There are many new opportunities for independent developers to publish their work through the Intel AppUp Store. With DarkBASIC Professional and DarkGDK, you can have the tools to create quality content.
The Game Creators (TGC) already have some success stories to share with you, and more ventures are coming to fruition soon too.
Firstly we can tell you about some iPhone apps that we have very quickly converted to work on Netbooks.
First seen on the iPhone, this game has a much larger screen on a netbook which allows more of the pitch to come into view. Enjoy the bigger screen game but with the portability retained in this netbook version. We are also releasing a FREE version that lets you have a taste of the game.
This is another game that made its TGC debut on the iPhone and will shortly be available for your netbook with the simplicty of the AppUp install process. It's nice and bright outside and the Looney is stuck inside with nothing but the voices in his head to keep him company. Looney is making a run for it; only one thing stands in his way - you! This turn based game with its great lunatic voice over will make you laugh and challenge your ability to think ahead like a crazy. Another crazy thing is the price of this app - it's FREE!
This is a great game that has ported really well from iPhone to Netbook. You control Mr Dork, a small pencil drawn chap who needs to escape the pages of a kids homework folder. You help him by drawing him pen lines that guide him to an exit in the page. It can be a very challenging game and has many surprises across the 60 levels.
TGC Community Games
The Game Creators recently asked forum members with suitable games to get in touch, with a view to helping them publish their creations through the AppUp store. We already have three games ready to go.
The first one - Towers - placed highly in our Puzzle Competition a few years ago, and was described by one of the judges as "pure class". Build circular towers, brick by brick in a Tetris-inspired puzzler. The pieces drop from above and you can spin the tower around to put them in place (you can also rotate the pieces of course). Thankfully this isn't as complex as it sounds - the pieces don't rotate in 3D for example, it's more just a 360 degree Tetris build, and a far better and most addictive game because of it.
The second game is Netboku, which as it's name suggests is a Sudoku based puzzler designed specifically for Netbooks. The graphical presentation is spectacular, and with the help of TGC it is now AppUp-enabled and ready to play. The Game Creators experience in this field ensures that all aspects are covered, from testing and building a robust application to marketing the product successfully.
The most recent game to enter the fold is Tilted Video Poker.
The author of this game gives his own account of how he developed the game in just under a month:
When I first saw the details about the AppUp store and that TGC were looking for games to submit to it during March, I originally offered my previous game, Space Aliens From Space. Whilst TGC liked the game and suggested it could be submitted, I learnt of some of the requirements of the AppUp Store and realised that it would not be possible to make the game compatible with the netbook and develop it further to reach the standards expected of it in time for the end of March; so I asked TGC if a video poker game would be a good idea. I had written a video poker game about four years previously so I knew essentially what was involved at a gameplay level at least. I came up with video poker because most importantly I knew that I could accomplish it within the three weeks I had available and because video poker as a concept is likely to be well established in customers' minds and that they would be familiar with it.
So I had to make a video poker game. Sounds easy? I don't think so! One thing I knew is how the gameplay was going to work. This was clearly defined in my mind and I knew that for an application to sell well, it has to look and sound great too. My initial approach to the project was based on this, I knew it had to look flashy and eye catching whilst at the same time being a clean and transparent interface. I took the bold step of coding a rudimentary engine to handle the visual elements of the game first. In a sense I made the polish and dropped a game in it. My original intention was not to make just a video poker game, but to make a whole selection of casino card games using a single graphical theme running throughout them. This sort of thing is made so much easier with the use of GDK and C++ because you can define and implement a nice, solid object-oriented structure. In the end however, time caught up with me and I knew it would not be possible to make all four games that I wanted to make, at the level of quality I was striving for in the time that I had left, so I had to make the decision to make it JUST a video poker game.
The practical upshot of keeping in my object oriented and highly modular code is that if I now want to quickly produce another type of card game, I can do it very quickly and keep the same graphical theme that is in my Video Poker game.
For the most part in development I was working on my home PC which has a resolution of 1280x960 (which is a 4:3 display) and quite a beefy graphics card. I did NOT have a netbook available to test my code on. So I made my game, and I thought it was truly amazing. I got a few people I know to test the game and they pointed out problems and flaws in the game and I fixed them, and then it was time to send it over to TGC for reviewing. The first reply I got from TGC knocked my spirits a little bit. He said that the app suffered from slow loading times and crashed often and there were graphical glitches and that the windowed app took up the whole screen and therefore some of the graphics were obscured by things like the start menu and the taskbar. This all happened when there was less than a week left until the deadline.
I begged my friend to let me borrow his notebook for a few days and I just spent 40 hours in just two days getting it all to work properly. I had to put the application into full screen exclusive mode on the netbook, which presented a whole array of new problems. I had another problem with my playing cards, which were 3D objects drawing incorrectly on the netbook, which after some research and head scratching I figured out to be the aspect ratio of the camera. Eventually I got it all working and I sent it off to TGC for reviewing. A few more small problems had to be figured out and solved and eventually I got a final version sent to them.
One thing that was involved with the submission process was providing to TGC three copies of my program; an unhindered version for debugging and testing, a version with authentication and debug code, and of course a release version with authentication code for the store.
Working on this project has taught me many things:
- Scheduling time is so important, make sure you don't run out of time, and don't forget to take time out.
- Having all of your gameplay clearly defined and planned out before you start is vital, so you can program your app in full knowledge of the requirements of your game and without losing direction.
- Always be aware of what your customer expects of the application, and the quality that the application has to be. Don't be afraid to ask for feedback. Constructive criticism might seem harsh, but in the end, this is what makes your application the best it can be.
- Make sure you get as many people as you can to help you test. They will point out flaws that you might not see and somebody will always complain that something doesn't work in the app. Most of the bugs in my app were discovered by other members of the forum attempting to break my program.
- Have fun doing it. If you are not having fun then what is the point!
To find out more about using Dark Basic Pro (which now has a FREE version) and Dark GDK in your game development visit our site here: www.thegamecreators.com