Wednesday, May 7, 2014

ARGH! I just don't know

I am here feeling down once more.

Tonight I had a few thoughts that would enable me to fix the problem of the builds I am doing not working on my iPad in development mode. I went and checked the current certificate for development I have on my HD under Marmalade 7.2, and I was shocked to see I hadn't copied that certificate file into marmalade at all. This made me happy, YAY! So I did and rebuilt and downloaded to the iPad... Dang, it didn;t install.

Then shortly after this I realized the date of the certificate was just over a year old. OMG, this is great this must be an old certificate as they only last a year. Got the new one downloaded and tried that, rebuilt the package and put it on my iPad. Once again it was a no go :(

A bit later I realised I must need a provisioning file that matches the new dev certificate, I donwnlodaed a new one built with the new certificate. HA! this must be it! However after another rebuild and download, it was again a none install.

I am not certain what is next, I am once again out of ideas.

frustrated once more...

Da Voodoochief

Monday, May 5, 2014

It's a Wall, whaddya want me to do?

Sometimes when I am working on a problem I get stuck. Ok, so maybe it happens quite a lot. Usually when the game development is out of my own control. In my control I can see and simply avoid those blockages and walls before I end up right smack in front of them, wondering how to get over or round or through them.

As it happens I got stuck today, no idea quite how I was gonna get past my problem. The game was crashing very quickly after running and so into the debugger I went. Still the crash simply closed the debugger and I had nothing. So I went for a cup of tea.

After getting the tea I went back to work, this time instead of sitting in front of the problem, it was time to work around it. I set up breakpoints all over the code base (nope I do not know the code base, this is my first time debugging it), everywhere that I felt could run really early, even of course choosing the main() call.

This got me lots of hits and I slowly worked my way through the breakpoints till I crashed. I could then reduce the number I had to a single one very close to the crash. Now I still have a crash, but I feel I am so much closer, and perhaps I can solve that tomorrow.

I am also in this sort of boat with Heroic Simon as well, and I'll be honest and say I am still getting my cup of tea. I have to go back and start the whole iOS certification and Mobile provisioning file stuff all over again, this time taking my time and double checking everything I do. I have no idea why it is wrong, but I am very certain it is that group tasks that make them broken.

Ok, gotta sleep, early mornings for me as I take my daughter to school as the wifey has gone to England for a wedding.

Take care,
Da Voodoochief

Friday, May 2, 2014

Suffering still

I do not have much to say apart from the fact I am still suffering the fact I am unable to deploy my Heroic Simon games to my iPad. I am rather frustrated at this point.

I know that the previous versions worked, before I got Marmalade 7.2. But no one else appears to be having any issues.

Next I know that I changed the mobile provisioning file, and typically that is what causes this kind of install problem. However I have completely redone the certificate and the provisioning files from scratch.

I am simply not sure where to go from here, gah!

Da Voodoochief

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Never simple Eh!

I finished coding the new 'More Games' page in the Heroic Simon App tonight and figured I'd take it for a spin on my iPad. I also wanted to check out the latest fix for Landscape splash screen by Marmalade. It always seems to break every SDK update haha!

Anyway I built it easy enough and then used to upload the game nad it should have been good. Only while I am installing it on the iPad it tells me that it cannot install right now, wanna retry, or try again later. Like something is magically gonna fix this for me, bah!

Now I wonder if it is the latest Marmalade update that has broken the install. I also noticed my iPad wanted an update to 7.1.1 as well. so I will get that going and hope the new Marmalade matches that and it all works ok tomorrow...

wish me luck.

Da Voodoochief

Sunday, April 27, 2014

3 Games at once in Apple Review, Wow!

I am busy at the moment with home improvement projects and work and family and also fixing a bug in Heroic Patterns. The Lite version does not have this bug, but the paid version has a bug. Well in fact it has two bugs. One is the setup of the shared leaderboards, which somehow were not setup correctly for the game. So people buying this version cannot see their high scores and achievements, grrrr. The second bug is that the bonus pattern which is supposed to appear once per day is permanently on, which gives the paid player a huge advantage in the leaderboards.

Along with all that I am working on getting Heroic Simon done and out the door, or at least to Apple test. I am truly close now with all my submission graphics and information done. All I Have to do as I type this is make a test version of the paid and Lite games and upload them to my iPad. Once tested I can then build a version to send to Apple test. It could be quite a time having 3 games in Apple test at the same time!

Oh, I haven't mentioned that my daughter who I am teaching to drive is doing wonderfully and it makes me so proud as I teach her. I believe this is a fantastic bonding experience, and I am sure many parents have felt just as full of pride as I do at this moment. Then along with this I have my son who besides growing ridiculously tall for his age is maturing in a way that makes me so proud. To see him in his boy scout uniform and hear him talk of the focus and effort his has for it is awesome.

Now I know I don't talk about my family usually in my posts, but this weekend has had a lot of my kids in it and I could not be more proud.

Da Voodoochief

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Some days are easier than expected

As I am getting close to getting Heroic Simon for the iOS done and out the door, I realized it was time to do something I am not great at, something I do not fancy doing ever.. The games description or copy.

Within each games submission directory I have a text file that I place all the important submission details into. That way it goes into my revision control system and I never lose it. This text file contains such important information as the key words, and the category the game is going to be published under. It also contains the copy for the game.

Well I steeled myself tonight to start on the copy, come up with some ideas and put them down. Then I can let the ideas percolate for a few days while I struggle to make them make sense when I write them down. Only I was shocked too see, the copy is already done, and it isn't the worst I have ever written, WOOT!

So I have already done this painful task... I am rather pleased about it haha!

Easy night,

Da Voodoochief

Heroic simon is close now

I am finally getting organized enough to get Heroic Simon out the door.

I have had it completed now for several weeks, but been too busy or distracted to get the thing out. Now I am nearly ready. I am not even going to worry this time about a supporting promo video. I have a whole host of ideas, some silly and some smart. I have no idea which to do at this time.

