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You guys been to see The Force Awakens yet? Isn’t Kylo Ren an awesome bad guy? I thought so too but it’s clear the dude isn’t very good at catching lightsabers. So I thought I’d write a little app to help Kylo complete his training. Sure, I know Supreme Leader Snoke is suppose to be helping with all that but if you wanna be a bad-ass Sith then you really need to be training even when you’re at home and lazing on the sofa. And that’s where my awesome “Kylo Ren: Force Training” app comes in handy.

I’d been wanting to tinker with Apple’s new ‘force touch’ feature for a while now but was struggling to come up with an idea that could take advantage of it. Until I saw the new Star Wars movie that is. The other thing that was stopping me was my complete lack of artist abilities. Thankfully the awesome guys at RetroStyle Games very kindly offered their amazing talents to the project.

In the app you play the role of Kylo Ren and must use the force to complete a series of tasks. Simply apply pressure to the screen in order to lift and throw objects. The more you press your finger down on the screen, the more force you’re actually applying to the target object. After a little delicate coaxing, you’ll soon have Luke’s lightsaber sticking out from the snow. Then after a little haptic feedback from the device, just apply a bit more force and watch in amazement as the lightsaber shoots out of the ground and hurtles towards you. Easy peasy!

Catch that lightsaber.

Actually, come to think of it, it’s not easy. It’s actually pretty damn hard but I guess mastering the force isn’t supposed to be easy or everyone would be doing it. I actually had Flappy Birds in mind when I was coding it up. I was wanting the app to have a slightly hardcore nature combined with that ‘just one more go’ feel. It was also important to me that there was a real sense of achievement when you finally manage to lift something off the ground or complete a task. Imagine how Luke must have felt when he was starting to get to grips with his powers!

The app’s difficulty is also a good way of measuring if someone is more inclined towards the darkness or the light. My brother is definitely in danger of being seduced by the dark side. He could only manage a high score of 2 points and threatened on more than one occasion to smash my iPhone up. I, on the other hand, am really quite good at it. My bro said it’s because I “coded the damn thing” but the truth is, I actually have real force powers.

Anyway, take a look at the video of me playing the app and let me know what you think. For those who are interested, I coded the app using Swift 2.0 and used Apple’s Sprite Kit for the graphics and game physics. The whole thing was hacked together in about a week, with a few additional weekends to get the sound dropped into it.

Destroy that BB unit.

Once again, a huge thanks to RetroStyle Games who helped make this project possible. If you like what you see in the video then please visit their site and take a look at their portfolio of amazing work. I also need to give a huge shout out to Pixel That whose excellent pixel art lightsabers I used as a reference for Luke’s lightsaber.

Oh and before anyone asks. Just like my X-wing Targeting Computer app, this new app is just a personal project and won’t be released anywhere. Sorry about that but it’s very unlikely I’ll ever be able to convince Disney to release it. Jedi mind tricks don’t seem to work on them :-)

Anyway, hope you enjoy watching the video and may the force be with you, always.

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Good news everyone! My book, Flash iOS Apps Cookbook, is available for $5 until the 8th of January. So if you’d like to learn how to build apps using Adobe AIR or simply brush up on your AIR & ActionScript skills then why not head over to Packt Publishing’s official site and grab yourself a copy.

In fact, the generous folk at Packt have actually made all their eBooks and video courses available for only $5, so even if AIR isn’t your cup of tea then I’m sure you’ll find something that will interest you.

packt-banner

If you do pick up a copy of my book then drop me a line and let me know what you think.

28
Dec
stored in: General and tagged: , ,
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There has been a lot of talk about Web Assembly, the new binary format for the web. But what exactly is it? The presentation below by Google’s Nick Bray is definitely a good place to start.

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My five year-old nephew wants to be a ‘game inventor’ when he grows up. He’s got all sorts of mad ideas for games he’s gonna make including one where Sonic the Hedgehog teams up with the robots from Pacific Rim to kick Doctor Eggman’s ass. Sounds awesome!

Not one for waiting around though, wee Freddy has decided to start climbing the game dev ladder already. With the help of his daddy, he provided some feedback on a beta build of Shred It! which is a gorgeous endless runner snowboarding game for iOS and Android.

Freddy and his daddy proudly showing off the latest version of Shred It!
Freddy and his daddy proudly showing off the latest version of Shred It!

Freddy had a brilliant list of questions and observations that impressed the guys at Extra Mile Studios so much they gave him a credit within the app! How great is that!

Here’s some of the feedback and questions Freddy asked his daddy while playing Shred It! I’m sure you’ll agree it’s all valuable stuff:

  1. Rufus is my favourite character.
  2. Why is Rufus so good at snowboarding?
  3. Make Rufus go faster dad!
  4. Look! A hot air balloon!
  5. Can Rufus jump in that hot air balloon?
  6. Can Rufus fly that hot air balloon?
  7. Haha! Rufus fell in the snow.
  8. Why are you so good at Shred It! daddy?
  9. I made Rufus do a trick!

I’ve played the recent version of Shred It! and it’s really great. Freddy’s feedback (and his dad’s) has really helped tighten the gameplay up and keep you playing. A huge thanks to Bobby from Extra Miles Studios for sticking Freddy’s name in the game’s credits screen. It really made Freddy’s day and he keeps telling people that he helped make a game.

