Talk Like a Pirate Day!

4 years, to the day, between updates (a “private” update, so not visible to everyone, in case you’re wondering). Not too shabby!


Ok. Shabby. But at least I’ve gotten the site back up and running again. That’s something.


Something very small… but something.  I do have a little inspiration for something to do with this site, though (beyond the web development experiments I run in side-routes).



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Progress Takes A Step Forward

I’ve made peace with the fact that I’ll be faced daily with the choice of only one of four options: write some code, design some feature, blog my progress, or, of course, blow it all off for the day. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve actually been avoiding (mostly) that last one, but neglecting the blog option. I’m also feeling a little better about that. It does no good to write daily about not making decisions because I feel “drained” by writing about it, first.  So a couple-times-a-month update seems a much better choice.

So, for this update, I can report some very good progress! I’ve gotten my project off the ground with full startup screens, icons and iTunes art for iPhone, iPhone retina display, iPad and the new iPad retina display. I also have a main launch page that allows you to go straight to an OpenGL ES 2.0 gameplay page (though there’s no game play yet, just a sample spinning 3D cube as a placeholder), and, of bigger progress, a multi-player option that allows you to start an online game through Game Center. That online option will allow me to support multi-players over a network without requiring a server of my own to coordinate it. The one downside is that turn-based play that way won’t support opportunity fire. That may have to wait for a future direct-connect online mode, but can (and should) be integrated into single-player and local multi-player. More on that to come when I get to implementing actually gameplay.  For now, though, I’m continuing to work on Game Center support. Up next, I need to work on the ability to accept game invites and get some “auto-match” games connected between my main and a test Game Center account (as they’re the only two that will have access to the game at this point, of course).

No Comments Posted in Development Journal
Leap Day!

I’ve made more progress in the last month than all those months prior… which probably isn’t saying a whole lot.  I’ve gotten the application framework set up (for an OpenGL-driven game), built up icons and launch graphics, and lined up a game map and chit icons to use to support almost all of my image needs.  And, best of all, I’ve found and purchased a great iOS development resource: iOS 5 By Tutorials by Ray Wenderlich and the iOS Tutorial Team (the whole site is an incredible resource for all your iOS development needs… I very highly recommend it).

At this point, my day job has finally come back around to the point where I get to do new, creative development, rather than fixing bugs and/or modifying old code to serve new purposes. That kind of development creativity at work always translates to better creativity and availability/motivation for development at home. I have big plans for March!

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So, What Happened Here??

That was a very rough 6-month project at my day job. It consumed virtually all of my spare time and drive. It’s finally passed now and I’m back to a “normal” schedule, so I’m about to restart my whole project.  It’s changed in scope, however. Rather than a full-blown, real-time simulation I’m going to open with a board-game conversion. I’m looking through my collection of wargames now for a prime candidate for unofficial conversion.

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July’s Update

Sadly, not a surprise that I haven’t had nearly as much time to work on my project as I wouldn’t have liked. Where I have gotten, though, is a working title: Nation Tycoon.  I’m not in love with the name, but it’ll cover me until I have something prepared for an initial Apple Store submission (name-squatting is prohibited, so I’m not even allowed to commit to a name until later).

So, just what is this game? My plan is to produce a hybrid-mix somewhere in the spectrum of Tropico, Sim City, Railroad Tycoon and Transport Tycoon. I want the scale to be on the national level (thus the working title), but allowing room for plenty of customization at the city level (though nowhere near the detail of Sim City).  It goes without saying that tailoring the user interface to something simple enough to accommodate a touch interface is a primary goal, but I want to keep it open enough that I can do the “easy” port to Mac so that I can eventually get it on the Mac App Store, too. In the longer-term, a port to XBox and Windows would be desirable… but being realistic I would probably postpone that until a second, or even third, version of the game.

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Progress… In Secret

The good news… I’ve been making slow-but-steady progress in laying the groundwork for my project.

The bad news… most of my “free time” has come during the work day when I’m (legitimately!) free to make notes and rummage around the internet a little looking for bits and bobs, but not so comfortable posting reports like this (which, somewhat hypocritically, I’m actually doing right now… but only because I’m being overly-generic).

Back to the good news… As long as I can keep up at least a one-post-per-month pace I will feel as though I haven’t completely fallen off, like so many of my blogs tend to. I feel that with the TV and NHL seasons now over (congrats to the Bruins!) I should start seeing more evening “free time” available for both blogging and actually working on my project.

