December 6: Progress report 1
December 31: Progress report 2 Apple TV
January 17: Progress report 3 the final stretch!
After the bug was put into my ear by Allen H and John L, it wasn’t long before I went out and bought the 4K Apple TV and a Horipad Ultimate wireless game controller. To make this work on an Apple TV was pretty easy. A new target, a bunch of new assets for the icon, top shelf and launch images, and the most time consuming, was the UI and control updates. You can’t just have the user point to the image on the screen with a mouse or cursor. Instead you have to allow the user to swipe on the Siri Remote, or use the arrows on a controllers dpad. So after some coding and reading the docs for controllers, and learning the GCController API, I played Bouncy Ball for the first time on my big screen TV using a proper controller, late last night. And what a feeling it was! I have wanted to make a game I can play on a game system, using a proper controller, and on my TV for years. I think the Apple TV strikes the right balance between a game system and an entertainment system. It has great hardware hardware graphics acceleration, awesome sprite library, and you can use a controller. Not to mention I can sell my creations via the Apple App store. I don’t expect to get rich, but maybe one day make a living off it.
The controller, btw, also works on an iPad and iPhone. Now I can finally kick butt playing Geometry Wars 3 on my iPad! Although, the Apple TV version is more fun to play as it’s on a bigger screen 🙂 It also seems to connect to my MacBook, but I haven’t had time to test it.
Since my last update, I have tuned the levels and scoring, made the game a little easier, put in new background artwork, made a number of menu updates, and you can now earn free lives. Lots of little niggly things to make it easy to choose a level and actually play the game. I also changed the story line completely. I’ll save that for a different post. All that and of course, the Apple TV target.
Now, when I say I made the game a little easier, I mean a little. I slowed the ball and scroll speed a touch so it’s easier to control and react, and updated the level to put more green blocks in place to make it so you don’t fall off the world as easy.
The original Bouncy Ball had a bug that I had decided to leave in. It reset the number of lives you had at the start of each level to 5. But you now get 5 men for the entire game, and can now get free lives every 10,000 points.
The game sounds have been remastered, and new ditties created. All still sound retro and pleasing. All by yours truly. I still don’t have a musical bone in my body, but the combination of GarageBand and Audacity really helps.
Aside from some UI work, and being able to use the Siri Remote to control the game, I still need to create the ending sequence. I think I’m going to enjoy the process actually. It’s basically kicking off a number of canned animation sequences. Move the ball from here to here, show this image, bounce the ball, etc, etc.