Shred It! was recently featured on the App Store and has a full five-star rating across all versions. If you fancy a game that will put you in the right mood for Christmas then Shred It! is for you.

Shred It! iOS
Shred It! Google Play

Have a great Christmas everyone!

09
Dec
stored in: General and tagged: , ,
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With Star Wars: The Force Awakens just over a week away, I thought I’d get everyone in the mood by posting a video of my X-wing Targeting Computer app that I threw together a while back.

Fingers crossed JJ Abrams delivers the film I’ve been hoping for, and I can’t wait to see some X-wing fighters on the big screen again! May the Force be with everyone!

06
Dec
stored in: Flash and tagged: ,
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If you’ve been following my blog recently you may have seen my WebGL experiments that featured some cute game characters that had been created by my buddy Alex. Well those characters were from a game he was working on called Corgi Warlock, and the good news is that it’s now available to purchase on Steam! Yay!

I must congratulate Alex on an amazing effort. He was the sole designer, coder, artist, and animator on the project and has worked quite tirelessly on it for well over a year. I’ve absolutely no idea how he managed such a feat! The sheer volume of characters that he’s designed and placed in the game is simply bonkers! Don’t they look great!

Alex primarily comes from an animation background and created all the artwork and animations for Corgi Warlock within Flash Professional. The game itself was built using Construct 2. He’s got tonnes of great game ideas so I’m really looking forward to seeing what project he moves onto next.

Corgi Warlock is available on Windows.

01
Dec
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So the big news today is that Adobe are renaming Flash Professional. From early next year it’ll be known as Adobe Animate CC. This will more accurately reflect Flash’s position as an animation tool for the web and beyond. It’s also obviously an attempt to get around the negativity that is constantly attached to any content produced with Flash.

Given the fact that Flash Professional has been targeting other platforms as well as the SWF file format for a few years now, re-branding was always something that was on the cards. Animate CC will continue to support Flash and AIR as first-class citizens. And as you’d expect, its support for HTML5 Canvas and WebGL will continue to grow. You can find more details over on Adobe blogs.

It’ll be interesting to see the Flash community’s reaction to this, especially those who come from a development background.

18
Nov
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I’d been itching to do a bit more Swift development recently but hadn’t had much spare time. Plus, every time I set myself a small project, it quickly grows arms & legs and ends up another one of those things I started but never got close to finishing.

game-dev-swift-book-cover

So I thought I’d just pick up a book and spend a week or so working my way through it. That way I’d get some more hands-on Swift experience and actually have a pretty good chance of finishing something.

Picking a book from the seemingly endless number of Swift titles out there isn’t easy, but in the end I opted for Game Development with Swift, which was published by Packt, who just happen to be the chaps who published my own book a few years back.

The book ticked all the boxes for me: it didn’t focus on teaching you the language; it covered Apple’s excellent SpriteKit graphics framework; it was fairly short and to the point; and it also promised to show you how to build your own endless runner game. In fact, I was extremely impressed by the author’s ability to lead you through the process of building a game. He did an extremely good job of introducing new game concepts and then applying those concepts to your project’s code.

In fact, the author did a similarly good job when it came to introducing language features that may trip-up those new to Swift. While the book doesn’t necessarily teach you Swift, anyone with a few years programming experience under their belt should be able to pick things up without too much trouble. It was written before Swift 2.0 was released so there are a couple of code fixes you’ll need to make in the final few chapters. However, it’s nothing you won’t be able to figure out for yourself.

Game Development with Swift is an enjoyable title and does a great job of highlighting just how easy Apple’s new programming language is to work with. You’ll also come away with your own little endless runner game and an appreciation for how awesome SpriteKit is for quickly bashing together 2D games.

The book’s author, Stephen Haney, deserves a lot of praise for cramming so much into such a small page count and also for the way he effortlessly takes you through the process of building a small game. If you’re looking for a quick introduction to Swift and SpriteKit then you should definitely give Game Development with Swift a read.

If you don’t quite have the confidence to jump straight in without knowing a bit more about the language then why not work your way through my Quick Start Guide to Swift tutorials first.

18
Oct
stored in: Flash and tagged: , ,
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I thought I’d finish up my recent round of WebGL experiments with the cast of goodies from Corgi Warlock. Don’t they look great!

Oh and a huge congratulations to my buddy Alex for getting his Corgi Warlock game green-lit on Steam. Alex has been feverishly working away on it over the last year or so. I’ve absolutely no idea where he finds the energy or stamina to pull something like that off. Great work dude!

16
Oct
stored in: Flash and tagged: , ,
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Today’s WebGL experiment is actually a character from WeeWorld. Say hello to Jeff the Unicorn everyone. Jeff hates being a unicorn by the way. Whatever you do, don’t call him cute.

For this experiment I chained together a series of separate Jeff animations. One of him puking, another of him farting, and finally one of him squeezing out a rainbow poop.

To add an element of randomness to proceedings I laced some JavaScript throughout the FLA’s timeline. When it gets to the end of each animation, a random number is thrown and a decision is made regarding which animation to jump to next. All fairly basic stuff but it does help give a little more life to things.

Oh and as a side note. I once worked on a cool iOS game prototype based on Jeff the Unicorn. Take a look at a video of it here.