I updated my iPhone Hurricane application to 1.2 last night and dropped it on my phone for testing. If I don’t see any major problems by this evening I’m going to go ahead and push it out to Apple. I’ll be doing the big update before season starts again, but this is at least a move in the right direction.
In other news, I really want to take a look at the XInput2 api. I saw the presentations from GameFest and the changes they made looked interesting.
My dev studio, Kitty Code, LLC, received a little bit of press coverage this monday in the Orlando Sentinel. Our first product is a hurricane tracking application for the iPhone called Hurricane. It’s been available in the app store since late September and has gained quite a following so far. With the plans for features we have before the start of hurricane season later this year, we’re expecting a lot more people along the east coast to adopt it for their iPhone.
You can find more information and screen shots at the website HurricaneSeason.info.
There’s been a few stories out there lately concerning all the junk being released for the Nintendo Wii. I jumped out to the Nintendo website and went to the this page. There are 439 games listed and a majority of them seem to be licensed properties either from tv, toys or movies. Apparently this stuff must sell to someone, but I can’t imagine there are this many companies full of game developers all siting around having conversations like this.
“You know what would be awesome to make?”
“A World War II first person shooter?”
“Something new and inventive? Something that stretches our skills and imagination?”
“Ummm, no, will you shut up a minute? Jillian Michale’s Fitness Ultimatum 2009!”
“Omg, are you serious?! That would be amazing. I can’t wait to tell my family and my friends”
It can’t possibly go like this? It has to be more like this.
“I’ve brought you all together here today to let you know that our dreams of making a go at this game dev thing are falling apart. We can either close up shop now and not eat or we can sell our souls and swallow our pride to make Jillian Michael’s Fitness Ultimatum 2009. Now I know we’ll be laughed out of the game development community and this isn’t exactly art, but it will pay the bills. Now I’ll take some questions.”
“Umm, still not helping. And there are people willing to pay for this?
“Well, there’s people willing to pay to have it developed. ”
“Will people buy it?”
“That’s not our problem.”
“I’m so not putting this job on my resume.”
So many companies are going the safe path, or try to use some licensed IP to build up enough money so they can create something new a bit down the road. Unfortunately, most of these companies get caught in the evil cycle of constantly needing to pull in new licenses, tossing together just something that meets the minimum criteria of the contract and going on to the next one, that they never get the chance to create. Now, I’m not saying that they don’t want to create something new. Most people you find at game companies all have their own ideas as to what would make a great game or some idea they’ve been thinking of for years, but very few will ever get the green light to actually make it into a product. Instead, they’ll spend years creating other people’s licensed games and finally get burnt out enough to leave the industry never fulfilling their dreams they had when they got in. The company will continue, flooding the market will games that no self respecting gamer would ever buy; hoping some unsuspecting parent come Christmas will pick up their game giving them enough sales to make a profit.
As an industry, I would love to see more chances taken on new ideas or more companies giving their employees a chance to take some time out of their hellish production schedule to code up a demo. Who knows, stuck inside the mind of a developer knee deep in Barbie code, might be the big original hit idea they’ve been looking for.
Working on an updated version of one of my iPhone applications. The more I code with the iPhone SDK and objective-C, the more I really am finding it lacking. Maybe I’m just used to a mature dev language and sdk coming from the Windows and game programming side of things.