Thursday, 28 October 2010

So - multiplayer quests?

So today Fable 3 is out for XBox360 - and I am going to the launch in Game in London like a proper fanboy (and also because I worked on Fable 1 & 2). So while I take a little break to see some old friends - I want to throw out a quick BRAIN BURST as to what the first Pre-Alpha Version Zero of the web interface would be like. Basically I was going to do a website where you can register yourself and get an account for a bunch of "Special People" - like this dude: EpicWin Questmaster. Then those special people can invite a bunch of their "followers", and then through a super basic interface (think GeoCities era websites) they can submit tasks that will be sent out to their followers to do in the app. And since it's a super-pre-alpha-special-people-only feature - the app will probably pop these tasks up in a fairly ugly but functional way for testing out.

I think that's a good "first step" in the technology to do this. Right now I have my old university room-mate/neighbor doing a Ruby-On-Rails network server thingybob to do this. Once we have the authorization and registration framework in that would be VERY exciting!

Any tips or whatever stick them in the comments! GO EPIC FOLLOWERS!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Next up...1.4 Update with more features!

Well - I'm kinda back - still got a hacking cough and bizarrely - spot under my nose (on my filtrum - painful!) but well enough to make a post on ....Update 1.4! Thanks to everyone with their well wishes, whilst getting better it made for a warm feeling knowing that not everyone wants me to die ;)

As an aside - whilst I was getting better - I have been playing a game called "Game Dev Story" on the iPhone by Kairosoft ( It's basically an iPhone sim game, where it is simulating - game development story. Brilliant. It would appear whilst ill from developing games, I spend my recovery time playing games that simulate....developing games. One hell of a fractal (RIP Mandelbrot).

Anyway - today I shall talk about one of the big additions to 1.4, which is the much wanted "Better Repeat Mechanism Robot" (well it's not really a robot). Essentially the current repeat pop up box will be replaced with an all new pop-up box with options such as:

Every X Days
Days of the week (with an option of intervals of how many weeks inbetween)
Days of the month (with an option of intervals of how many months inbetween)
Every X Years

To go with this - there will also be a setting for Local Notifications ("alarms") if you so wish for the task.

Incidentally - I have actually found a real live humanoid who will be helping code EpicWin on the iPhone. He's the same guy who ported MiniSquadron to Android for me and he is Daniel Smith of Gray Fin Studios ( - named after both his kids!). I have also re-discovered my old college room-mate who has been experimenting with the "network server" and doing fun social task thingies....but that's very early stage at the moment!

More posts on 1.4 features as I continue to get better! (Also hopefully more pictures)

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Update 1.3 Out!

Whew - Apple was pretty sweet and got it out quick! Interesting note to iOS Devs - when I set the Update to "Release By Developer" (so it doesn't automatically gets released on approval but only after I click a button) - it never sends me an email so I only knew when I logged back in....

Anyway - this as requested is a quick update addressing specifically the issues with weirdo repeating tasks missing days, and also to come up with a save/restore option on the net for people concerned with losing their data due to no fault of their own. Also, some people have asked specifically how it does this, so I thought I'd list a few limitations here for people to understand:

1) The data is saved to Google, using their Google App Engine. This basically provides a free service for saving/processing data to a big database, and charges only when the bandwidth goes *really* high.

2) For the moment at least - this service is an emergency last ditch Save/Restore thing to give people ease of mind. It is NOT a proper calendar sync NOR a proper sync to other todo lists. If you read the last blog post you can see it is something coming in Update 1.4 (the next one).

3) This save is PER DEVICE. It is relatively easy to register multiple devices to one account, but I think I'll do that after Update 1.4 as it may be redundant when that is done - since this is really a stop gap to at least have some safety of data backed up elsewhere.

4) Currently it saves all game state including your tasks.

So hopefully this will at least give people ease of mind when they think about their data, if you have any questions throw them in the comments and I'll answer them!

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Epic second post!

