Since I began working at a local iPhone start-up in Waterloo in January, things became very exciting. The world of mobile development (game development in particular) was suddenly wide-open to me, and I couldn't have been more charged about the possibilities.
Cost. So excited and optimistic, in fact, that I purchased an iPhone shortly after starting. No regrets there ? my old little Android-touting HTC Dream was a nifty device, but was short on horsepower. By the end of February, I had bought myself a MacBook Pro. Under a month later, I had purchased an Apple Developer License. And still, just a brief two months or so after that, I caved and coughed up the dough for a brand new iPad. It takes very little arithmetic to see that this adds up to quite a lovely little bit of spending. The saying of Apple's products being like gateway drugs to MORE Apple products is absolutely true. To a newcomer like myself, tasty tidbits like OS X, the iPhone OS, the App Store, and sleek UI everywhere was incredibly appealing. Especially coming from a Linux-heavy background, where aesthetics was not always a primary focus. Being a developer on Apple platforms is not cheap, but the App Store in particular does reach a staggeringly massive customer base.
Boxed in. Apple has created a rather pretty little world for us consumers to live in, should we invest in their hardware ? and thus, their software. The novelty does wear off though after living in this world for a few months, at least for me, and that's when Apple's closed system philosophy starts to wear on you. I've been using my laptop more or less as my primary computer, if only because it's the only computer that I can do my new line of game development on. Which implies that I've also been using Mac OS X as my primary operating system. As a somewhat passionate *nix user, using OS X has been.. weird. OS X is as sleek, sexy and highly aesthetically pleasing, but is painfully closed and non-customizable. And, of course, I have to use iTunes for all my iPhone/iPad interactions. And, of course, I can only develop using Apple's Xcode IDE. Oh, and thanks to a new clause in Apple's developer agreement, I'm not allowed to use any scripting languages (beyond Objective-C and Objective-C++) in any of my apps. Goodness, it's a little stifling in here.
Money and profit. This has bothered me the most. Game development was supposed to be a hobby for me. Something to do in my spare time for kicks and the sheer intellectual challenge involved. Since I have every intention of selling my iPhone games ? a guy needs to make back SOME of his investment in this pricy Apple hardware ? I now feel fueled by the allure of profit that lies at the end of my development process. This, instead of wanting to finish a game because I sincerely enjoy it and want to see the end result. I'm realizing now that I would much rather pursue my projects at my own pace, without the pressure of making sales. Not to mention developing in a direction that interests me, regardless of what potential consumers might wish to purchase. Money really muddies the waters, I'm finding. Perhaps future non-profit projects for the iPhone would better suit my MO.
And so, that's where I stand. I'm not thrilled presently, but I am also dead-set on finishing and releasing this iPhone version of Gundown as a finished product before attempting to do so; too many hours and dollars were poured into it thus far to see it reach anything less than completion.
Phew, thanks for following that twisty passage along, kind reader. More news on Gundown as it develops!