I’ve managed to find a few hours to play with both Unity and the wonderful (in my unskilled hands anyway) Pyxel Edit so have made a start on my January OGAM entry for Resolution. Non playable at the moment, just demoing animations, variable speed treadmills, working HUD meters and spawning of random pickups. Looks fun doesn’t it! No? Fine … see if I care.
A couple of weeks ago I set myself a target of getting my first build out by the end of the month. Well, the month end is looming and I think I need to review that target. So what’s changed?
Well, first of all I’ve had a look at the name and changed it to just be “Flip!”. Homogeneity proper will come some other time, so Flip! will end up being the first app deployed to the Market. Speaking of such deployment, that isn’t going to happen by the end of the month. I just don’t have enough spare time at the moment to focus on app development and I don’t want to release something that’s utterly flawed. Limited is fine, as I’ve got no issues with pushing something out that’s going to need some polishing later. I intend to release the first version with some art assets that may be subject to future change, but the app must work and have the basic structure stable.
What I am getting done by the end of the month is the first set of alpha testing. The game works, and has content, so I’ve pushed it to my flatmate’s tablet and my phone to test it. This means I’ve already hit tablet support, so one goal checked off. I’ve also gotten score recording wrapped up (not really hard to do tbh) and the extensible game engine built. So, what’s left to go before I get a market release done? Other than fixing any bugs that are thrown up or taking on board any suggestions for refinements from my testing, I need to do the following.
- Generate some consistent artwork and make sure it’s not too big!
- Sort out performance issues on low end devices
- Implement Admob
- Implement Analytics
- A few UI tweaks
- Make sure the application lifecycle is correct
After the release I can do a bit of re-factoring before I add new features.
I should really start by explaining what I’m trying to do here and why. This will partly serve as information for anyone unfortunate enough to be wasting precious minutes reading this blog. More importantly it’ll act as a reminder to myself and encourage me not to leave this project by the wayside.
First some background. I first started working with software a little over 11 years ago, before I went to uni (I’m discounting time spent before that playing with BASIC on old ZXs and BBCs). I studied Engineering and Computing Science for the next four years, but my plans to do something useful over that time were tempered by copious amounts of alcohol. When I left university I got an IT job in London working for a bank. The job primarily involved application development for various in house systems. Different projects gave me a chance to knock around with different business logic, programming languages and technologies. I’ve since moved into project management so don’t get to do development any more, unless you count the occasional times I feel the need to write some VBA.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my job. I get to work with some great people and, as a problem space, the financial industry is fascinating. I don’t, however, feel like I’m involved with proper development. Actually, that’s a rather unfair assesment. I work with a lot of great developers and it is proper development. I guess what I’m getting at is that it’s a very restrictive environment, on top of which I personally don’t get my hands dirty in code any more.
So that gives a lead in to the “why” part of this post. I want to get back to some development, and the Android platform seems perfect for that. On top of this, I wouldn’t mind seeing if I can monetise that effort which will help motivate me to keep going. I’m going to be doing this in my spare time, which I don’t normally see a lot of as it is, so I need a goal. While that goal is still fairly vague, the overall framework is there: create apps, make some cash out of them.
With a loose target like that, the “what” is a bit harder. Android apps? Check. Android apps I can monetise somehow? Hmmmm. The actual form these apps will take? Not a clue at this stage! My first steps are going to be playing with the Android SDK to see what’s possible, off the back of which I’ll hopefully start coming up with some design concepts. After that it’s just a matter of working out how make them work for me, whether through ad driven revenue or single app purchases. Come on, if those monkeys on The Apprentice can do it then surely I stand a chance!