer for bonus will start counting - it is represented by yellow tube
3) each destroyed brick will give you one second to the bonus timer
4) if you destroy more bricks than 3 in bonus time, each brick is worth one more extra point - fourth one is worth 2 point, fifth one 3 points, sixth one 4 point and so on
5) When bonus time is over, bonus score ended and starts from the beginning. Game will save how many bricks you've destroyed during that bonus time as "combo"

So your goal is to keep destroying the bricks shortly after each other. I hope you get why :) If not, wait for the game and after few games of it, you will understand the rules.

I've mentioned combos - how many bricks you have destroyed during one bonus time. Each time you make any combo (at least 5 bricks destroyed needed) you will be awarded with some evaluation/rating. These are just text messages, but I wanted them to be more attractive. And here comes the last polish I've made.

The idea of this effect was simple. The text is made from Gelex matter that will splash on your screen and then flow off it. Here you can see the result:



What you think? Isn't it cute? :) Maybe it looks simple, but it was quite hard for me and took me lots of time. But I'm happy each time I make a combo and see this little animation. :) Sometimes I really wish to see it more often. But you know, then it wouldn't be so special :)

Bye
Granny Marie

2009/09/19

Optimizations - part two

Hello kids,

As I promised you in one of my last posts I’m going to tell you some more information about optimizations in the code. Last time I ended at the situation, that physics processes took same time as the graphics ones. I’ve realized that I can’t do much more with the physics. So the only choice was to find some ways to optimize drawing functions.

I wouldn’t say that it is some kind of real optimization, but it’s more like write the code better way :) My intention was to minimize number of calling glDrawArray function, because it takes quite a bit of time and I was calling it so many times – ineffectively. So I tried to put as much images as possible into one triangle trip and drew it in one single call of glDrawArray.

Next thing I found out was that it is much more efficient to calculate coordinates of vertex by myself compared to using OpenGl transformation functions and to join some objects into one triangle strip through degenerated triangles, instead of drawing them separately.

I can guess that my experiences won’t help much other people, but what could really help is this guide book or this one. Both of them were very useful for me and other programmers can find there information that can improve their code.

Ok dears, thanks for reading my today’s post.

Bye

Granny Marie

2009/09/15

How to polish your game - part 2

Hello kids,
I wanna continue in my last article about polishes that will improve the visual look of my game. Last time I managed to add some changing colors into the square field. This time I tried to add some animations to make the background more alive.

As you will see, all those new things are just small improvements, but as a whole (I think) it boosts the quality of the game a lot. So here is the list of new things:

1) Door over the “next brick view” window – each time you receive a new brick to control, there is an animations of closing and opening door.

2) Lights above this (1) window – when there is door animation, the lights above it start flashing.

3) Bubbles in these tubes – in the blue and yellow liquid in tubes flow some bubbles

4) Surface of the liquid – now it looks more 3 dimensional :)

5) Popping bubbles – in tubes there are little popping bubbles above the luiqid.

6) Flashing lights – actually they act more like broken lights, but it looks fine :)

7) Valve and steam – I added 2 valves into the upper left corner. They move every time there is a change in amount of liquid in tubes and sometimes there is steam coming out. The steam is done by particle effect. It was not so hard, but it needed few tries to look the way I wanted to.

And that’s all. In next few days I’m planning to create new video and you will see all those things in motion, but for now you must accept only these images.

Bye bye,
Granny Marie

2009/09/12

How to polish your game

Hello kids,
I have realized, that I’m spending so much time just playing witch Gelex and doing nothing else, that I’m not sure if I can finish it according to my plan. You know, my productivity declines, I write few lines of code, build it to see the result and after half an hour I’m still running the emulator and playing Gelex even if the new lines of code didn’t work the way I wanted :) I really love the game!

But for today I wanna write what I did with the background. As I mentioned last time, it feels little bit empty. So I had an idea about the main field (the one with squares). I wanted to be animated and it should be changing colors during the play. In OpenGL is quite simple to give image some color tint. So I’ve prepared the field in grayscale (as you could see in the last video) and write a function which gives it a color tint and gradually changes it. The change is quite slow, so it doesn’t disturb you from playing.

