Example of rendered proportional numbers and monospaced numbers
Not all font instances are created equally! In iOS text is mostly displayed using proportional fonts, meaning each character width is trimmed and varies depending on each character. This makes the text easier to read and feel more natural and you’ll notice this on characters such as ‘i’ which will often be the thinnest character compared to say an ‘m’ character. However for numbers displayed in a tabular format such as times, figures and currencies you’ll want monospaced characters so you can tidy up the layout and visually scan the data quickly. So how do you do this?
Windsock is an advanced weather app for fliers of RC planes, helicopters and drones. I’ve been busy on bug fixes with Air Drop and some new features such as adding in magnetic declination info for sites. Here’s a app walkthrough of Windsock 2.0.1. Windsock is available to download from the App Store now. Let me know if you have any feature requests too – http://windsock-app.com/
Sometimes a technology comes along that seems like such a good idea you wonder why it was never created in the beginning. For me, Bluetooth was one of those technologies. It’s been around since the late nineties and was incredibly powerful, especially for PDAs and phones but has always been overshadowed by the complimentary WiFi standard and surprisingly inflexible Bluetooth profiles which define the protocol, format and intended use of the data being communicated such as a Modem profile or headset profile.
It’s strength lies in allowing devices to talk to each other over a short distance with low energy and relatively easy setup but while many developers, makers and designers hoped to make use of it as a “wireless USB cable”, the reality was that most uses didn’t fit within the defined “profiles” and so developers opted for the Serial Profile – a generic profile that shuffles bits to virtual serial ports. Serial ports are decades old and because there is no context of what the data is inside the Serial port it’s very easy to bind the wrong program to the wrong device. For example, a data logging program trying to read the serial data from a serial port joystick would probably work or worse still would most likely silently do nothing. This adds confusion and frustration for the user. Compare this experience to using a USB device – you plug it in and open up the program and it recognises the device and starts using it. You don’t see incompatible devices, you can’t connect it to the wrong thing, it just works which is probably why USB is so popular.
I’ve just finished developing Yeti Escape for Vivid Reflection, my iOS development company. Yeti Escape is a new Christmas-themed retro game for iOS. The story: Present-hungry yetis have escaped from the North Pole and threaten to ruin Christmas. Pixel Santa must save the day by throwing spare presents at them. Can he still make his deliveries on-time? The game is available now on the App Store and I’ve made a short 2 minute video demoing the retro gameplay and awesome 8-bit sound effects and music so please check it out.
Yeti Escape Demo – 8-bit Retro Arcade Game from Vivid Reflection on Vimeo.
The Yeti Escape game is made in Cocos2D and has Game Center leader board support so you can challenge your friends too. It’s a fun variation on the classic 8-bit arcade shooter. You play by tapping the screen to fire presents from your sleigh, aiming to hit the yetis. Once they consume a present they disappear back to their slumber in the North Pole. If they escape, they eat everyone’s presents and it’s game over. In some ways it plays a bit like a modern-themed twist on the arcade classic Missile Command. As Pixel Santa is moving through the game world, you have time and aim the shot just right to hit the moving yeti. There are a number of different yetis all of differing strengths and speeds which try to escape at different times and if you’re not expecting it you’ll find yourself shrieking as some “super powerful bad-ass” sumo yeti escapes with your last life.
Please let me know what you think about the game in the comments. What’s your best bit about 8-bit retro games?
If you’d like to keep up-to-date on the apps and games I develop, follow @VReflection on Twitter or like Vivid Reflection’s Facebook page. The game has just gone live and Yeti Escape can be downloaded on the App Store now.
This is a heads up for anyone who does iPad or iPhone development; Apple have made available their awesome WWDC 2012 sessions videos to developers! iOS 6 features such as Passkit, maps and Facebook looks interesting as does the new Game Center functionality such as “Challenges” along with a whole host of new APIs and technologies. More information can be found on the Apple iOS 6 site and the developers’ iOS 6 overview site.
You should also look at the new OS X technologies in the soon-to-be-launched Mountain Lion release. Notification Center seems like such a natural addition that I’m surprised Apple didn’t add it in back in the early days of Mac OS X and Game Center will be exciting to play with on the Mac. I just hope it doesn’t distract me too much from work!
Of course most of it is still under a non-disclosire agreement so only blog and comment about the publicly announced WWDC stuff but this will good to play with over the summer when it’s too hot to be outside.