I like to be as open as possible about any project I’m working on, whether it’s giving talks, sharing technology, or discussing sales numbers. That goes for projects in progress too, although sometimes it makes sense to wait a while before announcing them. In the case of Casey’s Contraptions, we had an early announcement because of the IGF entry, so we might as well start talking about the game.
At one point I was half-seriously toying with the idea of creating a Twitter account that would show our latest commits to Subversion. Apart from the 140 character limit, that falls in the TMI category.
So instead, I thought it might be interesting to give a weekly update with what Miguel and I have been up to each week. Hopefully it will give you a glimpse at what’s going on behind the scenes. Any feedback in what you want to see more or less of is totally welcome.
Week Of Oct 29
Both Miguel and I felt this was a very slow week. I’m not sure exactly why, but I suspect post-IGF submission syndrome. We’re feeling the mini-crunch we did leading up to it, and now we have lots of not-so-fun tasks to do on our planes. Still, I think we’ve been slowly picking up speed. Next week should be a fully productive one.
We added audio for in-game sound effects. Up until now we only had background music and no sound effects at all. Yes, that means we submitted to the IGF without sounds. Yikes! We had to cut corners somewhere. Fortunately, since the IGF takes updates, the next update will include some initial sound effects.
We’re using OpenAL for audio playback, and I was pleasantly surprised to see how simple and efficient it is. What a great change from using AVAudioPlayer!
We’re currently trying to define the style of the sound effects. It’s a strange mix of slightly cartoony, but not too much. Hopefully we’ll zero in on that next week.
Sharing Of Levels
Sharing of levels. We can finally share levels through email. It makes sending levels to each other much easier, and it should come in handy for the next round of testing. Of course, we still can’t reference an attached file from an email using the Apple API, so we’re having to submit levels and a screenshot to the server and store it there.
There’s more to creating a level than just placing objects. To create a playable level we need a title, a specific background, some goals, and a set of available items in the toolbox. Since we want people to share fully-featured levels, we’re building this UI right into the game, and it’s what we’re going to use to create all the levels ourselves. We can’t wait to see what people create, but, I have to admit, it’s somewhat of a pain to implement :-). We still have a few days of work in this one.
Right now it’s all using UIKit on top of OpenGL. I’m still waiting for a great, cross-platform GUI library + tools that gives us the basic features from UIKit + Interface Builder but it’s fully cross-platform.
Also, while Miguel isn’t looking, I’ll share with you what we have so far for the level editor sidebar.
Also, don’t forget to join the Casey’s Contraptions Facebook page.