Still the problem I blogged about a few days ago is giving me fits. I cannot seem to get my head around the fact that I have crossed the naming streams I so carefully set up.. GAH!

To get over this annoying issue I have created a text file that I am copying in all the names and references for each game and that gives me hope I can actually sign these games off the correct way and give them the correct crossed provisioning files. It's not like I want the Lite version to go out as the paid version and vice versa, that would be simply wrong.

Well it looks like my subversion backup has just completed, so I am off to bed,

Da Voodoochief

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Heroic Simon and Lite, screwed it up

I have both Heroic Simon and the Lite versions all done and ready for release now. Only I have screwed up something important.

Namely I went to the iTunes connect and created my new App, called it Heroic Simon and attached the game certificate as I am supposed too. Only I attached the Lite certificate to the none Lite name.. So now I have it backwards. This means it will forever be the wrong way around. And if you have ever read much of my blog, you will know how I hate this kind of misnaming or confusion.

I hate multiple directories called the same, such as several data ro bin or tools folders all under the same main directory. It is simply ridiculous and confusing. Naming things incorrectly and using them this way is expedient at first, but you will pay with more time later as you sort this stuff out.

Now I am going to have to create a new production certificate with a name that will show that it is the REAL Heroic Simon Lite, nad the one using the Lite certificate is in fact the Heroic Simon version.. GAH!

I hate this now and I will hate it more later I am sure,

Da Voodoochief

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


I was wondering today what people do for inspiration for their current game, their next game or even to renew their desire to keep on going when to be honest the outlook for success looks bleak.

Myself I use all sorts of external inputs. Be them music or movies or most anything. Cos that is the secret for me.. Pretty much anything I see or o seems to give me inspiration for my next game. Top of the list is probably when I do manual labour. Not quite sure why but somehow getting a sweat on seems to open up my mind, both during and after the work.

Well I know this is a short post, but I just got through creating an area in my garden for my trailer to park, so I have done digging nad leveling and form creation and concreting.  then I got to level more and this morning lay a bunch of gravel... 2400 pounds of gravel from the bed of my truck. It was tiring hard work, but so fulfilling.

Now I am all giddy with inspiration again....

Da Voodoochief

Monday, April 14, 2014

More Games Page

This has been a real bug bear for me lately. I really need to sort out what I am doing for the More Games page. I have decided to go a bit overboard on this page. As I really do think cross promotion is VERY important for my games. After all, I have enough of them....

So to that end... I have created TWO looks of the page. There is two looks as some games are Landscape and some Portrait. So I have set this up for my games to show BIG and WELL.

So that was the Landscape page...
There is my portrait page.
The idea is the same for both of them, but the areas I have laid out for them differ slightly. The bottom area will most likely evenly space out the game icons, and I will have some sort of highlighting for the game on display, then after 3 seconds or so I will fade the current game info out and replace it with the next game in the sequence.
As you can see the areas are
1. Game Big Icon
2. Title (text)
3. Short Description (text)
4. Game representative picture
5. Main game description (text)
With those 5 sets of Data I can set this page up for multiple game pretty easily. I can also then copy the code ad the associated artwork over to any new games, or maybe retrofit it into previous games and update them.
Da Voodoochief

Friday, April 11, 2014

DO one thing, then do another

I know that mantra.. Do one thing, then another and before you know it you have all your work done.

Only I sometimes forget this, or get confused or just pick the wrong 'one thing'.

In my current situation I am struggling with one thing I know I am not good at. I know this because I spend an inordinately large amount of time working on this and when I am done I never quite feel satisfied, though some times I do surprise myself.

I am talking about layout of informational screens. In this case I am busy trying to add a 'More Games' page to my Heroic Simon game and failing because I cannot get a good layout for the Icon and text for multiple games. Such a simple thing.. I have ex workmates who were fantastic at this kind of thing, pity their excellence never rubbed off on me.

On another note.. Last night I renewed my subscription to apple and I am surprised to say that it didn't appear to affect my development in any way, except costing me 100 bucks of course. Maybe I am getting mixed up with my certificate refresh date in November, sure seems like it.

Da Voodoochief

Monday, April 7, 2014

Renewing my Apple Dev subscription

This didn't go well last time. If I remember rightly I answered some box that appeared in a confused manner and it broke my whole setup. thankfully it was a year ago and my memory cannot recall exactly what went wrong.

This could be a bad thing or a good thing depending on ya point of view. Still it has to be done... I am nervous as to what I will break... Still.

I already have Heroic Simon ready to go, though I decided today to create a proper 'More Games' page, and not use the hacked in functionality I currently have. After all I should be cross promoting ALL my iOS games. I also have a friend in England who has just released a really nice game for iOS called Racer8 (go check it out!). I will most likely cross promote that as well. why not, what does either of us have to lose?

Ok, I am not gonna do it tonight as I have worn myself out playing Lego Marvel Heroes on my 360. Yawn....

time for bed,
Da Voodoochief

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Marmalde iOS and Android SDK licenses Available FREE

Still available as I type this Blog post.

C'mon, don't miss out on something that is FREE, and this license is good for a Whole Year!

To Celebrate them going to GDC they have opened up the opportunity to get a FREE community license for a whole year!

Go to that link, the promo code you want is available in their Blog but it is GDCFREE. So once you have logged in and typed in that code, simply click that big Promo button near the bottom. Then hey presto a new 1 year community license, OR an extension of 1 year!

Go on, do it, even if you think you might not use this soon, or ever. It cannot hurt you to be prepared eh!

Da Voodoochief

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Useful Programs List #2

As my last post about programs I use in my development of games was met with such interest, I figured it was time to make a second installment. Here are 4 more invaluable programs. Development was never so easy as it is now.

