The one year game develpoment duel
  • Jan

    8

    Detecting and Managing Memory Leaks Between SKScenes0 commentscodespritekit

    Memory leaks suck. You know they exist, and you dread the day you have to track them down. In SpriteKit, I've encountered two main types of leaks. One is where the entire scene is not deallocated after transitioning to a new scene. The other is where memory is constantly being used up while interacting with a scene. For the latter, you have to use Instruments in XCode, or comb over your code, to get a handle on what is happening. But, for cleaning up scenes after you're finished with them, here are a few tips that simplified the process for me. Read More

  • Nov

    13

    Working With GKObstacleGraph0 commentscodespritekit

    This purpose of this post is to document some of the frustrations with pathfinding. I'm finding that it is too boring to try to implement every map at once, so I'm touching pathfinding every other week or so. As a refresher, the video below has served as my primer on GKObstacleGraph whenever I need to revisit pathfinding. So, if you're a SpriteKit / GameplayKit user, you may find my approach interesting. Read More

  • May

    28

    Understanding Shaders in SpriteKit9 commentscodeshaderspritekit

    If you're new to game development, you've probably heard of shaders but don't quite understand them. If you're new to SpriteKit, you've probably hit a few speed bumps working with shaders. Since I'm still learning more about the two, I figured it would be nice to put up a concrete example that covers cropping and effects using shaders. Specifically, we'll cover two concepts: Read More

  • Feb

    17

    The True Cost of Adding Story to a Game0 commentsscriptstory

    Before I wrote a line of code, I knew that I wanted my game to have a story. And, of course, not just any story. It had to be a decent story with sound, art, movement and voice overs. Basically, a movie. Now that I'm 75% through the process of creating and implementing a story, I thought I'd share some lessons learned about this surprisingly difficult task that cost me around $7,600 and nearly 3 months of my development time. Read More

  • Feb

    3

    Saving Game Data in SpriteKit12 commentscodespritekitswift

    When searching for tips on how to save game data in SpriteKit, most posts explain how to save one variable (high score, for example). In that regard, this Thinking Swiftly post was extremely helpful, and is where a majority of the code below comes from. I just wanted to extend that post, and look at how an entire object could be saved in a self contained way. Read More

  • Jan

    26

    Create Skippable Cutscenes in SpriteKit with Timing Functions4 commentscodespritekitswift

    Cutscenes are a labor of love, so it is hard accepting that some people just don't care. That story that took months to bring together may be amazing to you, but to others it is just an inconvenience. So, for that reason, we have to make cutscenes skippable. However, I didn't want to just settle at skipping the entire scene. I wanted to also make it skimmable for the speed readers, or those who are mildly interested. Read More

  • Jan

    20

    Outline Text in SpriteKit2 commentscodespritekit

    It's funny how the tasks that should be easy end up consuming the most amount of time. As of this writing, there is no easy way to outline text in SpriteKit. It's common to see approach that add a shadow node, but sometimes more contrast is needed. Here's what I have discovered. Read More

  • Jan

    12

    My Take on Health Bars4 commentsartthoughts

    Health indicators are found in almost every game. As Chris pointed out, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. When it became time to think about them in my game, I wanted to add something that was functional, but also unique or interesting in some way. Read More

  • Jan

    5

    SpriteKit: CPU gains from caching enumerateChildNodesWithName2 commentscodesprite kitswift

    Those of you who follow me know that I'm working on a game that will have ~200 nodes on the screen updating every frame. Because of that requirement, I'm constantly looking at how I can incrementally improve performance. Slowly but surely, I'm making this game a well oiled machine. Today, I stumbled on a significant slow down, and the resulting fix that shaved off 16% CPU usage: caching enumerateChildNodesWithName. Read More

  • Dec

    21

    Joy of Debugging: Command swiftc failed with exit code 15 commentscodesprite kitswift

    I've been working through a particularly nasty issue, so it feels right to document it for anyone else who encounters it. Also, just to serve as a note and reminder that game development is full of unexpected, time consuming tasks on a near weekly basis. This most recent problem -- releasing a build to an iOS device fails to compile, but it works on the simulator. Specifically, this occurs when I try to change the Swift compiler optimization level. Read More

  • Nov

    3

    My Experiences Searching for an Artist (Part 2)6 commentsartdesign

    Last time I wrote about hiring an artist, I was extremely optimistic and content with my situation. Nearly 6 weeks later, I'm working with different contractors and have learned a ton of hard lessons. Read More

