I’ve been in San Francisco for the last week, running the Macworld booth for Danlabgames.
Besides showcasing all of Dan’s games, which went over very well, I tested out a rough demo of Rotrix on the crowd, leading to an estimable response from both gamers and some industry publisher people.
Receiving positive feedback felt very encouraging after pouring so much work into the project, and we’ll see where it leads.
Space Barnacle also seemed to be a hit, and looks fantastic on a glossy 24″ iMac. Going with the 1.6:1 aspect ratio totally paid off. It feels so mischevious to completely fill that high resolution display with a miniscule 288×180 pixel game.
I should be able to release a Mac port as soon as Apple releases Java 6, which, knowing Apple, will only be supported in Leopard… even though it’s been out for nearing 2 years on Windows, Linux, and Solaris. The rumor is that now that the Macintosh is on Intel architecture, they’re just porting the OpenSolaris version instead of rolling their own… which currently means 64-bit intel only? I don’t know, but it’s kind of sucky.
There’s something in the air
That brings me to Apple’s big announcement. The MacBook Air is light, underpowered, and overpriced.
No optical drive, slow hard drive, terrible integrated graphics, only 1 USB port? These are all things I need, but of course if I had a desktop at home, and I didn’t do graphics-intensive game development… and I was rich, maybe it’d be more attractive.
Stake your claim
The real buzz of the conference was iPhone development, even though few details on the SDK were announced at the keynote. A lot of developers are already working on projects with the reverse engineered headers.
Paul Kafasis likened the iPhone to the switch from Classic to OS X. These next few months will be like the wild west, and those that stake a claim early with quality software will have a really solid foundation in the future.
With 4 million phones sold already, and another 10 million forecasted by the end of the year, along with an untold number of iPod Touches, it’ll be a populous platform. And Cocoa developers will have an intimidating head start.
Of course there’s a huge potential for games on the iPhone and iPod Touch. Just the hardware specs run circles around the DS. They’re equipped with a 660Mhz ARM1176 with a 3d graphics co-processor for hardware accelerated rendering, and include 128mb of main RAM, to say nothing of the gigabytes of speedy flash storage and wifi. And apparently, they’re running OpenGL ES 1.1 and SDL has already been unofficially ported.
A friend noted that if the iPhone were a game console, it’d already be the fastest selling console in history.
On Monday I was interviewed by San Francisco’s ABC 7 affiliate, for a story on mobile gaming. Bizarre and fun, with some footage from Wacky Mini Golf and Rotrix.
I’ll be staying in the bay area through GDC, so I’ve got another giant Moscone event to look forward to. Apple being Apple, the late February launch of the iPhone SDK may very well be after that — February 29th even.
One of the best parts about events like Macworld is that it provides a chance to meet and knock around with all the great people of the Mac and tech scenes, some of whom you only see once a year.
I have to give a shoutout to the Picturesque guys, who had the booth next to me. Keep doing great stuff, and send me some of those photos!
Fun fact: Derek Yu, the editor of Tigsource and artist of Aquaria interned at Panic a couple years back, working on a cancelled project that Cabel showed a screenshot of during his session at last year’s C4. I knew that pixel art looked familiar.