Monday, August 9, 2010

Bali herez I come! Game In A Day sprints a-go-go!

My last blog post was from Bali on my last day there, and here I am again about to jetset back there!  Where has the time gone?
Well I've made some more sales with Surf Prodigy which seems to be picking up momentum again.  I think the iPad has added a bunch more customers.
I have one new game almost ready to ship, and I am taking over another few game stubs to Bali to do my own little GameJam - soz for not coming this time guys - I just had too much lesson planning for TAFE to do.  Promise I'll be there next time.
So I should be able to do my little Game In Day sprints on 3 game ideas I've got, in between lazing, grazing and surfing.
Here's a link to my original GID post -

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Good Vibrations - Surf, Sci Fi and Sex On The Beach.

Typically when I go away on holiday I find myself away from computers with just a notepad in hand. In this situation I am usually inspired to write something new, either in the form of a script or a video game. This inspiration came about in a time when I hadn't released either.

Now that I have released a script or two and have software on the shelves I find myself on the other side and inspiration doesn't come the same way. Before it came from blind optimism and desperation, meaning I thought I could make a game / had to make a game (or movie) and a kind of frivalous form of imagination allowed me to design unimpeded by software engine min specs, language constraints and memory limitations - not to mention budget, team size and economy models of a particular platform I might develop for. Now I find myself looking (properly) at the market for both.

I have been playing a lot of iPhone games on my break, reading and watching lots of movies and have come up with the following.

For iPhone games, I haven't decided what to make, but I have decided that I can pretty much write any type of game I want and it will be well recieved if it has the eye candy on the appStore. Of course it's gotta be good, but that's to be expected. I will start working on a kind of grindy, post-apocalypse adventure game for the iPhone with lots of the assets I've accumulated over time.

For movies, I have thought seriously about it and in wanting to bring two of my favourite genres together I have come up with ... "teen slasher sci fi movie" - stupid hey? But I think it will work.

Oh by the way, I thought coming to Bali would mean endless days of surf and sun. Unfortunately there was only a bit of surf for the first couple of days - but plenty of sun, which is why I have time to reflect, rather than be out there being pounded by waves.

I have been reading "Salts and Suits"by Phil Jarrat, a book about the surf merchandise industry, mainly founded by Quiksilver, Billabong and Rip Curl (all Australian companies). At the moment I am reading about the history of surfing as a sport which was discovered as early as 1778 by James Cook when visiting Hawaii. Of course it must have been going on long before then, but of interest was the emergence of two "travel journos" Mark Twain and Jack London, who both had a go at surfing.

They got totally worked of course and developed an appreciation for the elegance and exhilaration of the sport. By the way, the locals were completely starkers when they surfed, which leads to sex on the beach - a particular pagan ritual the locals adopted after a day out in the surf, and a drink I could buy from the sunked pool bar ;-)

Said Twain, "In one place we came upon a large company of naked natives...amusing themselves with the national pasttime of surf-bathing. Each heathen would paddle...out...and wait for a particulary prodigious billow to come along; at the right moment he would fling his board upon it's foamy crest ... and here he would come whizzing by like a bombshell!"

Said London, "When a breaker curled over my head, for a swift instant I could see the light of day through it's emerald body; then down would go my head, and I would clutch the board with all my strength. Then would come the blow, and to the onlooker on shore I would be blotted out... I should not recommend those smashing blows to an invalid or delicate person".

Fortunately for London he was a boxer, swimmer, fencer and cyclist so he was strong enough to survive a wipeout.

I did find this archival footage from ASO on surfing in 1949. I found it in a attempt to find some ancient footage shot by Robert Bonine in 1906 of surfers in Hawaii, but youTube seems to keep taking it down.

Facinating stuff and if you have information of surf history especially in Australia, maybe your parents or their parents have some yarns, please email me.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Surf Prodigy 1.2 Update Released.

Tutorial video soon to come on YouTube but here's an old version that shows off the new perspective.

Quick man... that's all I can say. I submitted on Sunday and now it's out, plus the Lite version. Here's some screenies.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

DrewFX needs you for Surf Prodigy

Hi all,

I figure the aggregator should get the word out if I blog here.

I need beta testers for the 1.2 version of Surf Prodigy. If you would like to help me test it please send your iPhone/iPod id to admin AT drewfx DOT com.

Thanks in advance.

Andy H.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2009 Retro in Gaming and Learning

Falling in line with others I've decided to do a wrap up of my year.

Jan - Came back from holidays to IZ to find - well, not much to come back to. Thus began the year of meandering. Also found that my Skeleton Pack was no longer on the Garage Games website because they changed the requirement for all packs to work in TGEA and above, so I created this PLAN. I have since learned that Torque 3D supports Collada so update 1.4 as part of my plan is not required (still haven't finished this).

Feb - Started a course in Microsoft Sharepoint to get my MCTS quals (not completed yet). Started teaching an afternoon class in Python with B-Rad at TAFE as part of an association with IZ and TAFE.

Apr - My birthday - got a Wii! Starting thinking about motion tracking games, also picked up another class at TAFE on Wednesdays teaching students traditional programming OO concepts but also applying to the super-fun subject of XNA programming.

July - Picked up more classes at TAFE, still working at IZ, started learning about iPhone dev to begin Surf Prodigy, XCode and picked up a contract programming job to make another iPhone game as well. So let's see, this is about where I was working 4 jobs, finishing at 3am the next day and was getting 4 hours sleep. This lasted until August.

Aug - Released Surf Prodigy for the iPhone, and it was not enough for me, apparently, as I picked up another job - making graphics for Simon's 3d simulation project "Hermes" in conjunction with BHP and Subversive Games.

Sep - Went on a field trip for BHP for site photography, and on entry to the first location we were asked to do what I thought she said "DNA test" - I was thinking "Jesus, so if I get blown to pieces on site they can identify my fragmented remains??? - she actually said D & A test - ahhh.

Oct - Good sales for the Surfing game which went on to get 3000 customers by the end of the year. Note at this point Sharepoint training not continuing, still working for BHP, TAFE, IZ, Hibana and DrewFX. Around this time I suspended my employment with IZ because I was just too tired!

Nov - Students produced TAFE's first ever XBox game demo for exhibition. Me proud as punch - students, ready to party. Hibana game complete.

Dec - Began wrapping up 1.2 update for Surf Prodigy (boy I wanna move onto the next game) , finished at TAFE until next year, BHP job complete - time to relax. By oh gnoes - started prepping for TAFE next year.

So all in all, a very busy year, made a bit of cash, released 2 games, and helped build a mining simulation, and got way better at surfing IRL.

Outlook for 2010 - make crazy cash in games for XBox, PC and iPhone, finish MCTS, Dip Ed and teach students the value of study - or at least teach them to not aim for the least amount of work required.

Wish list - make a mil on a game, go snowboarding, see Europe.