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Creating a simple iOS game – Bouncing Babies

March 14th, 2013

The first post in my iOS game development series

I like to create games that use interesting gameplay mechanics – things I’ve never seen before, or an interesting twist on a classic game. The problem is that new mechanics are difficult to code. If you want to make something standard, like a Super Mario clone, it’s easy to find a game engine that will do most of the work for you. But new mechanics often require modifying a game engine, or even creating one from scratch. This can be time consuming and frustrating.

I’ve been working on a conceptual game prototype for a while now and it has me pulling my hair out at the moment. To make matters worse, this is a “stripped down” version of a larger game that I want to create. I thought this light version of my concept would be easier to code, but it has turned out to be pretty complex too.

In the meantime, I’m interested in creating a game for iOS. So, I’ve decided to create a very simple game from scratch and blog about the entire process. I’ve never created anything for iOS, so I will have a lot to learn. I also plan to post all of my progress publicly on github, so anyone who wants to follow along can pull my code and see what I’m doing. Since this is a learning process, there will likely be a lot of bad code and blind alleys. And since I have a day job and a family, progress is likely to be slow.

With these constraints in mind, I’ve decided not to design my own game entirely from scratch because I will inevitably add some seemingly simple gameplay element that will derail the entire process. Instead, I’ve decided to remake a classic DOS game from back in the day…

Bouncing Babies was a deceptively simple arcade game that I used to play on my first PC – a Tandy 1000 (yes, I’m old). Here’s a video of the game:

Like all classic action arcade games, the gameplay is simple, but it’s surprisingly addictive. It was one of my favorite games when I was a kid and there are few good remakes of it. Considering my time constraints, this is a project that I might actually be able to finish in a reasonable time period. Additionally, the game code shouldn’t be too complex, so development shouldn’t require any weird hackery (famous last words). I can still do a full redesign of the graphics and animation, but the gameplay will be the same.

So, stay tuned for more updates as I dive into this. This whole project may go down in flames, but I promise it will be an interesting ride.

Here’s a link to the github repo I will be using:
https://github.com/wastedpotential/bouncing-babies


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