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Category: GameDev

Currently Reading – iOS

Initial thoughts on four different iOS game development books I’m currently reading/skimming/learning with. I’ll post follow up posts as I go forward.

My qualifications?

Current iOS student, gamer, and previously a proofreader for O’Reilly, and a technical editor for PHParch magazine.

Primary objective:

Get to know SpriteKit so I can use it for my Personal iOS project this semester.


Game Development with Swift by Stephen Haney (July 2015 packt pub)

iOS Game Development by Example by Samanyu Chopra (August 2015 packt pub)

Progress: Currently in Chapter 4

Started with this book over the winter holiday because I liked the cover the best. 😉

  • Gains instant points for pointing to copyright free game assets.
  • Good progression of examples with code direction, samples and lots of check in compiles to make sure you are heading in the right direction.
  • Frustrating: Some changes in Swift 2 break some examples.  It’s a good exercise in debugging, but I’d love an update to my ebook or errata for it.  Especially since the book is less than a year old.
  • Have found a few minor typos.

iOS Game Development Essentials by Chuck Gaffney (Bovember 2015 pack pub)


Mastering iOS Game Development by Miguel DeQuadros (December 2015 packt pub)

Started this book in January because I was frustrated with the other book code examples being out of date, so started the book published in at the end of 2015.

Progress: Currently in Chapter 3

  • Loses instant points for possible copyright/trademark graphics. (Mario and Megaman sprites as examples)
  • Plus – Has a nice early section on game design.
  • Jumps into throwing frameworks at your project, including 2 downloaded, and then starts in with pre-headers.
  • Plus – I know now where to add that Audio library, and that it’s included in xcode.
  • Minus – is this pre-optimizing? Why not show me  with the bare minimum and then show me how to improve it?



iOS Project Log 1

This semester, Spring 2016, I am taking my 3rd class in iOS/Swift programming. We are required to work on 2 major projects.

The first is a group project, which I am working on with an awesome placid dinosaur, and the second is a personal project. I may post about the group project in the future, but I primarily want to document my journey/process/random flailing for the personal project.

Both projects will  match us with students from the Design Portfolio class. That frees me to focus on making function and mechanics, leaving theme, branding and graphic asset in their capable hands.

Curious about the class offered at, you can check out the instructor’s twitter here: EjKnapp@twitter.

Disclaimer: This is my personal website, all opinions here are my own and not of my employer. Enjoy!


Sound Maze

I am going to create a maze or roguelike game with SpriteKit, and want to explore sound and accessibility.

Week 1

  • No official title, am using Sound Maze as a placeholder.
  • Have researched some audio only games. Not a lot to choose from, have only found one really well polished. Papa Sangre II is an audio driven adventure game with minimal UI, and uses 3d binaural sound. I think a full 3d sound design is out of scope for the semester, so will be looking for something simpler.
  • Exploring some Audio libraries like:
    •  OpenAl
    • Papa Sangre has an 3d sound engine, but does not appear to be available.
  • Trying to come up with core concepts for the game design. I know I want sound involved, should I work with echoes, reflections, redshifts?
  •  I’ll need to create a solvable maze maker is a good place to start.
  • By the same token, I may want to create a test ‘solver‘ to test that things are indeed solvable and test the sound design as well. (Could this become an antagonist racing the player?)
  • I’m thinking, topdown, grid, 2d, but this may change based on design input. I anticipate most of the mechanics will operate the same tho.
  • At this point I think finding your way through a maze with audio cues might be enough of a challenge, so am not currently planning monsters but may include some traps or obstacles.

2015 Game Jam

Get your Game Jam On!

On Saturday, the 12th, I am helping host a Code Chix Game Jam at the Madison Public Library, in The Bubbler.

Don’t Panic

As a video gamer for most of my life, with boardgames and pen and paper rpgs thrown in there as well. I’m so very thrilled to be able to share some of that passion.

I can still remember playing InfoCOM text games in my neighbor’s basement. I must have been fairly young, as I also associate this time with my crush on the fox in the animated movie Robin Hood.

I remember sitting on worn wooden chairs in front of a huge monitor,  sunlight filtering through the fluttering curtains. The screen was black, with white text reading:

You wake up. The room is spinning very gently round your head. Or at least it would be if you could see it which you can’t.


It is pitch black.


It was my first foray into text adventure games and, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, will always remain a fav. HHG, based on the novel of the same name, was written in a major humorous tone that makes running into bad poetry and crazy aliens and tea a deep satisfying fiction experience. Also a frustrating one, you can die in may silly ways.

That’s a link to a 30th anniversary edition, but I’m sure basic versions are still floating around the net.



I’ll be mentoring a group who will make an interactive text game with the Twine tool. I love how easy it is for anyone to make a game or tell a story with Twine. It takes all the pain out of hypertext and makes the process just as fun as the time I first discovered HTML links.

I love how you could make hundreds of games and stories with just the basics, but that you can also expand and use CSS and images and sound to create a different experience. You can go even further with variables and some basic code commands that keep track of what you may carry in your bag, or how many times you’ve wandered into a room.

We will have a great group of Code Chix and general public playing along all day with the goal to plan and start some games and learn in the process.  If you have time on Saturday, you should wander through. 😀