Stacie Arellano

Artist, Author, Web Maven

Tag: in progress (page 2 of 3)

iOS Project Log 7


March 25th–26th, 2016

Not much happened project-wise, due to my attendance at CocoaConf Chicago.

I did meet a lot of fantastic people, and attended some very though provoking sessions on Swift. With time I hope I’ll be able to unwrap all the knowledge that I downloaded straight into my brain.

Some of the sessions I checked out were:

I also joined the Breakpoints Jam and played ukulele. 😀  (you can see me in the back next to the awesome Jean MacDonald.

iOS Project Log 6


Artists are out on Spring Break.

I did find some info on Ukrainian Castles. Hope that can inspire us.

I made some headway on sound design, deciding to focus on folk music.

Found an adorable lullaby about a sassy grey cat – and a YouTube video where I could hear it sung.  The link also had a midi version of the song, which I grabbed.


I found some other nice audio options at

Dream Passes By The Window CC – more info  Folk songs from over the Dniester captured Eugenia Yaroshinsky


Learned a bit about SKLabelNode

Initially, when I added a lives counter to the child node, I could not seem to make the custom font appear.

This link helped me realize i needed to make sure the custom font was included in the build phase for the bindle.

How to add a true type font to an iOS project



I’m still having some hero control issues. I kept going over my code, finding little things that seem to help, but not fix my problem. ah, debugging… I ended up using git to help me compare code to the example code.  Seems that I had some variables set as optional vs required, and vice versa.

A friend told me that many of my errors were symptoms of CopyPasta. I’ll have to keep an eye on that type of thing in the future.


So, after all this 7 hours of tutorial, several other hours of debugging and research, I realized that this project would be a good candidate to use the GamePlayKit features for the things I want to do.

2015 WWDC Intro to GameplayKit

GameplayKit DemoBots

At this point, I’m not sure if I’ll be using them or not. Either way, programming the basics by hand will understand a bit of what GameplayKit is offering. I’m trying not to get sidetracked and stuck in a loop of constantly reworking the foundations. I could push that further out on the timeline.

Completion is always of more value than perfection. 


My next goal is to start getting things ready/resized to work for iPad sized devices and the level art, as well as making some new maps, add a timer, and change out the sounds.


Here is a bonus  A movie called “The Guide”  recently was released at international film contests regarding Kobczars and Stalin.




iOS Project Log 5

Lots of things happened this week.


The artists are buzzing about with some on the general look and feel and our heroine design is also in the works.

We’re trying to use inVision for collaboration, but it’s new to all of us, so we’re learning all together. I copied lots of my mood board images over to an Invision Mood Board… it doesn’t work like Pinterest, but does some things that pinterest does not. My favorite invision feature for mood boards?  It grabs a color palette from each image!

Here is a character sketch of our Hero by E.M. Isn’t she cute!


and some colors from N.P.



I made a couple sketches to explain the concept, ie that the hero is basically rock climbing up a tower.


Crossing a bridge over flames.







More tower wall, with a dragon in a cavern underneath











I dashed off a brief wireframe for a common starting point. wireframe1.png

Research – Banduras, Kobzari

Since a lot of our inspiration is coming from traditional Ukrainian costumes, I searched for traditional Ukrainian instruments and came across a beautiful stringed instrument called the Bandura.

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This of course led me to wikipedia

Wikipedia: Bandura

Which led me to an amazing new fact:

Musicians who play the bandura are referred to as bandurists. Some traditional bandura players, often blind, were referred to as kobzars.

What?! This meant I hopped straight to the entry on the Kobzars

Wikipedia: Kobzars

In Ukraine, kobzars organized themselves into regional guilds or brotherhoods, known as tsekhs. They developed a system of rigorous apprenticeships (usually three years in length) before undergoing the first set of open examinations in order to become a kobzar.

Wikipedia: Preservation of Kobzar music

and this interesting list of recordings off off wax cylinders of actual Kobzar music! The recordings are rough, and the most popular ones are the roughest. Wax cylinder recordings degrade with each listen.


I’m 3/4 of the way through the maze games tutorial from CartoonSmart. I can load the maze and enemies from a json file, created by using Tiled. It’s a bit of a slog here in the middle, but I’ll push forward.

iOS Project Log 4

Sound Maze Game Progress

Climb the tower, pass the tollways using your ears and your wits, but don’t believe your eyes!


