Monday, September 21, 2009

Development Blog #7

iPhone App Development Blog #7

Hello Caseheads. Good tidings to you.

Another warm night in Hollywood, and so I take a moment to say hello to my brothers and sisters, friends and enemies as we discuss all things iPhone development related.. and thereabouts...

Anyway, no big news to reveal. Development of our game is going along well, I received a new build of the working version last night (we do updates pretty weekly). It's coming along, Ben and I have had a lot of intense discussion trying to pick apart the finer points of the gameplay in our last few meetings. This game is significantly more advanced than our previous outing, and so it requires a lot more consideration on all the expected levels. I maintain that the game is very fun to play, though we are still only roughly blocking in some of the more important gameplay mechanics now - things which make sense in our heads, hypothetically, but once we've done the work to actually implement them into the program itself, we can see all the real ramifications of what we've wrought. It is exciting, sometimes humbling, often it's just opening up a can of worms. As a designer, you learn a lot about the politics of development - budgetary concerns, time and money and effort being chief among these in many cases. Without trying to sound like I am full of a bunch of hot air here, I will just say that it is advantageous to design things sparingly and simply, with a more subtle (but consistent) depth as opposed to loading on a bunch of features and seeing what sticks. Sadly, this (feature-load) is very much the order of the day in many development houses, and you see a lot of half-baked productions as a result without so much of the lasting replayability that games have long been capable of.

When I work on a game, especially if it is something where I am helping out in it's design, I want it to truly be timeless, not just some throwaway that is a means to an end. Yes it is a product designed to make a sale, but I believe that an integral quality playing to it's developer's strengths can go a long way to development of a title which has legs and can make a lasting mark - reputation, and economically - than another shallow, half-realized product that falls in line with "everything else under the sun."

This job is not easy, but it's not rocket-science either - one needs to be keen to many aspects of the general development procedures and the marketplace as well, bolstered with a strong vision of what lays ahead (and a sharp memory of what has come before) and things really do have a way of falling into place. I adamantly believe our forthcoming games will reflect this attitude.


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