Castle Software Ltd

Current Situation

What exactly has been happening over the last 12 months at Castle Software. Read More...

Work in Progress

So progress is finally being made this year, and though nothing is complete (as always) i do feel further along this year than previous years.

I have a wall in my office that is full of post-it notes, that detail some of the games I want to make. I use this wall as inspiration but also as a method of tracking progress (i’m very much a visual person on paper than having everything on the computer). Out of the 15 ideas on the board, there are three in production. This means the designs have been done and are out to artists to complete. Each is a different complexity and at a different stage of creation. I’m trying to get as many designs out to different artists as possible to allow me to spread the risk and hopefully allow me to release more games this year than my combined number of games in previous years (I am targeting 6 games on iOS this year). Of course once the games come in, then I still need to create the code, but as the art is being drip fed, i am starting to hook the code up, which should hopefully speed things up a little. Two of the games so far are relatively straight forward, while the strategy game i am working on will require a lot more thought/time/effort.

One of the negatives of part time indie game creator is how time flies (because full time work etc takes up so much of my life). You start work on games, and then suddenly before you know it another month is gone. So hopefully the next blog will have something positive to say about our next game releases.

Level Up

Having been very busy writing books for the last 8 years (and specifically the last three) I’ve not been able to dedicate as much time to making indie games as I would have liked. So the plan this year is to not write any new books but to concentrate as much free time on making Apps for iTunes and possibly the Google stores.

This is a bit of a shame because I enjoy writing game creation books, but its very time consuming, which doesn’t help when trying to make indie games, but sacrifices need to be made if I intend to actually make any apps this year, unlike last year where I only was able to make one Hd app of something I had already made before.

So with this in mind, over the last few weeks I have been working on a few different project designs and starting the process of design documentation and prototyping. These designs are different to the previous games and apps that I have made over the last few years. I would class them as “Next Level Up” from the previous games. This means that though these aren’t the games I would ultimately like to make they are in terms of depth and gameplay much deeper than before.

Making apps that are more complicated has its own drawbacks in two particular areas: Graphics and Programming. Graphics are my biggest issue, being that I cannot draw I always need to outsource game graphics, with any thoughts or ideas about bigger games are then usually put on hold due to costs and time. Programming more complicated projects means that I need to start looking at making games that support various systems such as : inApp payments, and Game Centre leader boards. So while the first Next Level game is being drawn I will be releasing a more simple game which includes both inApp purchasing and leader boards so that I can figure out the programming in advance of having to make a more complicated game. This way I can plug this code straight into the next game without too much worry.

So it's a two pronged attack on app making this year, release one or two simple apps to prove my code that will be used later on, and complete writing designs for more complicated apps so they can be drawn. I don’t want to underestimate the design documentation, because without that and getting the prototypes to an artist I won’t be in any position to begin any major coding and any closer to releasing an app.

Another Year Nearly Gone

I started out the year with so many big plans, my original aim was to develop 12 iOS apps throughout the year, some easy, some more complex, but in the end, I have managed 0 so far. What with my full time job and writing a new book, I haven’t managed to actually get anything started… Very disappointing.

Over the last week or so I’ve been updating some of my older apps to support iOS6, and it’s made me realise again how much fun making app’s is and seeing them succeed or fail is something I love to watch. I find the whole process fascinating.

With only a few weeks of November left, the question will be is what is possible for me to achieve and get released on the iTunes store before it closes down before Christmas. There isn’t long left of the year, and of course, time is running out. But I want to give it a go. With that in mind, I think I had better get some work done.

Whats Next?

Things have been quiet at Castle Software for the last few months, currently we are working on a new computer games creation book called - Adventure Game Creation for Teens. The book was due to be released May, but has been delayed a little until August/September time. So now we have a bit more time we are looking making sure its the best adventure game book it can be.

I am really excited about it as I think i may write a few iOS games based on some of the code work used in the book.

While the book is being worked on, we will be getting some graphics made up for a new game for iOS, which should start pre-production shortly. The initial designs should be complete by Monday and the process will start of some basic mockup’s and screen designs before graphic work is begun.

I suspect this new project will be our next game, as i don’t think we have time to make an adventure game for iOS in time.

More information when its available.
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Castle Software Ltd
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