Archive for the ‘iphone’ Category

User testing at City University Interaction Lab

August 5, 2009

City University London’s Interaction Lab has used Babe on a beam to demo its mobile user testing service. Thanks for that Raj!

Babe on a beam gameplay video

July 18, 2009

Apple administrivia

July 9, 2009

The good news first…Babe on a beam v1.0 passed Apple’s review process first time. Yay!

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The bad news… still not available on the AppStore. The company’s tax forms still waiting to be processed manually by Apple. *groan*

Apple requires developers to complete a Paid Applications Contract which (helpfully) does not materialise until you submit an application. After submitting your first paid app, check the iTunes Connect ‘Contracts, Tax, & Banking Information’ page to see what additional paperwork is in order.

Australian developers have the additional pleasure of submitting ABN and GST registration documents for manual review. It seems that Australian developers cannot offer paid apps without being registered for GST. That wasn’t an issue for us but it does seem like an unnecessary overhead for small developers earning less than $75,000.

App store submission

June 26, 2009

Babe on a beam is off for Apple review. It’s taken 4 months, 6 days to get our first title off to Apple (well, since I opened the iPhone box and started this blog). Ridiculously slow by most standards no-doubt (at least one seasoned developer snorted when I reported our progress) but it has been a great learning curve. I’m sure the next one will fly off the ranks much faster.

Last hurdle on the submission process was renaming the Bundle Identifier. Spaces in the name work fine when installing as a Developer or for Adhoc Distribution but the AppStore is more fussy. The error message that appears is somewhat confusing (referring to an ‘Application Bundle’ section of the manual that doesn’t appear to exist) but this technote clarified what was needed. Changing the Target | Properties | Indentier to a name without spaces did the trick.

Now the big question is – will the app get bounced for any other reason?*fingers crossed*

crossed fingers by Will Humes

crossed fingers by Will Humes

Babe on a plane

June 18, 2009

Never try to launch a game from an airport departure lounge… I managed to totally screw up the build in a ridiculous race to get the beta out before flying out to New York. Here I am two days later (long flight from Sydney) and I’m pretty sure today’s build is good to go. But I’ll hold off sending out the invites until there’s some independent confirmation. Looking forward to seeing what the alpha testers think of the new version.

Alpha tomorrow

May 12, 2009

Babe on a beam will be available for alpha testing tomorrow Wednesday 13 May 11am EST.

Send us your UDIDs to get in on the action.

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One of the hardest parts of the this project is working out scope. More and more ideas are flooding in but at the end of the day, we’ve only got budget to release one level on spec. The audience will decide how far this game goes…

After a few uncertain days when our main development box died, we got quickly back on track this morning. Lots of things lining up for the beta release but I think we have enough to get out to testers with. It’s only a simple game after all and the target audience is probably not you lot! {;-)

Provisioning pain

May 6, 2009

Went through the tedious but necessary pain barrier today and yesterday getting my head around Adhoc distribution of the game. iPhone app distribution is anything but user friendly. What a ridiculously convoluted process!

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It took me a long while to realise that to build an app for distribution outside of the Apple iPhone App Store¬† you need to use a Distribution Provisioning Profile (not a Developer Provisioning Profile) which does not allow the app to run directly from XCode. I don’t know if anyone else out there found this as confusing as I did but it certainly chewed up a few days. Generic error messages like “Unexpected error (0xE8000001)” really didn’t help either. A crucial missing piece of the puzzle involving creating a Code Signing Entitlements file does not appear in the Apple Development guide at all. The blogosphere is full of frustrated developers complaining about the process of signing their apps.¬† I can only imagine how many more apps there would be if the process for deployment was any easier. I was ready to explode with frustration a few hours ago. Now at least I can feel a huge sense of relief, if not accomplishment. It is just a software build after all. Back to the game itself.. And here’s hoping that our little fella doesn’t fall foul of Apple’s somewhat arbitrary content approval policies.

A day or two past our original alpha milestone, we have a couple of Adhoc test apps to play with. Anyone who wants to participate, register your device and we will be in touch.

Approaching alpha

April 23, 2009

We have now locked all the art assets for the alpha version of the game. Hoping to have everything in place by the end of the week so that we can then focus on scoring and such-like. Last post I mentioned our new Animation Tester tool. This is starting to make a real difference to the pipeline. All this is is a separate project, made in Unity 2.5, that the team artist Jeremy can open in his PC copy of Unity. Unity iPhone as yet still is Mac-only and we started to find places in the codebase where iPhone hooks would result in not being able to play through scenes on PC.

By introducing a new Unity project as a staging area for art, we’ve given ourselves a lot more flexibility. We can now preview all animations in situ without having to trawl through the game. Next up it would be good to be able to preview each ‘shot’ (cut sequence) comprising more than one animation but we may not get around to this in the near future. Hardly any shots in this game to speak of.

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BTW Interesting to see that Unity has blogged that Subversion and Perforce support is on its roadmap. We’re using the Unity asset server at the moment, powered by PostgreSQL, and no dramas but I would feel more comfortable entrusting version control to a dedicated provider.

Finally, quick plug to Firemint down in Melbourne who have scored a huge hit with the highly addictive iPhone game Flight Control. A great example of a good idea well executed without too much fuss. Inspiring stuff. The small print is that the developers have been in business since 1999 which only goes to prove that overnight success is rarely that.

Unity 2.5 / iPhone

March 24, 2009

Quite an exciting week for technological change. Unity3D has a new release out, 2.5, and for the first time the authoring tool is available for Windows. Expect to hear more in the press about this. Most game developers have historically been working on PC platforms so no doubt there will be a rush to explore the new tool. At the same time, Apple has announced the impending release of the iPhone SDK 3.0 with over 100 new features. A good time to be cooking up iPhone apps methinks.

Unity3D remoting working

March 11, 2009

Started my 30 day trial of Unity3D iphone. Today was spent getting remoting working. A cute feature whereby you can use the iPhone accelerometer to control the game on your Mac screen in a preview mode.

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I had to reissue all the provisioning profiles from yesterday as the Unity iPhone editor seems to enforce your Bundle Identifier starting with ‘com’. Perhaps I did something else wrong but by creating a new App ID in the iPhone Dev center account I managed to get everything working. It was good to finally see some local apps compile and get installed on my device. Now it’s time to start building the game scaffold.