Doin’ that Mobile Thingy

It is absolutely crazy to me that there are not just one, but several iOS games available to buy right now from YoYo Games, authors of Game Maker. That these games were built using Game Maker. That there are GM authors making some cash right now. That I have my own game on the Playstation Network. That there are more ports of GM coming to Android, and if you're interested in android games, you can go to sites as to find the best games for your phone. I've gone from focusing on one platform to asking myself, how many different platforms can I target with one game?

So that's where I've been these last few weeks, wondering what kind of games I can create that would suit handhelds while leaving the door open for a PC release. To do that, I bought an iPod Touch, and man oh man are these things wonderful. The kind of games on the device are ones I'd classify as "disposable entertainment," ones that I have bought, enjoyed for an hour or so, and then move on to the next one. Few games pass this benchmark, most being bought for a dollar and having thirty minutes of entertainment, but there are some real gems on the iOS platform.

Which leaves me asking the question: what kind of games can I make for this device? What kind of games are preferred by people who like to play games for real money? Well, I'm currently making a port of the ShellDrop mode of ShellBlast. It's coming along great and is nearly game-complete, with the features, polish and menus needing to be added. The fact that I could churn out an iOS game within three weeks is pretty darn cool. I'd also love to make a port of the Sandbox of God, if YoYo Games accepts these two games anyways. (I'll have some pics of ShellBlast Forever, the official title of the iOS port, towards the end of the month.)

After that, I have a real drive to make my next new game one for the PC/iPad/iPhone/Android market. It's a game that never quite made sense on a PC, but makes complete sense on a handheld. I don't want to talk about it too much given the lack of work done on it, but I'm super excited to really get my hands in there.

I realize I'm being a bit vague with everything, but there are two things I wanted to accomplish with this post: A) yes, I am working on things, and B) no, I'm not abandoning the PC market. While I'm sure there will eventually be games that will be iOS only, it will only be because of the touch screen nature of the device that suits the game better, or another hardware reason.

All that said, does anyone else do some mobile gaming on their iPod Touch/Phone? What kind of experiences do you like the best?



  1. SquareWheel says:

    Touch screen games are time wasters but I don’t take it that seriously as a platform. They have imprecise controls and your fingers constantly take up a large percentage of the screen, this makes action games very difficult to do well. Puzzle games fair better though and there are some real gems as you’ve said.

    I must say I find it a little sad that YoYo hasn’t released their iOS compiler and plan to use it themselves. I understand that as a company they need to profit, but the idea of compiling to mobile platforms is one of the only reasons I would consider programming in Gamemaker any more. For an unheard of developer, there is no point in making games with touchscreen in mind on Gamemaker because it’s so unlikely YoYo would accept it, nevermind Apple. I would much rather self-publish to an open platform like PC, I don’t want two middle men.

  2. @SquareWheel: While I agree physical controls are much better than touch screen controls, I disagree with the sentiment that touch screen games are time wasters.

    In fact, many of David’s games could work very well with only touch screen controls. Shellblast, Spirits of Metropolis, Kablooey and even the Ore No Ryomi series come to mind.

    I do agree that it would be nice if Yoyo Games released their iOS compiler, however, I’m not familiar with the process so I’m not sure how this would work.

    Naturally though, the only clear solution is to release games on PC, PS3, Wii, 360, iOS, NPG, 3DS, Android and Atari 2600 for good measure. ­čśë

  3. SquareWheel says:

    I feel my wording may have come off as more negative than I intended. I should have said that the games are “good time wasters”, in that they’re great to pick up when waiting for a train.

    I agree that many of David’s games would translate well. Sandbox of God is a particular favorite of mine and I’d love to see how it translates to the mobile screen.

  4. zacattack says:

    sandbox of god, oilblue and greentech would work great on the ipod

  5. UltimateAgent says:

    I would definitely enjoy playing some of your games on my Droid. But I guess I’ll have to wait for that.

  6. Making games for iOS is a whole different philosophy. Your games must be:

    – simple

    – very touchable (iPhone gamers do not want to play games like they do on PC or console…)

    – give them a chance to use their iPHONE / iPOD Touch abilities