Taking in visual ideas

I’ve been frantically programming and working on no less than 5 projects in parallel in my non 8-5 day-job hours. The new games are coming fast and I’m having a blast trying out new ideas. But I’m always hitting the wall when it comes to assets or ui design. I’m great at proving a concept quickly, but then my attention can fizzle as the details drag out. Historically I’ve done all my own assets, (and it shows).

But recently I took a stab at UpWork and for one small project to ‘revamp’ my ui, a great UI/UX designer helped me really make the app stand out. This was on 8’s wild, he then helped me with 11s Up which is getting ready for a major refresh (Version 3) as well.

With the success of that, I now am not waiting til the end of a project and am trying out new ideas and working with more artists. I currently am working with 4 artists on 2 projects, so 2 for each goal. This is giving me a way to try people out and see different opinions for the same problem. I’m getting impressed with some of the interpretations of my ideas, but I’m also learning that I may need to provide more hints to them at the start of the project. But to be fair I wanted to see what they could do with limited input to see if they could come up with something beyond what I can imagine.

In the middle of this experiment, but so far I’m really happy with the opportunities UpWork has given me as a developer to free up my time focus on code and use a worldwide pool of talent to help me out at a budget I can set. It’s not a completely cheap exercise but it’s saving me a lot of time and the results 50% of the time are above and beyond and that’s worth it.

Some before / After views of the games above.

As well as those I have some new ideas that don’t even have games ready I have artists helping me flesh out. Very exciting. Now if I can get the ios 14.5 releases done this weekend I probably won’t be waking up at 2:30am to blog post.

Year In Review 2013

Sorry this is a bit belated, just been catching up on some things. So wow what a big year 2013 was. Across the board busy and crazy, some good some bad, some ugly.

First of all I shipped more apps on more platforms than ever last year, let’s recap.

Apps this year
Feb, Big Shot Basketball, Carnival Labs (Coke/NCAA/Buffalo Wild Wings), Augmented reality game developed in Unity3D using Vuforia. Was for an in store promotion during March Madness college football, iOS|Android|Web (Flash)
Mar, Mojo Solitaire Collection, In House, A collection of solitaire games, with a play and reward coin based system to unlock new features and games. Developed using Cocos2d., iOS|OSX
Mar, Emirates Team NZ America’s Cup, Animation Research (America’s Cup), Customized version of the Emmy nominated America’s Cup app for iOS and Android for Emirates Team NZ, iOS|Android
Apr, Beat Block, In House, A rhythm based timing game, you memorize the beat and play it back as close as you can to the tempo. Insanely hard later on, super fun to make. It was made in 1 week, and is probably the least downloaded of our games. I hope to make a level generator later for it. Built with Cocos2d, iOS
Jun, Mojo Video Poker 3D, A port of Mojo Video Poker to Unity3D to reach more platforms. This was our first (and maybe last) entry into windows markets., Android|Windows 8|Windows 8 Phone
Jul, Big Kick Football, Carnival Labs (Coke/ESPN/Home Depot/Buffalo Wild Wings/etc), Augmented reality game follow up to Big Kick. This game was developed almost exclusively by me in under 3 months with some support in the last two weeks to get it across the board. Three platforms and lots of social media integration., iOS|Android|Web (Unity Player)
Sep, Mojo Mahjong 3D, In House, A 3D based version of Mahjong Solitaire. Featured different tile sets and a set of special day event puzzles (holidays). A pretty popular game, iOS|Android|OSX
Various, All Apps, In House, Tons and tons of updates for all our apps., All

So as you can see a very busy year! I worked on some great projects, released some cool new things for us, and made some great new friends through some talks I gave. I also left out a couple other contract jobs and apps I worked on as they were more hired gun things I did, versus apps I owned.

We had some trials and tribulations, from shipping apps and then clients refusing to pay in full. (They did in the end). Delayed payments, project pressures from too many chiefs and one worker bee (me the worker bee). But all in all good stuff.

Carnival Labs went on to secure a couple million dollars in funding, and in the press release I see that they mentioned on the front page the apps I had worked on (Big Shot, and a Dreamworks app I worked on in 2012). So that was satisfying to see my work help project another company.

Animation Research went on to be nominated for a sports emmy, (will update this post if they win!). Amazing to have worked with them, great people super proud of them and the work I did with them.

Our apps, was some of the most productive I’ve done. I actually have another app that is 95% done, that was ready in December, but I have it on the back burner, while I take care of some full time jobs and other things. But hope to release that soon, a new word puzzle collection style game.

This also includes the 60 new prototypes that were made and are sitting in my code base, I hope to get to!

2014 brings Hardware, lasers, and other crazy things.