5: Starting with a Game Design Document: A Methodology for Success in Objective-C

Print QR Code in Objective-C 5: Starting with a Game Design Document: A Methodology for Success

CHAPTER 5: Starting with a Game Design Document: A Methodology for Success
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The first step, which is perhaps the most important one, is to play the game without the AI, either versus yourself or a friend. Take note of every thought that runs through your mind pertaining to your next move. After jotting down some notes outlining how your own thoughts work when strategically planning each move in the game, it s time to start turning those into methods and processes that can be translated into code and implemented in your AI. When doing this, keep these pointers in mind: Offense usually transcends defense. When there is more than one equally logical option, choose randomly. If you re searching for something in a grid, search in a random checkerboard pattern, as this is more efficient than searching the entire grid in a linear pattern. Everything is a variable. (Every decision is based on something that can change, which is based on something that can change.) So try not to hard-code anything. After you ve structured your AI, it s time to start testing it. Take note of any stupid moves it makes, find out why it made them, and tweak your algorithms so it doesn t happen again. This could take some time. If you have trouble, just go back to the game and take more notes about how you think when playing it. When you think you have finished your AI, let someone else try it out. A fresh eye can catch things you didn t notice. Once you have done all that, you should be just about finished. The only thing left to do is test the AI over and over again, ensuring it doesn t fail or crash in certain scenarios.
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Many people think that an AI is only as smart as its creator. Although it s true that the AI thinks just like you would, consider that it does so in a mere fraction of a second. Therefore, the AI might end up making the game too difficult for some players. To make your game more enjoyable, you can add difficulty settings (which change how far ahead the AI thinks into the game). You could also intentionally tell your AI to make certain moves that will give the human opponent an edge (or perhaps, even a chance).
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Challenges of Designing for the iPhone
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When designing games for the iPhone, the biggest challenge that awaits you relates to the physical design of the device itself. The screen size is small and supports graphic elements that can span only a maximum of 320 by 480 pixels. This small space leaves little room for heads-up displays or menus during game play.
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CHAPTER 5: Starting with a Game Design Document: A Methodology for Success
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One way to conserve screen space is to show only what s necessary. If a particular button or control doesn t need to be accessed often, you can slide the button into view only when it s needed. For example, the instructions for Bikini Hunt are hidden but easily accessible, as shown in Figure 5-2.
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Figure 5-2. In PosiMotion s Bikini Hunt image-matching game, the icon in the lower-left corner brings up the instructions page, yet takes up little screen real estate.
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Although the physical screen size is limited and care must be used when implementing onscreen controls, the multitouch interface has opened new and exciting user interface design opportunities. This is no ordinary touchscreen like on the Nintendo DS. This is a completely revolutionary touchscreen that supports and can track multiple touches simultaneously. This user interface breakthrough expands the creativity in touchscreen gaming and has already manifested a paradigm shift in the way designers approach an iPhone game. The ability of the iPhone touchscreen to detect swipes and pinches gives us new ways of differentiating and responding to user input. For example, instead of using buttons to zoom in and out of a game level, you can allow the user to zoom in and out using a pinch motion. Users can also take a look around a particular level just by swiping their finger across the screen to control the direction the camera will pan.
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