But there was a problem with that. I was increasing and decreasing one of RGB component randomly and that quite often leads to the situation, that the image was grayscale without any color or colored with very strange color (not really nice). The algorithm was just not right. I found out, that I could use HSV representation of color point. I got saturation and value set to 1 and I’m changing (increasing or decreasing) only the hue component. Then it's transformed into RGB for OpenGL use. As you can see on image, there won’t be any strange color at all. And it works great.

Everything looked alright, but I wanted more :) So I tried to set different color tint to each vertex of the field and the result amazed me. I think it improved the visuals like hundred percent :) This time I don’t have video of it, but you can see three images of the progress and I can guarantee you, that in motion it looks really fantastic :)



More about other polishes that I’m planning to add into my game will be in the next article.

Love
Granny Marie

2009/09/10

You can play it! (+video)

Hello Kids,
Last two days I was so busy - working hard and implementing all the new images into the program and I've also improved the code itself - that I had no time for anything else - my garden, my chickens, my cat, even my goat. Everything had to wait.

But right now I’m really happy that I put so much effort into it. The application could be finally called a GAME :), it’s fully playable and I got brand new video for you to see it in action. So, here it is:



Isn’t it cute? :) I’m so proud of myself. The face animations are so funny. In Chipmunk (the physics engine) I’ve lowered the friction property, which means that all these bricks are slicker, so they are sliding over each other. And it feels great to play with it :)

Ok ok, that’s enough of self-praise and back to the reality :) It’s playable and looks quite finished. That’s fine, but it’s just a beginning. I need to add music and sound effects, menu, maybe some loading screens and so on. And I see another million things that I wanna add into this in-game. You know not something huge, new gameplay element or something. No no. Just small things, that will make the game more polished.

First of all I wanna do something about the background field - the grey field with squares. It’s so boring to watch and the game feels empty. I wanna put there some animations or something. That’s the problem of the entire background image. It’s so static. Some animations would make it alive. I have some ideas, but I don’t wanna write about them now. I want to see them first and if it’s gonna work I will write something about it.

I’m gonna take some rest now and you can write me a comment what’s your impressions :)

Bye
Granny Marie

2009/09/08

Background image is here!

Hello kids,
Last few evenings I’ve been drawing the main in-game background image and now I am really proud to present you the result. It should represent the machine, where you can let the jelly bricks disappear. You can read more why there is machine in my previous post.

Let me describe what you can find there. I put some “nice” (I know they are as ugly as my goat Liza in the morning :) ) pink numbers there.

1. You can find level number there. Each new level the game becomes harder and harder
2. Next brick – shape and colors of next brick
3. Information about score points
4. You highest score you’ve ever scored
5. Game Over line – if there is any brick above this line after the time limit (6) is over, the game ends
6. Time limit – how much time left for controlling your actual brick
7. Another time limit, but this time for score bonuses – I will describe that sometime later
8. Main field for playing with bricks


I have also prepared one fake screenshot (it’s prepared in Photoshop, so it’s a fake not real screenshot :) I didn’t put new images into a program yet) how the game should look in the final form.



I am still not convinced about the main square ground, because it feels a bit empty, even if there are bricks, there is lots of empty space. I will try to do something about that. And these faces are little bit too big.

So let me know if you like it or not. I am waiting for your responses :)

Bye bye
Granny Marie

2009/09/07

First optimization (+video)

Hello kids,
I’m going to tell you more about some programming things I’ve done in my game and how it affected the results. And I got fresh new video for you. Again with nice music by “Eva a Vašek”. I can guess that younger people don’t like it, but I love it. I wanted to add some Hungarian polka, which I also like, but I got it only on LP records (you know these black big discs :) ) and was unable to digitalize it.



What you can see is very first look at gameplay itself. One finger for moving, two fingers for rotations. When 3 colors match together, little square inside the brick appears – whole brick should disappear after that, but It doesn’t. Yet! :)

What you can’t see are many hours of experiments and failures with optimizing the code to run as fast and smooth as possible. First of all I found out, that when I switch off “Compile for Thumb” in XCode settings, the application runs much faster. But that was just beginning. Next thing I’ve learned was, that Chipmunk should be compiled in GCC compiler with parameter “--fast-math“. But that helped just a little.

