Friday, April 27, 2012

Welcome to iOS

We've been sitting on our iOS developer license for a little while since we've been fairly occupied catering to the problematic nature of our Android apps.  As soon as we can get our existing products on Android to an acceptable level we'll begin porting Bubble Zing and possibly Simple Match over to iOS.

One of the major changes in our process and code was to put as much game logic in to portable C code for Bubble Zing so that, in theory, we could just wrap the game code in to iOS objective-c wrappers and retain the java wrappers for Android.  Of course, this major shift in philosophy warranted a huge time undertaking on our Android ports as we essentially had to recode everything... meaning we may as well put a lot of code in to libraries and that whole thing.

On the plus side, all this "nativeification" of game code has excellent performance indicators and should increase our product exposure to older devices that needed all the speedups (fairly badly might I add).

I suppose this process was inevitable anyways.  I mean after all, Bubble Zing 1.0.3 (the latest public version as of this writing), showed that just drawing a background graphic during gameplay - JUST DRAWING THE BACKGROUND - took 60% of the processor in several test devices.  That was horrendous and completely unavoidable due to the nature of java, dalvikvm, and opengl es.  The only way around it was to go native code and start screwing with lower level stuff... and this has already paid off in huge ways... but it was not without its own drawbacks and tradeoffs.  Specifically, things that use to work great now require extensive rework and compromises.  Some things now look "worse" than in 1.0.3, but perform a ton better, yet the overall gameplay experience has been increased a lot.

Anyways, once we get Bubble Zing 1.1.0 up and in to public hands, our iOS adventure shall begin!  We took a look at XCode and their iOS stuff already, and I must say it was quite welcoming from a developer's perspective and I'm going to assume from a business perspective as well once we get there!

Hopefully from here on out, all our products will see a simultaneous Android and iOS release at the same time!

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