On OS4

Interesting week as always. On the game progress front, not too much has changed, I’m working on the level manager and will then move on to the core level editor. From there i’ll begin creating some of the early official levels, tightening the experience, and adding features (such as the customisation). General consensus is that the game is now looking good and the gameplay is making more sense.

It’s way to early to be talking about firm release dates, but I’m aiming to have launched Explorer (working title), BrainWave, and potentially BrainWave for iPad by the end of the year. This may not sound like much but when you have a day job as well it can be tricky to find the time. Before we move on to other news, I thought it would be fun to show you some of the iteration that has gone on since the game began.

On the subject of BrainWave, You can sign up for the private beta now. I hope to begin sending invites for the Beta at the start of May. If you’d like to learn more about BrainWave, check out my blog post here. As a result of this i’ve spent a fair amount of time sorting out a login system and adding the concept of users to BrainWave. I’ll also be spending some time over the coming weeks, tidying the application and ironing out any bugs.

The big news this week was iPhone OS4. I really didn’t expect this to reveal anything exciting (I really don’t care about multi-tasking that much), how wrong I was. Apple have announced some really great features… the two that spring to mind are iAd and Game Center.

iAd is Apple’s mobile advertising platform putting it in direct competition with existing platforms such as AdMob and Quattro Wireless. iAd really shines in two places, first it should be easier to integrate since it’s API’s are built into the OS, and second, and perhaps more excitingly, Apple have added an extra layer of interactivity to these adverts – allowing for inline games and video – impressive stuff indeed.

Game Center is Apple’s answer to social networking for games. Competing directly with current leader, OpenFeint and others such as Crystal, Scoreloop, and Plus+. I haven’t looked into the features of Game Center yet but it obviously has one huge advantage, like iAd, its built into the OS. As a developer I will certainly integrate Game Center over the others due to the minimal effort required and the audience reach.

There are also a whole host of additional API’s for developers to use. Something that stood out in the keynote was the mention that Apple are also releasing their automated test tools that they use when testing Apps submitted by developers. I haven’t looked into this yet but it has the potential to be really helpful in debugging issues with our Apps and speeding up the approval process (with less likelihood of being rejected).

Fortunately I’m still in the early stages of development on my current game, so it makes sense for me to begin integrating these features now. I’m still undecided on pricing for Explorer but the iAd model looks very promising so perhaps this is the road I will take (Free to download, supported by Advertising).

Check back soon…

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