Let’s have some standards, people!

January 7th, 2011 No comments

A funny Tumblr blog is making the rounds in the office today – Read The Fucking HIG. It’s full of horrible examples of developers trying to reinvent the iPhone interface, and with the new Mac App Store launching yesterday, a clusterfuck of terrible designs given a virtually unlimited development space for application UI.

I’ve talked about the Human Interface Guidelines in this very blog before, and they’re incredibly important. At Appiction, the first thing they had me do was read the HIG and get acquainted with its requirements and guidelines and I’m a better designer for it. A lot of people think restrictions tend to inhibit their creativity, but at a certain point, the fact that actual people are going to use the app, and are going to come into it with a set of assumptions about how an app works, becomes more important than needing your special “two-finger swipe backward to go back” design.

It’s not about what the phone/OS is capable of, it’s about what’s reasonable to expect people to deal with before they close your app and move on to one of the other hundred solutions that could probably also solve their problem. The less impediment you put between your user and their enjoyment of the app, the better. Period.

[link Read The Fucking HIG]

[link Or just read the actual HIG! :)]

My Number One Pet Peeve In iPhone Apps

January 6th, 2011 No comments

Allow me to rant for a second here…

The iPhone sprang from the meaty loins of what? The iPod. In fact, one of the coolest things about having an iPhone is having an integrated iPod. It even has its own app.

Given that the iPhone has essentially swallowed up an iPod Touch on its way to being a smartphone, one would think that it, or maybe more appropriately, developers, would implement better controls for allowing its iPoddy goodness to shine through. Read more…

5 Apps To Help You Keep Your New Years Resolutions (and 5 That Won’t)

January 5th, 2011 1 comment

If you’re the type of person who makes major life changes based on the arbitrary position of their home planet with respect to its orbital position as it drifts pointlessly around its star in a cold, indifferent void, then you’re probably the type that repeatedly fails New Years Resolutions. Like me!

And you’re not alone: According to Time Magazine (who I am sure did Extensive Research), the 10 most commonly broken New Years Resolutions are, in order: Read more…

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Mobile Wireframe Gallery Gives Preview of How Companies are Building iOS Apps

January 4th, 2011 No comments

Building software from a design standpoint has always been a bit more art than science. Prior to working for Appiction, I used to do really raw mockups in Photoshop as quickly as I could to get the point of the screen across to the developer. A lot of times, these were very, very abstract, as all that was really important was the placement of elements on the screen.

Preliminary wireframes for an eReader application I designed a couple of years ago. Yes, there are things I'd change about both of these wireframes now!

App development remains a fairly new frontier, and while there are Apple’s standard Human Interface Guidelines and Google’s Android Developer Guide, most of us are still figuring out the best way to communicate to developers our design visions in a way that fits both a functional and aesthetic sense. The MOObileFrames blog is a collection of wireframes from various companies showing their process as they take the first step to cement their mobile visions into concrete realities. Hopefully you can use some inspiration from what other companies and individuals are doing to apply to your own designs. Good luck!

Categories: application design, mobile design Tags:

Sim Me: Game Dev Story on iPhone

January 4th, 2011 3 comments

There are times where life gets very meta – like when you’re watching yourself watch TV on TV, for instance, or when you’re playing a game about developing games while you’re at work developing games. I think Lewis Black said it best: “”And I believe that the brain is so smart that when it watches you watch yourself watch you watch yourself do something you’re not supposed to be fucking doing it says you are so stupid I will kill you.

But where Mr. Black is the eternal pessimist, I continue to be a beacon of positivity. Cue  Game Dev Story (iTunes) by Kairosoft: another in a line of repeated task games, similar to EA’s fantastic Lemonade Tycoon (also for iPhone) game. In this one, instead of building a lemonade empire, you’re building a game studio from the ground up. Read more…

Categories: game design, game development, review Tags:

Starving for Content

January 4th, 2011 No comments

So hi, and welcome to the revamped DanMcCollum.com. Previously, this site was a portfolio site, but it was really more a placeholder, since it rarely found itself updated. I intend to change that.

I recently began working at an excellent company called Appiction in Austin, TX (www.appiction.com), doing iPhone development. However, I’ve been in mobile game development since its early beginnings, as a QA tester and level designer as far back as 2007. While that might not sound like it was so long ago, recall the original iPhone was released in June of 2007, and the actual Apple App Store didn’t launch until the next year – in fact, I recall having active conversations with people back when the iPhone came out wondering whether developing for the iPhone was going to be a wise direction to angle toward or whether we should stick with Java/BREW development.

Prior to that, I was working to hack my way into the game industry in the AAA division, prior to the PS3 and XBox 360 generation of consoles, and as a writer in the movie industry. I graduated after returning to school in 2008 from UC Santa Barbara (www.ucsb.edu) with a degree in Film & Media Studies and worked as a freelance designer for iOS games and apps the entire time until I finished my degree in 2009.

This is an exciting time in the game industry, and especially in the mobile arena. I look forward to documenting the developments in the industry and its various facets, and the ever-changing face of PC and console gaming in its wake.

Bear with me as I figure out exactly what I want this site to look like and be! I’m working on doing some layout things and I’ve posted a couple of articles that I originally wrote for Examiner.com last year as a bit of added content, but moving forward, I want my posts to be a bit less restrained than I had to be when I wasn’t writing for myself.

So there you go. Have fun. 🙂

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Rocket Man: Captain Ludwig on the iPhone Review

January 4th, 2011 No comments

It could be said that many of the best games take a very simple element and highlight it. Games like Pac Man or Tetris take a relatively simple concept and stretch them out into full games. But, what’s often overlooked is that the games that really last tend to have a style about them that draws your attention. The same could be said of Captain Ludwig by Mudloop, a space-themed puzzle game on sale this weekend for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Read more…

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1112 Episodes 1 and 2 Review

January 4th, 2011 1 comment

There are generally two classes of iPhone games: games that are pleasant, but small diversions and games that feel like full-blown productions. The latter category is harder to find, but developers pouring both time and money into iPhone development should be rewarded, especially when the achievement is something as stunning as the 1112 series, the most recent addition of which, 1112 Episode 2 is now available for purchase in the iTunes App Store.

1112 is an episodic point-and-click game featuring stunning, hand-drawn graphics and animation, but what really sets it apart is the mood and feel that the game creates using relatively simple elements. Music, animation and story are all integrated to give the player a full, immersive feel.

Created by French developer Agharta Studio, the game feels European and urbane. The game follows the mysterious journey of Louis Everett, an New Jersey antique shop owner with a flair for the expensive and exotic. Art adorns the walls of his home as moody piano music plays in the background. The game’s primary mode is that of exploration, and the creators have packed plenty of distractions and objects to be examined in the home. Read more…

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