Tag Archives: AIR

First-Time Game Dev Team YoyoBolo Pulls it Off

i want to tell you the story of a neat-o partnership we began in the fall!

tl;dr – go play New School Blues!

A Strange Turn for an Intern

Last September, Untold Entertainment took on an intern named Mike Doucet. Mike was a recent graduate from a private Ontario college who needed to escape the work/experience purgatory in which so many graduates find themselves. After coming under fire for our nefarious practice of helping graduates, i put some new parameters around Mike’s involvement with Untold.

My friend Jason accused me of bringing Mike (left) on-board because he looks like a young Ron Gilbert. Guilty as charged. (Mike doesn’t see the resemblance.)

Within a short time at the studio, Mike had formed a small, separate game dev team called YoyoBolo Games. Mike took a producer role, while Jonathan Phillips would create art assets and Ryan Roth would take on music and voiceover duties (including casting, recording and editing). Programmer Amir Ashtiani would handle scripting in UGAGS (the Untold Entertainment Adventure Game System), which the team would license from Untold.

UGAGS powers a number of great games, including Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure and Spellirium

All I Want for Christmas

i tasked the team with building a short point n’ click graphic adventure game and releasing it by Christmas; in exchange for the use of the Untold offices, mentorship from me, and a discount on a UGAGS license, YoyoBolo would give Untold Entertainment first right of refusal to publish their game. YoyoBolo would keep their copyright and IP.

The team decided to release their game for free, to avoid the complications that money might bring. (i counselled them that as a first-time team releasing a mobile adventure game, money wouldn’t enter into it anyway :) The end goal was for YoyoBolo to have the experience of creating, releasing and marketing a complete game from start to finish, so that the team members would have a polished portfolio piece they could show off to prospective employers.

The experiment worked, and the team completed the game by the second week of December!

The resulting title, New School Blues, was partially based on Mike’s experiences as an elementary school teacher, and his desire to create a game to which grade school kids could relate. (Mike wondered why there aren’t more kids’ games that are set in schools? i think he has a very good point.) i made sure that YoyoBolo didn’t stop at simply building the game, but that they went the extra mile to prepare a press kit, a press contact list, and a press release to help market the game. Mike has been maintaining a near-daily developer diary with contributions from the team, which is a great read if you’d like to make video games, and wonder what the experience of a group of first-timers is really like.

(PROTIP: It’s like being lost in the woods at night and hunted by a demonic witch.)

i really want to highlight the team’s artist, Jonathan, who went above and beyond the call of duty by taking over UGAGS scripting on the project to ensure that New School Blues looks and plays as well as it does.

Mission Accomplished

So how did they do? i found the game quite charming, and i thought the team did an excellent job for a first-time collaboration. i happily exercised Untold Entertainment’s option to publish New School Blues. Here’s a gameplay trailer of the first few minutes:



What’s in it for Untold Entertainment? Two wonderful “firsts”: this is the first time we’ve published a game that was developed by another team, and it’s the first time that we’ve licensed our UGAGS engine. So call it a win/win/win all around – the third “win” being you, because you get to play the final game!

New School Blues is available for free here at Untold Entertainment, over at Kongregate, and on Android tablets and the iPad.

You can get in touch with the members of YoyoBolo Games here:

  • Mike Doucet – Producer
    • email: mike [at symbol] michaeldoucet.com
    • twitter: mikeDocDoucet
  • Jonathan Phillips – Artist/Animator and Scripting
    • email: jonathan.f.phillips [at symbol] gmail.com
  • Amir Ashtiani – Programmer and Scripter
    • email: ashtiani.amir01 [the at symbol] gmail.com
    • twitter: pillowmermaid
  • Ryan Roth – Music, Sound Effects and Voice Over
    • email: ryan [the at symbol] rawroth.com
    • twitter: dualRyan
    • professional services website: dualRyan.com

Searching for Truth at the Flash Gaming Summit

i’ve been thrilled to be involved with the Flash Gaming Summit for the past number of years, as a delegate, a moderator, and a speaker. The conference, which conveniently takes place in San Francisco the day before the GDC summits, is filled with people i consider sister sufferers in a very particular (and increasingly beleaguered) pocket of game development.

Flash! / Aaah-aaahh / Saviour of the universe (?)

Many of the FGS delegates are folks who started their careers building web games with (then) Macromedia Flash, and who have come through the fire of learning how to earn a living with the software with help from distributors like MochiMedia, Flash Game License, NewGrounds and and Kongregate, and portal-owning publishers who are willing to pay license fees for the games, hoping that they’ll make it back in ad revenue on their sites. Some of the people you meet at Flash Gaming Summit are the people who have become successful enough to afford a plane ticket to San Francisco which, considering their often humble beginnings, is really saying something. And a good number of the delegates are from studios who evaluated Flash and decided that it was a good technological fit for their platform or business strategy.

