Back to the Drawing Board

So OK, I’ve created and published four different apps for the iPhone OS… why am I not rich yet?! Ha ha, I expected to have a bit more success by now. But unfortunately, I’m still learning about Apple’s mobile market. After warding off discouraging feelings, I decided to head back to the drawing board. I may not be making a ton of money on the App Store, but I have learned some valuable lessons. I’m impressed with the apps that I’ve made so far, but I’ll have to do a lot better in order to succeed in this ultra-competitive battleground. Developers from all over the world are vying for success. What makes me special?

Determination & Foresight – I was fighting against the game developer’s version of writer’s block. I was starting to see nothing but failure. Every game idea I could think of was already done… and done well. “Why bother?” Today, I seriously thought about giving up. I didn’t know what I was going to do next. With thousands of games on the market, trying to stand out felt futile. Yet, this is what I enjoy. is a business and a hobby. For decades, I’ve played through many challenging video games. I was relentless in trying to beat the last boss and make it to the ending. Why should I give up here when the prize is real?

Plus, the next version of the iPhone OS is looking great. With Apple’s Game Center, some really amazing features can be done. For the longest time I wanted to run my own online game. With features like Matchmaking, Leaderboards, Achievements, and Voice over IP, my mind is racing with the possibilities. I was a latecomer to the iPhone / iPod Touch scene, but I’ve seriously caught up this month. I was ready with a game for the iPad launch. I’d like to do the same for Apple’s Game Center.

With a goal in mind, I tried to figure out the best way to achieve that objective. I came up with this…

Photics RPG Sketch / Blueprint
Is this the blueprint for success? I don't know, but it looks like a lot of fun!

One of the things that I learned about developing for the iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad is that the control scheme is incredibly important. I have a fairly long list of games that I want to make, but that list started to thin out when I was shying away from games that needed on-screen controls or games without strong possibilities for multiplayers. Also, I didn’t want the artwork to get too complicated. (I have another project that I’d really like to do, but it’s just too expensive for right now.) After some testing, I decided to focus on a Gauntlet / Zelda type of game. The difference here is that this game is entirely designed for mobile phones… no joysticks… no buttons… just touching.

My advice for managing complicated problems – break it down into small pieces first, otherwise the enormity of the issue might overwhelm you.

Now that I have a general direction, I can tackle the next problem – artwork. The game has to look good or it won’t sell. It’s going to be a challenge, but at least I’m moving forward.

One thought on “Back to the Drawing Board”

  1. Great write up, I’m about to start my 2nd game and you helped settle my expectations. Guess Leaving my job may have been a mistake… 😛

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