My first 2 weeks working with Spritekit

I spent the last two weeks working in Apple’s SpriteKit.
The first thing I learnt was working with the different Nodes for example SkSpriteNode. It is really useful to work with these nodes because you can use them to distinguish objects from each other using the name property.

You also save time, since  you don’t have to code some of the things yourself. For example, there is already  a mechanism for animation, so you don’t require your own animate class. To add an animation in your node, it’s as easy as :

SKAction *animate = [SKAction animateWithTextures:self.playerAnimation timePerFrame:0.05];

[playerNode runAction:animate];

It comes for free with SpriteKit ;)

Also working with the OOP/MVC in Objective-C was new for me, but after seeing some examples from the book “iOS7 App Development Essentials” by Neil Smyth,  I learnt how it works. It is really useful because your code will look much easier to understand and also will be easy to read and edit for other people.
A technique I learnt which I recommend for working with iOS is using a PList(property list). It is a list where you can easily add data like pictures as a key and add a value to it so u can get it and use it in your code. this way u can easily replace pictures by changing the value in the plist and then you don’t have to change the code, this is very handy when working with game artists so they can also add and replace art in a simple list instead of u changing the script.

Starting with Objective-C for iPad/iPhone in Xcode.

For the last three weeks, I have been working with Objective-C for iPhone – iPad. I started from scratch, with experience from other programming languages. I’ve come to the conclusion, that it is not hard to understand if you set your mind to it.


I’ve been from the basic difficulties (e.g. Objective-C formulation of calling a method) to relatively difficult matters (e.g. maintaining an OOP style in the MVC design pattern). It took me about 1 week to understand the formulation of Objective-C. The hardest part so far was (and still kind of is) figuring out where the pivot/anchorpoint is on certain objects. Often it looks random, but usually it’s in the lower-left corner of your object. This causes problems with scaling or retrieving the correct size to check if the object made contact with others.


By the way, I will keep this blog updated somewhat weekly, so if you’re new to Objective-C or making games for mobile devices, then make sure to check here regularly, since I will discuss the problems which I’ve encountered on my way to creating iPad games.



Lexicon
OOP: Objective Oriented Programming
MVC:Model-View-Controller

Movember

Dear Monkeys,

for the last month, several of us have been growing a November moustache.
The #Movember cause, which tries to raise awareness for the evil cancers that plague men, consists in growing a moustache (which is, quite honestly, very unpleasant to wear).
People ask you why, and you get to speak about cancer research! Donations to cancer-research institutes help find cures for this terrible disease, so donate and speak of #Movember.
Astute «Mo»-nkeys indeed!
Maybe, next year, we’ll push a virtual moustache app!

Movember

Ocean Wrecker

Dear monkeys!

We have created a small game during a 24h game jam with our Android team. This game is about industrial fishing, which destroys the oceans, and particularly fish and coral populations.
In this game, you impersonate a greedy “Ocean Wrecker” who destroys coral reefs (worth 5 points), fish banks (worn 1 point), and powers the fishing boat with nasty, leaking oil.
In order to power the boat, the Ocean Wrecker needs to turn simple oil fields into oil rigs, but rigs cost points, which are earned… by fishing!
The game is won when the fishing (and oil-rig-building) ship reaches the top.

To turn an oil field into a rig, it’s pretty easy: press it once you have earned more than 10 points! But beware of the green activists’ ships, which will bump back your last environmental damage!

The game is available on Play

Oil rigs and ships

Oil rigs and ships

Once you have played the game, do have a look at Greenpeace’s site, or if you’re French at Alter Avel,and learn about non-destructive fishing alternatives!

Krankenhaus: The Hospital

Shambling hordes of monkeys haunting the e-jungle,
since Halloween is upon us, as you maybe have noticed from the liters of pumpkin-flavored coffee pouring at astronomical prices, or from our games themselves!

Well, we have started working on a new type of game for us, a horror game. We hope the development process will be a dream, for we have a dream team!

Krankenhaus teaser

We expect to release the game around the end of February, so stay tuned for more news!

