Pig on a Hill Productions

Pixel Pals Update

I had to split up  and initial post “A bit of a catch up…” because it was too long. So here’s the part about Pixel Pals. Enjoy! 😄

Pixel Pals has had a few updates, including sleep, difficulty and changing your creatures name setting. It also got a iPad retina display update when the 3rd Gen iPad came out, but since then it’s rather slowed down. I’m sorry for all you people out there who have wanted more, but I just haven’t had the time. Big News though, I’m starting on Pixel Pals v2.0. It’s going to be an update to the current app, so you don’t have to buy it again and it’s going to be a complete re-write. 😖 Yep, one hell of a task for me but it has to be done.

A bit of background on Pixel Pals might be needed here. Pixel Pals was my dissertation project (I believe it was the main reason I got a 1st). I had never made an app before nor programmed in Objective-C (the programming language used for all Mac OS and iOS apps). So I was learning from the go get. My University course was BSc Sound Tech and Digital Music, so I didn’t really take any programming courses (not serous ones anyway) so I was completely self taught. I got a couple of books, “Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X” by “Aaron Hillegass and Adam Preble”  and “iOS Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide” by “Joe Conway and Aaron Hillegass”. Both amazing books and a great resource.

So I got started and 9 months later (3 months after my dissertation project ended, there was a lot more to do from dissertation finish to actual release) Pixel Pals was uploaded and released on the app store. The thing is, I didn’t think about a few things, and if I could give myself then a bit of advice, this is what I’d say:

  1. Lay out your code cleanly and comment on what you have done. - I have spent hours trying to work out what something did to what when adding updates, but if I’d written a comment, it would never have been a problem and the updates would have gone faster (and been a little less scary).
  2. Think to the future. - It is something worth thinking about in every app. How can I write this so it’s easy to add any number of unknown features. It’s a hard one but definitely worth taking the time to do because you will thank yourself when you update your app. Trust me, you will not regret it.
  3. Keep adding features! - This one is more a wish. My apps get new features depending on the amount of time I have to actually do them. Working full-time in retail for the past year didn’t help with this.

So anyway, Pixel Pals is a bit of a mess and so, v2.0. Don’t get your hopes up though, as this will still take a fair bit of time, but the end result… Well lets say I’m planning on 3x as many creatures, 3x as many mini games, more social integration, more customisation and more interaction with your creature. Also, many will be pleased to hear, a casual mode. This means that you won’t have to worry about your creature not being alive when you finish work, school or whatever it is you spend your day doing. Your creatures age will not submitted to ‘Game Center’ because that would just be unfair but I might think up a few other leader boards for you. 😊

Ether way check back soon because I’m going to try to Blog my progress of making v2.0, as it doesn’t have to be so secretive. 😄