Making Indie iOS Games

indie ios games by J.E.Moores

On November 24, 2018 I gave myself a winter challenge. I wanted to learn how to create video games for Android and iOS. I subscribed to Buildbox and began working on a Wiggly Loaf game. I followed all the Buildbox video tutorials on YouTube, and bit by bit I built my game. I got geeky with it. I wanted the Wiggly Loaf game to look like it was animated on a chalkboard. I discovered a program called Doodly that filters my ink drawings of Wiggly Loaf into a blackboard chalk version. Even though the program is intended for other things, I painstakingly screen capped each instance of the Wiggly Loaf animation through the Doodly program to create all the chalkboard sprites of the game.

Making sprites took several long days. I found myself working 16 or more hours a day, crashing, waking up thinking about the mechanics of the game, and getting back on the computer. My desk was cluttered with energy bars and the much needed bottle of water to keep me going. I became a game making curmudgeon.

Knowing what I wanted the game to do and figuring out how to get Buildbox to do it was part of the fun for me. The game of making games is what I’m into. There is a delight to trying different settings until you find what you want or discover something you didn’t know was possible. It can be very exciting for a geek like me. So many parameters to tweak, and you know how I love to tweak parameters.

Luckily I married a very geeky girl. I asked my sweet wife to research creating apps on Xcode and uploading games to iOS store while I blitzkrieg the game into shape. I don’t think my brain would have the capacity to learn how to make and publish my own game in the time frame I wanted. I had been looking for a project she and I could do together and we became a team figuring it out.

I worked every day, often 18 hours with only snack breaks. By the time I was near done I was delirious and haggard. It was awesome. I love that feeling of giving my all and getting remarkable results. Wiggly Loaf was coming together and I was psyched!

By December 19, we were in the race to get the Wiggly Loaf app in for approval before the Official Apple App Approvers all went on their week long holiday break. By the skin of our teeth we got Wiggly Loaf on the iOS app store before Christmas. We did this clever promotion where we asked Wiggly Loaf Fans to submit Shout Outs to friends to be published on the walls of the chalkboard in the game. We updated the game with the personal shout outs by New Years, and they shared the app with friends and family who in turn found a shout out in the game just for them! What a sweet gift for the world and a huge success for learning how to make my first game.

So it’s possible to go from knowin’ damn near nothing to a self published indie game developer in under one month. My Buildbox subscription is $199/year. The developer fee at iOS is $99. I put about 240 hours in to make my first game. My games are already on their way to ROI due to the Google ads I placed in the free games.

While learning to make Wiggly, I started a few ideas for other games. I worked them to completion and have been able to publish a game about every month since I began making indie games. So if you have ever wanted to learn how to program video games of your very own, I believe you can do it. You’re only about 300 hours and 300 dollars away from creating your first game. I say, let nothing stop you.

Now after a few days battling with Android Studio Eclipse I can now export my games to the Google Play store for Android. It’s the gift that keeps giving!

Indie Video Games by J.E.Moores: iOS – Android

Shout Outs

wiggly-shout-outs

I thought it would be cool to offer shout outs on the walls of the Wiggly Loaf iOS game. That way you could submit a shout out, and when it publishes have your friend download the Wiggly Loaf iOS game. When they reach their custom level IT BLOWS THEIR MIND!

It’s a great way to send the gamer in your life a little love, and confuse the heck outta them all at the same time! They will wonder how you did it. This is how:

Go to WigglyLoaf.com and sign up for the Loafer List. That will email you the directions for getting your shout out published in the Wiggly Loaf iOS game! During the next update, the Loafer List will alert you when your shout out has gone live so you can share it with your friends.

Thanks again for getting Wiggly.

Rattler #1

Rattler 01

 

Rattler #1 for you all to enjoy.

I have been an Arts and Crafts camp counselor since 1984. This past summer I thought it would be fun to make an underground newspaper with our campers age 8-15. I wanted to give our photo department a boost with a ‘zine project mixed with a class in making comics. This way campers could draw, photograph, write, and create games, and have it all bound together into our own magazine.

Our camp already has an official yearbook called The Tattler, so we called our project, The Rattler. Those that contributed became Vipers interviewing counselors at picnic lunch, drawing snarky cartoons during rest hour, and Photoshopping things that never happened. Here is our first fun filled issue from summer 2017.

About Wiggly Loaf

I have been an arts and crafts camp counselor for most of my summers since 1984. Working at summer camps along the lakes of Maine have been the best days of my life. First, I like working in the art room with kids so I can steal all their great ideas. Second, I now have friends from all over the world, and camp friends are the best friends ever! Over time my own daughter became one of the campers, so here we are getting into two generations at camp!

