Creating digital things is awesome!


This post is about my journey towards app development and my iOS game Eve of Impact. I plan to write more articles in the future so I think it would be nice to have some sort of anchor point. So here it is..

I’m someone who thrives on the creation of digital worlds, things, objects that live. I first found out about this addiction when I bought a map editor for the legendary computer game Doom. Building maps was a hell of a lot of fun to do but maps full of exploding barrels start to bore really fast. I turned my attention towards Command & Conquer, creating custom maps in a really buggy editor (which I just found can still be downloaded), planting trees adding coverage for tanks etc. Than came Duke Nukem 3D than Quake 2 than Unreal and Half-Life, building maps was so much fun!

I was putting all my energy in building Unreal maps when I downloaded my first MP3 (this was before Napster) and discovered it was possible to edit Winamp skins. So I ‘bought’ Photoshop and started working on some skins which I then released on, which is no longer online apparently. A great time was had doing this and I learned myself a lot of design skills. So fast forward a couple of years and I’ve taught myself how to work in Photoshop, 3DMax, Flash, PHP and how to do all that fancy web stuff like rotating bright green skulls and fancy preloaders.

So that was cool, let’s do something on the internet, did a study that covered a random set of IT skills that I’ve never really used and started working at my first real web dev job. That was in 2006, for the first couple of years I worked in generic Web Development but end 2009 I switched jobs and specialized in Frontend Development, now I’m occupied with HTML5, CSS3, Boilerplates and all sorts of cool web thingies.

Of all the things I’ve created the last decade only a handful I’ve finished (not counting my day job). Whenever I’m halfway through something I’m already thinking about the next cool thing I could create, so most of my stuff ends up in a folder called Fridge. I hear this is a common ailment among developers :)

Back to 2009, I was adding more stuff to my beloved fridge folder when the thought came up to actually finish something, and maybe even make some money of of it. With the Apple AppStore open and an iPhone in my pocket I thought it was time for me to get rich quick, I cooked up a game idea and started xCode. And than I quickly closed it. The first couple of times I started xCode, I wrote one line of code, cursed, closed xCode and thought I would never be able to learn Obj-C, maybe being rich was not for me.

Because I had releasing a game of my own high up on my bucket list I Eventually took a two week vacation to learn myself Obj-C and OpenGLES and setup the basis of the game I was going to build. To lower the bar I already made a prototype in actionscript, so I only had to ‘copy’ it to Obj-C. These two weeks I learned Obj-C and OpenGLES as intended (getting my information from helpful articles on the web), sitting down and focussing did the trick and by the end of day three I knew what I was doing and that I would be able to finish this thing. :)

Fast forward to October 2011 and my game Eve of Impact is finally done, I uploaded it to the store and can’t feel more proud, a dream come true, I finished and released my own game. Luckily it is well received and people are really enthusiastic about it, unfortunately I’ve targeted a niche market so sales are rather low (I think this might be a good topic for another article). The positive user feedback is heartwarming and although I started with the intentions of making a quick buck I now find that the community and customer relation is the most beautiful part of the app development process, it’s not about the money (but you can dream, right?).

This week I’ve finally released the retina graphics to keep Eve of Impact up to date. I don’t expect Apple to release an even more high res screen than the iPhone 4 has now so the game might be good for a couple of years. That said, I plan to keep working on it on and off, since there is a lot of demand for a universal version that might be something for the next update.

In the meantime I’ve started working on a mobile project that is going to be something of a social cross platform productivity thing. I’m really excited about it and plan to share interesting code and visuals here. All these years I’ve been reading interesting and helpful articles, articles containing information I desperately needed to realize my dream, now I think the time has come for me to start sharing so others can read and maybe realize their dreams.

Rik Schennink

Web enthusiast