Affiliate Products

On November 10, 2011, in , by Steffen Itterheim

I did not create the following products. But I help sell them through ads and affiliate links because they’re high quality and highly recommended. I get a commission for each sale made through these links, which in turn helps me spend more time on this website and on Kobold2D.

Paralaxer Platformer Game Kit

Paralaxer runs on iOS, Android, Windows, & Mac using the same C++ game code. Thanks to the ultra-awesome, open-source Cocos2D-X game engine, Paralaxer is a cross-platform platformer.

      

The iPhone RPG Engine

Rapidly create your own RPG or action-adventure game with this complete starter kit. Includes an ebook, game source code and a royalty-free art package.

Commander Cool Game Kit

This starter kit includes the complete source code of “Commander Cool” for iPhone / iPad / Mac build with Cocos2d & Box2d, extensive code documentation and video documentation (accessible online or offline) covering every beginning step to modifying the app for yourself.

      

Angry Ninjas Starter Kit

Ride the wave of success that sling shot games are seeing in the App Store and create your own popular game. All thats required is a bit of time on your part to build some fantastic levels and add your own artistic twist. We’ve done the hard part. Now you get to do the fun part!

Visit the Ray Wenderlich Store!


Learn about the APIs that were introduced in iOS 6 like Auto Layout, Collection Views, and Passbook. Over 1,500 pages of high quality content!

Also check out Sprite Kit by Tutorials!


The Starter Kit Bundle: Full Cocos2D source code and tutorials for creating a side-scrolling space shooter game, a platformer game and a beat ’em up game for iPhone and iPad!
Ray Wenderlich and his team provide awesome iOS Tutorials and excellent Starter Kit source code.

TexturePacker

Create sprite sheets and optimize images for your Cocos2D, Kobold2D, Corona and other game engine projects.

      

PhysicsEditor

Edit collision shapes for Box2D and Chipmunk based physics games. Supports Cocos2D, Kobold2D, Corona, and other game engines.

Learn Cocos2D 2nd Edition: What’s New & Release Date

On September 30, 2011, in book, cocos2d, Kobold2D, by Steffen Itterheim

Scheduled for release on November 7th, 2011.

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From Dogfooding to Catfooding

On September 22, 2011, in idevblogaday, Kobold2D, by Steffen Itterheim

Most developers have heard of the phrase “Eat your own dog food”. It refers to the habit of actually using what you’re creating.

A typical example would be a company building Yet-Another-Issue-Tracking-Tool™ while using said issue tracker to manage their Yet-Another-Issue-Tracking-Tool™ project. And you’ll surely have heard of a game engine that was initially only developed as a necessity to build a game, then polished and released to the public to great success, while the developer continued to create games with his own engine.

Dogfooding is considered a good practice, actually a best practice. You know that the tool you’re building works, and that it satisfies your needs.

But “your needs” is also the achilles heel of dogfooding, and it’s just a small step away from forever “perfecting” your product (known as “gold plating”). So sooner or later, you’ll have to do some catfooding, too. Meaning: to feed the user’s needs.

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This Kobold2D FAQ article explains the difference between Corona SDK and iPhone Wax library, and evaluates the existing and future options for Lua scripting in Kobold2D.

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Cocos2D Podcast Introduction online!

On April 4, 2011, in book, cocos2d, podcast, by Steffen Itterheim

The first Cocos2D Podcast with Mohammad Azam (@azamsharp) from HighOnCoding.com and me is now online. Refer to the Cocos2D Podcast website for show notes and web links.

Listen to the Cocos2D Podcast (36 minutes).

And here’s the iTunes link for the Cocos2D Podcast.

Addendums

… to be laid off is kind of cool.

No, that’s not a freudian slip but not the whole story either. 😀

As the layoffs hit EA Phenomic and it was disclosed to us that we’ll never be working on 3D games for PC and consoles anymore, and instead we’ll be focusing on making webgames, you’d be either in the position where you would have to be laid off (eg 3D Artists) – which admittedly wasn’t “cool”. But if you were in a position like me where you could expect to stay with the company, but you simply had no interest in making webgames, you could volunteer to be put on the layoff list. The “cool” thing about that is that you wouldn’t have to quit, which makes a big difference in terms of compensation and treatment you reveice from the company as well as getting state support for unemployment. And you could save someone else’s job who actually wanted to stay with the company. So that was just a nice way to handle an otherwise difficult situation.