Hey! This is the first post by me (mrfungfung) after Rex's previous post on the lovely EpicWin wallpapers. I hope that moving posts to a blog will mean I can get more words out since Facebook has a 400 character limit on posts.

Let me begin by just thanking everyone who has enjoyed EpicWin so far, and also those who stuck with it and helped with asking for features and giving encouragement! EpicWin was coded entirely by myself in a space of about ~3 months, with Rex doing the design and art. It was intended at the start to "just" be a simple to-do app along the lines of SimpleNote or something, but with pretty graphics and some amusing loot to collect to make it a bit more fun to actually bother using a to-do list. But then it blew up...and became self-prophetically epic!

I want to make it clear that I am currently the ONLY CODER on the project - so I hope people can understand why I haven't, say, got multiple versions going on for PalmPre/Android/WinPhone7/PSP/iPad/Facebook/Website all at the same time, whilst also fixing bugs, designing and coding more features and also making Final Fantasy style gameplay and also answering support emails, doing PR and advertising. I barely have time to eat and wash!! I smell like garbage - and my hair is "grody" as my friend told me (this is not a good look she explains further).

This is obviously not the way to have a meaningful life! So right now what I'd like to do is list the things I am hoping to do for EpicWin as next steps here, and then also find help to do it. To this end I have found someone to help with coding on a contract basis - he just needs to finish up his current contract job before he can join. It's a very slow and difficult process to find good people to hire for coding, as there are so many factors - interviewing, finding, making sure he's good and up to the job, making sure they're actually available at the right time etc. so I am really lucky to find someone at all. And no - I didn't make Minecraft so I don't have a million pounds to spend so that's not a valid option I have to tempt people (although if I had charged more than $2.99 for each copy...)!

So let's give a rough road map of what is going on!

Update 1.3
Right now - Update 1.3 is still "Waiting For Review" in Apple's queue. They've been a bit slow lately so expect it to come out in ~2 weeks (sad face :o( ) This is a minor update - and here's what's in it:

1) FIX to the daily repeating tasks skipping a day if you *dont* complete it.
2) FEATURE Automatic Online Save/Restore with manual options to switch it on/off, and manual option to save it. Basically - this is a sync for just your statistics -so that you can recover your data in case of a loss. This is NOT a sync with any 3rd party calendars. That is coming later!

Update 1.3 with the save is a quick stop-gap solution to make sure you can feel a bit more confident with your data being saved somewhere safe - providing you have a good connection so that it can actually upload stuff of course!

Update 1.4 (Work In Progress)
This update will hopefully be the one which introduces some big features, and will take a bit longer to finish.

1) FEATURE Rehaul of the "Repeating" mechanism. The idea is to give it the full flexibility of being able to repeat tasks on the right days and combinations of days that people would reasonably expect.
2) FEATURE Local Notifications - those reminder thingies that you love so much!
Task List Syncing with some other service. At the moment we are considering iCal (which I think combos with Google and/or Microsoft Exchange depending on what you've set up), Evernote, RememberTheMilk and ToodleDo. We might not do *all* of them in one go - but the idea is that there will be a set of accounts you can login and "hook up" your task lists. You can then sync your tasks with other, more feature-full calendars and have a powerful way to manage tasks - but you can use EpicWin as your "window" to actually make you do those tasks! This will free up EpicWin and myself to design and code more game-related and fun things as the main motivator for task completion!

Once we have the above solid base of features - we can then focus on FUN! I believe Rex has created gameplay features on how to spend your Gold, and other RPG-esque elements (fights and other things from your progress map). We have to strike a balance with people who are happy with the simple incentives and don't actually want anything more involved as it gets in their way - to those people who want a fuller game experience.

Also - a big plan is going on (IN MY EXPLODING BRAIN - MY POOR BRAIN) on doing a web interface with multiplayer tasks and quests. This feature is VERY FRIKKIN EXCITING for me, but unfortunately is also the hardest task to do and a massive pain in the butt.

Anyway - enough text for a first post! I'll come and explain more about Android market etc in the next few posts - but please make yourself at home, and join in the Epic Journey!!