Photics: Revisions – Course Correction (Can it be done?)

It all starts with an idea. There’s a vision in my head… a space-shooter video game. I’ve been wanting to make a video game based on my book Photics: Revisions. With the iPhone and GameSalad, there appears to be a road to victory, but can it be done? I’m not sure, but I’m going to document my progress. The more I research the matter, the more confident I become. Yet, the idea to make “Photics: Revisions – Course Correction” is not new. That idea has been bouncing around in my brain for years. Has technology finally caught up to fantasy? Do I finally have the tools to make my dreams a reality?

When I first had the idea for PR:CC, I was looking into XNA. Could it be possible to actually make a game for the XBOX 360 and PC? Well… it was possible… but it was just too hard for me. I tried messing around with 3D graphics programs and a complicated programming language. I didn’t have much success. I ultimately gave up on the project. I felt that Flash was an easier platform to work with. But that was also too cumbersome. With ActionScript 3, I felt lost. I felt like I had to start over with each upgrade. It was discouraging. My idea was pushed aside.

But recently, I’ve had some success with mobile development. Google Android sparked my interest in game development. Thousands of players joined up to try Guild Wars: Conquest. Why couldn’t I achieve similar success with the iPhone? The bar is raised higher in that market. But with a copy of GameSalad and my Mac Mini, perhaps I should try again.

Here’s an old drawing of what I envisioned…

Can I make this idea real?

Since it’s going to be primarily for the iPhone, I realized that I had to make a few adjustments to the controls. Yet, I’m still not sure if my control scheme is even possible.

Question #1: Can I use the accelerometer in my game?

  • Yes – shows how to do it. There’s even a video tutorial that makes the process seem ridiculously easy.

Question #2: Can I have directional fire, with the click of a mouse or a touch on the iPhone?

  • I don’t know. I’m still researching the matter. I don’t know if my controls are going to work. Considering this is primarily for the iPhone, I might have to drop the cross-hair or figure out a really creative way to make it work. (I think I’ll make the cross-hair appear when pressed, not constant like before. That might solve the problem.)

Question #3: Wait a minute, how is a $99 program going to handle something complicated like radar?

  • Apparently, it’s not that complicated. shows how it’s done. Except, it’s referred to as a mini map.

Question #4: What about health bars and power ups?

  • That information is available too… …and I could probably modify it to add some cool power-ups. Do it in reverse to power-up the main gun.

Question #5: Can I have user preferences? What if a user doesn’t want to use the accelerometer? What if they’d rather have an on-screen controller instead?

  • I’m not sure. But if so, I have room for it at the bottom right of the screen.

I’ll have to work on graphics and I already have cool music selected. That’s the majority of the heavy lifting here, but GameSalad seems to have resolved a lot of the challenging parts. I’ll just have to figure out how to make the asteroids/enemies, character interactions, game presentation and make the game fun/pretty. The Space Rocks example included with GameSalad is close to how I want the Asteroids to react. I’ll probably have to do some more research on camera movement, as a lot of the action will happen off-screen.

Today was a big day. I went from feeling like this project was impossible, to becoming incredibly motivated. Yet, the main question remains… can it be done? Yes, of course! A better question is… can I do this?