[Press release] Pop Corny comes to Android on July 15

Successful iOS independent game Pop Corny comes to Android on July 15, 2012

Larissa, Greece – NLOGN today announced that Pop Corny, the greatly successful indie game for iPhone and iPad, will be released for Android devices on July 15, 2012. Free to download, Pop Corny challenges players to test their reflexes, targeting skills and accuracy as they make popcorn by shoot corn kernels to feed Mr. Pop Corny’s eternal hunger. Set inside a theater or outdoors in the countryside, Pop Corny is a simple, yet highly addictive casual game with gorgeous cartoon artwork, and stimulating salsa beat music. Continue reading

Writing portable code: A process full of gain

Lately I am spending some of my time into porting my game engine to the Android platform. It is a rather refreshing, interesting, rewarding and also frustrating experience. All at the same time. The process helped me learn new lessons and remember some old ones I had forgot.

Getting confortable

First of all I realized once again that we people get comfortable. And oh boy we get comfortable! I remember myself a few weeks back being frustrated with XCode 4 and how it was slow and sluggish compared to XCode 3, how I don’t like the new environment, etc. Well, no more! All it took was a few days in Eclipse. Dialog windows popping up behind the main window, >500ms on most clicks on files, kitchen & sink user interface, can go on forever, and all you really basically get at the end of the day is just a smart editor and debugger that only works for the Java part. Compare that to XCode with its memory profilers, time profiles, filesystem profilers, network profilers, battery optimizers, the very helpful OpenGL state inspector and logger, there is really no relation. I had forgot how it was to develop on other platforms, and how amazed I was initially with the special treatment that Apple gives to developers with its tools. What amazed me more is that I don’t come from such a “comfy“ background. The initial version of Sylphis3D was developed in parallel on Linux and Windows, mostly using no IDE at all, and I never found the tools a problem. As it turns out hardship builds character, while comfortness breaks it.

Portable software is good for you

Building portable software is highly valued in my mind, because it helps you be a better software engineer while making better quality software at the same time. You get to learn many different development environments, understand their design decisions, workaround platform differences, think further ahead, etc. All these require you to get a deeper understanding of your code and your dependencies. Always pushes towards a more organized code structure and reveals bugs that would otherwise go unnoticed until Murphy’s laws decides it is the worst time to trigger.

So if you are a software engineer, don’t get too comfortable with your development and target environment. No matter how attractive that environment makes it! Make your code portable, to keep yourself and the code in better shape. After all wouldn’t it be cool to run your code on a future toaster?!

Beta testers on Android wanted – Ask inside

Pop Corny on Android Sony Xperia X10 Mini

If you follow me online you probably know that the last weeks I have been porting Pop Corny to Android. I can say that it is a great experience and I myself can’t wait to put it out there. I am also going to blog about my experience and will try to provide any valuable information about the process. However the plague of Android that hears to the name “fragmentation” is creeping in, and I need your help to fight it!

Yes that is right, if you have and Android device you can be my soldier. Do you have what it takes? Are you prepared to suffer finger damage from extreme screen swiping? Do you know the history of pop corn? Are you prepared to play a game that will probably crash every 5 minutes and not throw the device out of the window? You do?! Just register on the form and I will contact you with more details:

CLICK HERE TO BECOME A BETA TESTER

To tell you the truth this is going to be more of an ALPHA-BETA testing phase as I don’t have an Android device myself. I did try out 2-3 real devices but it is quite likely to take some time until I can have a stable beta running on most devices. This will require patience on your side. If you are not interested yourself, tell a friend. I will need all the help I can get! If you also happen to have an old device (new ones will do too! 😀 ) that you don’t mind sacrificing in the name of game development, I would gladly accept it as a testing device, and you would gain a special place in the game’s credits and more importantly in my heard. For this contact my directly at my email: harkal at gmail dot com.

Lets get it started!!

