Project Legend - Update for Week of 02/23

Objectives for the Week

  • Continue learning Swift
    • Finish Ray Wenderlich Candy Crush tutorial 
    • Stanford Class via iTunes
  • Finalize test level storyline outline - Sewer Alligators
  • Deliverable: wireframes for the tutorial/test level

Updates from the Week

My goal for the semester to get the tutorial working - in doing so, I still have to learn SpriteKit and iOS's gaming tools in order to build the puzzle parts of the game. 

Swift Tutorials

There are two tutorials I'm looking at simultaneously: Ray Wenderlich's Candy Crush knockoff tutorial and the Stanford University Swift course on iTunes.

The Candy Crush tutorial introduces SpriteKit and other gaming related Swift features. It's the type of tutorial where you just copy and paste their code into your project, but it's been a good way for me to find the syntax differences between Swift and other object oriented programming languages I've used before. I also go through and annotate the code with comments to understand what the code is doing. Unfortunately I've hit a point where the code breaks and I have no idea how to fix it, but if need be they provide a ZIP of the entire code for the tutorial so in the worst case I can download that and follow the rest of the tutorial along by annotating their code with comments. 

The Stanford iTunes U tutorial is a series of videos where the lecturer starts with the very basics of Swift development - he goes through using the UI builder in Xcode and more. I think this is the tutorial I will need to spend more time on in the coming weeks since about 2/3 of the tutorial itself is regular programming (as opposed to game programming). 

Story and Mechanics

The core story of Project Legend is about the urban legends and ghost stories of New York coming to life. There are actual alligators in the sewer, the ghosts are corporeal, and the supernatural is colliding with the real world. It's up to the player to find whoever is bringing them to life, find out why they're doing this, and stop them from destroying New York. I've run into a case of writer's block with the story, but at least for the semester I can focus on creating the tutorial and programming it, which is the immediate challenge. 

For the tutorial, I've chosen the legend of sewer alligators. The tutorial will also introduce the player to the character of the Narrator, who will guide the player through the tutorial and serve as their companion in the game. Is the Narrator good or bad? Who knows. 

The quest overview for Sewer Alligators is

  • Puzzle One - Jigsaw puzzle
  • Location One (Specific) - Harlem Meur, Central Park
  • Puzzle Two - ??
  • Location Two (General Item) - Manhole Cover or Gutter

Wireframing

Creating the wireframes has created several questions for me: 

  • How much dialog is the user really willing to listen to?
  • Is it better to do this with audio narration and visual captions? 
  • When will I need to give the user directions?

Since this is a tutorial, I won't make the puzzles too hard but I will eventually need to consider the idea of hints and other means of helping the player move forward in the game. 

For Next Week

  • Technical investigation 
    • Location services for iOS
    • Differences between Google and Apple location services
    • Permission requirements for getting location
  • Playtest - paper prototype based on wireframes
  • Deliverable for next week: iterate on design for test level based on feedback, start code to try location and camera functions

The Stanford tutorial is an ongoing project to keep learning, but now I'll have to dive into Apple's documentation for the location work.