It’s not unusual to find industry visionaries like Dan Cook of SpryFox (Triple Town, Leap Day) milling around during the Summit.

This is a time of uncertainty for devs like Untold Entertainment who largely earn their living making games with Adobe Flash. For many of us, the uncertainty is over why there’s so much hype for vastly inferior technologies like HTML5, and why we’re being pressured by the market to adopt far more expensive tools like Unity to do the same work we’re already comfortable and proficient at doing with Flash?

The Flash platform was dealt a major blow when Steve Jobs – for somewhat vindictive business reasons, thinly veiled as technological snobbery – declared that Flash content would not be supported in any iPhone browser, and then dropped the mic and left the stage (in more ways than one). To this day, the myth persists that you can’t develop any content for iOS using Flash. The opposite is in fact true: many devs like Untold are happily wrapping their Flash creations with Adobe AIR and creating successful native apps for Apple’s devices.

Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure, which is on sale on the iPad this week, was developed in Flash.

Real Talk with Ryan Creighton

In an effort to get down to the bottom of things, i’ll be moderating a panel at FGS this year asking the hard questions: is Adobe Flash worth sticking with, or is it time to jump ship? Cutting through the hype, what are the advantages and disadvantages of competing technologies, and what would it take to transition a shop to start using them? And is it even worth it? What do Adobe’s recent announcements about Actionscript Next and abolishing the “speed tax” reveal about the company’s plans for the platform? All these questions and more will be discussed, in amongst a line-up of talks and panels by some of the biggest players in this corner of game development.

Enter the special promo code blog_UntoldEnt for a 15% discount when you register for your Flash Gaming Summit pass. See you all in March!

Untold Entertainment Fall Internship Program 2012

Untold Entertainment is a boutique game development studio in downtown Toronto. We specialize in games and apps for kids, teens, tweens and preschoolers. We’re looking for two interns for the months of October – December 2012:

  • a 2d artist/animator
  • an Actionscript 3 programmer

Deadline

Please submit your application (see below) by Friday October 12, 2012 at 9:17 PM Eastern Standard Time.

Eligibility

Ideal candidates will be hungry for experience and committed to producing quality products. These are attributes we’ve prized in past interns:

  • Self-starter. Take initiative and produce work effectively and on time.
  • Team player. Collaborate and communicate openly with team members, act on constructive criticism and constantly do what’s best for the project and your team.
  • Detail oriented. Be your own toughest critic and focus on delivering your work with as much detail and care as possible.
  • Problem solver. Be prepared to think outside the box and find solutions to challenges that may appear.
  • Life-long Learner. See every fork in the road as a way to expand your skillset and continuously strive to improve at what you do.
  • Positive attitude. No whining. Move forward and get things done!
  • Humorist. Anyone caught wearing a suit will be shot.

What Will You Be Doing?

Here are the major tasks you will be performing at Untold Entertainment (other related tasks may crop up as projects call for them):

  • Programming. Laying down code in Actionscript 3 for Flash-based projects based on design documentation.

    OR

  • Art and animation. Designing, creating, and animating 2D characters, backgrounds, and other visual effects according to project specifications.

    AND

  • Collaborating. Working with a small team to ensure deadlines are met with an end product worthy to carry the name Untold Entertainment.
  • Testing. Providing quality assurance for various game projects that you have helped create.
  • Coffee machine repair. Seriously, how is this thing still broken?

How Much Do i Get Paid?

This is an unpaid internship. It is an opportunity to gain great experience and to put some real game development studio work on your resume, along with the chance to get your name in the credits of a shipped title. Many former interns have remarked that they understand the business of game development and the entrepreneurial side of the industry much better after completing their internship at Untold Entertainment. Working at a small studio is a far different experience from working at a big triple-A juggernaut. As an additional perk, we offer No-Pants Fridays.

How Do I Apply?

Email info [the curly at sign] untoldentertainment [the little dot thingy] com. Please put way more attention into an interesting email and samples of your work than your resume. Give us a sense of your personality, and why you think you’re a good fit. Cookie-cutter applications with business-suit-wearing cover-letters and resumes describing your evening shift at Shopper’s Drug Mart will be stabbed and burned.
Successful candidates will be contacted for interviews in early to mid-October.

Is It Worth It?

Here’s what some former interns have to say about their experience:

Having had no idea what to expect from my summer internship, and, more importantly, my first real studio experience, I was greatly relieved to land a job at Untold Entertainment with programmer, animator, teacher, comedian, lion-tamer, and self-made astronaut, Ryan Creighton. I was provided with a bounty of knowledge, a plethora of fun tasks to sink my artistic teeth into, and the respect to freely give and receive feedback on projects. Not only did working at Untold open my eyes to new possibilities, give me an opportunity to expand my skill set, and introduce me to a number of lovely people currently working throughout the entertainment and game development industries, but there was also a steady supply of candy, and occasionally we were rewarded with tacos. Untold is a brilliant studio with a clever, innovative, and genuine captain at the helm. 10/10, would intern again.

