Following on from our opening RoChain dev diary, Lee takes us further into the mind of a developer…
So, now down to the nitty gritty. Game development.
It was clear from our earliest days of developing RoChain that this is exactly the sort of game that works best on a mobile device. The PC version of RoChain can be downloaded HERE (the twitter/high score table functionality is no longer operative however) ; we soon released that it was a great “tech demo” for the game, but playing it on a PC just felt “wrong”. It needed to be something you could play on the go, something you could literally pick up and play for a few minutes here and there. Hence the idea of RoChain ME (Mobile Edition) was born.
Initially with looking at a mobile version of the game it became immediately apparent that we would need to do a reasonable amount of redesign work. Primarily because we don’t have as much screen space to deal with, but also that the PC version is quite sedentary – you click and wait for the score – there’s little player interaction or skill involved. What I wanted to achieve with RoChain ME was a game which not only played like the original but also was a bit faster in its pacing and required the player to “think on their feet”. It was also decided that we needed a bit of a redesign to give the game a bit of a different character for mobile devices and I think what the artist has achieved here is really great – much better than I expected it to be. But more on that in a later issue.
In terms of actually porting the code I needed to locate a SDK which allowed me to develop one piece of code which could be deployed to both iOS and Android without hassle – whilst also using a PC (I don’t own a Mac) and being able to code in C++. Pretty tall order but I found what I was looking for in an SDK called “Airplay” which has since rebranded to “Marmalade”. Despite my inherent hatred of Marmalade they do make a nifty SDK!!
So, the code porting process has started. What is very positive is that the actual process seems to be going without too many hitches. The actual “logic” in the code is largely unchanged, and most of my time at the moment is spent on making those little design decisions to allow the game to be played on a mobile device. I’m currently at the stage where the actual game is totally playable (albeit along the same lines as the PC version) and shortly I’ll be looking to get it on my iPhone to see how it plays within a device rather than a PC emulated version of the device! To be actually able to play MY game on MY phone will be brilliant. Even if it’s not working 100% properly yet!
Encouragingly my working knowledge of C++ seems to be improving every time I log on and begin coding. I’m much more confident debugging issues, tracing faults to their roots and making the SDK work for me (rather than the other way around)! I definitely feel I’ve advanced a few levels in that regard.
Once I’ve managed to get the game fully working in a basic form, I need to add in various bits such as a new combo system, twitter integration etc. and then polish like mad. It’s the polishing side that really makes or breaks a game in my opinion – and it’s that area that I want to spend a lot of time on – just making sure that everything looks the business and plays even better than I could imagine it would.
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