1. This is my default/go to art program, it does so much and it is Free. It also has a large amount of addons people have written for it that allow it expand it's range of features. Wonderful, even if I am not great with it. Fast, small and a bunch of regular Photoshop features makes this one invaluable. I used to use Gimp before this, but I never liked the program and found using it to be unintuitive and awkward.

2. Notepad++. This is another invaluable asset to any programmer, and once again it is free. I use this most excellent test editor for XML files, for LOG files and pretty much anything that has text in it. It is very customizable as well. A must have asset.

3. Fraps. I love Fraps, for a very small program this pack s a good punch. Allowing me to take screenshots of my games or video in resolution. Like I said it is compact and yet produces a lovely video for me to work from. Also very cheap to upgrade, and the upgrade gets rid of a small watermark on the screenshots or video.

4. Dropbox. Everyone probably already knows what dropbox is and what it does, but for those not in the know. It is a small addition to your system and comes up as directory. You can place data or code or whatever in your dropbox on say your PC and it will appear in your other dropboxes, on your Mac, or you Tablets or Phones etc. This is especially valuable to me when working on a laptop and then moving to my desktop occasionally. Though it's real value is working with a team all over the world. You can invite people and give them access to your sub directories. That enables you to place a piece of artwork in dropbox in Spain and then i'll get it shortly later in America. Brilliant. I also use it to download to my daughters Samsung phone, and to get my game files I build on my PC to the Mac.

Da Voodoochief

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Google Play Leaderboards Display

You know I have just completed creating my 3rd distilled gameplay game, Heroic Simon. These have all been created for the iOS devices. The reason for this is that I didn't want to have to create my own leaderboard display routines and graphics. Whereas the iOS stuff comes with Gamecenter graphics and displaying built in.


It appears that I am wrong about the Android Play SDK. Check out this little gem I found while re-researching this issue.
'In the mobile client libraries, the libraries take care of all the formatting and displaying of leaderboards. You can specify whether a player can see a specific leaderboard, or see a list of all of your leaderboards that they can choose from.'

Woah! Did I just find that they have a default way of displaying the leaderboards for Android. I think it looks like it.

I believe I will be doing some more Android development pretty soon. Though I was waiting to see if one of my distilled games worked out first, just to give me real incentive to get it converted.

Hmm, write the next game or work on converting to Android... Tough decision I reckon.

Da Voodoochief

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

GameTrailers (GT) rules

It's true, I like going to and watching videos. I also like one other aspect of going there as well. Once that I am not sure other people appreciate or enjoy as much as me.

Namely... comments.. Yep, the comments sections on trailers and reviews can be freakin hilarious.

The people that comment a lot on GT tend towards being nasty and derogatory about the videos. At first this was a bit disconcerting, but then I adjusted the way I felt about these people. Now some bring up excellent points, and some bring them up in some horrible ways. Still it is great. My favorite are the entitled peoples comments.

Now I have to add here that the first time I really went to GT was when I had some trailers I created for my Xbox360 games. I got slammed, and that is where I started to learn just how cool the comments from people were. Some are truly funny AND about my stuff. Brilliant.

Everyone knows they cannot please all the people all the time, Heck, it is simply ot possible to please any large group of people any time.

Ok, I am done, but realize I have placed my Heroic Patterns Promo video onto I will add the link to it once it is approved.

Go on, check out a video trailer of a game you like, then go enjoy the comments section, I dare ya!

Da Voodoochief

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Free Marmalade Licenses available NOW!

Yup it's true....

To Celebrate them going to GDC they have opened up the opportunity to get a FREE community license for a whole year!

Go to that link, the promo code you want is available in their Blog but it is GDCFREE. So once you have logged in and typed in that code, simply click that big Promo button near the bottom. Then hey presto a new 1 year community license, OR an extension of 1 year!

Go on, do it, even if you think you might not use this soon, or ever. It cannot hurt you to be prepared eh!

Da Voodoochief

Realease a Game on April 1st?

No Way!

There I was last night working on my Homepage and adding a page for Heroic Patterns when I realized I really didn't want to release Heroic Patterns tomorrow.. erm.. today. On April 1st.

The two main reasons I have is that people might think my game is a joke (some people might anyways!), also I expect people to be too busy downloading real joke apps and stuff to bother with my game. So I have delayed the launch till 3rd April. I sure hope you can all hold out till then!

Still, the web page is done, the setup of the release date is done for both the full and Lite versions in Apples iTunesConnect. So now I need to get ready for marketing, which in this case consists of very little as usual.

Laters everybody, have a happy Aprils Fools day!

Da Voodoochief

Monday, March 31, 2014

Heroic Patterns Promo Video

Finally I have finished wrestling with the frustration of re-creating the promotional video, and also pinnacle 12. This time I took copies of the project as I did each significant piece. Still it worked fine this time.

I hope you like this video. It is a bit of a departure from my normal game promotional videos. This time however I was inspired to be more creative and less amusing with my take.

The most startling thing about this video to me though... is my accent. Yes that is me doing the voice over. I got exactly what I wanted.. and on the first take. whoop... Only 'Is that really my accent?'. Not always so English now it seems.

Gotta go, time for bed,

Da Voodoochief

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Useful program list

I have been asked now again about what software I use to develop my games with. As I think the list is rather longer than I ever expect I figured I would start tonight by writing some on the list tonight. Whilst I try and re-create the Heroic Patterns Promo video.

1. NCH Software Wavepad. This is my go to SFX editor. It is so like most other good ones except it doesn't mess around. It is smartly programmed and works naturally, doing what you expect when you try it's features.
2. NCH software MixPad. This is a multi-channel sound editor. Allowing me to easily overlay various sound effects and music and get the whole lot balanced and sounding right. Then I can simply save it out mixed together, lovely. Again a sharply developed App.
3. Pinnacle Studio 12. This is a poorly programmed piece of software in my opinion, only it is excellently designed and I love that about it. It is my go to movie maker as I can knock stuff out so incredibly fast. But some of the bugs are so annoying and have been around since pinnacle verison2 or so.
4. Prism by NCH Software. This is my sound and music converter. It doesn't simply convert from one format to another. It also allows me to alter quality and pixel resolution of the movie. Great for spot movies on tablets etc.