Then I was kind of stuck at one point. My physics operations took so much time and I was unable to improve it. I tried to change size of spacial hash, that’s what documentation says and should help -> doesn’t. Then I changed squares for circles as the basic physical object -> again no improvement. After that I’ve developed idea that I’m going to do the physics operations not on all objects in the scene, but only on upper ones, because the bottom lines don’t need that. They are fixed at one place. Of course that was wrong idea and leads to even worse results.

But in the end I’ve discovered it! I’ve lowered the number of iterations of physical solver. That means that all calculations are less precise. So you should say that is a bad thing. But it’s not! Firstly it lowers the time for physical processes significantly and that’s what I really wanted. And secondly, because of less precise calculation results, objects in the scene acts more elastically. And that’s wonderful.

At this point my physics engine takes same time as graphics processes and I’ve got some pretty good ideas how to improve them too. But you need to wait for some future post about that.

Bye kids,
Granny Marie

2009/09/06

A game like mine

Hello kids,
Today morning I have received e-mail from one of my blog readers. He told me, that there is already a game like mine, but on a PC platform. The game is called Triptych and the basic principles of that game are really very close to my ideas about Gelex.

At first I was quite sad about that, but after few games of Triptych I’ve realized, that the game is so funny and enjoyable that I forgot all the worries that my game won’t be as unique as I’ve planned to be. I must tell you, that today I’ve spent nearly whole day playing it. I love the game! :) The authors did a great job on it and I admire them.

Right know I’m worrying just about one thing. That knowing Triptych will influence my development so much, that I create just complete copy of Triptych :) Well, I hope that it’s not gonna happen. At least my game is on iPhone not a PC and on an iPhone is nothing like that…. hope so :)

Apart from playing Tryptich all day long, I was doing some drawing. But this time not just a sketches but some animations of the face of brick. You can see the results here. I’m planning to add much more animations in future. These are just first three – laughing, “I am innocent look” :) and scowl face.

That’s all for now kids,

Love,
Granny Marie

2009/09/05

Gelex!

Hello kids,
I just wanted to let you know, that my game got finally a name. Last week or more I was thinking about it really hard, but it was worth it. I think I found a nice name that fits my game perfectly. The name is Gelex :) (As you probably already know from the headline :) ).

I had few basic requirements for that name. I wanted to be short, easy to remember, easy to say and of course -> completely new word! It also should cover these facts:
- The game is about jelly, gummy bricks
- There will be some stunning effects (hope so :) )
- The whole problem with bricks happened because of accident during one experiment.
- Physics plays huge part

And the name covers most of them. Only the physics fact is not in the name. First part “Gel” is obvious. “Ex” is for experiment and is also quite close to FX, which means effects. Also the sound of the name Gelex sounds to me quite close to effects – yeah, because of the X at the end :)



This is just a sketch of the game name. In the future I want it to be animated with lots of polish stuff. Wish me luck with that :)

2009/09/04

Physicist and the story in my game

Hello kids,
Such a terrible weather today. It was raining all day long. It makes me feel sad. So I decided to draw some nice sketches of main character of my game to cheer me up. Oh gosh! I forget to tell you about the main character and the story behind the game! Ok, let’s do something about it...

As you already know the game will be about moving bricks and stuff like that. So where should be anything like main character? Actually there are two main “heroes”. First one is some kind foolish, crazy, funny physicist (I still don’t have a name for him. Any ideas?) And the second one is a new substance/matter which he accidently invented. This new matter takes form of a little brick – you know, jelly brick :) – and got eyes and mouth and it can even talk. But the most problematic thing about it is (apart from all those noises and talks it makes) that it clones itself all the time. So the physicist invented a machine (which will be actually main in-game screen) where he can let these bricks disappear. The only thing needed is match 3 same color bricks together.

