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  1. (See previous entries for more info on the game.) It's surprising what a little motivation and enthusiasm can accomplish. One big help was I reached out to YouTuber Torogadude and asked if I could use his compositions as background music and he agreed. Bonus! I've also added sound effects and knocked a lot of other items off my to-do list, which leaves really only three big ones: Revise the embedded HTML "About" pages and try to fix the back navigation so it goes to the previous page rather than the back to the main menu. Also update slidetiltroll.walkerville123.ca to match Review the Apple Guidelines to make sure there isn't anything I need to do before I submit it. Do a code walkthrough and tweak / fix as required
  2. I'm back to working on my iOS game "Slide Tilt Roll" in preparation to using it for a presentation to some computer students at my son's high school. I updated the MacBook to High Sierra, updated to XCode 9, installed XCode 8 to upgrade the code base from Swift 2.2 to Swift 3.0, then used XCode 9 to bring it up to Swift 4.0. That worked for 90% of the code, then I needed to go through and manually fix a few errors and warnings (mostly confined to sqlite and CGPath functions). I've also tweaked the launch and main page backgrounds to display better on the iPhone X - I wonder if I can use one of them at the Apple Store for a quick test The next big thing is to add sound effects and music. I've found a paper for some algorithmically generated music which will I will hopefully be able to use. I'm still looking for anyone willing to create levels to supplement the ones I have created programatically. Interested? You need an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch running iOS 9 or later (configured to send email) and a willingness to create levels gratis for my 100% free application. In order to install my app I need the UDID for your device. This can be obtained from iTunes by clicking on the Serial Number on the device Summary panel, then right clicking on the hex digit string, selecting copy, and sending it to me via PM. (If you don't have iTunes, you can get it by plugging into a computer and looking at the USB device information. Ask, and I'll provide instructions. Any other methods (websites, apps) are either outdated or extremely suspect.) After I get your UDID I will update my Apple Developer account device list and send you the link to download and install. Muchas gracias Merci beaucoup Vielen Dank
  3. My iOS game has reached a major milestone - I've linked the level creator to the play level so it's now possible to create a level and play it. In theory a lot of the remaining coding should be relatively standard and therefore easier. Hopefully I can get my son and a few other friends / coworkers to use it to start creating levels First I need to update it to Swift 2.3 so I can load it onto iOS 10 devices. (This is one part of the process I dislike, there's a lot of forced obsolescence in iOS development. In order to test on the current iOS you need the current version of Xcode, which needs the current version of macOS and you need to use the current version of Swift.)
  4. Hi guys. We have released a very big update do the web-based emulator Javatari. http://javatari.org It now has a new interface designed for mobile devices with touch-screen controls. Finally run Atari 2600 games on your iPhone/iPad! :-) Also, it can be installed on the device as a WebApp, then you can launch it directly through the app icon. In this mode it also works when offline! Several advancements were brought from the WebMSX project (http://webmsx.org). You can very easily put games on your own page, or show games running in the web with a single link to the Javatari page. Just pass the ROM URL address... Please refer to the project homepage for the docs and examples: https://github.com/ppeccin/javatari.js Some images on an iPhone6: Enjoy! Paulo
  5. UPDATE (7/26/2012): This has been shuffled off to FeeBay with a $120 starting price, 3-day auction. Listing. I have up for sale one 32-gig iPod Touch, 3rd Generation in very good condition. Comes in original packaging (looks darned near NIB) and includes a BRAND NEW ZAGG Invisible Shield! This iPod has served me well over the last couple of years. It has been carefully guarded with a ZAGG Invisible Shield throughout its lifetime, but has suffered a few light bruises along the way. Among the deformities are a larger 2-3mm scratch across the "iPod" impress, two < 1mm scratches on the back, and two surface dings. You can see these in the attached photos. Other than that, the back is shiny and retains its factory polish quite nicely. The front is relatively scratch-free, though dust-based scratches underneath the Shield have lightly dulled the screen. These disclaimers stated, the iPod is in very good condition and will save you a few bucks over going new or refurbed. ZAGG Shield: I received a lifetime guarantee on the Shield, and as such I've requested a replacement which was recently sent to me. You'll receive the brand new Shield, but you forfeit the lifetime guarantee (as per ZAGG's policy). Not included: earphones. I assume you do not want my dirty, used earphones, but if you absolutely need them, let me know. Battery life: Obviously, this has diminished over the years, but I was very good about depleting the charge, and cycling it to 100%. I'm a believer in cycling the battery life for maximum life expectancy. After specking out prices for the 3rd Gen model, I feel that letting it go for $150 would be fair. I want to save myself the hassle of FeeBay, etc.
