Can you out-smart the alien space squid? Plucky space repair robot Space Bot Alpha finds his space ship has been invaded! Alpha can use his shields as long as he's on the ships power rails. Guide him to build walls and seal off the levels. But watch the wily alien! His touch is deadly when Alpha is out wall-building, and away from the power rails! Flash-bombs and energy powerups can help Alpha, explore the levels to find them before sealing it off. Once 75% of a level is sealed, the win is triggered with 1 star. But the more you seal off the more you're face to face with the evil space squid! Only top skill Space Bots can get 2 or 3 stars!

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Yay, I have just got word that Space Bot Alpha has had its 1.1 version patch release come through the App review pipeline, so it'll be appearing in App Stores everywhere over the next few hours.

And this will un-wreck one of the big pain points I have had with the game on launch: despite the game having all the assets and code to support the new screen sizes in iPhone 6 and 6+ - plus of course the larger screen sizes in Android devices when we get that port done - because of this magical file our app wasn't anointed with "official" iPhone 6 support.

Does your game have iPhone 6/6+ support?

Even tho' your game might support operating on the screen sizes of those devices, it will not run in the higher resolution. Instead owners of iPhone 6 and 6+ will get the "low res" zoomed/scaled experience. Also your game will not be "recommended" when those folks are browsing the store. Annoying hey?

So what is the magic holy grail file? Launch Screen.xib. In iOS 8 with the new screen sizes coming, Apple added a feature where instead of specifying a Default.png launch image - the image that shows up as your app is launching, before its loaded in memory and running - you could specify an Interface Builder file that dynamically changes size for each device. Handy, right? Well, yeah - but its not just handy, its also required, as the fine print buried in the doco says:

Someone wrote: You use a launch XIB or storyboard file to indicate that your app runs on iPhone 6 Plus or iPhone 6.

Just to be clear: include this file and you turn on iPhone 6/6+ hi-res support; leave it out and no hi-res, and no App Store "supports iPhone 6". Its not a "nice to have".

The actual Launch Screen.xib can reference an Image.xcasset folder to contain different sized splash images for the various res phones and iPads, and it can also use constraints and so on to manage different sized screens.

On the device what happens is that even tho' code is required to render the Launch Screen.xib the first time, on subsequent launches the OS caches the render and you get fast launch images from then on. Its a nice feature - I just wish that Apple had made this a critical warning when compiling for release, and linked to this page of doco so it was obvious what was going on.

Space Bot Alpha is Out on the App Store!

Space Bot Alpha is Out on the App Store!


Release day! So its a weird time, suddenly I put aside my code window for social media and email.

Testing Times

Testing Times


Play testing effectively is basically impossible, and realising you need to get play-testers in from outside to test your game is humbling but necessary.

Swift for the Win

Swift for the Win


Since the future of Apple development seems to be the new Swift language, I had a look at working with Cocos2D using Swift.

Last feature implemented

Last feature implemented


Today is Saturday - the last weekend before submitting Space Bot Alpha into the App Store review pipeline - and in one day I got social sharing, which...

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