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Syzygy Update

  Posted by jwezorek, 10 February 2013 · 952 views

So, looking at the early entries of this blog, I must have started working on Syzygy around the beginning of the year 2012 because by March 2012 I had the Win32 prototype done. At that time, I didn’t own a Macintosh, didn’t own an iOS device, had never heard of cocos2d-x, and, professionally-wise, was still writing image processing code for a company in Seattle. Since then that company was killed, and I moved from Seattle to Los Angeles … but anyway as of today, about a year later, I have the primary functionality of Syzygy running on my iPad, re-using the source code, mostly, from that prototype. I haven’t really been working on it the whole time — there was a lot of moving-to-California in there somewhere, but here’s a screenshot (click for full-size):

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There’s a common question in the mobile games forum of gamedev.net: “How can I make a game for iOS only using Windows?”. The answer to this is either (1) you can’t or (2) write your game to Marmalade or cocos2d-x on Windows and then when you are done get a friend with a Mac to let you register as an Apple developer, build under Xcode, and submit to the App store. I always say (1) is the serious answer and if you are unserious, or want to develop a really simple game, then go with (2). Basically I say this because you need to run your game on a device frequently and early, and I’m seeing the truth to this now.

Now that I have Syzygy running on a device I’m seeing issues with input which are artifacts of running on an iPad. The prototype implemented mouse input as a stand-in for touch input. It turns out touch screens and mice aren’t the same thing. The game plays on the device, but when you drag tiles your finger is in the way of the tile visually. You can’t see the tile you are dragging — this seems like it wouldn’t be a big deal, but it kind of is. … this sort of thing is the reason, in my opinion, that if you are not testing on a device during primary development then you are not being serious… (However, I'm under the impression that you need a Mac to even deploy to a device; there was a thread on Gamedev in which someone was saying that you can deploy to an iOS device from a PC, so YMMV...)

So not sure what I’m going to do about this, I’m thinking of making the tile the user is dragging larger and offset upper-leftwardly while the user is dragging it. The problem with this is to make it look nice I’d have to have large versions of all the relevant art and some of it I don’t even really remember how I rendered in the first place…

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I like that you are sharing the lessons you learned. I thought writing apps for non-iPhone would be the same as writing foe and iPhone. It was not. You have to take into account all of the different screen sizes out there when not on an iPhone.

I like the idea of showing an enlarged version of the tile.

You could also run OSX in a virtual machine on a windows box. I had this working a long time ago, the only thing I couldn't seem to get to work was the audio. This was years ago so I am sure someone has figured that out now though.

I have a Mac Mini now that I can switch over to with a KVM that I pretty much only use for development, so this part of it isn't a problem for me anymore. I was just making the general point that there is a lot more to getting a game working correctly on a mobile device then getting a prototype working on Windows.

I would agree that a project needs to be tested on the hardware it is designed for in order to catch issues early in development.

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