  • Sep

    17

    Evolution of a Level0 commentsartdesign

    It's amazing how long it can take to make your first level. It seems so simple at first. Just put a castle here, some grass there, and call it a day. But, questions arise. What art style should we go with? Will sprites be light or dark, so that we know what color grass and flooring to use? How wide do walkways need to be? Basically, figuring out your first level is like figuring out your entire game. Because of that, my first level continues to change. I thought it would be neat to take a look at where it started, and where it is now. Read More

  • Sep

    8

    How To Implement Squads and Formations, Part 12 commentscodelearning

    There is an awesome article on Gamasutra about Coordinated Unit Movement. They also have a companion post about implementing said movement. However, the posts are from 1999, and they deal mainly in pseudocode. Also, I'm convinced there is absolutely nothing else on the entire internet explaining the topic. So, an experienced developer may be able to read the ideas and know how to implement them, but it has been a bit of a struggle for me as a new developer. I'm going to try to document a step by step implementation of formations, squads, and movement for someone who hasn't done it before. I'll be writing in Swift / Sprite Kit, but the code should be easy enough for anyone to follow. I also welcome corrections / improvements from experts. Read More

  • Aug

    25

    Memory Usage in Sprite Kit7 commentscodelearningsprite kit

    Now that I'm receiving real art for my game, I thought it would be a good time to learn about memory usage and limits. This was also prompted by my current level running at 55-60MB before any gameplay action or characters loaded on screen. That memory usage seemed a bit high, so I decided this was an issue that I needed to delve into. In hindsight, most of this is basic to an experienced game developer, but I found the process to be quite fun. You can just read my lessons learned below if you don't want to follow my detective work. Read More

  • Aug

    12

    A Bit About Design Documents4 commentsartdesign

    Now that I'm working with other people, all sorts of questions come up about my game. How many illustrations where there be? How many actors? Is the script finished? What tone should the game have? Pretty much every single thing you could think to ask about the game needs an answer. Everyone I have spoken to says to start art / sound / music / copy editing / storyboarding early in the process. Don't wait until the last minute, they say. And while most people have my best interests in mind, it is still a ton of work to answer questions in a thoughtful way. Read More

  • Jul

    29

    My Experiences Searching for an Artist3 commentsartthoughts

    Finding an artist has been my biggest fear since this competition started. There are so many things that could go wrong when you have to depend on someone you don't know to contribute a third or more to your project. The style may not be a match, they could leave half way through the project, the budget estimations may be way off -- the list goes on and on. I must say though, I've gained confidence in art contractors in the two weeks I've been speaking with them. I thought I would share some of my notes. Read More

  • Jul

    9

    Stats From the First Quarter2 commentsdatathoughts

    It's hard to believe that we're already 3 months into the competition. My first quarter of game development consisted of many highs and lows, but most importantly I still consider it among the most rewarding things I've done. From a purely stats perspective, I think my productivity can be summed up as a strong start, medium middle, and lacking end. I thought it would be fun to look at some concrete numbers, so here is what I came up with. Read More

  • Jun

    30

    Thinking About the Cost of Art1 commentartdesign

    I've ventured into the unknown while working on my game -- I don't know what art costs. This is becoming an issue because I have all sorts of grand ideas for levels, characters and features. It is clear that art, or more directly my budget, will be the deciding factor on the scope of my game. Read More

  • Jun

    18

    Challenges You May Encounter While Porting Your SpriteKit Game to Swift1 commentcodelearningsprite kitswift

    The introduction of Swift comes at a perfect time for me. I’ve been working on a SpriteKit game in Objective-C for 10 weeks now, and some of the code is definitely in need of refactoring. Refactoring is known to be tedious, so being able to learn a new language during the process is a plus. I’ve been taking notes of any challenge I’ve come across during the conversion. Read More

  • Jun

    3

    First Look at SKLightNode in iOS80 commentscodelearning

    Lighting effects were curiously missing from SpriteKit in iOS7, so I'm happy to see them appear in iOS8. Here's a quick look at what you can expect from the light source / raycasting implementation. Read More

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What's this contest about?

Armed with little to no game development experience, the Brothers Campbell are attempting to make video games for a living. We believe the best way for us to learn is to do what comes naturally to brothers — Compete! The challenge is to see who can make the most successful video game on a budget of $25,000 and in one year’s time. The duel begins on April 7th, 2014 and we'll be documenting the journey.


How will you determine the winner?

It’s simple. The most profitable game wins. We’ll have 6 months to market the game after the one year development deadline on April 7th, 2015.

Learn more about the competition