Game Design: Splash Screen

Game Design: Splash Screen

Welcome to a new series I am working on which breaks down my latest game, Super Jetroid, and goes into detail on how each part works. I have designed this new series to be as platform agnostic as possible. While the game was built using ImpactJS and the code I post will be JavaScript, I want to focus on the big picture concepts of how I think through my coding problems so you can incorporate the same principles in your own games no matter what the language is. To get started I wanted to talk about Super Jetroid’s splash screen which is a critical entry point into the game. The splash screen is the first thing your player interacts with when they launch your game. It is a very important screen that can also help inform the player about your game, how to play it and even set the tone of the entire experience. One of the ways I like to do this is with an attract loop. This was made popular by arcade games that needed to keep changing images on the screen to avoid burn in and also to help show the player how the game works via instructional screens and in game demos. Let’s take a look at Super Jetroid’s splash screen. While you look at this demo of the splash screen, avoid clicking on it to see the full attack screen loop with instruction interstitials. I designed my splash screen to have 3 distinctive goals: Add a Sense of Motion to the Screen You may have noticed the use of animations to keep the splash...
Windows Store Privacy Statement

Windows Store Privacy Statement

On the eve of the Windows 8 launch I am quickly trying to update and resubmit my MDown app to the Windows Store. Even as a Microsoft Evangelist I ran into a common problem while submitting my own app to the store which is the dreaded “missing privacy statement”. This may be the shortest and most important post I will write about submitting Windows Store Apps so if you learn from my simple oversight you will save yourself a little bit of frustration. One of the best features of the Windows Store app submission process is how clear and transparent it is. At every step of the way you are guided through what to do next or what you are waiting on. After I got my email saying that my app failed certification I logged in and was immediately greeted with a status message on my summary page. When I look at the details it clearly explains how I forgot to add a privacy policy since my app accesses the network. Here is the exact note: “The app has declared access to network capabilities and no privacy statement was provided in the Description page. The app has declared access to network capabilities and no privacy statement was provided in the Windows Settings Charm.” The sad part is that this is so easy to fix. First you will need to create a new HTML file, I called mine “privacy.html”, and it lives my pages/settings directory. From here you will need to add some HTML to your new file. I got this text from Keith Peters, who in turn also failed...
MDown: My First Windows 8 App

MDown: My First Windows 8 App

I have been focusing a lot on HTML5 games lately but have always loved application development. I figured I would take a short break from my games and focus on an app I have been wanting to build for a long time. MDown is a Markdown editor written entirely in HTML/JavaScript for Windows 8. I just submitted it to the Windows Store in order to make it in before Windows 8 launches at the end of the month, so I thought I would do a walkthrough of the app and point out some cool things I was able to do with JS by taking advantage of the WinJS Library. About MDown Markdown is a great way to format text in a way that can easily be converted into HTML. I quickly fell in love with using Markdown thanks to GitHub supporting it across the board from your project’s readme file to the wiki and GitHub Pages. Additionally, as I started digging into Jekyll when I built gamecook.com as a GitHub Pages site, I quickly realized how much I needed a solid Markdown editor. There were a few on the Mac, and after switching over to Windows 8 full time, I figured it was a perfect opportunity to create my own editor. At its core, MDown is a very simple application. Here is a quick diagram to show the flow of how the application works: When you think about it, an app like this really boils down to two modes: loading files and editing them. When it comes to loading in data, you are either starting with a blank file...
Room112 – PhoneGap Exploration

Room112 – PhoneGap Exploration

Whenever I start to play around with a new technology, platform or framework I usually plan out a small and easy to complete project that tries to address some of features I am most interested in testing out. To vet out PhoneGap I decided to build a simple app called Room112 to keep track of my hotel room number when I travel. This exploration document outlines how I approached architecting my app but also some of the issues I ran into while exploring how PhoneGap works. Room112 is a simple way to keep track of your hotel room number. Enter your hotel room number into the app and the next time you open it the number is displayed for you along with the time you checked in, the floor your room is on and a map of the hotel’s location. TripIt doesn’t really track the last two bits of information. This app is just like the card a hotel would give you with your room number on it. Goals I collaborated with Wesley Crozier (who did all the artwork) on Room112 with the goal of creating a simple PhoneGap app that looks and feels as close to native as possible. I travel a lot and always forget my hotel address, room number and floor. I set the following goals when creating this application: Create a simple one-screen app Test our local storage Make the app feel like a native iOS app Have most design done via CSS3 Test out animation on mobile Web browsers Take advantage of some simple jQuery Understand how to set up and publish a PhoneGap...

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