Category Archives: Planning

Cross Platform Development

The last 2 years of writing has been primarily focused on making games with Monkey-X. While I will continue to make games, the focus of my writing will be changing a little.

Last fall as I was getting ready to try to release games to mobile, I built my first Android app. It is a little rental property cashflow estimation calculator and I had a lot of fun making it and figuring out some of the Android development basics. But I didn’t write about it because the focus of this blog was about making games.

This is going to change.

New Focus

I am a web developer by day, and one of the reasons I like the web and web development is because you can write an application one time and as long as someone has a web browser they can use it. Not only that, but most of the logic can be kept on your server so you are really in charge of the environment the code is hosted in. Client heavy web apps using various Javascript libraries have changed some of this but for the most part it is true. And it has gotten even better as web browsers are converging better on standards.

One of my strong dislikes is having to do the same work twice. If I can find a way to do it only once I will. If I can build a system that does it for me so I never have to do it again I will.

This is one of the reasons I chose Monkey-X as I started making games. It deploys cross platform. Whether you want to put it on the web, on a phone, or on the desktop you can write your game logic in a single code base with usually some small tweaks per platform. The basic game logic remains the same.

Starting this month I will be adjusting the overall focus of the blog to cross platform development in general, no longer just games. The primary focus will be on the Xamarin platform.

Xamarin

Xamarin is a company and the name of their framework or toolset. It is a .NET based framework for allowing you to write apps that share as much code as possible between Windows 10, iOS, and Android.

Microsoft bought Xamarin last year (2016) and at time of this writing it is free for solo developers to get started with them.

The reason I am choosing it is the same reason I chose Monkey-X. Giving me the ability to write something once and then use that multiple times is exactly what I am looking for. And I want to create apps that work well on the phone. Their are some hybrid web solutions using things like Cordova where you write your app in Javascript, HTML, CSS and build it for the phone but that is not what I am looking for right now.

Bonus, Xamarin has a platform for making games with it called CocosSharp (part of the Cocos2D family) that I may utilize.

So look for coming updates on making cross platform apps and games.

Essential Planning for 2017

It often seems like we don’t have the time to pause and lay out a plan. But I have found this to be super valuable. It is time well spent and actually reduces the time it takes to get to your goals.

A 12 Week Plan

One of books that I read/listened to last year was called the 12 week year and described a method to essentially get a year’s worth of work done in 12 weeks.

I don’t know if this is entirely possible, but I did find that having a set of goals for the whole year was not ideal. Also, writing a post to review them every month was probably not a best use of writing time. Twelve weeks seems like a pretty good number for a set of goals and then reviewing them afterwards.

Major Goals

Part of the 12 week year planning process is setting a larger goal that is to be reached in about 3 years. This is the vision of what you want your life to be like in 3 years.

You then set smaller goals to be accomplished in the next 12 weeks that will move you closer to the 3 year vision. These goals should be a little bit of a stretch for you. They should not be impossible, but also not super easy.

Finally you breakdown the actions you are going to take each week to accomplish your 12 week goal.

Applying the Process

I have decided to give this planning method a try in the first quarter of 2017 to see how I like it. The vision part is a mix of personal and business goals so I will not be sharing that here, but I will be tracking my 12 week goals.

Goals for the 12 Weeks

You should probably have no more than 3 major goals for each 12 week stretch. Otherwise you will not be focused and probably won’t come close to any of them.

My goals for the next 12 weeks are:

  1. Finish the Making Your First Game with Monkey-X tutorial series and turn it into a short E-book: Although the Monkey community is not all that large, it is a great little framework and perfect for beginners. I am still learning a lot writing this tutorial although I have decided to switch target frameworks as a specialty.
  2. Clean up and release Prism Ship to Android with 2 versions, 1 paid with no ads and 1 free with ads. This will be hooked up to Google’s service that tracks high score: I really liked getting a game out to Android last year and I want one that could start a small revenue stream. Not looking to make tons of money with this, but I already have the code and want more practice with releasing things to Android.
  3. Begin specializing in Xamarin: one of the key concepts I learned last year was the importance of specialization. It is tough. There are so many cool things to learn. But if I want to actually achieve success, I will need to start by focusing on a niche. One of the reasons I like Monkey is because it allows cross platform deploys. Xamarin does the same thing for cross platform mobile app development. The overall focus will be on doing cross platform development and deployments. I will still be making games, just not writing about it as much in the first quarter. Additionally if I don’t like Xamarin at all after 3 months, I will pick something different.

So lots of changes coming up, but ultimately a clearer focus. Looking forward to an awesome 2017.