Presenting at GDC 2009 on iPhone Development

gdc09It seems like GDC was just the other day, but GDC 2009 is around the corner! And this year, I’m going to be giving a presentation titled iPhone Development: Exploring The New Frontier I’m sorry about reverting to the cliched format of having a colon in the presentation title. It was too hard to resist :-).

I’ll be sharing my experiences transitioning from traditional AAA console game development, with teams of 100+ people, multi-million budgets, and several years of development, to indie iPhone development. There are a surprising amount of things that carry over from “big game development”, and quite a few that are totally different. I’ll go into what’s involved making games for the iPhone, and what game developers can expect when making the transition.

Apart from my talk, I’m particularly excited about this year’s GDC. It seems that the amount of content on indie game development and iPhone game development has shot through the roof. On Monday and Tuesday we’re treated to not just one, but two great summits: The Independent Games Summit and GDC Mobile! Last year, the Independent Games Summit was the best part of the show. Meeting all the other indie game developers out there and hearing their experiences was great. This year I’m hoping for more of the same plus all the iPhone-specific content.

Of course, the main conference is packed with great content too, but I haven’t had time to go through all of it and pick the sessions I want to attend yet. Too busy wrapping up my current project.

So if you see me around the show, stop by and say hi. I’m always glad to meet other fellow developers, and it’s always nice to put a face with a name for those of you that I know know through Twitter or online blogs.

San Diego iPhone Developers Gathering This Wednesday

We had so much fun the first time, that we decided to do it again. Last time we had a great turnout and we had a great time comparing ninja UIKit techniques, giving exclusive worldwide previews of apps in the works, and sharing voodoo spells to to make your app show up in the front page of the App Store (amazing what a few beers will do).

So we’re back at it again. Anybody involved in iPhone development or interested in learning more about it is welcome to come.

When: Wednesday Feb 11th from 8PM until whenever.
Where O’Sullivan’s Pub in Carlsbad (home of the Appy Entertainment Secret World Headquarters)

If you’re interested, you might also want to join the San Diego iPhone Developers group to keep up to date with any future announcements.

See you all there!

Twittering Around

twitter_logo_sAs the 0.5% of you who are not using an RSS reader might have noticed, I’ve added a new sidebar with my Twitter activity. I’m pretty new to Twitter… actually, that’s not true. I did join quite a bit ago, but I just didn’t get it. Nobody I knew was really using it and I didn’t want to read a random stream of posts from everybody.

A couple of weeks ago, prompted by seeing a few other indie iPhone devs on Twitter, I decided to give it another try. I’m glad I did! It has been really fun and useful. Unlike Facebook, which is all about connecting with long-lost friends, and seeing pictures people’s new babies, I’m using Twitter exclusively for iPhone development. I keep my follow list to a relatively small amount of people, all of them independent iPhone game developers (so please, don’t feel offended if you’re a friend and I’m not following you).

My routine now consists on sitting to work with a warm cup of tea, firing up the Twitter client du jour, and let it sit in the background (without alerts, thank you). Every so often I check it out, update my status, read what other devs are up to, and get into short conversations. The effect is surprisingly similar to being back working with a team of people and having quick IM conversations with them. Don’t get me wrong, I love working by and for myself, but I do miss the camaraderie, the interactions, and the energy of working with a team of really talented people. Twitter gives me a lot of what I’ve been missing.

Last night, @timhaines put together a Google Spreadsheet of iPhone devs on Twitter, along with a form to add yourself. He sent out a Twitter message asking people to add themselves and pass the word. The effect was stunning. Within minutes there were dozens of devs on the list, and as people continued re-tweeting the message, hundreds more were added! That’s a great resource to hook up with your favorite iPhone developers.

On a similar note, Sam Houston put together a list of video game companies with people on Twitter. That’s not quite as interesting for me right now, but seems like another great resource if you’re into video game development.

So give Twitter a try. Especially if you’re an indie developer working by yourself. Don’t think of it as another Facebook, but as a way to chat and develop connections with other people.

See you there!

Speaking at iPhone Conference And A Teaser

360|iDevI missed the iPhone Tech Talk World Tour last Fall. At the time it wasn’t a big deal because I was still soaking in all the information from the iPhone SDK docs. Now, on the other hand, I’m at the point that I’m getting into more advanced stuff, either not covered in the docs, or that it’s just plain tricky. For example, I spent all day today trying to coerce my app into sending an email with an image attachment–in the end I either kind of succeeded, or I bypassed the problem, depending how you look at it. But that’s another story for another day.

So last week, I was excited to learn there was a new iPhone development conference  called 360|iDev (not the greatest conference name–sounds too much like an Xbox development conference). It looks like a very hands-on, for developers by developers kind of conference, instead of half-marketing, half-development like Apple’s offerings (Yes, we’re already on board, you don’t have to sell us on how cool the iPhone is. We know. We’ve banked our life and savings on it actually). The lineup of speakers looks really promising (including Urban Tycoon author, Mike Huntington).

What really excites me the most is meeting the other attendees though. It looks like it’s not going to be a huge conference (hundreds instead of thousands or tens of thousands like GDC), and we’re all staying at the same hotel, so there should be plenty of opportunities to meet people, chat, trade tips, and compare horror stories over beers.

I actually liked the idea so much, that I decided to jump in and submit a session proposal, and the organizers very kindly accepted it (which is great because otherwise I might not have been able to have afforded going :-)). I’ll be talking about my experience going from a AAA console development environment, to a single-person iPhone development team. Both the obvious differences, the not so obvious similarities, and how a single person can really deliver a top-notch iPhone game.

I encourage everybody to have a look at the 360|iDev site and register if you haven’t already. It’s not very expensive (especially if you buy the ticker sooner, rather than later), and it’s going to be a blast. It’s in San Jose in early March, a couple of weeks before GDC, so no conflicts for game developers there. Also, if you’re interested in speaking, check out their call for speakers while they’re still accepting new submissions. I hope to see some of you there!

On a totally different note, a couple of weeks ago, Evan at Veiled Games (Up There), which is one of my favorite indie iPhone developers, promised to put a daily image with a teaser of their upcoming project. This was soon picked up by Gavin at Antair Games, who is letting us peek under the covers of what’s coming up after Sneezies.

I figured it would be fun to follow their steps, but don’t hold your breath of a daily update. Maybe weekly if you’re lucky. Maybe.

So here’s this week’s teaser. Draw whatever conclusions you want from it 🙂

gnome

Tea Time! Available on The App Store Now!

My first iPhone app, Tea Time!, just hit the App Store today! Tea lovers of the world: Go get it now.

What am I doing writing a little app like that? Don’t worry, that’s not what I’ve been doing for the last few months 🙂 It was an experiment to see how quick I could put a simple app together and getting the experience of going through the whole cycle with the App Store. Tomorrow I’ll write an entry with all that I’ve learned so far.

Enjoy your tea!