The physicist will be something like a guide in the game. And the bricks will be just annoying little creatures all over the place and of course the main thing to play with :) I must admit that the idea of physicist and jelly creatures was inspired with the Flubber movie. I know, it’s a silly movie, but I love it. And Robin Williams is always so great. So please forgive me :)

I think it’s enough about the story, which probably won’t be said anywhere in the game. You know, it’s gonna be just a little arcade game and the story thing is just for myself and you-my readers of course :) But enough talking here is the picture of the physicist:


It’s just a sketch. I’m still not decided which one will be used. Maybe I will draw something completely different or I will improve one of these. But right now I think he should be younger than these ones. I am so bad at decisions….

Ok kids, I’m going to take some rest. And by the way, for those who tweet me that I‘m a fake. You know if somebody would told me, that there is a farmer guy who was catching chickens for all his life and now on people just realized that he can sing like no one other can, I wouldn’t believe that either. Yeah, I’m huge fan of Kevin Skinner from Americas Got Talent. I’m watching him on YouTube and hope he’s gonna win whole competition. You never know, maybe my game will hit the top on the AppStore :)

2009/09/03

Physics in my iPhone game (+video)

Hello kids,

As I promised in one of my previous posts I wanna write something about the physics system in the game. I am not really into physics and I don’t want to go much into a details, so don’t expect anything technical...

The physics is the key for my game and because I didn’t feel good about programming all this physics stuff by myself, I have decided to use some existing physical engine. You can find many existing engines all over the internet, but what I really needed was not something like huge massive physical engine, but just few simple functions. I didn’t need those soft body physics or physics for liquids or something like that. I just wanted simple, but fast enough collision system, with gravity involved and the collisions should make some impact on the bricks – you know, to feel like rubber bricks.

So I started searching the web. Again! I completely passed all those well known physics engine like PhysX or Havok. Not only there is a problem with licensing and stuff like that, but they are really huge and don’t fit my needs. Then I find ODE (Open Dynamics Engine), but again it was not the right thing for me. Quite promising was Box2D, it’s a C++ based engine and the implementation to my project didn’t seem that hard. But before I started working on that I found Chipmunk engine and this video. I was impressed with the speed and all the comments how simple it is to implement it.

I found some examples how to include Chipmunk into XCode project - http://johnehartzog.com/2009/04/integrating-chipmunk-into-objective-c/ but for me was very useful the Moon Buggy tutorial which is not for iPhone application, but each line is very good commented. Overall it took me about a day of work and Chipmunk physics was in my game and worked! I was so excited about it, that I said to my grandsons to take a camera to my place and shoot short video from the game. So here it is.



I know, it’s nothing special right now, but you can see the basic functionality is working. With one finger you move with the last imported block, with two fingers you move with all bricks on the screen, double tap import another block. There is gyroscopic feature which influence direction of gravity – to be always down to the ground. And there is some bouncing. Still not like gel or gum, but I am working on it.

On the video you can see also one big problem. It’s not optimized yet. When there are more bricks the framerate falls down rapidly and the game becomes snatchy. You can see two numbers in the left corner of the screen. The first one is an amount of blocks on the screen and the second one is time in milliseconds of one frame. As you can see, most of the time the second number shows (around) 30 milliseconds, but at the end it jumps up to 60 or even more milliseconds which means 16 FPS or less.

That video was shot by my grandsons over the last weekend, so it’s not actual version. Right now I have implemented some optimization and corrected some of my mistakes (Yes, everyone can make a mistake.) and the program can handle much more bricks with stable FPS now. But about that I will write sometime later. Kids, I have to tell you it is great when the summer is over - I don't have to spend so much time in my garden and I can fully concentrate my time on my iPhone game!

2009/09/02

Little bit about my iphone game + first picture

Hi kids,

I think I need to describe the game design of my game little bit more than I did before, when I was writing about the basic concept. I could put here whole design document, which I wrote for myself already. But it’s about 5 pages long, so it would be probably boring read for you and the main problem - the game design document is in Czech. You know when I’m writing something just for me I don’t bother with English – I’m sorry for that.

