After a long and well deserved break, Southwest Gecko is spinning back up again. What have we been doing in all this time? Well, I’ve taken a full time iOS programming job, which has obviously taken up the majority of what used to be my prime coding hours. We’ve also released a small update to Final Count, as well as sketched in the bones for a major update which completely revamps the user interface and brings it up to 2015 standards. Most importantly, we’ve been planning and strategizing.
So String Theory: a Word Game was a flop. Oops. I’ll share the numbers in a future post, but for now lets say that we had a lot of fun spending a lot of time developing that particular app. We learned a lot during that development. Including how not to launch an app. So we’re refocusing and are building out a new version of the game that will encapsulate everything we’ve learned.
We’re shooting for a June launch date for the new 8game, which we’re code naming String Theory: Rush. We spent a lot of time analyzing all the various options out there for developing mobile games, and compiled all the pros and cons of each. In the end, we’ve settled on Cocos2d-x, C++, and Xcode for this round.
Why Cocos2d-x? For String Theory: a Word Game (I’m just going to call it AWG from now on), we developed in Cocos2d-iphone. The decision there was simple: we wanted to code it natively for speed, and after spending a month developing our own game engine we realized that Cocos2d-iphone provided 99% of the functionality we had already planned on developing ourselves for free. Fast forward two years and we have our eyes on cross-platform capabilities. Since our code base is already in Cocos2d-iphone, we expect it will be fairly painless to port it to Cocos2d-x, and we still get to retain all of the speed and performance of native development. Plus, after we finish up with the iOS development, Cocos2d-x promises a relatively easy port to Android or even Windows using the same code base, and a thin platform dependent layer.
If you’ve never used either before, let me quickly outline the differences between anything in the Cocos2d family and something like Unity. Unity is a very nice development kit for people who don’t know how to code. Unity is fast to market and has an extensive library of drop in components you can use to short circuit the dev process. You get to develop your game using pictures and stick figures, but you’ll pay for that privilege. The going rate for Unity the last I checked was your first borne son (give or take). With that price sheet in mind, to be quite honest, I didn’t really even give Unity a chance. I installed it and played around with it for an hour or two, but in the end I just didn’t see anything there that would be worth the money on an Indie Developer’s budget.
Cocos2d on the other hand provides a easy to use framework for developing your game – in code. So you have to know how to code to use it. The price? About 20 minutes of download time (my internet connection is slow), since it’s free and open source. Since our code is already in Cocos2d-iphone, we will have to do some porting to get it up and running in Cocos2d-x – the former is all Objective-C based while the latter we’ll be coding in C++. I’ll keep you posted on the progress on that front.
That’s it for this week. Look forward to regular posts from us from now on.