And the best news yet… I’ve gotten my Apple iOS Developer account established and running, so I’m prepared to start building App Store presence for my eventual project(s). I’ve also made a number of decisions about my project – primarily those with specific App Store impacts.

  1. I would like to do in-app purchases, but I’ve decided that would be more prudent for a follow-up project.
  2. Because it keeps my legal paperwork to a minimum while getting started, my first deployment is going to be a free application (which would, of course, also rule out in-app purchases). I would like to position this first project as a “lite” version of my app, then I can expand it to a paid version in a later pass (and at that point can revisit in-app purchases, as well).
  3. I definitely want to have GameCenter integration. I won’t have a multiplayer component (perhaps a third pass?), but I definitely want achievements and I will have the option for leaderboards available (though I will only use those if I come up with a quantifiable “scoring system” for my game project).

So what is this project? Tune in to the next posting to find out the high-level details. That might even happen before the end of next month 😉

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Development Tools

I’m finally comfortable with my development software selection (at least this initial version), so it’s now time to record those selections here.  Since it’s possible, if not very likely, that my choices will change along the way I’m going to set up a Page on the site to house my Development Tool selections in a sort-of-wiki style.  That will leave me free to add, remove and modify as needed without having to refer back to this Post. Continue Reading »

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Hardware Complete

I hadn’t originally planned on spending a month getting all my new hardware set up and configured when I’d expected to be making software decisions within just a few days.  But with day-job inconveniences, a week’s vacation, and distracting shiny new toys these are the sorts of things that happen.

As it stands now, I have a 17″ MacBook Pro set up with OSX 10.6 on the main partition and Windows 7 (32-bit) on a BootCamp partition.  I also have Windows XP (32-bit) and Windows 7 (64-bit) established as Virtual Machines within OSX.  So I’m pretty much prepared for any computing emergency.  I also have a 2nd generation iPod Touch, iPhone 3GS and iPad 2 all (nearly) ready to go as my test subjects.  I have my XBox standing by, should my project expand its scope that far… which it may very well do.

Due to Stanley Cup Playoff season my evenings are a little busier than normal, so I’m scaling back my expectations a little bit for the next few weeks.  Goal number one over the rest of this week will be to return to and complete my software selection.  With that task completed it’ll be time to define and declare my project intentions.

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A funny thing happened…

It turns out I was mistaken about my  next order of business.  Although I had plans for my project to be developed for both iPhone/iPod and iPad, I wasn’t expecting my pre-ordered iPad to actually come in for several more weeks (or possibly months).  But on a trip to Best Buy at lunch on Tuesday (for other reasons) I decided to swing by the Nerd Herd desk and check to see if my spot in line had advanced at all. Of course, it hadn’t.  They hadn’t gotten a single unit of the model I was on the list for in the 2.5 weeks since I’d signed up.  But while explaining all of this to me, the Nerd began to lament the long line I was in and he pointed out how troubling it was that they had been getting surplus units of my model, but in white instead of black.  They had a whole bunch languishing in their security cage because nobody was buying them.  *sigh*

Long story made… uh… still kinda long:  I ended up “canceling” my pre-order and casually purchasing a white iPad 2.  And so, my last couple of days have been spent loading, configuring, prepping and (most importantly) playing with my new toy.  Luckily, this has even included getting a few of my intended tools loaded up for previewing.

But more on those tomorrow… but no promises this time, either.

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Day One (again)

Today begins a new journey for this site. I’ve restarted the entire site (complete with theme swap and re-title) to support a new venture.

In my professional life I’ve often found that nearly all of the “quirks” at the end of a project are usually associated with the phrase “where did that start to go wrong,” or “why did I make that choice?” As I am about to begin a new personal project I’ve decided to take advantage of that timing, and provide my long-neglected website a purpose by journaling my development. I’ve got developer tools to help me keep track of the actual project, but the meta-project will now have a home, too. A home that I hope to revisit to reflect upon down-the-road once my new project is ready for deployment.

What that project is, and what my plans around it happen to be, will be the first order of business tomorrow. For today, getting this site prepped and setting up a couple developer tool “cloud accounts” have been my main focus. Since I’ve already had configured with WordPress for some time now, it’s setup was a simple matter of activating a new theme and then shifting the previous articles to “trashed, but not deleted” status. I also made sure my Evernote account was up-to-date (as well as apps loaded on both my Mac and iPhone) and that I had the WordPress app installed on my iPhone so that I’m sure to have full access to my resources from anywhere.

More details about my tool selection tomorrow…

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