My game from game designer’s point of view


The basic idea of the game is simple. Blocks of 3 (different color) squares/bricks fall down and you can move them in any direction and rotate them. Your goal is to put 3 or more squares of the same color together, that will let them disappear and you will receive some points for that. You have limited time to control the actual block of bricks. After that limit is over, next block will appear and you have another few seconds to position it as good as you can. If there is not enough space for another block the game is over.

There’s gonna be some level system with progressive difficulty. Each time you destroy some amount of bricks, you will progress to next level. Each new level means less time to control your block and sometimes even new color brick appear. That will make game harder and harder with each new level. There’s also gonna be some score bonuses to make scoring system more variable, but I don’t wanna tell you all details. I need to keep some thing as a secret until the game is finished. And - as you know - every woman has to have some secret!

Physics? Yes, physics!


But the main thing is physics, which plays huge role here. All the bricks are affected by gravity, they collide with each other, move fluently – not like in Tetris, where they jump from one position to another – and they act like made of rubber or gel. You know not like huge heavy stone bricks, but more like jelly bricks.

During designing my game in my head I had some troubles about controls and how to deal with it. I didn’t want to use gyroscopic system much, not for the main gameplay. I have one idea how to use gyroscopes in my game, but it’s gonna be like side effect or “cool feature” (Am I cool grandma when I use word cool?:). It won’t affect main gameplay, but I will probably describe that in some future post...

A struggle with on-screen controls


So I was thinking really hard how to use all these touches and multitouches the best way possible. One idea was to put little icons of keys on the screen – 4 as arrow keys for moving, 2 for rotation (clockwise and counterclockwise), then I figure out that something like stick instead of arrow keys would be better and then I completely left this idea of keys on the screen. I found out, that it would be much more comfortable to use whole screen to control the game. But how? Ok, sliding finger over the screen moves the block – that’s clear. But the rotation? Oh yeah, we have multitouch! It hits me like a storm! Simple use 2 fingers and move over the screen and the block will rotate. I have made some tests already and it works great - I’m so excited about that!

Ok kids, I think that’s all for today. Wait, no! Oh boy, I almost forgot - I have one picture for you. It is my iPhone with very early version of my game without graphics.



Next time I’m planning to write more about the physics and all the problems I’m solving each day with that and maybe, just maybe, I will show you some parts of the game...

Love,

Granny Marie

2009/09/01

iPhone game programming basics - recommended books

Hi kids,

This time I would like to write some basic info about programming. It's really important part of making a game and I have not pay much attention about it on my blog yet. So here is first try to change it. I'm not planning to put here lines of code or anything like that, because you can find many examples and tutorials on the internet. This will be just my impressions and what I've found interesting.

First of all I must correct few things. In one of my first post I wrote, that I don't feel like a big programmer and that's true – I don't. But to be honest I have some programming experience from the past. I was working in IT, wrote some small programs in C and C++ during 90s when I was employed at Masaryk University in Brno. But it's quite long time ago and Mac, XCode, ObjectC is completely new to me. Because of that I needed some help for the start, so I searched the web for some advices and found great book called Beginning iPhone Development by Dave Mark and Jeff LaMarche, which helped me a lot. Another interesting book by Dave Mark is iPhone Games Projects. You can find there many advices from successful game developers. I really recommend both of them to other beginning developers, but even if you are experienced you could find many useful information there.

Shortly after studying these books and all other great articles over the web, I found out that you don't need to write all your game in ObjectC (I must admit, I don't really like it - forgive me Apple). Actually it is possible to write most of your code in C++ and only basic routines like handling inputs and the main timer loop of the game in ObjectC. That was quite a relief for me! After that discovery it was quite clear for me to go that way and it pushed me forward a lot.

Last part of this article I would like to write little bit about game engines. From the beginning I was sure, that I'm not going to use any engines at all and write all by myself. So I started learning OpenGL ES which is subset of OpenGL. I knew little bit about OGL before. I really want to recommend excellent NeHe tutorials, that can help beginners with OGL really really lot. So because of my experience with classic OpenGL, it was not really hard for me to be friend with OpenGL ES (it's nearly the same).

But the hard part came with the physics. It really overwhelmed me and I must admit that I changed my mind about writing all by myself and decided to use some of the existing physics engine. So I searched, searched and finally found one, but you must wait for another article to learn more about the physics engine I decided for, because that’s enough for today.

