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
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
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
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.