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Yuckfu Dev Diary #4 – Gameplay

It’s been a while… I finished the basic gameplay mechanics of my iPhone version of YuckFu just a day after my last post, but hadn’t yet found the time to write about it. So here’s just a short update.

YuckFu iPhoneAs you can see in the screenshot, the game still looks like crap. But that’s intentional (no really, it is). The main focus of YuckFu was always on the gameplay, so thats the first thing I wanted to finish. Just to make sure it works on the iPhone – and it does! A game with good graphics that is no fun to play isn’t worth anything. A game, however, that doesn’t look nice and shiny but is fun to play, is still a good game. Just to clarify: I’m aiming for both, but I’ll still need to tweak some values and let some friends test it before I move on to the graphics side.

And of course there’s on thing still missing: the score. Displaying text in OpenGL applications has always been somewhat tedious. I haven’t yet really looked if OSX provides some different solutions, but as far as I know there are only two viable options: Using a single texture with all glyphs in it (built in Photoshop or whatever), or loading a TrueType font and rendering each glyph into a texture. With both methods you’ll face the same problems: Each glyph has to be stored in memory – this is fine for ASCII characters, but can get challenging with UTF8 characters. So a scoreboard with names consisting of characters outside of ASCII is probably not going to happen for YuckFu. The other problem is the lack of support for “features” like kerning. Even displaying proportional fonts can be a pain. So, maybe I’ll just settle with a retro looking bitmap font – but not before I’ve checked if OSX does indeed have some magic way for solving these problems! Although they are not exactly on the OS side…

Yuckfu Dev Diary #3 – Loading and Displaying 3D Models

After some hours of reading to figure out how exactly the memory management with alloc, dealloc, retain and release works with NSObjects in Objective-C (here’s a good article) and some more hours to get used to the funny syntax, I was finally able to do something with it.

To get my 3D model onto the iPhone, I had to find a data format that is easy to load and can be used directly in my Application without much modifications. I decided to export the model from Wings3D as Wavefront .OBJ file, which is a pretty straight forward ASCII format. I, however, didn’t want to go through the hassle of parsing ASCII data in C, so I wrote a small PHP script to transform this .obj file into a binary format that was ready to be used with OpenGL ES.

This is where the fun starts.

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Yuckfu Dev Diary #2 – Visual Concept

Yuckfu scribbles I haven’t yet elaborated a complete concept of where I want to take Yuckfu visually, but after I did some quick sketches yesterday I decided against 2D graphics for obvious reasons. So, the background, the crates and the character will be drawn in 3D – that is with Polygons and stuff. I won’t change the gameplay with this – you will still see the whole scene from a fixed side view.

Why not 2D graphics then? Simple: if I’d be the one doing them, they won’t look good. I feel more comfortable with doing 3D stuff. My experience with real modeling software however is at a bare minimum. So here’s another thing to learn.

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Yuckfu Dev Diary #1

More than 4 years ago I released my first and (to this date) only game – Yuckfu – to the public. The game’s concept and controls are ridiculously simple and can be grasped in a matter of seconds, but it takes hours to become good at it. The graphic sucks and there’s no audio at all – the gameplay however still feels as fresh as is felt years ago. It still is fun to play despite of all it’s shortcomings.

Why am I telling you this? Well, I have been playing with the idea to redo this game for the iPhone for quite some time now. The iPhone’s capabilities and input methods seem like a perfect fit for it. And with the App Store I might even make a buck with this.

A few days ago I finally downloaded the SDK and tried to get familiar with it. Now that I’m 79€ poorer and actually able to test my desired input method for this game (the iPhone’s accelerometer), I can safely say that it will be a lot of fun – not only to play, but also to develop!

I’m not planning to simply port the crappy graphics over to the iPhone, but to rewrite and re-design the whole game – and to kick myself in the ass a bit while I do so, I decided to blog about the process. Sadly, because of certain circumstances, I’m not able to talk about the iPhone’s SDK too much, so I will try to focus on design and general programming aspects instead.

Since I’m new to Objective-C and OSX programming this will be quite an “interesting” journey. I hope you join me!