2009/08/31

Time plan for my game



Hello kids,
in my last post I mentioned that I joined Twitter (yes, you are welcome to follow me!). It is really inspiring place for me. Now I follow about 200 great people who are some connected to iphone games or iphone development. Following them for a few days gave me a lot. But it would be nice to get some feedback on my game development journey, so feel free to comment my articles. I want to know that you are there, folks!

People I am following made me think about my blog and posts I write here. I decided to be more concrete on my game and show you how can one old granny like me do her first iphone game. So I committed myself to write more posts about development of my game and here is the first of them - the time plan!

In one earlier post I mentioned the importance of the planning. It is essential for me and it was the first step that I undertook when I was thinking about developing own iphone game.

My time plan is set for 3 months from start to finish. From start where there's nothing to finish where there will be the iphone game. Look at my plan and inspire yourself. Now I am in the middle of week 6 and although I am little bit behind with actual work, a lot of things are done. I am pretty satisfied with my present progress! I did expect more development problems.

Enough for now! I have to go to feed my animals.

Bye kids,

Marie

2009/08/28

Follow me on Twitter!

I almost forgot to tell you - I created my account on the Twitter! My grandsons told me that Twitter is cool thing so if you are interested in one old granny and her thoughts you can follow me.

Game concept for my iPhone game

Hello kids,

I was little sick last month and I was forced to go to the hospital. But it is alright now (Thanks for asking!). Anyway, during my stay in the hospital I had had a lot of free time. I had spent it by thinking and making some sketches and concepts. It was really useful because I thought out my first iPhone game. It will be game similar to the Tetris (the classic I love) but there will be a few twists:

- you can move and rotate falling bricks
- there will be applied gravity on the bricks
- bricks will have different color and your goal will be to put together 3 bricks of the same color.

Seems easy, doesn't it? I hope so. I want to play this game with my grandsons so I decided to make it as easy as possible. And because it is my first iphone game and everything will be new for me while creating, I don't want to make some big game.

I have a plan to finish this game in 2 months. I hope I can stick to it and make it. I will post here on my blog updates on the game development.

Bye,

Your Granny

2009/07/22

iPhone Game Development - the very first steps

Hello kids,
I got some e-mails from a few readers of my blog. They were asking me: "Granny, where should I start if I want to create my own game for iPhone?" (or something like this). So I decided to answer it here on my blog, because this information can be useful for more people.

If you are new to iPhone Game Development and want to make your own game, there are only a few steps you have to follow:

Visit Apple Developer Connection site - it is the essential place when it comes to Apple Development.

Step 1 - Download the SDK


Developing games on iPhone is great - you get all tools for free from Apple. So the first step is that you have to download iPhone SDK. In this SDK is everything you need for iPhone game development - there's Xcode, Apple's premiere development environment for Mac OS X (iPhone) or iPhone emulator so you can see how will your game work on real device.

The only thing you can't do is deploying - you can't copy your game to the real device - you can run it only in emulator.

Step 2 - Learn Objective-C


You've got SDK? Right, then you have to learn Objective-C. If you are new to programming, try google some articles or books or look on Amazon. Every application running on Mac or iPhone or iPhone Touch is written in Objective-C so if you wanna have your own game, this is mandatory.

Step 3 - Apply to Apple Developer Program


If you want to have your game in your iPhone or iPod Touch - like I wanted when I started with iPhone development - you have to become certified iPhone Developer. Oh boy, I am 77-year old iPhone Developer! Would you believe that there's old lady like me developing games for iPhone? Anyway, you can become certified Apple Developer if you apply to iPhone Developer Program. It will cost you $99.

Then you have to wait. How long? In my case it took Apple about one week to process it. But it think it is because I am not living in the US. I don't know, maybe someone will share some experiences on in in discussion.

When you become certified iPhone Developer, you can deploy your game on iPhone or iPod Touch. Then you can play it! If you are certified you can sell it on AppStore too.

I hope this post helped you...

