The Sound of Music
I put together sound loops and effects from flashkit.com and integrated that stuff with my game. Given the speed of my internet connection and the need to collect names and check licenses for each sound, I snailed along all day.
It feels a little weird to borrow public domain/royalty free stuff after doing all the coding and artwork solo but… …seemed like the right way to get the sound done, even though I can record and produce (sub?)-minimally acceptable music.
Finally I had a go at playing the game end to end. My GF is testing but she’s nothing like a core gamer, still struggling half-way. I thought the game was a little short but then… …I know it too well.
Either way, music and a couple of special effects added a lot to the product. Pretty much as I’d expected: before adding sound, felt like the game could ship without anything like background music or animal noises; after, it feels like sound and music are essential. The atmosphere is a little eerie and the mood is growing darker.
I’m not sure what compliance is meant to be like on the app store. Here’s a few hints I collected:
- Human interface guidelines (UIG). The guidelines are meant to be followed. There are little details, like not having a pause function, no animated buttons, no way to go back to the main menu while playing… (note the UIG doesn’t say anything about pause button, it’s on my no-brainers k).
- Obvious bugs. I have a few really obvious, minor bugs that make my product feel a little beta. Poor visibility control (elements popping in and out of view), misplaced NPCs and the like.
- Performance. I’d rather if the iTouch 8GB version never dropped under 12FPS. On average the game runs at around 15-20FPS, but there’s a few irreducible bottlenecks here and there.
- Integrity – memory leaks, OpenGL bugs kinda stuff.
- ‘Loading times‘ – I don’t really have loading times. Assets are loaded / generated on the fly. That sometimes requires extent calculations, so the game freezes for… …15 seconds when opening the latest chapter, because all chapters are sequentially loaded to restore game state. Good news is, I have never written any optimization for this stuff. So I already know this can be improved dramatically.
On the bright side, even with fairly long sound loops (how long is long…?) my executable’s foot print is at around 22mb. That’s before converting sound to caf and removing garbage assets that I used to use.
It’s little bit of a nag to have to go through this stuff – I needn’t be lectured about smoothing the rough edges and what a well finished product looks like. I wouldn’t fix any of this stuff if I wasn’t worried about my app getting rejected. The bugs that I listed don’t noticeably affect user experience. How do I know? I had people toying with my game for a while. They don’t complain about any of this stuff. They complain about things that have nothing to do with compliance, like having better path-finding or more challenges. I would rather cater first to what users are bothered with.
Either way, I’m just being cautious here. I don’t have a clear idea what would get my product rejected anyway. Putting a few more days work into this won’t hurt.