…and that’s how you make an iPhone game

Good evening everyone,

Remember that light at the end of the tunnel i’ve spoken about? Well we’re now firmly out of the tunnel and basking in the glowing…glow. English literature was never my strong point. Fortunately however, I can write code and transform it for your adoring pleasure into gaming magic. Or at least that’s the idea.

So, ladies and gentlemen, Floobz is finished!

That is right it’s all done and what an amazing (read exhausting) journey it has been. I just hope the end result has been worth the wait. The game itself is now awaiting approval from the good folk at Apple. With a bit of luck the game should be available in the next week.

Not much left to say then except please buy it – it’s very cheap and will provide a great challenge and real sense of satisfaction.

Did I also mention that my wife is pregnant (finally)? I’m going to be a father! This could turn out to be one hell of a year…

Hang on a second. What is Floobz?

That is an excellent question and is one I wish to answer as best as possible. Let’s start with trying to sum it up in one line.

“It’s Lemmings meets The Incredible Machine.”

That would be one way of putting it. Let’s see what the Game Design Document (GDD) says.

“Floobz have been trapped below water towers all around the world by an unknown enemy. Their only chance of escape is to take a deep breath and float to the surface. Unfortunately Floobz have no hands or feet and aren’t the cleverest of creatures so navigation is going to be a problem. Many dangerous obstacles stand in the way of freedom, but with your help they stand a chance! Help the Floobz by building different machines in strategic locations to navigate them safely through the level. Give the Floobz a helping hand by interacting with them directly in many ways. With multiple solutions to each level and bonuses to find, save as many Floobz as you can!”

So, does this tickle your fancy yet? I’d love to know. Personally I can’t wait to play it, I always loved Lemmings as a kid and I’m hoping this will have a similar charm and addictive quality to it, whilst still being unique and original.

Here’s a feature list we have put together to highlight the main aspects of the game. Once again this is an extract from the GDD (are you noticing a pattern yet? Seriously, write a GDD).

  • Challenging and original concept
  • Create objects within the world
    • Add fans, buttons and other objects to the world to manipulate the flow of the Floobz
  • Interact with the Floobz
    • Inflate Floobz to increase their rate of ascension
    • Pop Floobz so they explode and destroy surrounding obsticles
    • And more!
  • Explore levels to find secret paths and powerups
  • Earn Achievements by completing a variety of different actions
  • Get the Floobz to sing different tunes on the title screen to unlock special features
  • 100+ levels
  • Level designer for players to create their own levels (possibly save for future update)
  • Tutorial mode to ease player in

I honestly can’t wait to show you more. The best I can offer right now is some concept art and sketches of the interface. There will be more to come soon once the level editor is finished and we can start some serious work on the iPhone code. Next time I’ll talk to you about the level editor and maybe even knock up a video showing you a quick demo of it – afterall, you may want to make some of your own in future!

A Floob

A sketch of the main in-game interface

KPM Russ

Let’s create an iPhone game!

An Introduction

Hello,

My name is Russell King. Since the age of [some young age] I have always wanted to make computer games. Then, during my work placement at university it became abundantly clear to me that I do not want to work for someone else. I want to work for myself. So now I want to combine the two and make computer games to earn a living.

Fast forward to the present day and myself and some colleagues are trying to achieve this. We are KPM Software.

Our latest project is an iPhone game called Floobz and as the creator I am currently taking responsibility for it. At present I am already past the design stage and have started writing the level editor for the game. But more about that later. He’s some blurb to let you know what I’ve been doing since day 1 of this project (about 3 weeks ago).

It all started with…

Think of a concept

ThinkThis is easier said than done. I have thought of many things in my time. As a kid I thought of football management simulations. As a teenager I came up with a game called Slick Slime and Dirty Dime (don’t bother googling – it never got past the design stages). Just a few moments ago I was thinking about having a cigarette, but then I remembered I’m trying to quit as my wife and I are trying for a baby. Too much information? Yes, you’re probably right – I digress. Thinking of an original simple-yet-fun concept for a computer game is difficult. Much of my recent honeymoon was spent staring out at the Caribbean ocean in search of inspiration. The best I could come up with was a 2D version of Minecraft or an iPhone version of Dungeon Keeper. Both of these would be beyond my scope – not because I am not capable – but because it would take forever.

No despite common belief, being more relaxed than ever staring at the beautiful sea, with a margarita in one hand and the faint smell of coconuts did nothing at all for my creative mind.

Floobz has evolved from an idea that came to me when I was eating spaghetti bolognese whilst watching the adverts between an episode of Coronation Street. You see kids, TV can be very inspiring!

For more information on the original idea I had, read one of the many interviews I hope to have with journalists once Floobz has been realeased (a guy can dream :-D)

Ok. I have my concept, now what?

writeWrite it down! Then add some details that you may have missed. Then read it. Then add more detail. Then when you think you have finished read it again, then think of a new feature which changes another feature, which impacts on another feature, which therefore results in rewriting the whole thing!

That may sound tedious and boring but you’ll be happy you did it later. Why? Because you will have considered all features of your game in detail and it is much better to do that before you start coding, otherwise you will end up with spaghetti code and will most likely have to start again anyway.

It has taken me the best part of three weeks to “finish” the Game Design Document (GDD) for Floobz and I use the term “finish” lightly because the document will never REALLY be finished. It will evolve as the project moves forward. So how do you know when to stop and move onto the next stage? Well, that depends entirely on the project I guess. For me, I got to page 27 of the GDD having detailed the in and outs of the features, all the different things a player can do, the sound, the music, the graphics, the menu scenes, some drawing and sketches of menus. At that point I figured I had enough details to move onto the next stage.

Now, I do not claim to be an expert in writing Game Design Documents. In fact this is probably the most thorough one I have done. But if anybody wants help with writing theirs, or just wants to discuss something with me then feel free to get in touch.

I’ve finished the GDD Russ. Now what?

Well, firstly stop addressing me like I am a Jedi of games development. That crown must surely go to Andreas Illiger – bravo Andreas, your success with Tiny Wings really inspires me… and also aggrevates me because I wish I had done it first.

Ok, so what next? Well I will discuss that next time because now I need a cigarette – don’t tell my wife!

-KPM Russ