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...




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.


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!




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:

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.

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?

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).




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.




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.