Big Displays: The Good, The Shiny, and The Ugly

I remember back in the mid-90s, I went through 5 or 6 19″ CRT monitors before I found one that I thought was acceptable running at 1600×1200. I believe it was a Samsung and it even needed BNC cables to get the signal without interference and degradation to get the quality I wanted.

Fortunately, display technology caught up over the years and I’ve been happy with the LCD monitors I have since then.

Until now.

I’ve been looking into large LCD monitors to set up in my new office with my Macbook Pro, and I find myself pushing into the limit of technology once again. The results: I went through 3 monitors of about $1K each. Two fell completely short, and one was perfect. Continue reading

iCloud Demystified

Play a game on a device, put it down, pick up another device, and continue playing exactly where you left off. This is the future of games.

That future is a reality today for some games and apps (Netflix, Kindle), and I’m convinced that players will expect that in most games in the next year or so. So obviously, the next bit of new iOS tech I decided to try was iCloud. I would love to turn Flower Garden into that kind of seamless experience, independently of the device you use to access it.

As a quick spoiler, it turns out I won’t be able to make Flower Garden quite so seamless without a lot of extra work. But I learned a lot along the way and I should be able to take a small step in that direction. Continue reading

Trying Out Multisampling On iOS

I only recently broke free of iOS3.x for Flower Garden, so I’m finally adding all the features I had been itching to add that required higher OS support. I had already added some iOS4+ features, but I was keeping them to a minimum because it’s always a huge cause of bugs to target multiple versions of the OS at once.

One of the first features I looked into adding was multisample antialiasing (MSAA) support for OpenGL, which was originally introduced in iOS 4.0. The geometry generated for the petals in Flower Garden is fairly high contrast, and since it’s not like the textures were carefully created and laid out by an artist, the result is pretty bad aliasing around the edges. Perfect candidate for multisampling! Continue reading

View Controller Notification Changes on iOS5

If you use view controllers in your iOS apps, here’s a doozie: The behavior of viewWillAppear/viewDidApear/viewWillDisappear/viewDidDisappear silently changed on iOS5. Depending how your app is organized, this might range from not mattering to being a total disaster. Continue reading

My Next Game

Stick 2No, this is not an announcement of my next game (I wish). Rather, it’s a brain dump of my struggle with the process. It seems that in the game development community we often share the process of making a game and how it did afterwards. But it’s rare having some insight into what goes on before the project gets started. Where do ideas come from? Why do we pick one and not another? These are semi-coherent notes about the things I’m struggling with right now. Continue reading