Tools I Used to Make LetterMiner

March 20th, 2017

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It’s a short list. I used Apple’s Xcode tool and SpriteKit framework to program the game using the Swift language. I used the app Acorn to create the letter tiles.

Some auxiliary tools I used include git for version control, Bitbucket to store a backup of my code online, and the app Asset Catalog Creator to generate the app icons.

If you’re wondering why I used SpriteKit instead of Unity to make LetterMiner, I did try Unity before I settled on SpriteKit. With Unity I had a hard time getting the tiles on the game board to line up properly and determining what tile on the board was clicked. I had a much easier time getting a prototype working with SpriteKit so I stuck with it.


iOS Games I Like: Pinball Breaker Forever

February 20th, 2017

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Pinball Breaker Forever iTunes Listing

Pinball Breaker Forever combines pinball and Breakout. Hit the ball with pinball flippers to break bricks like Breakout.

The twist on the pinball and Breakout formulas is that the bricks move downward, similar to Space Invaders. Instead of worrying about keeping the ball from passing between the flippers, you worry about the bricks reaching the bottom of the board. When the bricks reach the bottom of the board, you lose a shield, which is the equivalent of a life in the game. Run out of shields and the game ends.

In addition to the bricks there are targets to hit on the board. Hitting the targets gives you goodies like scoring bonuses and extra shields.

If you like brick breaking games, give Pinball Breaker Forever a try. It’s free to play so there’s no financial risk in trying the game.


January 2017 LetterMiner Downloads

February 1st, 2017

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Here are the download numbers for LetterMiner in January.

  • iOS: 45 downloads
  • Mac: 4 downloads


iOS Games I Like: INKS

January 30th, 2017

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INKS iTunes Listing

INKS is a pinball game that uses levels instead of a single table. Each level has a table with a series of colored targets to hit. Hitting all the targets finishes the level.

When you hit a target the ball becomes a paint ball with the color of the target you hit. Hitting additional targets blends the color of the paint. The rolling ball paints the table. As you play the level, the table takes on the look of a Jackson Pollock painting.

INKS costs $2. If you like pinball or creating abstract art, INKS is worth the price.


LetterMiner Doesn’t Appear in the App Store’s Word Game Section

January 26th, 2017

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I recently browsed through the word game section of the App Store and discovered something disturbing. LetterMiner does not appear in any list of word games. I navigated my way to the list of word games and found the following categories:

  • New games we love
  • All-time greats
  • Decipher the word
  • Play against the clock
  • Word battle games
  • Play and learn
  • Free games

Since LetterMiner is a free game it should be in the list of free word games. But when I clicked the See All link, LetterMiner was not there. There were trivia games and state capital games in the free word games category. The game 2048 was in the list but not LetterMiner. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for a free word game to appear in the list of free word games.

I find this discovery depressing. Somebody looking for a word game on the App Store has no way of finding LetterMiner unless they know the title of the game. Nobody can stumble upon my game on the App Store. No wonder LetterMiner has so few downloads.