Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Project Samantha

Just to whet some appetites about Project Samantha, I wanted to sort of lay out what I have in mind in broad strokes and leave the actual descriptions about what I'm working on until after I've got the game in beta. I expect to have a lot of posts about specific decisions and directions taken in the game in those posts, including how play testing affected the final incarnation.
Generally speaking, I'm envisioning Samantha as a multiplayer game with some single-player aspects to it. Actually, it's mostly single-player, but the multiplayer aspects are more around socialization and networking. Having played some games with networking components, I have some strong opinions about how those aspects will work in Samantha. It will be significantly streamlined and should be faster than some other apps in the market.
The main concerns I have are the graphics and the sounds and music. These are certainly areas where I am less than adept (not that I'm really that adept at anything else) :), so I have worries that the app will get dinged by reviewers and players for these areas. I hope that Susie can help out with the sounds and music. She has offered to do something for the music and I hope we can get some good sound effects as well, but these are definitely the areas I'm most concerned about. I'll likely get something reasonable for graphics, but I'm just not a digital artist by any stretch.
I think I have enough people who will sign up to help on the beta, though. I was very concerned about the potential bandwidth problems for two reasons. The first is that I have limited bandwidth on my site (I can increase it, but it does cost). The second is that more network traffic means less battery life on the device. While I think that a lot of people are beginning to play games while plugged in, it certainly wasn't the original design goal for the iPhone. The more I can compress the transactions, the less bandwidth I use and the less I chew up the player's battery. Besides, there's something interesting about trying to compress things down more and more and more. I know one of my friends, Cooper, gets a thrill out of it. And let's face it - if we could all be more like Cooper, we'd all have much better software in the world. :)
I am trying to see if I can get this project done by the end of June, which gives me about 3 months. I'd like it approved by Apple and available for download by then, which actually means that I'm going to try to finish up by the middle of June at the least. Aggressive, especially doing things that I don't have all that much experience in developing. Yeah... About that...
Anyway, that's the goal. As I mentioned, when I hit Beta phase (which I hope to be mid-May), I'll make public all of the other posts I've got here about Samantha. And then maybe the name will make sense.