Once we had formed a company partnership and decided the route forward was to work with Ipad/Iphone then the tricky part of learning a new language came into play. Prior to this I’d been a die-hard PC user quite happily going the never-ending upgrade-route, and convinced I was doing the right thing throwing money to the wall to keep up with a constantly increasing demmand for better hardware to run even the simplest of games and software.
I got talked out of this and now primarilly work on a Mac. It was pretty expensive to get one but you’re buying a machine that has a very high build quality and is easy to use so it’s not all bad. I actually found it pretty painless to switch over and it was a completely obvious decision as I needed X-code and the emulation, server sharing and other cheaper options I tried just weren’t worth the time. So now I’m using a Mac mini which is pretty portable in that I just carry the small box, a power lead, wireless mouse/keyboard and plug into an available monitor if I have to work outside of base. Naturally, having the Internet means I don’t mean to do that much anyway.
So now instead of my trusty BlitzMax which offered me familiarity, if not solid competence, I’m literally back to the basics and almost learning to code from scratch. I did many things wrong with Blitz in all my time using it, and it’s an ideal time to learn it all again the right way now that I’ve moved onto something a lot bigger. Swift is Apple’s baby, and is shortly going open-source, so it’s almost a no-brainer switching over to it from a business side, but it’s going to take time and a lot of learning to master it. Luckily I no longer work on my own and have access to vast sources of information to make all this easier. It’s still a scarey prospect learning all the new ways to do stuff I’ve already been using in my own way for years as well as advanced stuff far beyond the scope of anything I’ve ever done before in the limited games I’ve written. And, at my age, this stuff doesn’t get any easier.
And so I’ve started with the books. I’ve got four to read, one of which is obviously sprite builder because we’re still commited to using Cocos-2d as our frame work and Sprite builder is going to make a lot of the background stuff a lot easier to code, once I get the hang of it. With a new language I’ve adopted the idea of reading everything and just writing simple examples of all the stuff I learn to attempt to make it all stick in my head. It’s good fun a lot of the time, until I encounter something particuarly tricky, but probably a lot of it won’t be needed at this stage, which is an unfortunate side-effect. With Sprite builder a fair bit may end up being play-as-I-read, so I’ll just see how it all goes over the next couple of weeks.
Aarons game is 95% done we estimate, so getting that finished and on the AppStore needs to get done before we’re both on the same page, because that baby is all objective C and I can’t help at all with that without learning that language completely as well. I went most of the way through a video course intending to try but now we’re moving to Swift there’s just no point.
The next game I’ll blog about once there’s some real progress and we know completely where its going. I’m not going to put up any info on the design, suffice to say it’s mostly mapped out in our heads, and some even in documents, but it’s looking likely to have something like 15 different AI systems and a lot of map design, so it will be major work even once the programming side is sorted. Suspect it will be long time before this one comes out.
Onwards and upwards…..