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Got off my lazy butt and was able to get a little teeny tiny bit of work done on these pesky robots! Hopefully at least one of the frustrating roadblocks we had hit is cleared out. Now to just get back to getting stuff done!

Oh, and I guess finally also for actually posting to this blog 🙂

All the fun that fits!

I had a rather long discussion in email with Shannon today, the main topic being whether or not we should have IAP in our game.  We went back & forth for quite a few long emails and had several somewhat comical misunderstandings.

In the end, we decided:
* The game should be as amazingly fun as we can possibly make it.

* We shouldn’t worry too much about monetizing, right now.  Yes, we’d like to have some sort of business plan, but we don’t need to sweat the details at this point.  We can move forward trusting that our amazingly fun game will somehow work out well for us.

* Most of the people who do IAP in games do it in a way that feels slimey/spammy/not-nice-to-the-user.  We want to avoid that.

* If we can figure out a way to keep all the fun in the game and not have our IAP feel user-hostile, it’s probably our best business plan but, again, it’s something we can stew on for quite a while during development and work out near the end.

* We’re not 100% sure who our target market is, but we’re happy to learn that Shannon and I are fairly solidly in the group.  We just don’t know how far it extends.  Hopefully a lot!  🙂

We’re going to need a bigger microscope!

This week’s big development is that we made the decision to go to iPad-only for initial release.


Basically, the robot game involves a lot of on-screen manipulation, and we wanted to work with the additional real-estate.  After everything works, we’ll find a UX person to help us figure out how to make it not-suck smaller.


Another week, no dollar.

Wow!  A whole week went by and I didn’t do a lick of work on Robot-game!


This coming week is looking busy, too, but I need to make time to at least clean-up pan/zoom!


(One does not “get” time to do things — one either makes time or one does not.  I guess I’d better make time!)


Another week, another dollar…

Bah!  It was another of those weeks where there was far too much to do and nowhere near enough time to do it.  The kind of week that really compounds the exasperation of “I just want to do this one simple thing and it shouldn’t be any big deal but why are my tools standing in my way?!?!” type things.


Ah well.  The big feature this week was pan/zoom, which works, technically, but is seriously Not Yet Ready For Prime Time.  That is, you can pan the view and you can zoom the view, but nearly everything about the pan/zoom experience is pretty terrible, starting with the fact that there’s some weird, invisible object in the middle of the screen that makes it so that other objects panned past the middle don’t display properly.


I’m fairly certain that, in  a previous life, I committed some horrible, atrocious act, and this is just my karma evening itself out.  I guess it’s good to get my karma squared away going forward — maybe this will help me remember to be a nicer person in the next life.   😉


Anyway, no big news, just the weekly documenting of having gotten practically nothing done.  Years from now, we’ll look back on this and laugh.  Hopefully, it will be a sort of “ha ha, can you believe we used to have trouble with such simple things?” type laughter and not the maniacal laughter of one driven insane by it all…

All your stuff are belong to us!

For a while, there was a fun bug where you could put things IN to inventory, but not take them back out.

Then you could take things out of inventory, and they’d disappear from the inventory window and draw on your main view but, at app relaunch, the item was gone.


Finally, we did some infrastructure re-structuring and designed some nice protocols for who talks to whom about what and who is responsible for which changes, and all seems to be working better, now.  Not only is inventory working (functionality first, cosmetics later! :D), but it looks like Shannon got the periscope view (look outside while inside/editing the robot) working, too.


Oh yeah — for a while, there was a funny thing where, every time I opened the periscope view ,it was 1/4 the size of the previous time.  Nobody has any idea what caused that, but it’s gone, now.


ANYway… things are back on track, not counting the fact that both of us are swamped with “real work” and don’t have much time to work on Robo-game.

Oh yeah — we’re doing this as an Agile project, and had our first major “reset” as we totally missed the sprint-2 date.  As part of “advanced planning”, I had stuck a bunch of features into S-3 but, as a result of missing S2, all the S3 stuff went back into backlog and the still-open S2 stuff became S3.  (Actually, I kept a few small features from former S3.)

Our main goal right now is to get all the basics for the fully functioning, programmable robot; so the next sprint(s?) are geared at that.  From there, we’ll get to try to figure out what the game is going to be.


Another thing that came up this week: we originally thought we’d shoot for iPhone-only, and worry about porting later.  It’s now coming to light that we’re dealing with a lot of tiny bits and, while it’s really easy to edit Mr. Robot in the simulator with a mouse-pointer, it’s a heck of a lot harder on screen.

So now we’re not sure if we should switch over to iPad or desktop for v1.0, or stick with iPhone and add pan/zoom, or a little magnifier (like when you edit text in iOS) or what.

“So much time, so little to do!”

“…Wait.  Strike that.  Reverse it.”  🙂

Bumps in the road

This project that I’m working on with Shannon, it’s a game — kind-of a robot-puzzle game of sorts, not quite similar to the old Robot Odyssey, but with enough similarity that I make frequent references to RO when talking about it with him.

We’re initially targeting iPhone (and iPod-touch), and trying to keep open the idea that we’ll want to port this to other platforms — maybe iPad, maybe Android, maybe desktop, maybe browser, etc. — without really worrying too much about the porting part, focusing instead on finishing v1.0.

We’re trying to remain Agile, without getting too religious about it.

We picked Cocos as our graphics framework, and it’s working fairly nicely.  Unfortunately, we’re doing some Cocos3d stuff and, while CC3 is in pretty good shape, it’s still at 0.6.1 as of this writing, and (a) neither of us fully grok The Cocos3 Way for how we’re expected to organize things and (b) this makes it harder for us to tell if we’re doing something wrong or have discovered bugs in CC3.

So pretty much the entire last week, I didn’t make any real progress on the one feature I was trying to add (inventory view), instead I thrashed about trying to get things to draw the way I wanted.

Then, this morning, I learned that it was one simple line of code — an additional parameter to my initial view setup — to draw like I wanted.  A quick hack to get things positioned like I want (I’m not sure the correct way to scale/transform from one view to another), and I’m back in the business of adding features — woot!

But it seems like a lot of things are like that.  It’s fun & cool to learn a new technology/api/whatever, but it’s frustrating when you want to do a simple thing, and the tech/tools seem to want to stop you.

Ah well, we’re back on track now, so things are going good.  Soon, we’ll be putting items into and taking them out of inventory, and that will be exciting.

Mostly, we’ve been adding a sort of loose collection of features all geared toward supporting a rather vague tutorial-level that I wrote up a month or so ago, but we don’t have any solid direction on the game, yet.  I suspect that, Real Soon Now™, we’ll have to start thinking about the details of what the game is to be.

“Not much happened this week; film at 11…!”  😉

The Beginning

[EDIT: this post was originally published on, but we decided that WordPress had more/better features.  We’ll see how that goes.  ~Olie]

Shannon and I have decided to try to cooperate on a software project.

This is funnier if you know either of us.  We’re both swell guys, of course, but we each have something of a reputation for being uncooperative.  Or he does, anyway — everybody loves me!  😉

Anyway, we’ve decided to give it a shot, with Vicki acting as referee, and occasionally write about how it’s going.  In theory, this will make interesting “back when we started” nostalgia, as well as, once we get underway, provide us a place to update and communicate with our users.  We’ll see how that pans out.

Actually, we’re not even sure if we’ll stick with Blogger — I think one of our desired features is to auto-fwd posts to a business Facebook page, and I don’t know if we can do that from here.

So much to learn, so little time!

“You enter a maze of twisty passages, all of which look the same…”