  6. New Game recommendations for your Apple & Android tablet & touch devices. Games Shown: Asphalt 8 Airborne Sine Mora Shadowrun Returns Rise to Fame CSR Classics Mikey Hooks Device 6 House of the Dead Overkill Is anybody picking up the new iPads that launched today? My wife is getting the new iPad Air for work...
  7. Eight games you should be playing on your iPhone or iPad reviewed by MetalJesusRocks Games Shown: Modern Combat 5: Blackout Devil’s Attorney Traps & Gemstones Steve Jackson's Sorcery! Smash Hit Goblin Sword Lyne Puzzle to the Center of the Earth What have you been playing on your smartphone or tablet?
  8. One of the features of my iOS game is a level editor, so users can create their own levels. The plan is for users to create levels then submit them to me (via email). I will then take those levels and add them to the application bundle and update the app so everyone gets to play them. The hard part turned out to be easy and the easy part turned out to be hard. Creating the email itself was easy - only a few lines of code. I could even easily create attachments, including the PNG of the level which my app already creates for the user created levels. The hard part turned out to be sending the level data as an attachment. After much fussing around with various serialization standards (e.g. JSON, XML), I decided to KISS and use a simple key value format. Originally I used key=value<eol>, but I later changed it to key<tab>value<eol> in case someone put an = into their level title. The idea is to make the attachment transparent to avoid any concerns about collecting user data. The problem with this is the user could potentially change the file before sending it to me - making it unsolvable. (The game won't let you submit a level until you've successfully completed it.) So I needed to add some kind of checksum to the file to detect and discourage changes. I decided to kill two birds with one program and code up a MacOS app (in Swift) which would read the file, verify the checksum, and update the SQLite database which would get included into the iOS app. My first attempt was to use the hashValue property built into Swift. I figured even if it wasn't a full-blown cryptographic hash, it would be "good enough". Unfortunately, it turns out the hashValue isn't a true hash of the value, but instead is just the address of the object. (Which might be good enough for some purposes, but is far from being an actual hash.) So I went looking for a real hash function and learned Apple provides a library of crypto functions (including hashes). They are C functions, but so is SQLite. Of course, that didn't work the first time. The function produced output, but the output didn't match - although the input looked the same. So I changed the iOS app to send a Bas64 version of the input as the checksum and had the MacOS app do the same thing. Bingo - the start of the input was the same, but it deviated along the way. After more debug printing, I managed to identify the problem - somewhere, somehow, the end of lines in the KVP file were being changed from LF to CR+LF and the CRs weren't being stripped out of the input to the hash. Once I modified the MacOS app to remove the extra CRs the "checksum" matched and so did the hash value.
  9. In my game there's a ball which rolls around the playfield. While SpriteKit is very cool with baked in physics and lighting, it's a 2D engine. So although it will rotate the 2D texture of the ball around the Z axis, that doesn't really convey the look of the ball rolling forward. My original idea was to go with a flat shaded sphere and let the normal map lighting give the ball a more 3D look. Unfortunately the result was less than satisfying. But then I had an idea. What if the ball was a window into a larger texture. Moving the window would then suggest the rolling motion. While doing some investigation into how to implement this idea, I stumbled into the idea of using a custom shader. In SpriteKit you can assign an OpenGL ES fragment (aka pixel) shader to a sprite which then renders the sprite. These shaders are written in a C style language which is then compiled at runtime into instructions executed by the GPU. There's all kinds of special instructions for dealing with vectors (e.g. RGBA and XYZ) & matricies (e.g. rotation). So I bashed at it this weekend (ghods it's good to code sometimes) and managed to get it working! The shader does 3 things: 1. Return transparent for pixels outside of the ball 2. Move the center of the ball around the base texture (where the center is is tracked by the main program) 3. Warp the edges of the texture to "wrap" it around the ball The one problem with using a custom texture is you lose the built-in normal map lighting. I'd like to add this in as well, but my first attempts didn't work out. So I've put that on the to-do later list as the current result is good enough for now. Also, for some reason SpriteKit does the rotation step after the custom shader. It's one less thing to handle in my shader, although it probably causes some quality loss. (But I will need to account for it in the lighting step.)
