Monday, December 30, 2013

Entering The White Rooms

I'm making a videogame from scratch! How? Well, I'm figuring it out as I go and I'll be writing journal entries on this blog about my journey. 

I didn't go to computer scientist school and I don't know much about programming languages. So- is it even a possible venture for me? In November of 2013 I decided to find out. I downloaded the Unity 3D game engine. My school will be online videos and tutorials. 

I know what I want to make. The game is called The White Rooms, and it has a few dynamic goals. It will:
-be a first-person perspective
-look like a virtual art gallery
-be simple yet refined
-poetically combine reality with a real mystery of life

On to a quick description. On the title screen there there will be a die button. When you select it you'll hear a car crash. 

Fade into the first circle of the afterworld, which is a maze of white rooms. The goal of the game is to collect memories to piece your mind back together so that you may return to your body before you pass the point of no return (in which case you die forever). The idea being that our memories make up our lives. There will be nine circles to complete (loosely based on Dantes Divine comedy nine circles of heaven).

I began work on the project around the middle of November, 2013. I created a few circles in Blender and exported them to Unity. I taught myself how to add an HUD, timer and memory counter using javascript coding. Here is a temp screen shot of how it's coming along:

Now that it's Winter time, I have have time to work on this game. So, more on The White Rooms coming soon!


Monday, December 23, 2013

Mysterious App Store Rejection

I recently submitted my second location based game to the App Store. It is very similar in functionality to the first game I submitted, Bushwick Dimensions. However, this one was rejected seemingly at random like so many others. A developer once joked that it depends on what the reviewer had for breakfast that day that determines what his decision is. Sometimes you can just resubmit it and it will be approved, I was told.

Apple stated that it: "Was not intuitive. For example, there was no "back" button from the Map page. We have found that your app does not sufficiently take advantage of the iOS platform. It would be appropriate to include iOS specific interactive features to enhance the user experience of your app."

I replied with a photo of my Map Page with a BACK button (it DOES have one) and they replied with the same copy / paste rejection notice and a photo of the map page with the bottom 1/4th of the screen cropped off. They said they were using iPhone 5s. So I loaded the app onto my friends 5s and took a screenshot of the fully functional map page with BACK button. 

Apple sent this response, in BOLD:
10.6: Apple and our customers place a high value on simple, refined, creative, well thought through interfaces. They take more work but are worth it. Apple sets a high bar. If your user interface is complex or less than very good it may be rejected. We appreciate your feedback and have scheduled a call with an Apple representative in order to discuss your concerns. We anticipate calling within 3 business days.

Apple called when I was at a bar. I stepped onto the sidewalk and had a 10minute conversation with cookie cutter apple employee named Steve. In short, he told me my app wasn't set to "iPhone only." That could be the problem right there, then he told me that apps are tested on iPad as well and therefore MUST work on iPad regardless if it is set to iPhone only or not. Usually iPhone apps display the same way on iPad only smaller (and can zoom to 2x) so I don't know why it would crop off my back button?

Oh yeah - he then told me the app would crash after it played a video. Why wouldn't that be written in the initial rejection notes? Who knows. In closing, what I need to do is submit again (sometimes that's all a developer needs to do and it will go through even without changes) after I check iPhone only and perhaps port it to my iPad and see what happens. If all goes well you'll get a treat this Spring with a link to my location based horror survival game set on the streets of Gowanus, Brooklyn!