Timbles – Week 4

icon_android_1024The fourth week rolls by…
I was actually pretty concerned this week, it’s been a bad week for development. I lost both Tuesday and Wednesday to company admin. In particular, I had to process my accounts. The end of June was the end of my VAT qtr, and that needs to be submitted by the end of July. I also needed to calculate the royalties that I need to pay for The Lords of Midnight. What had become apparent was that I didn’t really have a good fix on how much of my company money, in the company bank account, still belonged to the company. Now that’s not normally an issue for me, I’m only usually 3 months away from processing my accounts, and I don’t spend money based on the balance of my business account, but having given up my major income stream, I really needed to resolve the issue. The last thing I want to do is to think I have more money available to me than I do. So, as hateful as processing my accounts was, it was a necessary evil. However, the positives still don’t make me feel any better about the two days of development I lost. It was also my wedding anniversary on Tuesday, and Victoria’s birthday on Thursday. I took Victoria out for lunch on Thursday, so that was another half day given up.

IMG_1457With that background to put the week in context, I have actually ended it positively. At the end of last week I set myself the goal of having the game running on an actual iPad. For a while I was thinking that I was going to miss my own milestone. But, it all came good in the end.
I development on the missing bits of code that I needed to have the game running properly on a device. The game now goes into a menu, you select to play. You can return to an in-game menu to exit out, or just resume back to the game. And the game returns to the menu when it has finished.
I went through the process required by Apple to create all my certificates and profiles needed to get this new project on a device. I built all the assets needed to cover all the different iOS devices, and created icons and launch screens.

A couple of test deployments while I shook out some issues with placement of assets and inclusion of correct files during the build process, and Timbles is running on my iPad. There are issues with it running on the iPhone but that is just about the screen size. A day or so next week should resolve that. And the rest of the week will be about polishing a few things, and in principal I should have a fully operational game mode by the end of next week.

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The Lords of Midnight are coming…


The game has now been submitted to Apple, I can only wait for their reviewing process to take place. As long as everything is ok, it will be in the App Store on the Winter Solstice, Dec 21st.
It’s been a funny few months, the last six weeks being particularly hectic. I finally played the game through on Friday and Saturday, as I did the last minute checks before the submission. It’s probably the first time I have played the game properly for a long time. I have to thank all the testers who made sure that I didn’t need to!
Anyway, I really enjoyed it! Even if I do say so myself, “It ‘aint half bad”. I am really really happy with it. I know it’s not the game that Mike and I originally set out to release, but I am pretty sure that Mike would be happy with the decision that I made, and the actual result.

The website is now live at www.thelordsofmidnight.com

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The Solstice is nearly upon us…

The Solstice is nearly upon us and Doomdark is already waking from his slumber. We must reach the Tower of the Moon by tomorrow, yet our ride promises to be long and hazardous.

The last few days have seen many issues knocked off the list for Lords of Midnight, two of them were show stoppers! Right now my actual TODO: list has 3 items on it. That said, every night, before I start working, I run through the game and add all the issues that crop up to my list; it seldom stays short for long… That said, I almost have a product that I am prepared to ship, even if not 100% happy with it. But then, when are we ever 100% happy with something.

Tonight I will be finishing off the tutorial system in the game. It’s not ideal and it’s a little wordy, and to be honest at this moment in time it is so in your face that I’m tempted to remove it. But knocking off the rough edges tonight should do the trick. After that I need to finish the manual, which will be online. And that should be it.

I will make another few passes through the game trying to snag issues that annoy me more than anything else. I suspect most of those issues to be cosmetic ones that drop out of resolution changes, or physical ones raised because of small hit zones on phones. I am the least happy with 480×320, the iPhone 3gs resolution. But hopefully I can get it more acceptable over the next few days.

It’s been a long six weeks since I made the decision to continue with the project in its current form. I’m not sure how much sleep I’ve had. They have been longs days that have often finished at 2am, with the following day still starting early. Then straight from office after an hour drive and into the study to start the process again. But all that said, I am really happy with how it has come together, it looks great. Sure there are loads of things that I would change. But every-time that I write a change on a list, I have asked myself, “how much does this really matter to the person playing this version of the game? And that has been the thing I have had to keep sight of, it’s this version of the game, and this version of the game needs to ship. There are a number of things I can tweak, but I can tweak them later.

So, currently, I plan to submit the iOS version to Apple on Friday, with a scheduled release date of The Winter Solstice, That gives me nearly three weeks for it to bounce in and out of the Apple submission process if necessary.

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“I slew score upon score of his foul creatures yet always there were more to take their place”

I can only apologise for the delays in this project, but can assure you that I more than anyone am eager to see this released.

The summer has proved much turmoil to my schedule. Not because I am too busy, but more because I am out of sorts with development in general. The house move came at a time when I was in full flow, and unfortunately, it had the dramatic affect of completely killing my momentum. And I am only very slowly getting that back.

Anyway, over the last few weeks I have pushed out 2 new versions for testing, and have already added some features read for next weeks drop. The first included changes to the Ice Crown quest. For those people who are very familiar with the original game, the quest mode is way too easy. So I wanted to spice it up a little. Ideally, I was going to move the location of the Ice Crown, or even have it randomly assigned to a location, so that you would have to do some questing to find its location, before you can perform the quest itself. However, I decided to leave that to later in game campaign updates. So all I did was add a few extra armies on the north western flank, the route that Morkin would usually take to perform the quest, and then add some additional logic for generating new armies that are interested in the Ice Crown, should it be lifted from its original location. Current testing suggests that the quest may be a little too hard! 🙂

Second update added some small features to the lord selection screen. The ability to instantly see which lords are at night, dawn, in battle, and to be able to filter on them.

Next weeks drop includes additional features for the map screen. Namely easily locating yourself on the map, scaling, and being able to select things from off the map. Hopefully, I will also add in support for iPhone5 for next week, because currently the wide-screen nature of it, is playing havoc with the game.

In other news, I have a Blackberry tablet dev kit winging its way to me, courtesy of RIM and Marmalade. Which in theory means that the game could launch on this device at the same time as iOS, something that I unfortunately cannot extend to Android.

And… still looking for artists… if you know anyone who might like to get involved, point them in my direction!

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Crowd Funding Midnight

If Lords of Midnight was funded using some form of crowd funding, what would you want from it?

What would be your enticement to donate some cash to the project and what would you expect to see in return?

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