It took five years. Only five years, that is, for people to change their expectations of how displays are supposed to work.
Case in point: at the Scientifica, our booth had several slideshows running on iMacs – obviously without any keyboards or mice around to interact with. So far, so normal. But then, something funny happened.
People would stand in front of those iMacs and then … touch the screen. Five years after the first iPhone has been introduced, and people are now expecting displays to be touch-sensitive. It wouldn't matter how old they were: children did it, but seniors, too.
Now you would think that people would realise soon enough that this was just an iMac, with no touch screen abilities.But because the slideshow was still running, they kept on pushing things on the screen, repeatedly, for surprisingly long periods of time. Why would they do that?
I assume that not all of those visitors are necessarily familiar with a tablet or smartphone device. In Switzerland, another touch device is even more ubiquitous: the ticket vending machines at the train stations. The touch screen of those devices is notoriously unreliable, often requiring several attempts until the input gets registered. What follows is that most people are actually used to non-responsive touch devices, and they know what they have to do in that case: try again.
Which leads to this observation I made at our booth: People would approach an iMac with the slideshow running. They would touch the screen. Nothing happened. They would wait a moment, then try again, touching the screen again.
This made me LOL:
Munster has also assembled a chart indicating that there are, on average, 79 days between an iOS software event and the iPhone hardware announcement and 99 days between the iOS software event and the actual ship date of the new iPhone. According to those averages, based on the likelihood of iOS 5 being revealed on June 6 (at WWDC), the fifth-generation iPhone will be announced on August 24 and ship on September 13.
Who is placing bets?
Basically, this is a little round-up of interesting iOS games I encountered in the last days.
Thanks to Ars Technica, I've found this little, pretty mean gem of an iOS game called Slice HD:
Apparently, people tend to physically flinch when those virtual knives stab at you:
The video shows the entirety of the game's concept: you manipulate knives, stabbing instruments, and razors in order to hit the red button. Sometimes the objects move in ways you don't expect, and in other levels moving one piece triggers something else. It's nerve-wracking, and if you have a fear of blood or sharp objects, this is going to turn you into a shaking wreck.
So maybe, to calm your nerves, you might want to consider Tiny Wings, which has cute, fluffy bird in cute, fluffy landscapes in fluffy colours.
Some links and snippets from the last Local Game Designers Meeting:
Feel like a real game designer with the iPhone game GameDev Story!
My neighbour Benjamin Burger is a master's student at the Zurich University of Arts and plans a project on bringing games onto the stage – I'll follow that closely – obviously, since it is the exact combination of my current and previous field of study.
Creating normal maps in blender (I think we have another post around here about exactly that topic): It is necessary to use two meshes: one is low-, the other the high-poly version. The low-poly version can easily be created using the decimate modifier. Having both meshes selected, one can bake the normal map from them, already preparing a image in the Image/UV window that will take the baked map. This map, obviously, can then be applied to the low-poly version.
Also: CrazyBump is now available for Mac OS X!
If you want to discuss game development in general, you might want to check out http://Gamedev.stackexchange.com – a recently opened Stack Exchange on game development.
Just a few games I stumbled over this morning.
Now, a new game called Journey is to be released. It features nothing more than one person and a huge desert one has to cross. And that is all. It has multiplayer capabilities through the fact that one other random player is added to the same game. The players cannot communicate with each other. But they may share the journey for a while.
Not only is this a combination of two of my own, as of yet unused ideas, it seems to have been beautifully and poetically executed as well.
This kind of reminds me that I should get some of those XBox Live Arcade / Playstation Store Points / Credits / Thingies so I get a chance to play Limbo and Flower, some of the other small but exceptional games that are simply a must-play.