Sin or Win has been out for a month! Amazing. So I decided to throw a “monthiversary” sale. Now, for a limited time, Sin or Win is $0.99.
I’m throwing this sale to thank everyone for their patience while I work on making an awesome version 1.1. Sin or Win is currently running smoothly on my 3rd generation iPod Touch, and I’m currently making tweaks to the UI. Game Center is also proving fun to bring into the experience. I’m also throwing a few awesome tweaks into the coming update - and a few surprises.
While working on 1.1 I’ve also had some really fun ideas for future versions of Sin or Win. I’ve also had ideas for new games as well. Once 1.1 is complete I’m going to spend roughly 20% of my time developing an interesting side project. I have a number of ideas in mind and will likely do quick prototypes of a few before settling on the final idea. Stay tuned!
Sin or Win has now been out for a few weeks, and wow, what weeks they’ve been! I’ve been amazed and thrilled by all the wonderful response and feedback I’ve had.
Prior to starting Toxic Blob and embarking on making Sin or Win I had no prior experience with game design or game programming. So when I saw Sin or Win hanging out with Angry Birds on iTunes I was absolutely thrilled. I had actually made a game! I’d finished it. It was out in the world with other games for all to enjoy. It’s a dream come true.
The reception I’ve had from players and the media has also been thrilling. Sin or Win is currently averaging a 5 star rating on the App Store and I’ve had a wonderful reception from the gaming press as well! Below is a sampling of the media reviews I’ve received.
I’m not resting here. I have a lot of really exciting ideas for future updates. Below is an image of one of the little things I’ve been working on.
Also, for those that attended my Unite11 talk, Artists as Programmers, I haven’t forgotten you - I’ve just been a little busy. I am hoping to set aside some time over the coming weeks to put the extended talk online. Watch this space.
Sin or Win has a release date! Thursday, December 15th.
It’s been a wonderful journey. Last year, waiting to board a flight home, my wife and I had a germ of an idea - use the iPad’s wonderfully large touch screen to create an experience that could only be played with fingers. No mice, no trackpads. Something tactile and engaging. Something that paid homage to games I loved as a child, but something that was a new experience. Over the months I worked to realise my vision, continuously making small adjustments in response to player feedback.
It’s been a lot of very rewarding hard work. At times the going got very tough, part of me just wanted to abandon the effort. Game development, I learned, is tough. Especially while working solo. Continuously pushing me forward was the wonderful support of my wife, my family and the game community. It’s been incredible meeting so many supportive new friends in the game community.
Version one is complete. Version one point one starts tomorrow. I truly hope Sin or Win is just the start of a fantastic new journey.
See the release date announcement on TouchArcade.com
PVRTexTool version 3.23 vs. Unity version 3.4.2. . . click to view comparison QuickTime
This post is of a technical nature. If you’re not a game developer, please do be patient. Sin or Win is coming, soon!
There are three options for textures when developing for iOS in Unity: True colour, 16-bit* and PVRTC compressed images. True colour & 16-bit images are great for image fidelity, but swallow lots of memory. On a limited platform like iOS one can’t have many of them without running into memory issues. So most developers crush their images into PVRTC which tends to have a fraction of the memory requirements. I have avoided using PVRTC because the results were horribly poor. However, this week I’ve been optimising Sin or Win and investigating my texture options led to this PVRTexTool discovery.
Typically, Unity’s built-in PVRTC compression results in unacceptably blurred and smudgy results. Then I stumbled across a reference in Unity’s Optimising iOS Graphics Performance documentation on PVRTexTool from Imagination Tech - creators of the PVRT format. Use another tool, Unity suggests, if your PVRTC is poor quality. Doing so result in the image above. Click on the image for a QuickTime comparison.
Bizarrely, the newly released Unity 3.4.2 comes with an old version of PVRTexTool** (version 3.11). I’ve filed a bug report with Unity, requesting for better compression to come with Unity 3.5 (or Unity 3.4.3!).
In the meantime, here’s how you take advantage of better compression today.
