07
May
stored in: Croc & Dare, General and tagged: ,
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If you’ve been following this blog from the beginning then you may remember a game I started working on called Croc & Dare. It was a collaborative effort between myself and talented illustrator, Steve Koren. Unfortunately neither of us could find the time to get it beyond the early concept stages and as the years have passed it has been largely forgotten by us both.

My brother however always thought that the game’s little monkey hero was a pretty cool character and decided to make his own indie game inspired by Dare. He’s actually been working on his game for approximately a year now and recently started a blog to document the remainder of the development process. The game itself has changed radically from the original concept and Dare himself has also changed quite a bit.

My brother’s a professional 3D modeller and animator, and his mad skills have enabled him to build a visually stunning world for Dare and the game’s other inhabitants. Take a look at the video above to see how one of the game’s earlier levels looks. He’s using Buildbox to actually build the game and I must admit I’m amazed by the actual mileage he’s getting out of this game maker tool.

He’s planning to release Dare the Monkey on iOS initially and is aiming to submit it to the App Store later this year. If you want to know more about Dare the Monkey then please check out his blog. He also Tweets as @darethemonkey where you can follow the game’s development.

It’s great to see something come out of the original game idea. Can’t wait for it’s release!

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The nice folk at Packt publishing sent me over a couple of iOS books recently to have a look over so I thought I’d write a review of each one for you guys. Today I’ll cover the first of the two books that I read: Object-Oriented Programming with Swift 2 by Gaston C Hillar.

oo-programming-swift-2-cover

The book isn’t aimed at newcomers to programming. You’ll need to know at least one other object-oriented language in order to get the most from it. That can be just about any language such as Objective-C, C++, Java, or ActionScript. Oddly however, Gaston does spend a decent amount of time explaining the basic principles and concepts of object-oriented programming, which most developers will already know. However, for reasons of completeness, it’s probably a necessary step.

As for the quality of the material, it’s mostly excellent. The majority of the chapters will have you using the Xcode Playground to work with code rather than muddy the water by having you try to write an actual app. The Playground is an ideal way to learn and will ensure that you are focussed on the Swift language at this point.

Everything you’d expect the author to cover is there plus a little bit more. One of the later chapters delves into Swift’s functional programming features, while the final chapter has you build a very simple native app to help introduce you to iOS development with Xcode. There was also a very good chapter covering generics and the book also does a good job of explaining protocols to those who aren’t familiar with them.

While I’d already consider myself more than comfortable with Swift I did pick up the occasional trick or two from the author. If you’re already an experienced Objective-C programmer and you want to learn Swift then this book is ideal. It’s also perfect for most people who know another object-oriented programming language and want to familiarise themselves with Swift.

While it’s certainly not as comprehensive as Apple’s own Swift 2 Language Guide, Object-Oriented Programming with Swift 2 does provide some focus allowing most developers to get to grips with the majority of the language relatively quickly.

A well written and enjoyable book.

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I wrote a new post for Adobe’s official Animate CC blog recently. It covers a few new features that can be found in Animate surrounding screen resolution, high-definition video export, and how to rotate the stage to make like easier when drawing.

figure-1
Export your animations to multiple screen resolutions.

While most stuff I write is about code, this one’s really more focused on things for animators and designers. But you know, it’s good to step out of your comfort zone now and again and try something a little different. Hopefully you guys will find it useful.

So if you’d like to find out more, head on over to Working across Multiple Resolutions with Adobe Animate CC on the new Adobe Animate Team Blog.

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There seems to be quite a lot of excitement surrounding the rebranding of Flash Professional CC to Adobe Animate CC. It’s also extremely pleasing to see Adobe actively promote Animate CC and also to see so much positivity from the animation and design community in general.

One thing that’s been lost somewhat in the noise of the new release is the fact that Animate CC still offers the same great development features that were provided by Flash Professional. This includes Adobe’s push towards WebGL with Animate CC’s WebGL Runtime API.

Target mobile browsers with Animate CC’s WebGL Runtime.

I’m delighted to announce that I wrote a tutorial for Adobe that takes you through the process of writing a simple WebGL beat-em up game using Adobe Animate CC. It shows how easy it is for even those with no programming experience to create simple scripts that can be used to add interactivity to a project and then export that project to the modern web without the need for a plugin.

So if you want to know how to create ‘Flash’ content that runs in a mobile web browser (yup even on iOS) then take a look at Creating Interactive WebGL Content with Adobe Animate CC on the new Adobe Animate Team Blog.

16
Feb
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Flash Professional is now Adobe Animate CC. The rebranding seems to have been met very positively by the community and it’s also extremely pleasing to see that Adobe are putting their full weight behind Animate CC. The first release of Animate CC also sees a raft of brand new features, many of which are described in the video below. I’m also delighted to say that you’ll find some WebGL content that I worked on showcased in the video too.

adobe-animate-video

It’ll be interesting to see if this brings new people to the product (it should) and it’ll also be interesting to see if AIR & ActionScript will get some much needed love at some point too. It’s great to see focus on the design and animation tools at the moment since that’s where Flash’s roots are, but as a developer I know Adobe’s platform continues to hold bags of potential in other areas too.

Looking forward to seeing what people produce with Animate CC.

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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!