26 August 2007

Software In Your Head

Paul Graham writes on “Holding a Program in One’s Head(thanks to Daring Fireball for the link). He’s talking about implementation — the program logic.

A few times I’ve been able to formulate an entire program design in my head before working on it. Those are probably the designs I’m proudest of — Acta and Word Slinger. In both cases, the final product was pretty much exactly what I had envisioned at the start. (Mike Dietrich certainly added visual appeal to Word Slinger, but the way the game worked was how I had it in my head.)

More often, a design will evolve. For example, I had a pretty good idea of what King of Dragon Pass was like before writing a line of code. But the game was complicated enough that I couldn’t predict how it would play before we’d gotten fairly far into implementing it. (So Rob Heinsoo was able to make some significant design contributions.)

Having a software design in your head doesn’t guarantee commercial success, of course, but I think it’s an ideal to aim for.

15 August 2007

Casual Connect Talk Available

The talk I gave at Casual Connect last month (entitled “Secrets of Casual Game Development”) is now available from the CGA (as an MP3 sound recording with PowerPoint slides — 37 MB). I haven’t listened to the whole thing, but the recording quality sounded fine.

Interview on GameHouse Mac Games

Shortly after Casual Connect, I did an interview with Omaha Sternberg of iGame Radio, mostly about GameHouse and its Mac OS X games. The interview is now online. According to Omaha:

You can listen to the podcast at the following locations:





The last two will take you directly to the mp3/m4a stream so you can listen/see the basic/enhanced podcast, and bypass the webpage. Or you can access it through iTunes by just going to the iTunes music store and searching for iGame Radio.

14 August 2007

Big Bills

Other iPhone users have written about the voluminous bill AT&T sends, documenting each byte of your free data plan. An obvious solution is to switch to paperless billing. However, I greatly prefer a paper bill. It actually makes things easier to track, because I have a physical token.

I asked AT&T if there was a solution, and received:

Unfortunately, we are unable to exclude certain aspects of your wireless
bill statement. You have the option of receiving a summary bill that 
will only display the summary of your billed charges; however, this will
omit all of the details of your bill. This includes call, messaging, and
data details. To request this summary bill, you can contact customer 
care by calling 800-331-0500, 611 from your wireless device, or by 
creating a new email from www.att.com/wireless via the myWireless page. 

I don’t know if this will work or not. I do want call details. (I don’t make all that many calls, especially not compared to EDGE usage, so for me this doesn’t generate a long bill.)

Maybe if enough people complain, they’ll give us a better option that’s not all or nothing.

08 August 2007

Apple Wireless Keyboard

For years I’ve been requesting that Apple make a small keyboard again. Now they have, and I can’t use it! My desktop machine doesn’t have BlueTooth (and my laptop already has a small keyboard). This is really a bummer, since I’d love to regain the desk space. (I’m actually using an old semi-compact keyboard, with just the numeric pad but no arrow key block in the middle. But even that’s bigger than it needs to be.)

It’s probably possible to get a BlueTooth adapter, but that will add to the cost, which is already a little high.

I’m also a little surprised at some of the key assignments they made. It looks like Exposé is now F3 -- it’s been F9 since it was released. And the sound keys have moved from F3-F5 (on the MacBook Pro) to F10-F12.

Worse is that there’s no Enter key (unlike the MacBook Pro). I don’t miss a numeric pad, but I do use Enter (since it’s not the same as Return on a Mac).