Install PVRTexTool from Imagination Tech:
- Download PVRTexTool from Imagination Tech. You’ll have to create a username and password to do so. Once that’s done, Mac users download the PVRTexTool file with the yellow folder icon
- Unarchive the file and you’ll get a PVRTexTool folder in your Downloads. Drag this to your Applications folder
- Documentation is in the “Documentation” folder
- Most interesting is the command line application PVRTexTool. It’s found at /Applications/PVRTexTool/PVRTexToolCL/MacOS_x86/PVRTexTool. There is a GUI version of the tool, but it has an annoying Windows interface and is more time consuming to use. The command line tool can be wrapped into your pipeline tools for seamless integration
- From the Terminal change to the folder where your image is. PVRTexTool takes images in BMP, TGA, JPG, PNG, GIF, DDS. I use PNG
- Run /Applications/PVRTexTool/PVRTexToolCL/MacOS_x86/PVRTexTool -fPVRTC4 -pvrtcbest -yflip 1 -square -iPICTURE.PNG replacing the green PICTURE.PNG with the name of your image. PVRTexTool will then take it’s time, but it’ll create PICTURE.PVR, a high quality PVRTC compressed image you can drag to Unity. Also, ensure that you use “-pvrtcbest” otherwise you’ll just create PVRTC images as poorly as Unity already does
*Coming from film I was spoilt into thinking of 16-bits as 16-bits per colour channel. Really that’s known as 48-bit colour. 16-bit colour in Unity is a paltry 32,768 colours
**I couldn’t actually get PVRTexTool 3.11 to work, so definitely download the newest version from Imagination Tech
A game of heavenly/devilish consequences. Fast paced and tactical, can you save the cavemen from falling into the pit of doom. Or will you be a sinner? For those who are brave enough...
...Coming soon for the iPad
Last night I met up with a few fellow gamers in the London game scene - from Games Day Podcast, GamerPops amongst others. We ate tasty wings, metre long hotdogs, and talked games. We speculated on what Nintendo might actually announce at E3, and what else we were looking forward to hearing and seeing from there.
I also brought my iPad, and for the first time shared my game publicly.
Prior to yesterday the game was still in alpha. Yesterday was my beta milestone! So I was nervous going into the evening.... But, after a long hard week of coding, my game was well received! For being a single indie developer alone in a room with a computer and a vision of a game, my first outing was exhilarting and the feedback I got was fantastic. I feel very motivated and eager to get this game out very soon. It’s been an exciting week.
The GAMES DAY Podcast celebrated their 100th episode last night with a party at APK Live. A number of local developers came out for the evening and I was fortunate to be able to chat with a number of nice people from Digital Extremes, Game Production Studios, Antic Entertainment, and the QA firm The Ant Firm. Also met the Editor-in-Chief of GamerPops and the coordinator of the game development course at Fanshawe College. Big Blue Bubble was also apparently there, though I didn’t get a chance to meet them. Previously I hadn’t realised there was such a strong development community in lil-London. Great to see we have such an active community. Wish we had a London gamedev pub.
Was a really good evening, and hopefully the GAMES DAY Podcast won’t wait until their 200th episode to have another fun evening.
My Nikkor f2.8 55mm prime lens arrived today. Not entirely game related, but it can focus at wonderfully close distances - and so here is a rather close shot of the game in action on the iPad.
I love the pixel look at this level. I started drawing digitally nearly thirty years ago as a young child when on a black & white Apple IIe. Back when pixels were the size of my childhood fist. So I have a strong nostalgia and love for the look of pixels. I had contemplated making this game using pixel art - even doing a prototype of the above reaper in pixel art - but ultimately it wasn’t the right look. Perhaps a future game - or level - will suit that aesthetic.
I drew with Deluxe Paint IIe when I got a 286... but anyone know what I would have drawn with on that old Apple IIe? MousePaint? We didn’t have a mouse, but controlled the pointer with a homemade joystick. My Dad built it into a small rectangular metal box, with two painfully stiff red buttons. It was always very easy to tell if we’d been playing with the Apple by the imprint left in our tiny thumbs by those red buttons.
A brief history: I’ve always wanted to make games, but apart from a summer creating image for Celtica, I never landed a job in the game industry. Instead I ended up with a job in the film industry first, so I put aside my game dreams. Skip ahead to 2008. A friend introduced me to Unity, and I then enjoyed geeking out by reading their docs. My game dreams awakened. When my PC up and died I bought a Mac and Unity. It’d be two more years before I’d be able to find the time to start developing a game.
With the programming, painting, animating and planning experience I learned while in the film industry I would make a game. An iPad game.
On this blog, and on twitter I’ll publish my thoughts and w.i.p. images during my developing. I’m already midway through my production, so I’ll be catching up for a bit. I hope everyone enjoys this “behind the scenes” and, ultimately, my game.