My project now has TWO artists! /kermitarms.  That means our project is fully staffed and we can forge on!

The theme and design of the game is taking shape, at least in my mind. 😉 I’ve shifted from thinking this will be a top down game, it will be a face on perspective.  Our protagonist will traverse a tower that looks safe, but is only an illusion, needing to use the audio clues to know which ways are safe/possible to climb.

To help inspire and communicate my vision I’ve created a mood board with visual themes/ideas.

Follow Stacie’s board Tollways Tower on Pinterest.


Research – Accessibility

Bought a book on accessible games, published in multiple formats by National Braille Press.  It lists many accessible games that I’ve run across in my research, as well as a few I have not.

I was a bit disappointed the content focused more on quick suggestions of which games to play than what makes each one ideal. There is still plenty of hints and tips to glean regarding control schemas. Most of the games are also listed on with reviews, but it’s nice to have an organized selection in one place.

I will need to explore the VoiceOver options as I stitch things together. Is it as easy as adding alt text for web? or does it require a few more settings. There’s a standard, I just need to follow it.


Am halfway through the mazes tutorial on CartoonSmart. Spent some time learning how to make nodes and add attributes that allow them affect other nodes or physics.

Learned how to create a maze using the SKS builder and how to parse JSON levels created with a cool new(to me) tool Tiled.

I had to do some debugging before jumping into the 3rd section, somehow I’d lost my hero ship, and while the map was displaying fine, and all the gestures were working as desired, I could no longer see the ship itself moving around the map!

That took some slow review of the code to fix, but I’m happy it’s working again!  It’s the foundation of my sound maze, the basics I’ll start from before adding the pieces and graphics, and other variations.

More to come, I imagine I’ll be setting up some wireframes with my team in Invision over the next few days, and they are working on some character designs for our heroine, and some general look and feel for our app.


iOS Project Log 3

Last week the local superhero and I met with some of the designers to pitch our personal projects and explain the group project some more. The placid dinosaur was on a business trip, as dinos do, but checked in via our team Slack.

Notes from that meeting:

  • The personal projects put the devs in the unique position of being both client and collaborator. I think this is a new concept for some of our group.
  • Communicating visually, with links to apps or screenshots or in person demonstrations will help the process.
  • Not everyone is comfortable with Slack as a communication tool, not everyone is familiar with InVision as a prototyping tool. We are all learning.
  • Clear requests/requirements and examples will be the best bet.
  • No designers are currently assigned, waiting on them to talk amongst themselves, then we will divide and conquer!


Sound Maze Progress

I am about a 25% of the way through the Cartoon Smart Maze Games tutorial. I can place SKNodes on the canvas, recognize gestures and have created a player/hero class. I have a working hero atlas which is animating through several frames.

I like the teaching audio and progression quite a bit, but all videos of programming/typing need closer focus on the active pane. Please don’t waste my smaller screen with sidebars and whitespace from a larger screen.

Additionally, if you are recording a presentation of ‘live’ coding, please increase the font size. I’ve been zooming in on the hd video to see what’s going on, but that makes it more difficult to pause and rewind.

Some takeaways:

  • CGPointZero is a shortcut for (0.0,0.0)
  • Every SKSpriteNode can have a parent. you can move/animate everything on the screen at once by moving/animating just that parent node.  (this reminds me of my ancient Flash developing days)
  • I keep getting this error, but it doesn’t seem to stop me from successfully building/running my code. It may be a remnant of an earlier version of Xcode. I’m ignoring it for now.

CUICatalog: Invalid Request: requesting subtype without specifying idiom

  • Spent some time discussing the error and some other ideas about the game with the local superhero (who is also planning a game for a personal project). He had this suggestion regarding animation atlases: 

You should consider using reverseAction() for the last part of the array.  This will help with longer animations.  Animate 1-3 then reverse it.

Other game thoughts:

  • Use a Triad for sound feedback – Three note chords consisting of a root, third, and fifth. Perhaps each sound detail be a valid direction choice?
  • Use Tollways… gates between areas that require a Bell sound mini-game or have some other puzzle element.
  • I poked around some assets I bought over the holidays looking for some basic graphics/sounds to prototype with.
  • Things I learn for this game keep inspiring me for another one I started last semester. I keep tucking away those ideas for later pondering.
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