- Intern Sarah Davis, Summer 2012

I couldn’t have possibly broken into the game industry with what they taught me in school alone – It definitely takes a lot more than a strong 3D modelling portfolio. Ryan Creighton taught me the real value of hard work, imagination and a positive attitude. Oh, and that “Nordic Berries” are DEFINITELY not a suitable substitute for Swedish Berries.

- Intern Chewie (Cassandra Chui), Winter 2012

Also, pants required.

- Intern Sina Kashanizadeh, Fall 2011

I learned more about making games at Untold than I ever did at school.

- Intern Cale Bradbury, Academic year 2010-2011

The stuff I learned from Ryan is the stuff I’m currently getting paid for in California. The effort to reward ratio is incredible.

- Intern Mohammed Al-Sahaf, Winter 2011

Want to play games all day? Go home and play. Want to discover the stress, struggle, and ultimate satisfaction of making games for a living? Apply for this internship.

- Intern David S. Gallant, Fall 2011

Working with Ryan Creighton has been eye-opening. If Untold had taught me anything as an intern, it’s open your mind to new creative ideas.

- Intern Chris Aaron Broadfield, Summer 2011

Summer in Smallywood Launches on the iPad

The educational graphic adventure game we produced for The Centre for Skills Development & Training, Summer in Smallywood, has gone mobile!

Download Summer in Smallywood for FREE from the iTunes app store!

Now you can work at Canada’s most lacklustre amusement park while learning about essential workplace skills, all on a device that fits in your pocket! (provided you have a very big pocket).

The iPad release of Summer in Smallywood was developed with Adobe AIR, from the all-new “talkie” web version that launched weeks earlier at summerinsmallywood.ca. Smallywood is powered by UGAGS, the Untold Graphic Adventure Game System, which runs our most popular and anticipated adventure games, including Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure and the upcoming Spellirium.

Flash to iOS: A Step-by-Step Tutorial (Part 5)

Flash to iOS: A Step-by-Step Tutorial

This is the fifth part of our tutorial series by Intern Sina on creating an AIR application for free on a PC using FlashDevelop, and deploying it as a native app on an iOS device like the Apple iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch.

Jump to other parts in the series:

Distribution Certificate

Now that you’ve tested your app and it’s to your liking, guess you want to put it up on the App Store? Never fear, my friend! I will now show you how to get your app uploaded on the App Store so the whole world can ignore it and buy Angry Birds instead.

This process of distribution is a bittersweet one. It’s sweet because it’s extremely similar to the development process that you just went through, so you should be familiar with the convoluted certificates and hoops you have to jump through at Apple’s pleasure. It’s bitter because it’s extremely similar to the development process that you just went through.

Groundhog Day

Something about this seems awfully familiar …

Enough talk. Let’s get cracking!

Generate a Signing Certificate Request

Remember that OpenSSL program that you installed in Part 2 of this tutorial? You have to open that bad boy up again to create another Certificate Signing Request. Now, it is possible to just use your old Signing Certificate – however, just to be super clear and to avoid any confusion or difficulty, we’re going to create another one.

Note: We’ll use this new Signing Certificate Request to get a Distribution Certificate rather than a Development Certificate.

  1. Open a command prompt window. You can do this by clicking the Windows Start button and typing in cmd in the search field. Alternately, you can also hold the Windows key on your keyboard and hit the “R” key (for “Run”), then type cmd and hit Enter.

    Windows CLI

  2. Once you are in the command prompt, navigate to your Open SSL bin folder. Depending on where you installed it, you will have to navigate to a different path than in this example. (i hope you installed Open SSL in a location that you can remember!) Check Part 2 if you need a refresher on Windows CLI (Command Line Interpreter) commands.

    Open SSL folder

  3. Punch this command into the CLI and hit the ENTER key when you’re finished:
    openssl genrsa -out mykey.key 2048

    You should see this response:

    Response

  4. Next, type (or highlight the line, right-click, choose “Copy”, and right-click/”Paste” in the CLI):
    openssl req -new -key mykey.key -out CertificateSigningRequest.certSigningRequest  -subj "/emailAddress=yourAddress@example.com, CN=John Doe, C=US"

    Now, before you hit ENTER you’ll want to edit a couple of things. First, replace “John Doe” with your own name or company name. Then replace the “yourAddress@example.com” email with your own email. Press ENTER.

