Can’t count the number of times this has happened to me.
Doodle Space Fighter for iPhone Released!
My first iPhone game, Doodle Space Fighter, is available now on the iPhone (download here!!). It’s pretty exciting because I’ve wanted to write a game ever since I first started getting into iOS development 4 years ago.
My friends and family have all played this weekend and I’ve gotten a few things to fix, but overall people say they can’t put the game down once they start playing—which is awesome. I honestly can’t either—when I was play testing it during development, I’d lose 15-20 minutes at a time while I kept trying to get a higher score. But naturally I’m a bit biased, since I wrote the game for me to enjoy.
Don’t let the doodle graphics fool you—the gameplay is pretty solid. It’s got RPG style elements (earning money to spend on your ships) and intense action once you get into the higher levels.
So if you’re awesome, you’ll download and play the game and tell all your friends to do the same.
If you aren’t awesome, then you won’t do any of those things, and that’s just too bad.
What ails you? What apps do you use today that piss you off? What apps are incomplete or missing from your favorite device (mine being my iPad)? Make a list. Pick the most personal ones and load up Xcode. Trust me, there are thousands of apps that haven’t been written yet.
In the past few weeks, I’ve had this conversation a hundred times with my family and close friends. Writing an app to make money is stupid. It has to have more meaning to you than that—The best apps (and funny enough, the ones that end up making money) are the ones that are written for you. Only then do you push and challenge yourself to make it do something great.
Busy week updating apps!
This has been a pretty busy week (wwdc week is always so exciting). I got super inspired after seeing Apple introduce iOS 7 to start to apply some of their new design thinking to my apps.
I started with the venerable TimeTag app for iOS, which I started writing ~4 years ago, when iOS 3.0 was around. Here’s a screenshot of the old vs. the new:
I chose softer fonts which look great on the retina display. I also changed out that tray for some rounded buttons that exist in their own little space, rather than being ambiguous touch points.
Finally, I changed out the big red button for much brighter and “flatter” big red button. Basically the app operates in the exact same way as before but I think this is a much more modern look.
Next I updated medNotes for my other startup, MochaWorks. Here’s the side by side for this app:
On the left is the old version and on the right is the new version. I again changed out the font for the softer HelveticaNeue-Light (and UltraLight). I also changed out the icons in favor of text buttons under the control cells, since I felt that the buttons did a poor job of communicating their action.
Finally, I changed out the navigation bar for one with no shading or gradient. I also did a ton of work behind-the-scenes for both these apps but those aren’t as easy or fun to show off in images :)
Next up I’ll be working on TimeTag for Mac which I’ve been paying way more attention to lately.
I’ll never understand most tech publications that can look at everything Apple announced today and still say they aren’t doing anything new.
In 2 hours, Apple announced a new OS X version that will ship soon, with some much needed productivity improvements. And they announced iOS 7, which in 1 fell swoop, made every previous iteration of iOS look dated and terrible.
After spending my afternoon watching all of the keynote, I turned on my phone and it just looked old. The new minimal interface elements, the buttons that don’t need to look like buttons anymore, the new fonts and edge to edge displays of data, etc, all show a company that isn’t afraid to iterate while still maintaing that ease of use that its millions of customers are used to.
Despite these announcements and overhauls, so many tech publications immediately come out with the usual click bait. You know, the usual things like Apple isn’t innovating anymore, Apple isn’t doing enough, Apple is just afraid of Android, etc. It’s so tired and old. What does Apple need to announce for people to actually post something positive about the company?
As a developer and designer for iOS and OS X, I’m so excited to see all the changes, and I can’t wait to develop for the new versions. I also can’t wait to see what other people come up with, and how apps will change through time and push the envelope. Goodbye fake leather stitching and ‘rounded rect’ buttons, and hello beautiful text elements and more white space!
Game Development Update : May 25
I’ve been developing the game now for a few weeks (on and off, not full time) and it’s getting to a point where it actually looks and feels like a game!
It’s like Galaga, but it’s drawn with doodle graphics and has an RPG element to it. The ship can be upgraded throughout the game so that you can survive the harder levels.
Since the last update, I have added the following features:
- A functional pause menu that lets you resume or go back to the main menu
- The ability to upgrade your ship’s weapons, shields, or shield regen time
- The player’s wallet now updates when cash is earned and spent
- You can now update the sound preference (on or off)
- The ship’s weapon systems are now live! You can switch between shooting one shot alternating, two shots at the same time, four shots alternating, or a spread weapon.
Lots of other things have been coded in, but mostly I still need to work on better collision detection and I need to decide if the game can be played indefinitely or if it has a final level that can be beat.
Here’s a list of things I want to add to the game before it ships:
- More enemy types!
- Different player ships that they can buy/choose from
- Improve the upgrade shop (to add graphics, descriptions, etc)
- Add in achievements
- Add in some back story before the game begins
- Temporary power ups (like things that shift time, give you temporary health, give you a temporary weapon upgrade, etc)
- Traps that you have to avoid as you fly through the doodle space zone
"Doodle Space Fighter"
Since so many of my classmates have free time until they start their jobs, I thought I’d give myself the chance to spend some time doing something I’ve wanted to do for the last 3 years: write a video game.
This is an actual screenshot of the game running on my iPhone right now. It’s been in dev for about 2 weeks (although I’ve been learning how to code games for the past ~3 months) and it’s been the most fun I’ve had coding/designing in a long time.
The idea will be that your ship is a fighter escorting a delivery freighter through the “doodle space zone”. Every delivery will take longer than the last and become more treacherous. You earn money with each delivery (naturally) which you can spend to upgrade your ship’s defenses/offenses.
All the doodles are currently drawn by me although if you want some of your art work in the game, feel free to drop me a line!
I’ll update as I progress through the game development! I’ll need testers soon too…
Ideas are fragile—please don’t crush them.
This past year, I was an officer in the entrepreneurship club at SMU, which centered around a business plan competition and forming teams around ideas.
The one thing that we stressed to every new club member there was to not crush an idea too early. There are a million reasons why an idea won’t work or why a business will fail. When you’re generating ideas though, you’re starting down pathways that you can’t see the end of. Just like a seed eventually becomes a flower, an idea eventually can become a successful business.
The worst and most annoying thing that happens though is when someone pitches an idea and you immediately hear: “no that won’t work because…” or “that’s already been done before”. That’s it—that seed is killed and it’ll never grow into anything more interesting.
Please, the next time you hear an idea, resist the urge to point out all the flaws of the idea. Instead, encourage it—you never know where it’ll lead. The initial idea might grow into something completely different and it might be viable by the end of the discussion.
I can’t stress this enough: Do what you love…in between work commitments, and family commitments, and commitments that tend to pop up and take immediate precedence over doing the thing you love. Because the bottom line is that life is short, and you owe it to yourself to spend the majority of it giving yourself wholly and completely to something you absolutely hate, and 20 minutes here and there doing what you feel you were put on this earth to do.
MailappApp lets you quickly and hipsterly create another mail app, because that’s totally what everyone wants.
Now, we just need one for to-do, note, and weather apps and the Internet will be perfect.
"Skeuomorphic design is good. Flat design is better. Slightly not flat design is even betterer. It’s your pick."