I think that list about covers my audio and movie editing set of software. I am not sure what list to make next... I'll think about it.

Da Voodoochief

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Stupid Pinnacle Software

Ya know, I love the way Pinnacle works. A single timeline etc and most of it's functions are easy and intuitive to use. But in parts it is simply a piece of crap. Namely it's stability.

I was working hard to get my Heroic Patterns promo video out tonight. It was mostly ready and simply needed a few higher rez screenshots and some tweaking with the transitions to make it about perfect. Today I managed to reveal the current state of it to me mates to see what they thought.

Still tonight however much I would like to finish it, I cannot. It is so frustrating and now it will be done some time over the weekend no doubt. I still have all the parts and I have the render I showed me mates to work from to get back some of the timing.

But ahhh! What a pain

Laters, I need to sleep,
Da Voodoochief

Monday, March 24, 2014

Heroic Simon Background Effects Video

This is a development video of the background effects I created for Heroic Simon. I love the way they turned out.

One of the interesting things that happened was when I created the rivulets from my finger touches. I decided that I would randomly choose a direction either matching the incoming direction or one of the two adjacent directions from this. I figured it would still have the rivulets going in sort of bendy lines away from me. However that was not the case as they tended to go around in circles and such. They were quite fascinating worms really, but not what I wanted. So then I changed the idea to use the direction the rivulet was needed to go and always randomize from that and not the incoming direction. This worked so well you can now see it in the video :)

Da Voodoochief

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Games ready for publishing, I'm not

I knew this day was coming. I knew weeks ago. But dealing with it has just not happened.

I should be truly happy. Both versions of Heroic Patterns has passed Apples review, first time. Only now it means I have to publish the games, which means I am now back to putting out the games and trying at least a little to back them up. This means modified web pages on and doing the promotional video that I have STILL not gotten done, gah!

This should not make me frustrated, yet it is the way I feel.

Heck, I have Heroic Simon done as well. As of today when I achieved the last achievements and final testing was completed, the game could easily go to Apple to review as well. Eeek, I am so behind.

Not quite sure what to do right now, I think get the darned promotional video done is my priority, everything else just might fall into place after eh? Surely?

Da Voodoochief

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Games supporting themselves? You Jest!

I have been playing Marvel Avengers Alliance on now for quite some time. I really enjoy the game, even if it does have it's issues.

Today they announced that the game was going to be closed down in a month. I have to say I am not really surprised by this announcement. It was only a few weeks ago that Disney who owns Playdom announced they were laying off 700 employees. A number of them had to go from Playdom for sure. What it also means is that Playdom MUST look at it's costs on its games and save money. Or put another way, focus on the more viable content and games they have.

Lets look at this for a minute..
on Facebook I did a few PVP seasons and could see that they had 800K to 1.2M players.. WOW!
on Playdom I could see with the same method there were barely 35K players.

I seems to me that supporting maybe 40K players (some did not play PVP) was simply not viable, unless the Playdom players spent a LOT of money on Gold etc. I do not believe the Playdom players did this as they have a low tolerance for what they called Wallet Warriors, never apparently realizing that these WW players were the ones keeping the game going. Playing for free (ad supported play) was never going to support an entire development team.

I really enjoy the game. Yes some of the quality could be lacking, and some of the decisions on balancing were atrocious, but it is good. I like spending time there. Also some of the other players (not the moaners!) are great to chat with. I shall miss them.

Still, to suddenly lose the game in a month is odd.. but in the end the game MUST support the cost of itself. If it does not, how can it exist, or even why should it exist...

all Indie developers face this at some point, once what they do goes out of Hobby costs and into real money. I am glad I am not in that position at the moment. As I struggle to get my Indie games noticed. But it does absolutely mean my games are smaller and less interesting in a lot of ways than I really want them to be....

Space Invaliens is such an example...

good night,
Da Voodoochief

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Mythic Mahjong by my mate Chris

I am very lucky to call a guy named Chris a good friend. We have been in this industry now for many many years. He is a talented guy that recently finished up his first Marmalade created game for tablets. Today I received an informational email from marmalade and I see his app is featured. Here is a copy from the email I got.

As you can see is game is the bottom right one.. WOOHOO! Congratulations mate, it is a fantastic game that hopefully will do well.

Here is a link to the official Marmalade promotional site. Mythic Mahjong iOS.
Here is the facebook page link...  Facebook Mythic Mahjong.

I hope everyone loves this game as much as me and my wife do. Now go get yours!!!!

I am very excited to see what Chris can produce as his next finished game.

Da Voodoochief

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Again with the Leaderboards

I cannot get away from them haha.

My new queuing system works great. So when a game ends I can add as many leaderboards updates as I want. So I realized today that I should add another. Yup, you heard me right. So off I went tonight and added another one, this one records the best rounds reached in each difficulty.

Ahh I love them so much :)

Next up will be to do some achievements for the game. this time I want to create slightly more interesting ones than in the last two distilled games I did. Simply basing them all on score is a tad boring if ya ask me. I will be thinking about these over the next few days.

So what's left for Heroic Simon?
1. Get the game its own advert ID
2. Get the Achievements created and into the game
3. Finish up the button pressed effect
4. Work on the copy
5. Work on the web site for pre-release.

Not a lot to do eh! Yes, the game is very close to being complete. Meanwhile Apple is testing Heroic Patterns the paid version.

The only complaint I have right now is that I asked Apple to reset my leaderboards for Heroic Simon, and the web page says it will be done in a day.. but it is still not zero'd out. Not sure who I should complain to about it either, gah! I need them reset, as I have a score incorrectly placed into the number of games played.

