Gamebreakers.

OK, so unsure if I should do this – I could see potential clients being upset by the fact I’m working on something for myself. I’ve already had one get very grumpy about the fact that I asked questions about IOS engines on a forum I am part off, when he felt I should have been exclusive to him. I did point out that what I do on my own time is up to me, and we had words about me not being ‘owned’ by him, but whatever.

Really I just want to share the experience I’m having. I’ve been working on a couple of projects – one for about a year now, and the other I’ve just started.

The other one – Adventure Book – I’ll detail in another post. But the new one, GameBreakers, is fascinating to me.

It’s basically NFL Football with friends. Played asynchronously on mobile devices, using card packs to determine the plays you have available, players you get to use, staff you can use and so on.

Now my initial design for this was (and still is) pretty simple. So here’s what I did. I put together one of those .pdf UI flow things, using Balsamiq (which is seriously awesome. Worth paying for.) and then I built it all in UIKit on IOS devices.

Now I was really surprised at just how fast I am able to build UIKit stuff now. I mean, I’ve done two weekends and some evenings, and pretty much every page is now there, populated and actually drawing data from internal data structures. It’s ugly as sin mind you, but every page has every button, I know what goes from where and why, what info I am trying to present and all the rest of it. Once I know this, the back end DB structures pretty much write themselves. Plus, I get to hand it to an artist who will then know exactly what buttons go where, and they can design me a ‘style’, which I’ll need and god knows I’m not an artist. I’m not a fan of redoing work either, so if I can give them something that already works and just say “Make it pretty, but don’t change anything in layout”, then that’s a plus for all of us.

There’s some worry on my part that I don’t know enough about football to do the stats / play calculation justice – I worked on a Fox Sports app once, and my part was to draw the events of what happened in plays, in real time, with arcs and balls moving around the field – and it’s WAY more complicated than you think it should be. But I also know I have a ton of friends who live and breath football and can advise, so less worried about that.

Tonight I should have the proof of concept done, then I’ll start thinking about back end DB integration. I’m going with PlayFab – the spun off company from Uber, – and so far I have no regrets about that decision.

I am surprised at how fast this has come together though. I suspect that has more to do with the ease of using UIKit than any particular brilliance on my part though.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about Adventure Book.

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