C++ Concurrency and Parallelism

One of the blessings and curses of C++ is its Standardization Committee. The bureaucrats that steer the language can surely be both. I admit that I have found myself frustrated with the slowness and lag that C++ can have with catching up with progress, but when I think about it I wouldn’t be able to find a way to move forward such a huge language, with so many different forces pushing for its evolution. Today I read this article about the implementation of threading, parallelism and concurrency in C++, and it can be very explanatory on why questions “y u no standar threading, C++?” don’t have an easy answer.

Link: The Future of C++ Concurrency and Parallelism

Linkz: Things I found interesting

1) Meet the creators of ARM… [or connecting the dots looking back]

“The development board plugged the chip into had a fault: there was no current being sent down the power supply lines at all. The processor was actually running on leakage from the logic circuits. So the low-power big thing that the ARM is most valued for today, the reason that it’s on all your mobile phones, was a complete accident.”

2) C++11: Why start using it

9 reasons you should start using C++11 today. I am sold for sure!

3) Getting Your Game Reviewed: Do These Things, Not Those Things… [yeah right]

“You’ve busted your butt trying to make the game you need to see made. I’m snowed under a pile of applications with too much to do and too little time to do it in. How do you get me, the Judge/Media/Publisher, to review your game for more than 5 minutes??”

4) Edmund McMillen on “manipulative” games

“There is a whole shit load of wrong out there these days, from abusive and manipulative money making tactics, to flat out stealing,”

5) Embracing Dynamism

A post about dynamic scripting languages by the awesome guy at #altdevblogaday by Niklas Frykholm.

Launching on the AppStore in the year 2012

[Also posted on AltDevBlogADay]

Today is somewhat an important day, as it is exactly 60 days since the day I can officially call myself a published indie game developer! It was February 3rd when Mr. Pop Corny rushed (actually it crawled thanks to Apple, but I will get to that below) into the AppStore after an 8 month development time, and the dream came true. So it seems now it is a good time to share some of my experiences regarding launching on the AppStore. I will try to provide some insight that I wish I had from other projects prior to launching my own. Continue reading

Tag Cloud

I had some free time today and got the idea to create a tag cloud with the english reviews of Pop Corny. So I dumped all the US and UK AppStore reviews to a text file and there you go:

I am a statistics junkie.. I know! 🙂

Status update for Pop Corny

Pheuuu! That was a long week that passed. Worked all day for most of the last days to get the update for Pop Corny ready, but I think that it was totally worth it.

Many things were added to the game since the last version 1.2, so much actually that this is called version 2.0! Players will enjoy new stages, new weapons, new bonuses, new objectives, new boxes, on and on. Beta testers were truly excited with it.

The update is now under review from Apple’s trusty reviewers, and I expect the update to be released on Friday. So hold tight.

At the moment I am creating a gameplay video that I will post the day the new release comes out, but I will stop now to go watch the million of dollars that Double Fine has made at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/66710809/double-fine-adventure. They will have a live video stream from the offices as the kickstarter project comes to an end. (only 4 hours left).

My game design hat

One of the main traits that an indie developer must cultivate is that of wearing many hats. All indie game develepers will tell you about it, and it is the first thing you will realise when going indie. Wearing many hats is usually the result of small budgets. Small budgets mean less heads, but equal amount of hats. What I learned through the course of developing my indie game is that your success depends on how well your head fits those hats. Your game will simply be as good as the worst fit.

One of the hats I had to wear for the development of “Pop Corny” was that of the game designer. The closer I had ever come to game design before this, was playing games with a little more inquiring spirit than most players do. This can definitely be interpreted as a bad hat fit. It was clear that in order to have a successful game, I had to find clever ways to improve the fit. This of course could be done by adjusting the head (becoming a better game designer) or by adjusting the hat (adjusting the problem itself to something that I would handle). It was obvious that I had to do the first as much as possible, but without the later I was not going to go far. Continue reading