Da Voodoochief

Monday, March 17, 2014

Doh! on number of Leaderboards

In my previous post of course I mentioned that I needed 18 leaderboards.

In fact that was a mistake, I only needed 12, as to of those types I imagined as different, were in fact the exact same information. Namely I thought personal best score per difficulty and best score per difficulty were different.

Of course now I know they are the same thing, I realized once I actually called the leaderboard code to upload the values, and I was uploading the same value for both. DOH!

I didn't want to delete the leaderboards I have setup already. So I have come up with another idea to use them for. so I went back to iTunes connect and very quickly rewrote the descriptions. So now I have some new leaderboards to play with.

Da Voodoochief

Sunday, March 16, 2014

App setup, it was time consuming

ok, so setting up the App itself was not time consuming. The main app setup went quite well as I placed a bunch of placeholder pictures and information into it. The only thing I really had to do was add more to the description, as apparently there is a minimum requirement for the description of ten words. Simple to just type in a sentence of waffle haha!

The thing that was really time consuming however was the setting up of the leaderboards. It was the whole reason for setting up the app Now in the first place. So once I had the App created it was time to add the leaderboards. I was not ready for just how long this was going to take....

I had 18 leaderboards to add. They break down like this:-
  • Total score per difficulty level (there are 6 of them)
  • Best score per difficulty level (obviously 6 of them)
  • Best personal score per difficulty. (again x6)
That means setting up 18 leaderboards. Now it is not very difficult to set up a leaderboard on iTunes Connect. Apple have done a wonderful job of that. Only they appear to have missed out the clone or duplicate existing leaderboard button. If I had this button I could make the first one and then simply clone another 17. Then I could go and make the slight alteration to the names.

What I don't understand is why Apple don't have this feature. You know, clone how many times and increment the name would be easy enough to implement, and Who just has a couple of leaderboards in their games? I would expect the number of them I am using to be quite small. In the end I feel that apple could improve this area of their App seup, and then they can do the same thing to the Achievements setup.

Laters, gotta go setup the leaderboards in game now they have had time to spawn across the internet.. or applenet.

Da Voodoochief

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Setting up an Apple App

I don't know why, but I really dislike having to create a new app in iTunes connect.

I simply want to setup my App by name, then add what I need to when I have them. Instead I have to setup a bunch of stuff right away, though I can them come in later and add or alter the assets. I am just not sure why I need to have so much ready at the beginning.

Now a friend told me I do not have too. In fact he said that I can upload any images, and who cares if they are blank images. also he mentioned that you don't really need copy, just a sentence or two.

As I am doing this at this time for the requirement of using Leaderboards for Heroic Simon. I feel that maybe I should try his nonchalant method of setting up an app. Wish me luck :)


Da Voodoochief

ps. I have now uploaded Heroic Patterns (non ad paid version) to apple for test.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Sfx are cool, like bow ties

I enjoy putting in sfx for my games. Recenttly I have not had to do that for Heroic Patterns, as I did not feel I could do the game justice with my Sfx library. they would have had to have been more custom and maybe dynamic.

So here I am working on Heroic Simon and it is the perfect game for adding in some Sfx to enhance the gameplay. Not just enhance, but also help people distinguish more easily what is going on.

It has taken me well over an hour to find and grab the Sfx I need for the game (A list I made at lunch time). Then maybe another 30 minutes or so to process all these Sfx for the game. Processing the Sfx includes adding echo or other effects if needed, and then normalizing them to the correct volume.

Tonight I have also spent about 60 minutes on getting them into the game. Although they all appear to be playing now (after an awkward start), but not really playing at the right times. For example the two result Sfx, correct & wrong, both play when you got a match, but neither play when you didn't.

I am so tired now tonight that I will have to come back to this tomorrow. I am expecting another hour and the Sfx will all be in and working satisfactorily.

Da Voodoochief

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Heroic Patterns Lite Passed Apple

At 11:27am this morning I got an email telling me that Apple had placed Heroic Patterns Lite 'in review'.

At 2:39pm this afternoon my next email told me that the game was 'in processing for the App store'. Woohoo, it passed first time!

At 4:09pm I received another email telling the game was ready 'Ready for Sale'.

I think it has been a good day. Now I need to go and grab the Ad free version and get that passed. Once that is ready for sale, I will release the games at the same time.

A truly busy day at work today, but a pleasure to see this progression with my latest App.

Da Voodoochief

Monday, March 10, 2014

Something is better than nothing

Finally I am over the hump I wrote about previously. to do this I simply chose what would be the easiest option (or very close to it). This has enabled me to move on with the rest of the game code and I am now once again making headway on the game.

I have to say that although I have chosen the easiest way out, it is not looking too bad. Though I will have to change the method I am using to bring on the information test (instruction/prompts). Even my daughter doesn't like the way I scroll them in from the right side.

I also started to add in the score today, though I do not have a scoring method hooked up as of now. So everything is zero.. haha!

I also need to go and setup my leaderboards on Apples connect, but that will have to wait a bit till I get some form of scoring in I think.

More tomorrow for sure, I feel like I am on a roll again.

Da Voodoochief

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Creative Carnage

It really is a simple blockage in my creative side. All I need is to design this simple item and Whammo I can write the code to make it all happen, and then follow that with the rest of the games code.

Alas I have hit a blockage this weekend. A Simple thing, where all I need is to design how I will help instruct the player about the current mode of the game. This is a new thing and not part of my original design. In the original design the player would be guided around the various modes the game is in by simply lighting up the active section and low-lighting the inactive sections. I felt that would be great an work well. There are various reason why this is now not enough, and one of the main reasons is the wonderful background and it's activity, is simply distracting from this original design. So what to do now? Well put something up that tells the player what is going on.