Also, as far as I know almost everyone who was laid off quickly got a new job or started new careers as freelancers. Some even moved abroad to the UK and Canada to work for Ubisoft. Most went on to work for Crytek and Blue Byte. And even those who I expected were going to have a hard time getting a new job in the game industry, mostly due to lack of experience and achievements, found new employment in other game studios small and big. I find this noteworthy because whenever situations like EA Spouse, the Red Dead Redemption crunch or the layoffs and shutdowns in 2008/2009, there’s going to be a huge amount of worry expressed by employees that they don’t want to be fired because there’s no one else hiring. This couldn’t be further from the truth!

The game industry was and still is an industry where it is ridiculously easy to get a job – even with little qualification and experience – but at the same time notorious for those who “made it” to sustain the worst working conditions. This probably goes hand in hand. I know that those who landed their first game development job were very eager to keep it (me included), and they know or (even worse) suspect that there are likely better hires out there than oneself. Which in fact is sometimes reinforced by management, but my experiences trying to hire qualified staff tells a different story: it’s really, really hard to find qualified game developers which is why it’s so easy to get in because you often have no other choice but to hire from those who applied, not necessarily from those you wish would have applied. So game developers maybe trying to prove themselves harder and are more concerned about their job safety than they need to be.

Celsius / Fahrenheit

Turns out I wasn’t too far off with my guess: 25 ºC = 77 ºF

Not as hot as Texas of course, but relatively speaking a hot day for spring in germany.

Stressful

At one point I mentioned that the popularity I gained from writing the Learn Cocos2D book, plus the websites I run, can be “stressful”. I’m referring to the obligation and personal responsibility that I feel towards people seeking my help. One of the strongest negative feelings I have is looking at all those requests, knowing I can’t help all of them, and not knowing where to start answering. I don’t even have a good way to measure who needs my help the most.

Some of the questions are easy to answer, but that also means they are already answered if you go look around (google is your friend). Other questions are challenging, and I like that because they pick my brain, but answering those would require at least an hour or more of research and would seriously cut into the time I need for other tasks. And a third class of question is simply those I can’t answer, or at least not by email. That’s either because I lack the knowledge and experience on the subject matter (for example, I barely have any Cocoa Touch programming experience yet), or because it requires a fair amount of understanding of project-specific details, including design goals and the actual source code. Then there’s countless of job inquiries which as a professional I feel I should at least politely decline but even that is eating up quite a bit of time.

I feel a certain responsibility to answer everyone’s inquiries, be it about a specific programming problem or seeking someone to hire in order to get their game project done, which is why it’s so hard for me not to do it. And that in turn causes stress, or anxiety. But as I started receiving more and more of these requests I was lagging behind answering them, up to the point where I had to purposefully ignore most of the requests. I needed to face reality and cut down on the total time I spend communicating while still getting the essential tasks done (client work or the projects I set myself out to do). Though necessary to ignore most requests, to me it still doesn’t feel right, or fair, especially after I promised to be responsive. This is what creates the stress I was referring to. It’s something I have to come to terms with and I can only apologize for it.

I decided to alleviate that situation by monitoring all of these requests and figure out what the most pressing issues are, and then focus on fixing what I call the “big picture issues”, be it by programming or documenting. Kobold2D is one such effort to fix the ongoing issue of getting to work with Cocos2D (template installation, project configuration, setting up libraries). The Xcode 4 Template Documentation is my attempt to fix the information void about Xcode 4 templates, especially since every bit of information about Xcode 3 Templates is null and void due to the significant format changes.

Book Update

The contract is signed, this summer an updated version of the Learn Cocos2D book will be published. It will likely be titled “Learn iPhone 5 and iPad 2 Cocos2D Game Development” and change all the source code to be compatible with v1.0 of Cocos2D. There will also be two new chapters which will be revealed at a later time. And I’ll fix the erratas that have been reported thus far.

One of the things I want to fix is that working entirely from the book will not cause compile errors anymore, this specifically means adding some more source code to chapters 3 and 4 I believe, where I’ve omitted a few lines of code in the first edition. The Game Center chapter will be improved to include the data send/receive example. There will certainly be a couple more changes in regards to iOS 5 (if available at the time) and new devices like iPad 2 and iPhone 5 obviously, and miscellaneous changes here and there.

As usual I’ll keep you posted on the progress.

A Teaser

On February 22, 2011, in Announcements, by Steffen Itterheim

I’m sorry for having been so absent lately. It just so happened that a couple events lead to taking some time off away from my computer, and then I realized how much I actually enjoyed not being at my computer all day long. Respectively how little motivation I had to go back to what I was used to doing because something was off, didn’t feel quite right. So I took some time off away from almost everything computer-ish, and started recreating and pondering.

