The History of Spell Them Out

Here’s a little story on how it took me almost 3 years to release my first game.

I wanted to write a game for years… YEARS!  Perhaps since the 1970s.  I tried a few times over the years and finally decided to dedicate myself to write the game I’ve had in my head for a while.  That game, Spell Them Out, was released in 2012 for various tablets and smartphones, but it took a couple of restarts to finally get it out.

Attempt 1 – Diamond Mine XNA

[photo title = ‘Diamond Mine – XNA Version’ align = ‘right’ size = ‘medium’]http://gamesbycandlelight.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/sto-xna.png[/photo]

Back in 2010 I decided to develop a game for Windows using Microsoft XNA Game Studio.  Using C# and the XNA library, I wrote Diamond Mine.  It took about a year to learn XNA and develop a working game.

I never released it.

I thought it was a pretty good game, but there wasn’t enough polish to expect someone to pay for it and play it.  I guess I am my own worst critic, so I kept the game unreleased.  At least I had some experience developing a game under my belt, so the year wasn’t a total waste.  I thought about going back and working on it a bit more, but then I shifted gears to mobile app development.

Second Attempt – Diamond Mine Java

[photo title = ‘Diamond Mine – Android’ align = ‘left’ size = ‘small’]http://gamesbycandlelight.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/sto-java.png[/photo]

I thought that Diamond Mine would make a pretty good mobile app, so I ditched XNA, installed Eclipse, Java, and the Android APIs and went to work on an Android version in late 2011.  I spent about 6 months working on it and I had something running, but I thought there had to be an easier way.  I wanted this game out on iOS devices as well, so the thought of rewriting/porting this in Objective-C after months of Java development was not something I was looking forward to.

Third Time’s the Charm

[photo title = ‘Spell Them Out’ align = ‘right’ size = ‘small’]http://gamesbycandlelight.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/sto-ipad.png[/photo]

[photo title = ‘Alpha-beta Asteroids’ align = ‘left’ size = ‘small’]http://gamesbycandlelight.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/aba-game-screen.png[/photo]

After a bit of web research, I found Corona SDK, which allows cross-mobile development using Lua.  A bit reluctant to learn a new language, I decided to try it, and I am glad I did.  I started fresh, renamed Diamond Mine to Spell Them Out, and published to the app stores in 3 months!

Shortly After Spell Them Out was published, I started working on a few other game concepts, but in the back of my mind, I knew I could improve the app, so I decided to write a sequel.  Alpha-beta Asteroids was released about 6 months later with improved graphics and game play, as well as an improvement in my Lua coding skills.