Love,

Marie

2009/07/09

Phases of the game development process


Dear kids,

I am here again to share some of my knowledge with you. In my last post I briefly introduced all professions you need to have in your team when developing a game and today I am going to write about usual Game Development process.

What is game development process and why should you have a plan?


Game Development process is a long procedure incporporating a lot of stages. If you are developing huge and big game, it may take years. Speaking for myself with my iPhone game I have plan (I will write about it in next posts) that the game development process should take me 3 months. It is not much, but my game will be really small.

And why plan if I am developing the game in my free time? Well, I am very punctual person and I think it is good to have some plan always! This taught me my parents and I taught it my dear husband Antonin and all my kids. I remember when I was young, it was just after my wedding in 1951 when I was 18 or 19, I and my husband made the life plan - find a good job till 20, have at least one baby till 22, have first car till 25, go for the first vacation till 30 and so on... You may be laughing at it, but it really helped me! So having a plan is a must! (At least for me!)

View of the common game development process


As I mentioned above, Game Development has several stages. If you have a plan it is easy to schedule everything and track it. Basic stages of game development process:



Pre-Production phase


1. Analysis phase
If you have with your game some goals (e.g. Make the best selling iPhone game), you should know about your competitors, know the market, trends etc. In this phase you should analyse and plan everything. This phase is really important if you want to success! There's nothing worse than developing X years a game and then get to know that there's practically nobody to play it.

2. Creative phase
Do you know your market, competitors, current trends etc.? Great! Then you can start with creative phase. In this phase you should define your game by prior analysis. Start and create game design concept, then so-called game design document where you can define all game mechanisms and principles.

In this phase the only tool for many developers is paper and pencil. I encourage you to adopt this principle - don't hesitate to make sketches along with your concept and try to prove as early as possible wheter are your concepts really working as a game. You can save a lot of time here!

Production phase


1. Design and Development phase
Hard work is here! With game design document in your hand you can start with real game development, because now is the time when jump in programmers, graphic artists and other members of the team who were relaxing while pre-production phase.

In this phase you have to stick to your game design document and remake the dream to the (game) reality. To have the good supporting data in game design document is crucial when it comes to success of this phase.

2. Testing
Testing is a need. There should be circle between Design and Development phase and Testing phase - you should test every piece of code you made on your game. This is the way how you can get to know if your game is working and bug free. In the later phases of the development process is good to invite external people (for example your friends) to test your game - it is always beneficial to get opinion on the game from somebody who is not involved in the process.

Release


It is done! Your game is ready and you can publish it on your website, or sell it on CD or DVD. Do not forget to communicate with your fans and support your game!

Next time I will write something about my own game, so stay tuned!

Love,

Granny

2009/07/08

Understanding the game development


Dear kids,

in my last post I mentioned that the best time for programming (in my case) is in the morning. Try it and you'll be surprised how efficient you are! While morning works best for programming, the evening is great time for studying. As a retired person a have a lot of free time so aside from my daily duties and other hobbies, I study materials related to the game development every evening just before I go to bed. My dream to make my own iPhone game is so strong I can resist! I even don't know how long I have been dreaming about it, but it has been quite long time since I started my everyday "granny coder routine" - programming in the morning and studying in the evening.

Game Development 101


Are you new to the game development and would you like to know how it works? Well I was in the same shoes as you are in now - my understanding to it was equalling to zero. I had no idea how to make games and how the entire industry works. I am not saying that I know it now, but I have much better insight and I am familiar with the basic principles and mechanisms. In this spot I would like to share some of my knowledge with you.

Game development - who do we need?



In the game development process there's a lot of people involved. At least you need one person with the role of:

Programmer
A person who is in charge of code of the game. He / She puts all the game mechanisms to the code that computer can understand.

Artist
A person who is in charge of visual aspect of the game. If your game is 2D, you need 2D artist (and 3D artist for 3D game).

Game Designer
One of the most important member of your team - this person is in charge of the main idea and all game mechanisms and principles. The more experienced game designer the better game will be.

Level Designer
Level Designer is often the right hand of Game Designer. He / She is in charge of the creating of levels or maps in the game.

Sound Engineer
The person who is in charge of sound effects, music and other stuff. We don't want our game to be silent, do we?