  10. I have this idea for a game, which I'm trying to program for iOS (using Swift). As this is a considerable step beyond my typical C & ASM skill set, it's been slow going. Swift itself is a post C object oriented / procedural language so isn't that difficult to understand, and I can certainly appreciate _not_ having to learn Objective C. No, the problem is the frameworks. Swift on it's own can do very little. It needs libraries like UIKit and SpriteKit. So unlike C where you can do a lot with just a small portion of the standard library functions, here I need to learn how work within these complex frameworks (which seem to assume implicit knowledge) to accomplish anything. But on the plus side - the frameworks have a lot of features built in. SpriteKit has a whole 2D physics engine baked in - so I don't need to worry about collision detection or bouncing. It will even automatically generate the collision models based on the alpha channel in an image. I recently learned SpriteKit also has dynamic lighting - including "normal maps". My 2D sprites are actually 3D objects, so I'm hoping the normal maps will make them look more 3D. So I whipped up some C programs to generate the normal map texture and the alpha channel for the collision models. Dropped them all into a test app and started to play around. The physics portion worked great, but the dynamic lighting was strange as only part of the textures were responding to the dynamic lighting. In the middle of the night I realized the problem - the dynamic lighting was picking up the alpha channel part of the image which I'd used for the collision model. I'd used 255 for solid parts and 0 for empty parts. So the empty parts weren't being lit. (The alpha channel on the light color works in the same way as a general dimming factor.) In theory this could be used to bake shadows into the normal map, but for me it wasn't what I wanted. The solution is to redo the alpha channel to use 255 & 253 and use 254 as the decision point. * I have no illusions about making millions from this game. In fact, my plan is to make the game free (gratis) to download & play. No in-app purchases, no advertising, no information gathering. Just my gift to the world. ** For iOS development you just need a Mac running the current version of MacOS. The rest of the development tools can be downloaded from Apple for free. There's even a simulator if you don't have an iOS device to test with. To actually publish an app you'll need to sign up for Apple as a developer (<$100) and you need a domain name & website (beware of teaser offers).
  11. XTREME BEAM VECTOR ARCADE, featuring STAR CANNON, is now available for download on the App Store for iPad and iPad Mini. Star Cannon, is of course, the first game to appear in the app. I am sure everyone here on this forum will recognize what classic vector game inspired Star Cannon.. You could say that Star Castle has been my muse for a long time.. The plan is for the app to eventually contain multiple vector games, including games with more original concepts. Care was taken to create an app that draws vector lines on the screen in a very similar manner to vintage vector arcade hardware. The app replicates a black and white, bi-level, vector monitor with color overlays. Choose the CLASSIC COLOR overlay for the vintage look or DYNALAY for a dynamic color changing overlay, something that was not possible back in the day.. Or just play in black and white for that bare, white line vector monitor look. Screenshots don't really do the app justice.. You need to see it running on an iPad to fully appreciate it! Set the iPad brightness control to manual and turn the brightness on your iPad screen up to about 75% to 80% intensity for the best simulated vector monitor experience. Link to the App’s webpage: http://www.celtronic...XtremeBeam.html Link to the App’s Twitter page which contains some larger screen shots: http://www.twitter.com/XtremeBeam
  12. I review 10 iPad & iPhone games for your iOS device. Deus Ex: The Fall Redline Rush Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Jigsaw Puzzle Deep Dungeons of Doom Scurvy Scallywags Dark Nebula Episode 1 HD Sid Meier's Ace Patrol Fall Down Spiral Episode 1 What are you playing on your smartphone? I'd love to know.
  13. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/slide-tilt-roll/id1366633420?mt=8 I took a day off so I could finally put on my "round-tuit" and get my iOS game into the App Store. 100% free to play. No in-app purchases. No subscriptions. No advertising. WiFi not required. 30 levels to complete (so far) Built-in level creator with the option to submit levels for inclusion in future updates. Requres iOS 9 or better, compatible with all devices
  14. So my iOS game is coming along smartly. User created levels are now stored in an SQLite database on the device, which can then be selected from a list (complete with icon showing the level). It's actually getting to the point where I might want to make it available as an ad-hoc download. For testing, Apple provides three methods to get your code onto someone's device: 1. Connect the device to your development environment and deploy directly. This is what I've been doing so far. The good thing is this method doesn't require a paid developer account. But it requires physical connectivity and the app stops working after a short time (days, weeks?) and needs to be reloaded. 2. Ad-Hoc deployment. Requires a paid developer account and the device ID. But then the tester can download the app from a website. 3. Testflight. This is basically a pre-release of the final app. Not suitable for beta code (which is where I'm at). My current problem is I set up an iCloud.com AppleID for my free developer account, but I have no idea what the password is. I've tried a couple of probable passwords without success. Unfortunately, I didn't change the password recovery email, so it's pointing to itself, and the authentication questions keep failing even though I'm fairly certain I have them right. (Maybe just the wrong case or something else stupid.) What I need to do is work from home one day so I can find a way to talk to a real person with the MacBook in front of me and convince them to reset the password. The alternative is to make another AppleID and use that instead.
