My first mobile game

Long story short, I participated in a one-day Hackathon last week on mobile games. I knew nothing about programming games, and that’s what got me interested at the beginning. Of course, in addition to free food, t-shirt, and possibly winning prizes. I was a one-man team so I decided to do something deadly simple and stupid, a voice volume controlled game, similar to Pah!

I had to go native instead of HTML5 because mobile browser does not support microphone audio input or voice recognition API yet. The coding process was relatively straightforward, I was able to get majority of the game done within 10 hours – I am too old to stay pass midnight anyway. There was a learning curve on SpriteKit and AudioKit, and then I spent quite some time on connecting the game elements with the core business from the Hackathon organizer.

What I found most interesting was the game design thought process:

  • Purpose: Collect points? How?
  • Levels: Easy, medium, hard? How each level is introduced?
  • Engagement: What makes the game fun or ridiculous?
  • Dynamics: What are the dynamic elements in the game?
  • End game: When does the game end? Can the game last forever?

I ended up tweaking a lot on these game elements by playing over and over again. Because the game is voice-triggered, I am sure I sounded like crazy while testing.

I cannot show the final game but I extracted the Minimal Viable Playable content of the code and switched all the UI elements to something else. It is available on my GitHub.

Happy coding, happy gaming!

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