Eventually I realized I was missing something:

  • a bigger-than-life goal
  • an actual, meaningful, worthwhile project that serves this goal

Once I had this realization, finding the right goal was easy:

The Goal

I want to create something new that will have a lasting impact on how we make games.

Nothing less. I could be more specific but I’m not willing to give that away yet.

The Project

I know exactly what I’m going to have to do but you’ll have to bear with me on the details – I’m just starting. Everything seems to have fallen in place and became so obvious. In fact, I’ve done it many times over in my professional career. What I’m now working on will enable you to make games faster and with fewer technical issues. It will trade performance and complexity for rapid development and ease of use.

I can’t stand it anymore

Quite frankly, I die a little every day I see nothing done to improve the miserable state new and inexperienced game developers face when they are starting out with Cocos2D. I am furious when I see that something as essential as the API reference isn’t even complete, and either no one but me notices or no one cares to mention it. Cocos2D is neglected in areas that I consider to be more important than the source code itself.

Cocos2D will soon support OpenGL ES 2.0 and shaders. That’s fine for some people and great news for a select few who actually know how to leverage the GL ES 2.0 features. However, I know in my heart this will only cause more headaches and frustration for the majority of users because for them more options only means they’re going to face more issues they don’t understand fully, which they can’t solve by themselves. Yet they’ll be tinkering with it because new technical toys are just too damn cool. But in the end it will only keep them from finishing their games. I’m much more concerned with fixing the recurring issues the majority of users are having. And helping them getting their games finished and out there.

I can’t change how Cocos2D is developed and how decisions are made. So I’m starting my own project to change the landscape, to raise the bar and set expectations to a level that satisfies the professional software engineer in me. I’ll stop trying to crack tough coconuts for you, instead I’ll lead you to new and greener pastures where the fruits are hanging low and have much softer shells. Poetically speaking. :)

My project will not be for everyone, but even for the seasoned developers there’s going to be something worthwhile in it. And you won’t have to give up on Cocos2D completely because even I will only slowly transition away from it.

When? What? Where? Etc.

The specifics of this project will be announced in due time. Just like I did with the book I’ll write a weekly, Friday-ish update post about recent developments and revealing new features. Also I will share with you my insights and thought processes and my approach to software development and what I’ve learned.

These posts serve an important purpose: by making public announcements, by writing down my goals and committing to them publicly, and by recording achievements my motivation will remain high, and I will keep enjoying what I’m doing. It also allows me to kick myself in the butt if I have to because I can’t possibly let you down. This will keep me going and will have me striving for nothing but excellence.

In the coming weeks and at least during the initial development phase I will focus almost all of my time on either project development, or recreation away from my computer. I will also try my best to avoid any and all distractions like forums, Twitter, email, unnecessary research, funny videos and generally just wasting time. If the past few weeks were any indication I will be harder to reach and even slower to communicate with. I will not be able to respond to every personal message because I need to focus my attention on the task at hand, or living my life as a crucial counter-weight. I will focus my attention more on speaking to the overall community via my Blog, Twitter and the planned Cocos2D Podcast with Mohammad Azam.

Watch this space for more info, and definitely join my Newsletter and follow me on Twitter.

I would like to preemptively thank you for your outstanding display of collaborative patience!

I’m off to building a better future! :)

Learn Cocos2D Game Development: eBook is final!

On November 16, 2010, in Announcements, book, cocos2d, by Steffen Itterheim

Just today I was informed that the eBook version of Learn iPhone and iPad Cocos2D Game Development is now available in its final form!

UPDATE: the source code download (also on the book’s page, left side, under Book Resources) now includes all of the source code.

The print edition will follow sometime soon, hopefully within the next ~3 weeks.

On a related note, Ray Wenderlich joined forces with Rod Strougo to help finish Rod’s Cocos2D book, due to an oddly scheduled release date whose publisher apparently feels impossible to postpone. By that I mean to say: Rod’s wife is having a baby. Congratulations to that, and the book! :)

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I’m happy to announce that the cocos2d book I’m writing is now available for early access as an Alpha Book! If you click on the previous link or the image you can view the book’s description. Look for the “Buy Alpha Book” button on the left side of the book’s website, inside the “Book Details” frame.

Access to the Alpha Book costs $27,99 – the same as the eBook version. You get to read the unedited, unfinished pre-release chapters of the book. The full book isn’t available yet, but when it becomes available, you will be able to download the full eBook.

At the moment 5 chapters are available with new chapters being written on a weekly schedule.

Your feedback will be very valuable to make this book the best it can be! Please send your feedback to Apress, not to me directly. Apress will evaluate your feedback and send it to me with duplicate and already planned or implemented feedback sorted out, so that I can focus on writing.

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