Windy Whimsical World

Hi Windriding-monkeys,

here’s to Eole!
In the Studio, it’s currently very noisy. It’s not only noisy because of Wouter (though, he is pretty noisy…), but also because of the trees that fly around. Some say this is the worst day in a decade. Some say it’s the worst day since 1987. In any case, most trains are stopped, and we had no Internet this morning. Can you imagine the trauma for Internet-addicted monkeys? No DropBox. No Skype. No iCloud/Google/Office360. No Email. Integration server unreachable. This is Hell for Internet-monkeys!

Good news though: we’re obviously back online and working. We hope to push our new game out very, very soon!

foto 2 (2)foto 1 (2)

Time passes fast …

Dear monkeys,

over the last few days, we’ve gotten a bit late on our schedule.
Dance Festival stealing Valentijn’s heart and time, Wouter falling prey to a zombie infestation, Ruben’s computer exploding in a fiery nuclear death, Tim waking so late he’s sometimes leaving before he arrives… This hasn’t been our best week.
We are making sure improvements are made to this state of issue: Tim’s locked in the company, Ruben is ordering parts on the Internet that should be airdropped “very soon”, Wouter will undergo molecular reconstruction as soon as the generator is rebooted, and Dance Festival doesn’t last forever. Ryan’s on top of things. Sort of.

Anyway, we should soon push a great little game to the App Store, and another one to Android phones.

Have a nice day, monkeys!

comic-09

Comic – City builders …

Dear Monkeys,

It’s a busy time of year for us. Soon several new games will roll out the door, at long last freed from their testers.
In the mean time, we’re experimenting layouts and building levels so Axel may shine in them.
He’s very excited about that, obviously. Ruben Tailor, amazing as usual, has captured a live action comic of that.

Comic - City Builders

If you care for more descriptive information, from top:

The creator, Valentijn, and the creation Axel
Tim
Yorick
Some amazing managers helping a lot with the setup of all this level design stuff, such as Ryan and GEM.

Stay tuned for more great news!

Halloween Freebees!

Dear monkeys who hide in cemeteries, waiting for poor unprepared adventurers with low skills and bad armor to pass by, mounting evil ambushes with your undead minions, the days of dread and doom are coming! Yes indeed, soon it will be Halloween!

Here at the Studio, we have decided to offer you a nasty little treat, because we love you so much. You’re probably curious what this means, right?

 

Witch for Halloween

This lovely little witch carries our best world domination plans, and just delivered to Apple our Halloween updates. Play our games the week around Halloween, and you’ll find out!

 


FFicon
SDicon

 

By the way, check the blog around Halloween, we have a cool announcement to make…. but I can’t tell you more yet. The team has shrouded their projects in “eternal” secrecy…

GEM

Our new friend …

Dear Monkeys,

we are progressing well with our latest game, and everything is on track. We have therefore decided to introduce you to the star of the moment, the steadfast and only hero in this project.
I, honorable monkeys, have the honor of introducing you to Axel, our main character. Please come forward, Axel.

Axel Chaser The name is Chaser. Axel Chaser.

Axel works at a convenience store on the west side of Global Capital, the sprawling main city in his world. Axel is not complaining about that job, it pays enough, it’s situated on the second ferroconcrete level, with a view on the gleaming spires of the third and the occasional ray of sunlight. Too many friends of Axel are stuck on the first, in the eternal sunlight of neons and multileds. However, the west side is also pretty expensive to live in, since it’s so close to the open air of the ocean.

Axel can only afford a small apartment on the first ferroconcrete level, deep in the east side, inside the bowels of the mountain range. Axel cannot really afford the high-speed self-driven rides that rich people own. However, for less fortunate people, a wise government long gone had set up an immense network of communication tunnels, which people could speed in wearing appropriate magnetic sustentation exosuits.

This network, while not as well maintained as it used to be, is still the main transportation system for the majority of the population. Axel, in a sense, is very fortunate, owning a third-generation “Manta” exosuit, which enables activation of the acceleration rings up to insane speeds. It is sometimes a bit dangerous, but how else could one expect to be on time at work in this world?

We all hope you appreciate Axel’s dedication to your entertainment!