(pant, pant!) New…
(pant, pant!) Starter….
That’s how excited I feel right now about this brilliant work of programming I’m presenting here today. I connected with the developers of the Commander Cool app about a month ago over Twitter and saw they had made this really cool looking template for sale based on the app. They were awesome enough to consider letting me take a look at what they had, and possibly do the video documentation for it. So I got their project files, published to my iPhone and played the hell out of the game right away. Keep in mind, I don’t waste a lot of time actually “playing” games. That whole “don’t get high on your own supply” thing is true with me. I’m not a gamer. I’ve heard it said that most console gamers only see the first 10 hours of the games they buy. For an App, I can rarely get through a minute. And it’s not because most games aren’t good, they just don’t hold my attention. Well the Commander actually did. And probably because it plays a lot like Mega Man, one of my favorite games growing up. I like a challenging route through a board, one where the emphasis is less on killing enemies, and more on memorizing a pattern of play where you avoid pitfalls, spikes, lasers, etc.
So then I started looking through the code. Well written, well documented, but there’s A LOT of it. And I had no clue where to begin putting in my own code to customize the game. So I thought, “darn it, what have I gotten myself into here?” It could take me weeks to learn their engine well enough to teach how to modify it. Cut to a few hours later, and I realized adding and editing levels was done by modifying a single line in a .plist file, and then building a new map file in a program called Tiled (which is free from here… http://www.mapeditor.org/ ). I was actually floored by how simple it was to make completely new levels to this game and add them. New levels get added to the game menu automatically, and if you add more than 10 levels, they immediately get added to a secondary (slide-able) menu, and so on in increments of 10. Genius.
If you aren’t familiar with Tiled, well that’s what most of the video documentation covers. It’s a visual front end, so you never have to fool with the core engine of this game. You just paint map tiles, and drag boxes around the map and name them things like “MovableBlock” or “Coin” to modify this template. That’s really 98% of the work.
The video documentation teaches some other things like how to convert the Tiled map file to HD instead of SD. Or from HD to iPad HD. It also covers building new sprite sheets to use your own graphics instead of the included ones. Basically it just goes over every step to get you started customizing this.
Interested? Check out the sales page for more info! Oh and did I mention yet, you can build an App for the iPhone or iPad, BUT also the Mac? Cool huh. =)