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Maker QR Code ISO/IEC18004 in Objective-C Figure 5-6. The default piece positions

Figure 5-6. The default piece positions
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CHAPTER 5: TanZen and Zentomino
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Being Deceived by the Simulator
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At this point in the game s development, Apple showed no signs of letting new people into the developer s program, which would ve allowed me to develop on a device. Now on month two with the simulator, that little tool was my best friend during late nights of programming. It seductively reproduced my designs, asking for nothing in return. But here s something every new iPhone developer needs to know: The simulator is not your friend. It will lie to you, right in front of your face. What s that you say The simulator accurately displays the 320 480 iPhone screen. Yes, you are absolutely correct. But, guess what The iPhone has many more pixels per inch than your average computer screen, so your trusty simulator is displaying everything several times larger than the actual device will (see Figures 5-7 and 5-8). Go ahead; put your iPhone against your screen, and bring up the simulator next to it. Notice anything All those fancy little doodads you made to control things will be microscopic on the iPhone. Don t feel bad. Many people made the same mistake, including us!
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Figure 5-7. The simulator screen size, as depicted on a 19-inch monitor, is quite large.
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I Figure 5-8. The iPhone screen size is tiny.
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CHAPTER 5: TanZen and Zentomino
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After my terrible moment of realization about screen sizes, I quickly found that my wonderfully simple yet natural method of piece rotation was not going to work at all. Even with the larger pieces, there was simply no way to comfortably get two fingers around a piece and perform a twisting action. What could I do to fix this At that point, I had no idea. The rather nebulous App Store deadline of June or July was fast approaching, so I did the only thing I had time for: I mapped rotation to a simple tap. Each tap rotated the piece 45 degrees in a clockwise direction. I didn t like the solution. The gesture felt unnatural, and it didn t jive with my concept for the feel of the game. But it solved the problem, and I needed to move on to other coding tasks. Did I mention that you will need to make compromises yet Luckily, this was one compromise I was able to take back later in development.
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Playing to the Emotions of Your Customers
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A user interface is not just about widgets and buttons. It s also about the emotions it creates in the player. Most video games are all about getting to the next level. Personally, I stop playing a video game once I can t get past a level after several tries. I put it down and never pick it up again. A tangram game could have thousands of puzzles. Some of them are easy, and some hard. I didn t want people to get stuck and quit my game, so I decided to go with a rather open feel, allowing players to choose any of the puzzles they wanted (see Figure 5-9). The decision to make a frustration-free game led to other choices geared toward minimizing stress. I decided to record all current piece locations, in every puzzle, so players would never have to worry about losing their progress. Since the piece locations consisted of just a few numbers each, storing tens of thousands of locations would take only a small amount of space on the device. Along with that, I added the minor, yet vital, feature of including the iPhone s status bar in the game. If you re playing a game while waiting for a bus, for example, you ll want to know what time it is or when to stop playing the game because of low battery power. Yes, including the status bar costs you some screen real estate, but you might gain much more in user experience. Since TanZen was going to give players a vast array of puzzles to choose from, how could you stop them from choosing only the puzzles that fit their perceived skill levels Remove all difficulty levels from the game! There aren t easy, medium, or hard puzzles; there are just puzzles, with no order to them at all. The player is free to pick any puzzle at random, without the emotional baggage of how hard it s supposed to be, as shown in Figure 5-9. Perhaps if more games broke away from the standard mold of conquering increasingly more difficult levels, they could capture a wider audience of gamers.
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