The thing is the game layout is not designed with a message in mind. So instead I will have to make something up that fits well enough and doesn't look entirely stupid. So annoying.

As I have spent this entire weekend dithering and second guessing all my ideas, I feel like it has wreaked carnage over what I would have achieved if I had solved this problem fast...

This is the way it goes some times when working on designs...

Da Voodoochief

Thursday, March 6, 2014


Great word that one. Love it, and cannot get enough of it.

In this case I was collaborating today with my artist friend. I finally got a version of the game up and running on the iPad and this allowed us today to go over the very few changes that I wanted.

As it happens the version of the game I got to the iPad is a version with no gameplay at all. It really is the games graphics laid out properly. That way if the artist wants to move stuff around, then this is a good time, before I write any code that could possible care about such things. though of course I try hard to make my code not reliant on fixed positions of anything. I love defines and tables of positions etc. So this version had all the graphics in it, but also it had flashing input buttons to show just how good they will look.

Next up is to write some of the actual game code. From here gameplay will exist....

That will give me even more to collaborate with my artist on.

Da Voodoochief

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Raining in my game

While I am patiently awaiting Apple to test Heroic Patterns Lite. I am not standing still... Ok, I am sitting still instead haha. Working on Heroic Simon.

The artist came up with a great look using Hexagons all over the place and covering the background of the game. So from this we came up with an animation that looks like rain, only it is raining hexagons instead. Today I got that effect going and then added an effect trail and also colored the rain. Man, am I happy with the way it looks so far. I hope the artist will be happy as well. Now as it happens I tried to video this effect using Fraps. Somehow, or for some reason Fraps no longer captures the simulator properly, instead every other frame is bright yellow, most odd.

So unfortunately I do not have a video for ya to look over. though I did want to mention something about this 'rain'. It falls down the screen and can fall either left or right to the next adjacent and lower hexagon. So I did this randomly and at the moment I am wondering if I should some form of AI to keep these rain droplets straighter down the screen. It is quite possible for them to make the same choice 20 times in a row and I watch the droplet slide off to the side, though it doesn't look bad, I am not sure if this is what I want.

The above image shows my colored rain droplets heading down the screen. I hope people like them, I think they have a nice look to them.

Da Voodoochief

Monday, March 3, 2014

Getting going again

Although I still suffer from Bronchitis I am on the mend, just slowly.

Yesterday of course I uploaded Heroic Patterns Lite version to apple for them to approve. Once that is passed I will get the paid version up and tested. I already set it up with no ads and it's own mobile provisioning files etc. So now it simply needs to be uploaded. However I won't do that until the Lite version is passed, cos it would be stupid to submit them both and maybe get the same bug for them both reported back. Ok, it's cos I am a bit lazy haha!

Next up though is my Heroic Simon. I already have some mock graphics from my artist friend and once I get setup properly I will create a version of the game for the iPad so he can see his graphics in use. Then after that I will get to write the game. As you can tell, even though I am not truly q00%, I am getting things moving again.

And on that note I am also working on the design for the title after Heroic Simon, though I have no real name, I have a couple of nicknames like, RoboZilla and Robo walker. So back to being busy, and I am also working on the redesign of my kitchen.

Laters all,
Da Voodoochief

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Why wait

I have had Heroic Patterns Lite ready now for several days. Though I have been worrying over the game description that goes with the game rather more than I would like too. In fact what I have is pretty crap, but in the absence of anyone doing it for me, I will simply have to go with what I have created.

I am not the fondest of working with Macs, not that they are bad, only I am not experienced at all with them.. I mean virtually nothing in all these years of working on games and computers. So when I think about connecting up my Mac cube and finding the program to run to upload a new game binary I can procrastinate really easily. This is what has happened these last several days. Well today was the day I decided I was gonna face my Mac. As it happens I had already left it connected up to one of my desktop computers monitors, so all I had to do was turn the thing on and grab the mouse and keyboard.

When the machine booted up I looked at the screen in a confused manner (you know, head cocked to one side) because it had a window already on the screen and it was for the uploading of a binary. Whhahhh? I thought. This is what I needed to find. Well lets see if it works. I clicked a few buttons and selected the only game available for upload, Heroic Patterns Lite. Then selected the file I had created and placed into dropbox. Then whammo it was on it's way.

I would say 5 minutes after booting up the Mac I was done. the binary had gone and was awaiting review and so I researched and setup the mouse curser movement speed (it was way too slow). So I learn't something useful as well about Macs :)  Good eh!

So now Heroic Patterns Lite is in Apples review hands. I hope it goes through smoothly, but one can never tell.

wish me luck,

Da Voodoochief

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Screenshot is easy right?

Every game needs screen shots. In fact Apple and Google and all game portals require them. they want them to conform to certain ideals, namely resolution and factual depictions of the gameplay etc.

Every time I need to create these screen sots I have to decide what I am going to show in them, as I BELIEVE that the screenshot is the single most important marketing item, it has to be right. Though what makes a screenshot right? well there are many opinions about this, but for me I try to make them honest and as exciting as I can. Screenshots full of action etc, though sometimes too much action can make a screenshot too complicated for a prospective buyer to know what the game is doing. Still I rather like action over boring....

This brings me to Heroic Patterns and grabbing screenshots for the iTunes store. It wasn't as easy as one expects.. haha.. Here is my story.

I wanted to grab my iPad screenshots, and they are 768 x 1024 resolution, only my desktop on my laptop is only 960 high. Gah.. how can I do a screenshot grab when part of the screen is off the bottom of my desktop. Well I cannot obviously. Traditionally I have simply used a scaled down image and grabbed that, then scaled it back up to size. This produces a blurry image and does not do real graphics justice to any degree at all.