  15. In my game I want a level builder. Users will be able to create their own levels and send them to me for inclusion in a future release. The UI is fairly simple - a level grid in the top of the screen and the level tiles in the bottom of the screen. Select a tile then where you want it in the grid. The tiles are in a scrolling view like a photo gallery. The iOS UIKit SDk even provides an out-of-the box solution - the UICollectionView (+UICollectionViewFlowLayout). It's suppose to be easy; not quite drag & drop, but fairly close. The problem is the size of the tiles. An iPhone 4s is 640x960 pixels (320x480 "points") while an iPad is 768x1024 or 1536x2048 pixels (both 768x1024 "points"). So if I make the tiles 64x64 "points" the tiles end up much smaller relative to the level grid (which is resized to the screen size). There's no option in Interface Builder to make the size of the cell (which stores the tile) relative to the screen size. And 'cause I'm just learning, I don't 100% understand what I'm doing. So it's a lot of trial and error. Google searches have given me some info, and I think I can set the cell size for the layout, but I haven't found anything which says how to properly resize the cell contents (and my attempts so far have failed). I'm thinking there are two probable causes - first is execution order. The collection view does some buffering and preloading and I think that may be occurring before I'm calculating the size of the cells. Second is Interface Builder creates some implicit code in my application which might be blocking my efforts. My current focus is on the execution order to see how early I can determine the size of the cells so I can use that value elsewhere in the code. Or maybe I need to find some sample code for fully dynamically sized collection views and reuse that.
  16. The game part of my iOS app is 90% done. (Which all programmers know means there's still 90% left to do.) But the big challenges have been conquered - the touch & tilt controls and physics works. There's still some to-dos to load a level, do a reset, handle pause etc. but they will wait until I get the level builder working. However, before I did that I wanted to take a look at performance. One of the cool things with iOS development is you can easily test out the app on an actual device. Plug in an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch and click run. It even links into the debugger. The thing which concerned me was my tutorial level was running at only 40fps on my 5th gen iPod Touch. This is about the slowest iOS 9 device so if I can keep the framerate up on it I'd probably be good on anything else. And while 40fps isn't bad, the tutorial level is fairly simple so it's possible some complex level might be unplayable. Unfortunately the GPU analysis wasn't giving me much of a hint. Both the Tiler and Renderer were at 75% and CPU was less than 20% - so no absolute bottlenecks. I could walk through the OpenGL call stack for a frame, which was interesting but not very useful. So I started changing the code to see what made a difference. Turning off a couple of recent additions didn't make a difference. Nor did removing some logic from the update loop or removing my shader. Moving the textures into a texture atlas reduced the number of draw calls and provided a minor increase, but not much. But the texture atlas also seemed to weird out the dynamic lighting. Hmm... comment out the dynamic light - 60fps. Ahh-ha! And it turns out texture atlases don't work with normal maps for some reason - which was causing the visual problems. So I guess I'll make that an optional setting. It also got me to thinking. I was also using the normal map textures to generate the physics bodies via the alpha channel. But the process was less than perfect. So if I decided to discard the dynamic lighting entirely, I'd need to generate the physics bodies manually - which would remove the imperfections as well.
  17. EricBall


    From the album: Slide Tilt Roll

    iTunes cover / icon artwork for my iOS game - Slide Tilt Roll.

    © 2016 Eric L. Ball

  18. Do you guys see a mission named “Special Force” on the MAP when playing levels 5-7? It's a powerful force with a population of 52 army units. When you defeat them, you'll receive rewards like 3k in gold, 3k in material and 52 officer EXP. I've tried making different battle formations to win this mission, and god bless me I find that my lv6 officer with 42 machine guns (lv3) can kill them. Here's my battle formation: - - - - Lv3 MG*18 - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - Lv3 MG*19 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Lv3 MG*5 Link to game: https://itunes.apple...d512168250?mt=8 Let me know if anyone has other tips to share or tactics that seem to be working for you in the game.
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