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Got an iPad for Christmas & A Little about Red Ant Games

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ID:	185Well I finally got one and I love it. When I was younger, I used to dream about such devices after watching several episodes of Star Trek and seeing how great such an idea was to have a tablet sized computer that you can take with you and set it down ready to use almost everywhere. Well now I've got one and it's awesome.

One of the most exciting things about having this new device, other than all the cool apps that you can get, is the fact that I can also develop my own games and apps for it myself. There are a few projects that I'd love to see on the iPad and iPhone/Pod Touch such as Garland's Quest and my newer game project, Treasure Hunters: The Dark Labyrinth. I think both will do really well.

Development Woes

My main concern now however is to get my development platform up to par. And that means either fixing my installation of Lazarus, waiting to see if Embarcadero will allow for iOS development in their new Delphi for Mac OR, as much as it might pain me so say it... learn Objective-C and use X-Code to port my games over to iOS and the Mac. I don't want to do the latter as I much prefer the Object Pascal language to any C-based language, but months are slipping by as I struggle with a poorly put together release of Lazarus.

As far as working in Parallels (Windows running on a Mac in a virtual machine) with Lazarus is concerned, I'm having some minor issues with the debugger crashing at the end of the execution. A minor inconvenience, but it doesn't help matters that Lazarus doesn't run smooth in my virtual (legacy) development platform either. I doubt the blame for the crash can be placed solely on the Laz Team's shoulders, but I can only imagine what trying to get it resolved would entail.

I've put in a general complaint on the Lazarus forums asking for some kind of solutions or help towards one. I've been discussing the issues with some of the Lazarus development team, but it's slow going and sadly some of them seem to want me to do most if not all the work to fix their lack of documentation, never mind the real issues with Lazarus not functioning properly out of their packaging. It's disappointing to see this effort going nowhere. I might try talking with someone on the IRC channel or email one of the core team members directly once I've discovered who's assigned responsibility it might be to address my situation with the failing debugger.

Well once I'm past all this developer unpleasantness and I can get back to making games again, I'll be happy to start to make games on both Mac OS X and on iOS testing with real hardware.

Red Ant Games

In more happy news, I'm also glad to let you all know about some of the showcase work I've been doing for some of my game projects. I've registered as the new home for access to all my current game projects where you can read about new developments and try early alpha releases of all my games. I have created entire showcase sites for each of my major game productions that you can enjoy. Please check it out and leave feedback as you see fit. I've also registered for my most promising title out of the bunch. I'd love to make this game into a series as the game play is so enjoyable and the story and characters are just fun to come up with new ideas for. Please check out this new site and read about some of my ideas for the finished game.

And yes, I used to go by the name Red Ant Productions until recently, but since the domain address was already taken and this one not, I figured why not change with the times. I will now be making games under the Red Ant Games label instead. I still need a new logo though. Anyone interested in making me a cool 3D mascot?

Know any good 3D artists? I'll be looking to hire an artist to help me complete Garland's Quest once I pick-up development of the project again. I don't plan on making much a change in the design or feel of the game so there is a specific style of graphics I'm looking for. If you know anyone who might fit the bill, please send me their contact information and I'll check out their work. I have been looking at some artists, but I've not settled on anyone yet. I also want to take stock of all the artwork needed so I have a full list and don't have to keep going back for more pieces later on. This is best for the artists too. The email you can use for this is

Recommended iPad Apps

Well that it for now, but before I end this blog I just have to recommend a few Apps that I've been playing with this past week.

Here is my top 5 for iOS games...

#5 Labyrinth 2 HD by Illusion Labs

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ID:	181This one is an obvious one, considering it's shown in just about every Apple Store display and in some of the iPad commercials, however it actually is pretty darn fun and really shows off the whole idea of the motion sensors in the iOS devices. My favorite part of this app is that you can download, play and rate levels created by others beyond the default levels included with the app. Though there are a good few to play to start with. You can even create your own levels if you go to the website and create an account.

#4 Dungeon Defense HD by InMotion Software

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ID:	184Great if you love Tower Defense games. This one is cool because it's a bit of a twist on the classic. Instead of still unmovable towers you instead place skeleton minions that will guard a spot and attack any 'heroes' that pass by. The object is for you obviously defend against the incoming waves of potential heroes with your skeletons that you can upgrade and each have specific abilities at higher levels. Also depending on which type of map you choose to play, there are different abilities of the Skeleton King, Blood Orb and Sarcophagus too. Good fun and offers a lot of challenge to get through the higher levels. It'll cost about $1.99 right now.

#3 Galcon Fusion by Phil Hassey

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ID:	180This is a great new style of strategy game where you are constantly moving your ships from one planet to another in the goal to overpower any force on the invading planet. The coolest thing about this game is not only it's beautiful interface graphics, but that it's multi-player too. In case no one has already heard of it, this game actually won the 2009 Independent Game Festival award for Innovation in Mobile Game Design. On top of the addictive and fun game play is also several modes of play to try to keep the game from feeling stagnant. Currently goes for $4.99.

#2 UltraDeep by Viqua Games

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ID:	183This one was free when I got it, so if you didn't get it then, you missed out. However it's only $0.99 now so I doubt it'll break your bank. This is one of those neat addictive games you've got to try out. The idea is to go as deep into this never-ending downward tunnel collecting gems and avoiding being squished or hitting any spikes. The controls are simple tilt the device to make your stick guy move left or right and tap the screen to use your special ability once you've collected enough gems to juice it up. Oh and don't forget to buy upgrades once you collect enough gems, they really help you get farther down the tunnel. It's an iPhone/iPod Touch game not an iPad game, but it'll work for iPad anyways.

#1 Galaxy on Fire 2 by Fish Labs

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ID:	182I loved Freelancer for Windows and haven't found too many games like it that were very good. Fortunately this game is pretty close and it's of great quality. Awesome 3D graphics and lost of cool ships you can purchase and equip go together with the kind of involved storytelling and vast commodities and equipment trading system you'd expect. This is no cheap mobile rip-off of a PC game, it is a full PC-sized game. A must have for those that love space simulators. I hope they make a third for this series. This game was well worth my $10! The first game however is free, but is iPhone/iPod Touch.

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