To solve this I figured I would create a windows version of my game and put it onto my network at home so I could use my desktop to do the screen grabs. This idea was upended in a rather startling fashion to me. It seems Marmalade altered their license at some point in the recent past and now I am not allowed to create a windows version. This makes me so sad as it has always been great for me to get people to test the game for me. Of course I can still use the PC simulation, but that is not the same as being able to create a stand alone PC version. This new turn for the Marmalade License has made me very sad, and I cannot say I understand their move at all. Now I would have to spend 1500 bucks to be able to create a PC version, WTF!!!! is all I can say....They say the PC license is for established companies.. I have no understanding of what they are thinking at

Anyway, back to my screenshots... what am I to do? Well I came up with what I think was a really clever idea :)

My idea was to change my desktop to sideways. This was easy enough to rotate the display 90 degrees in the settings. Then I turned my laptop 90 degrees on my lap. I have to say it is really hard to use a keyboard from the side like that. In fact it feels completely alien to have the keyboard at the angle. Still I run the simulation in this mode and grab my full scale screenshots. To work on them I rotate my desktop back to normal, and eventually after doing this over like 3 times I end up with my screenshots. Phew.. what a pain eh!

But I got them through determination and ingenuity, both words I love, and here is an example...


Da Voodoochief

Monday, February 24, 2014

Promo video for Heroic Patterns

I have been really busy tonight, but didn't do a lick of programming haha!

Instead I have delved into the creative side of what my next promotional video will have in it. I tend to like to keep these videos short, and as amusing as I can. I am not great at this, but the creative side of me loves to do it.

So tonight I have written down what I hope will turn out to be my video. I have the layout the locations and what the people will say etc. Like a real script in fact (well in my imagine of one).

My manpower is low and I really want to get it done asap, so I have come up with places to film that I am likely to be in the next several days. such as the park, or the street or my living room, haha! Brilliant isn't it.

The actors will all be my family of course and maybe even a cameo appearance of my cat... though that depends on her cooperation of course.. hmm, so not too likely haha!

I will hopefully start filming it this week, or weekend.. depending on rain.

Tomorrow it will be time to go over my Heroic Patterns Lite version of the game and get it ready for uploading to Apple test... oooh, excited!

Da Voodoochief

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Been a while

Yup, been a while since my last post. I know you are all aware of this.

I have been ill with the Flu which got better, or mostly did. Then I still had a cough. I wasn't too worried about the cough of course until it turned into something the Dr is calling Asthmatic Bronchitis. Which I can tell ya really took it out of me this last week.

I am now on some steroid drugs and an inhaler.. And I think I am getting better.

Still it has mean't I have done nothing on my games development. work was hard enough, and I couldn't manage all my days there either.

I am back.. sort of getting back anyway. This means I am now trying hard to get Heroic Partterns done and dusted and sent to Apple for approval. This is way later than I intended, but better late than never eh!

So I am close, the Heroic Patterns Lite version is very very close, and though my full version is crashing at this time, I should be able to fix it once I focus on that, rather than the lite version.

My aim is to release both the Heroic Patterns games at the same time, the only difference between them being that the Full version does NOT have ads in it. So a much cleaner interface of course.

Ok, I am done for tonight.. I will hopefully be able to get stuff done once more and post again about it all.

Good night,
Da Voodoochief

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Whats in a name?

Most importantly I want the name to reflect the gameplay inside it. Especially for Distilled games, as that is part of being distilled after all.

However with my new game Heroic Simon there is definitely a thought or two that this will be bad for me from a copyright standpoint. From what I can discern 'Simon' by itself is a registered trademark for the game/device. So I think I am safe.

A trick I tend to use to find out if I can get away with a game name is to research what games are currently out there with a similar name. There are several examples of simon this or this Simon etc on the App store, so once again this helps me not worry too much.

I also believe in a backup plan though. Mine is going to be that if I get a cease and desist order and it looks legit, then I will argue my case, and if in the end I must change my games name, then I will get the logo altered to include the small word of 'says' inside it, and rename the game to Heroic Simon Says. Pretty simple really. But I always like a plan.

Da Voodoochief

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Heroic Simon will be distilled game #3

Although I have to bring my current games up to the 7.0 apple SDK standard (which means the Marmalade 7.1 SDK), I have decided after much designing which game will complete my series of three distilled games. It was a tough choice and I had 7 designs going into this last phase, only one could be chosen.

Here below is my mockup of the screen. this is what I gave to the artist who will be working on this game.

As you can see, this is my mockup, and the one that the artist will use to create something spectacular, something I am not capable of. We did discuss some ideas of how we could make this look not only interesting, but also make it alive, something I did in both the other distilled games.

But first I need to upgrade Heroic Buttons and Heroic Patterns, and then get Heroic Patterns through Apple testing.

Da Voodoochief

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Heroic Buttons Post Release Thoughts

My first thought is that the game did not do as well as I had hoped. I really think my facebook friends helped me out a bunch and downloaded the game. Which I think is fantastic. However anyone can easily see from the number downloaded that apart from my direct connections I never managed to get many people to download the game.

That is a disappointment. It means several things.
1. Not enough awareness/advertising.
2. No anticipation of release.
3. Marketing copy/Game description is not working.

Now I think that number 1 and 2 are fairly obvious, and simply need more time and effort by me to make them better. But lets look at number 3 in a bit more detail. This is a very important one, as it will impact both of the other two reasons.

My copy was a straight forward push to attract attention in a non sensational way. OK, so I tried for sensational and came up way short of that. I really think the copy should be challenging and confrontational.. Only I was not able to write that and get those ideas to come across. I tried a few times and it was always wishy washy. Now if only me mate Paul had written it, I would bet it would be sensational and confrontational etc.. When I release the next update I will try hard to get a better copy and I will look forward to seeing how that will effect my downloads. I still believe that a lot of people will have seen my game and simply passed it up as it didn't come across as interesting enough to download.

Ok, that's it for tonight. I need to finish up some more work on my Heroic Simon design.
Da Voodoochief

Monday, January 20, 2014

Heroic Buttons Indicators and Sales data

I figured that today was time. Time to show and tell about the indicators for the sales of the game.