Tester
This person has very boring (some people say exciting) duty - he / she has to go thoroughly through the whole game and look for the bug and other errors in the game.

...and a lot of more people (producers, project managers and so on).

iPhone game development specifics



Developing games for iPhone is very specific in comparison with developing "big" videogames (they call them AAA titles). That's why iPhone games are often very small and the number of people involved is very small. In my case it is just me who is involved in the whole development process of my game - I have no co-workers so I have to undertake all design, graphic, programming, sound and testing stuff. And of course, I am my own manager :-). It may sounds crazy for someone, but I have always wanted to do something I could be proud of and I strongly feel THIS is the opportunity!

I will continue this spot next time, because I have to feed my animals now (Yes, the can't wait).

Love,

Granny

2009/07/03

Dear kids, here's Marie again


Time passes so fast, when you live in the village. Especially when there's a lot of things you have to take care of. Everyday I have to clean my house, hoe and water the flowers and trees in the garden and feed my lovely animals and pets. You have to pay them a lot of attention! That's why I get up very early, usually at 5 a.m. with my chickens. Some people ask me how can I be on my legs so early but I am used to it. I got up so early my whole life.

Morning, the best time for programming


I have to thank my parents who taught me to get up so early. When I was a young girl, I had to go with them to the fields and work there everyday. It gave me a lot of experience and formed some of my habits. I think if you are an early-riser you can accomplish more things during the day! For example I found out that the best time for programming is in the morning. Your head is fresh and full of new ideas.

So here is my ritual - everyday I wake up at 5 a.m., then I take quick breakfast and go to the farmstead. There I have to feed my pets and animals. It takes me about 30 or 40 minutes. For those of you who are curious - yes, I have my iPhone along when I am feeding them - that's because I am listening to the music in the same time (I love Hungarian polka!). When I have all this stuff done I take my MacBook and sit to the hen-house with chickens or to the garden and program. I think I am not big programmer so far, but I know the basics of Xcode so I play with it a little. But I feel I am progressing everyday, so I hope I will start development of my first iPhone game soon.

Oh boy, I have to go to milk the goat. Bye for now kids.

Love,

Granny

2009/07/02

Dear kids, welcome to my blog.


My name is Marie and I am from Czech republic. I have 3 chidren and 5 grandchildren. I live in a small village where I take care about my pets (cat Jasmina, goat Liza) and other animals (e.g. rabbits). I have also a lot of different hobbies - I like gardening, sewing, crochet and meeting my friends in the village. You would say I am like any other women who's retired (Oh boy, I didn't mention it did I? I am 77 year old granny), but it is not so true - I have one secret that practically nobody (except my family) knows about - I am Apple enthusiast, especially i love Mac and iPhone. By the way, it was my passion for Apple what persuade me to start with this blog.

Little more about my secret

Some time ago, I got myself to programming. Ta-dah! Yes, your eyes and ears are working right, I hope, my dear. I remeber that moment like it was yesterday - my youngest grandson Michal (I have 5 grandchildren - 3 boys and 2 girls) bought me an iPhone. It was like little magic when I saw it for the first time. Well, I had mobile phones before of course, but this was something I coudn't explain - there was everything moving, everything was shiny and clean (like in my kitchen - I think every good housewife should have her kitchen clean!) and mostly I didn't need to use my glasses when I was working with it. This little iPhone thing really thrilled me! And it was so close to start my big passion for iPhone. When I saw all the cool applications and heard stories about talented little kids programming games for iPhone, I said: "Marie, if little kids can learn this you can too!" This is the beginning of the story when I became - according to my grandsons - the granny coder...

Grandma stories about iPhone game development

I created this blog to track and record my iphone programming journey. I have a dream - dream that even the old lady like me can programme an iPhone game from scratch. I will write on this blog posts about my progress and I hope one day I will be able to play my game on my iPhone. So my dears, if you like to get unusual perspective on developing iphone games, stay in touch with my blog.

I would like to dedicate this blog to my grandsons (Michal, Jan and Pavel) and thank them for valuable advices on programming and thank them for buying me my lovely iPhone thing.

Love,

Granny