I am such an old timer there. Part of my job is to set up camp early in the season. I go ten whole days before my family joins me. I get camp and the art room ready while my daughter and wife stay home until it’s time for everyone else to arrive a week or so after me. Our time apart happens to fall on Fathers Day, so each spring as I pack up to leave for eight weeks of camp, we have an early Fathers Day celebration before I go.

In our kitchen there is a chalkboard. I’m a great cook, but I’m a horrible namer. Even worse, I like to write the horrible titles of my entrees on this chalkboard. My version of Emphysema Lambada is delicious; it just has a horrible name. I don’t go a week without making a big batch of Bodarg-a-larg. The kids love it. I think you would, too.

Often, after a meal, I like to doodle on the chalkboard. One night before I went off to camp, I wanted something fun to leave behind. I wanted to draw a new character. I remember it well. I wanted to make the simplest creature I could. Sort of a Yupapotamus body mixed with a Swamp Bogger face… but simplified until it was only what it needed to be. I started to draw a rectangle with a face, but I gave it four little stumpy legs. I wrote “Don’t Get Weird” under it.

Wiggly Loaf 2016

Wiggly Loaf was born on our chalkboard. We had our Fathers Day party and all went off to sleep so I could get up early for that long drive to camp. But you know what? By morning that crazy daughter of mine had stayed up late and felted a nifty plush version of Wiggly Loaf for me to take to camp. It was my Fathers Day gift so I wouldn’t be all alone my first week of camp. I had Wiggly Loaf to keep me company.

Felted Wiggly Loaf

When I got to camp I was so taken with the Loaf my daughter made, I decided to make “Don’t Get Weird” posters and put them up all over camp. That way when she got there, she would see Wiggly Loaf everywhere, kinda in response to the life she gave the character by taking the time to make me one. If I needed to make a sign that said, “Please wash your paint brushes,” I drew Wiggly Loaf saying it.

In no time Wiggly Loaf was friends with everyone and became mascot of the Arts and Crafts room. Soon campers were making Wiggly Loaf comics, plush toys, necklaces, hand carved stamps, and screening T shirts. When other people wrote notes or made signs, they included their version of Wiggly Loaf. The character is simple enough for anyone to draw that it took on a life of its own.

thanks for being my friend

I made hundreds of #wigglyloaf memes during the winters to stay in touch with my summer friends. Several years later, the Loaf is going strong. I thought it would be fun to make a video game, so my camp friends could get in some quality Loaf time this winter.

Because Wiggly Loaf was born from love I wanted to be sure the game contained all of the essential elements to capture the pure Wiggly Loaf vibe. The game has to be non stressful and pleasantly challenging. Appropriate for all ages and skill levels. Funny, cute, or even better, kawaii. I didn’t want there to be any hurry. No timer, no rush, just zen comic mayhem. The background does not automatically scroll by, so you can go at your own pace.

After making Wiggly Loaf memes for years, I wanted the game to also contain positive affirmations so the player is congratulated for clearing levels and being so skilled. There are even friendly reminders to do your homework, which amuses me to no end. I wanted the game to be uplifting and fun for both parents and kids, so the homework reminders are a big hit. Oh yeah, I decided the game must be set in a chalkboard world, where it all began!

Wiggly Loaf game

Wiggly Loaf for Android now on Google Play

Nothing in the game harms you. Instead, you’re the problem! You only get in trouble when you step on the flowers or fall off the platform into the pit of doom. You must figure out the challenging puzzle of each level, dig tunnels, build stairs, and collect hearts along the way to open up new levels of the game. When you get far enough, there are new characters to unlock, so you can go back and play the different Wiggly Loaf variations.

Because it’s an indie game that I personally grind out myself from a dirty little machine in my basement, I can do things like publish shout outs during each upload for all you Loafers. People love seeing their secret messages and personal jokes in a game! It’s really cool. Want a shout out added to the game? Contact us through the WigglyLoaf.com web site, and we’ll see what we can do.

The game keeps growing. I love to sit down and design new levels for the game to keep it fresh. Do a search for Wiggly Loaf on the iOS app store or for Android at Google Play, and keep the app updated to get new content as the game grows.

Want to help me spread a little campy joy and kindness? Tell your friends about our silly homemade game – but please remember:

Don’t Get Weird ~ Get Wiggly!
J.E.Moores