1. Silly promotional video on youtube. Viewed 19 times in 9 days.
2. Silly promotional video on vimeo. Viewed 24 times in 10 days.
3. GameCenter Leaerboards. 44 people on the leaderboard after 9 days.

You know I was really disappointed with the 44 people in the leaderboard. I dreamed of a hundred after the first day. I had visions of a thousand after a week. The reality is much more humble. This is after all a game made for Leaderboards, virtually wholly made for them.

As for the video views, I am of a mixed mind. If there had been more video views than downloads, then I would be upset that the video did not attract people to download the game. In this instance though I feel that people who viewed the video probably checked out the game.

I have been watching these indicators all week, and I did not go near the real download data on iTunes.Connect until today.

116 downloads, and 90 of them in the first 2 days. No longevity of advertisement, of notifying the downloading public that my game is now live and out there.

I will follow this post up another time with thoughts on this, only I wanted to keep this more informative than theoretical.

Da Voodoochief

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Grouped iOS leaderboards, hmmm

I realized a few days ago I hadn't setup my other half of the Heroic Buttons game. By this I mean that I need to create an Ad free version that I charge money for. This has several main effects for me.

1. I get money for bought versions of the game.
2. I now get double the exposure for the game.
3. Prospective players can now see that getting the free version has some value. (compared to paid version).

After realizing this I decided I needed to make sure I can share the leaderboards and the achievements between the games, as they are quite separate games within iTunes. After looking into the iTunes.connect manage apps area it was easy to spot there is a way to setup the leaderboards etc as a group so the can be used by more than one game. BRILLIANT I thought. Let's do it.

This is where I had a problem.

Maybe YOU have experienced this and have an answer to my predicament.

My issue is that it informs me that it will convert my leaderboards into a group leaderboard, and that I should use the grp.Name to reference them. I don't know how I can do this without breaking the game I have in release now. Also if I create a new version I will have issues as that won't work properly until I change the leaderboard references. Bah!

So I am stuck, and not sure what to do about this right now.

Any ideas?

Da Voodoochief

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Downloaded Heroic Buttons for iOS yet?

I am asking everyone I know to download the game for any of their iOS devices...

So Have YOU downloaded it yet? then when ya have it if you bring up GameCenter you can rate it by pressing the stars. go for 5 I say :)

I will be doing a progress report on whats happening with the game possibly on Wednesday, though Thursday would be a better day to choose as then the game will be out a week. That will give probably more balanced information. So far all my indicators are very disappointment.

Download link is here!

I hope you give it a try.

Good Night,
Da Voodoochief

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Heroic Buttons Forum Postings #1

Today was the day I was going to start posting my game description to forums and iOS fan pages.

It started badly with me forgetting what my passwords are for a few of the excellent sites I had researched. Still how hard can it be to retrieve them? Not too bad, but still more time consuming than  I wanted. Then I had real difficulty trying to figure out one of the sites ( handled new release posts, I saw several of them all nicely formatted. a bit of research tonight showed me how it is all done with some nice tags they have for posting such information. Still I struggled to get my ID setup correctly.. I have no idea why I suffered to be honest.

This morning I updated my Web pages to reflect the new release. That is here...

Then I got the iFans post setup. This gets posted to a holding thread tank before someone in authority places it into the correct forum. Not a bad system if it is being monitored in a timely fashion. It is a nice site though that seems to help a lot of people with their questions. I hope my receives some notice.

Finally tonight, after a very tiring day at work I got to try out the toucharcade site once more. I failed first time as I wasn't allowed html to format my post and this confused me. Still I now know that the site is really well setup with scripted tags to make the posting job so much easier. This is a very popular and busy site that offers a lot. Check out the post.

And along with my Facebook page that is all I have managed to get done so far. More tomorrow I hope.

Da Voodoochief

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Heroic Buttons is Released

Finally it is time for me to release my first Distilled gameplay game. The first one in my series of 3 games.

I hope you will download it and enjoy its simplicity and openly accessible gameplay.


Currently only available for the iOS devices. Here is the Link in the iTunes store.

Heroic Buttons on iTunes

and Here is the Silly Promotional Video.

Heroic Buttons Promotional Video from Robert Toone on Vimeo.

Hope you have fun and get to own your friends on the GameCenter leaderboards.

Laters all, I have a busy time ahead promoting the game now,
Da Voodoochief

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Heroic Buttons Logo

This is the games Logo.

I think it looks pretty spiffy and it was created by my mate Paul. Nice one mate. This also allowed us to theme the game in a blue color, which I think was even cooler when I themed Heroic Patterns in Red.

This one was created by me mate Sean. He is a talented artist and it was good fun working with him on creating the look for the second Distilled gameplay game.

I am still expecting to launch Heroic Buttons tomorrow night. So be ready, i'll be tweeting and Facebooking (is it called that?). I really want a whole lot of downloads if at all possible.

Da Voodoochief

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Heroic Buttons to be released this week

The kids go back to school this week, and that I am hoping will be my catalyst to getting Heroic Buttons published. I have been working on getting Heroic Patterns ready for Apple to give the once over and I think it is ready. I should get my Mac out I suppose and upload my latest Binary.. still no hurry, as I want to put out Heroic Buttons and have that out for at the very least 2 weeks before the new game is released. Still, having that already passed by Apples inspectors is no bad thing.

My plan now is to go over all my accumulated screenshots and copy and see if there is something else I should add. But in all honesty I think I am ready.

Ok, done now. Going to go check my stuff out...

Wait though.. I just realized that I have no advertisement for the other Heroic games. Such as Heroic Patterns. Hmm, what should I do? Not like I have the publishing info already for Heroic Patterns. So I reckon there will simply have to be a Heroic Buttons update when I go live with the Heroic Patterns game.

Da Voodoochief