Wednesday, March 30, 2011

StarPod released in App Store! Awesome space shooter game for iPhone and iPad with OpenFeint, Game Center

My latest game, StarPod, is now available on the app store!

I really enjoyed making StarPod... it's got rockin' music and cool sound effects, colorful graphics and explosions, plenty of particle systems... it's not a "kid's game" like my previous couple of entries, it's actually a game that i enjoy playing :)

In StarPod, you are a spaceship being attacked by various types of space-dwelling shape creatures. Enemies include fiery squares, icebursts, insidious triangles, starburst caterpillars, and plasmapillars. You have 2 "D-Pad" style controllers, one on the left to move, and one on the right to fire (a la Robotron, Total Carnage, Geo Wars, etc...). Personally, this is one of my favorite playing configurations, I always like a good game where I can get into a zone of moving with one hand and unleashing destruction with the other.

There are two basic goals in the game... destroy lots of enemies for points, and stay alive as long as possible without using a Big Bomb. Every 7 seconds you stay alive without the BB, the points multiplier increases. So, the longer you stay alive, the higher your points multiplier will get. Once you use the Big Bomb or get destroyed, though, the points multiplier resets back to 1. When I play, I am focused on staying alive as long as possible, so I rarely use a Big Bomb... I have gotten the points multiplier up past 60x ;)

This game is fun on iPhone and iPad... on the iPad, the obvious benefit is that there's more D-Pad space, so you will have an easier time seeing on the D-Pad which direction it's pointing. Some players may find it a little tough during the first few plays to remember to keep your thumbs on the D-Pads, but once you do, you will (hopefully) be mesmerized and "in the zone".

There are a bunch of subtle features designed to keep the game mesmerizing and interesting, including:
- each starfield is created on the fly, and each star twinkles
- each enemy has a distinct spawn sound and a distinct explosion sound. the sounds are panned left or right according to the position of the enemies, and the explosion sounds' pitch is variable depending on the size of the enemy at the time of explosion
- each enemy type has a distinct strategy for getting to you, i wanted to make sure that "camping" in the corner would not be an effective strategy for the game ;)
- powerups, including double shot, triple shot, quad shot, and shields up the ante in terms of destruction unleashed
- if you are cornered, and if you have destroyed enough enemies, you can use the big bomb to blow up all the enemies on the screen and get a fresh start. this is particularly awesome when there are lots of different enemy types on the screens, because each enemy will explode one at a time and play it's sound... so you get a little custom concert along with the big bomb :)


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What Dave can accomplish in a month...

Hi, Dave here. I wanted to take a moment to recap all the stuff I accomplished in March. My goals at the beginning of the month were to create as many new iPhone apps as I could, to improve my internet presence and networking, and to make progress on my music. Here's what actually happened:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Memory Leaks, Verizon iPhone weirdness, and what's next...

Hi, Dave here.

I spent a full day yesterday finding and destroying memory leaks in my new iPhone / iPad game "StarPod". And I mean I started at midnight Sunday, took a short nap, then worked on it until it was fixed near 5pm Monday. I ended up submitting and rejecting that app 4 times before its final submission, which I believe now to be the last since I was able to play continuously for 1 hour without the app crashing (an excellent indicator that my work squashing memory leaks was successful). StarPod is a fast and fun space shooter game, I'm excited for it to come out.

I also have submitted an update for Kickin' Ms. Chicken v1.1... interestingly, the Verizon iPhones are behaving a little differently than the AT&T variety, and of course something I put in Kickin' Ms. Chicken makes VZ iPhones crash (sigh). So, hopefully that will come out in a few days.

Regarding the Verizon iPhone behaving differently than the AT&T iPhone... I had written a blog entry on about whether there will be differences for developers between AT&T and Verizon iPhones. I said I didn't think so... guess I was wrong. For all you tech-heads wondering what the specific difference was... The VZ iPhone on iOS 4.2.6 does not appear to support embedding fonts using the UIAppFonts key in the project plist.  This functionality has been in iOS since 3.2... maybe it's a bug that'll get fixed... don't know, don't care, since right now I have an app out there that crashes for Verizon iPhone users :(

I have been on a "sabbatical" from my normal job with ThoughtMatrix for the month of March, and that will continue through the month of April. So what do i do next with this precious time?

One of the things I'm going to work on is trying to more effectively use my network to promote my apps and music. I'm going to try using Constant Contact to streamline that effort.

And what else? Do I start porting my iOS apps to Android? Do I port apps / games to Flash / Facebook? Do I simply make more iOS apps? Do I spend some time coming up with the next great social / mobile idea? Time is always against me.

And there's that.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Kickin' Ms. Chicken iPhone Game Approved For Sale in the App Store

Hi, Dave here. Great news! My latest game, Kickin' Ms. Chicken, has been approved for sale! It's a fun physics-based game, great for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. You can get it in the app store at this link: Available on the App Store

In Kickin' Ms. Chicken, you (and Ms. Chicken) are participating in the County Fair's annual chicken kicking contest.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ms. Chicken's Revenge - Fun and simple game for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch

Hi, Dave here. I've been taking some time lately to program iPhone games. I have been using cocos2d as my game framework, it makes all the important functions of game creation really easy.

My latest approved game is Ms. Chicken's Revenge. In this game, I use cocos2d with the chipmunk physics engine to produce a game where you catch eggs that Ms. Chicken drops from the top of her barn. The story is that Ms. Chicken is fed up with giving up all her eggs to the farmer, and she's decided that if she can't have them, no one can! So she's laying the eggs right off the edge of the barn...

You can find Ms. Chicken's Revenge in the App Store.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Rounded Corners with CSS

While there are a bunch of posts on the topic, this is something I look up around the internet often enough. I'm not going to go into the whole spiel about details of cross-browser support and what-not... and, in general, results on IE may or may not be desirable *sigh*.

So here's how to make rounded corners with CSS:

Remembering to use NSAutoreleasePool after calling performSelector

There's nothing worse than working really hard on an iPhone game or app, only to be plagued by poor performance, memory leaks and out-of-control allocations. One of the most important things I routinely forget to do is to auto-release every time i use a perform selector. For example, if I want to play an announcement in 2 seconds, i might say:

How to add padding to a UIButton's title

I had a situation where I needed to add padding to a UIButton in an iOS app. I searched around and found some whonky solutions and workarounds, then I discovered there is simply titleEdgeInsets, available since iPhone SDK 2.0. used like so...

Welcome to my new blog.

Hi, Dave Schuman here, I've started this blog where I intend to post snippets and tidbits about computer programming topics, as well as other stuff and things that come to mind. I program websites and web applications with a variety of technologies (Java, PHP, Ruby on Rails, JS/Ajax, CSS), and I also design and develop apps for iOS, Android, and WebOS.

This post is not too pithy, but an opening volley nonetheless.

And there's that.