    You should get a message similar to this:

    Response 2

    You just generated the Signing Certificate Request file that you’ll use to ask Apple for your Distribution Signing Certificate. The Signing Certificate Request file is located in the bin folder of your Open SSL install. It has a .certSigningRequest file extension and should look like this:

    Signing Certificate

Obtain a Signing Certificate for Distribution

You have to upload your Signing Certificate Request file to the Apple Provisioning Portal to get your Distribution Signing Certificate. Onward.

Note: There have been instances where this upload does not work with Google Chrome. Just to be safe, use another browser like Firefox.

  1. Navigate to the Apple iOS Provisioning Portal within the Dev Center.

    Apple Provisioning Portal

  2. Log in with your developer account and click on Certificates.
  3. Click on the Distribution tab.

    Apple Provisioning Portal

    Note: In our previous tutorials, you requested a certificate from the Development tab. An app signed with a Development certificate cannot be successfully submitted to the Apple App Store.

    If you have an old Distribution Certificate because you’ve made a prior app, and you’d still like to follow along, you can go ahead and Revoke it. Revoking the Certificate will not affect your apps that are already on the App Store, because the Certificate is primarily used during the upload process so that Apple can identify you.

    Note: I recommend revoking an existing Certificate because Apple seems to issue only one Certificate per Team Agent. You must revoke any existing Certificate to be able to request another. Why is it set up like this? I have no idea.

    Revoke your Apple Signing Certificate

  4. If you don’t have a pre-existing Distribution Signing Certificate, you can just go ahead and click Request Certificate.

    Request your Apple Signing Certificate

    On the next screen, you will upload the Signing Certificate Request file that you generated in the previous section.

    Request

  5. Click the Browse button and navigate to the OpenSSL bin folder.
  6. Select the Signing Certificate Request file and click Submit. When you are finished, you’ll see your Distribution Signing Certificate ready to download from the web page.

    Your Apple Signing Certificate

Don’t download your Distribution Certificate quite yet. You still need to create an App ID and a Mobile Provisioning Profile.

Create a New App ID

When deciding what you want your App ID to be, you have two choices:

  • Create an entirely new App ID
  • Use the Existing App ID that you create in Part 2

If you want to use your existing App ID, then just skip to the next section. If for some reason you don’t like the name of your App ID, go ahead and make a new App ID, following the steps outlined in Part 2.

Create a Mobile Provisioning Profile for Distribution

Now that you have an App ID, you can create your Mobile Provisioning Profile.

  1. Within the Provisioning Portal website, click Provisioning in the sidebar.
  2. Click the Distribution tab.

    New Provisioning Profile

    In previous tutorials, you created a Development profile for testing. You won’t be able to upload your app to the Apple App Store unless you create a Distribution profile, so make sure you select the correct tab.

    You can either create a new Provisioning Profile, or modify an existing one. Modifying an existing profile if you want to switch between App Store and Ad Hoc distribution. If you’ve never created a Distribution profile, read on. Instructions for modifying a profile are in the section following.

  3. Click on New Profile.

    New Provisioning Profile Button

    Note: You’ll only see this option if you are the fee-paying Team Admin.

  4. In the next section, you’ll have to fill out a bunch of options. The first option is the Distribution Method. As you can see, you can choose between App Store and Ad Hoc.
    • Choose App Store if you are completely satisfied with your app and you want to submit it to Apple for review. If all goes well, then your app will be released whenever Apple deems it worthy.
    • The Ad Hoc option can be thought of as a closed beta for your app. When you choose Ad Hoc, you are able to release your app to a maximum of 100 people, and only they will have access to it. Your App will NOT appear in the public App Store if you choose Ad Hoc.

    Note: Notice when you choose App Store, the “Devices” option is greyed out. When you choose Ad Hoc, it allows you to choose a number of devices that you have registered. The App Store option releases your app on the public App Store, so it doesn’t make sense to target specific devices.

  5. Your Profile Name is the name that you want for your Provisioning Profile. The Distribution Certificate that you created should be visible here.
  6. Finally, you have to choose which App ID with which you want to register your Provisioning Profile.

    Profile Options

  7. Click Submit.
  8. You should ee a list of the Provisioning Profiles that you’ve created. Click download on the Provisioning Profile that you just created, and save it to you computer.

    Save Your Provisioning Profile

Modify your Provisioning Profile

Note: If you’re not modifying an existing Provisioning Profile (say, from Ad Hoc to App Store), skip over this section.

  1. Within the Provisioning Portal website, click Provisioning in the sidebar.
  2. Click the Distribution tab.

    New Provisioning Profile

  3. Click Modify on the Provisioning Profile that you want to reuse.

    Modify Provisioning Profile

  4. Switch to either Ad Hoc or App Store. The distinction between these two options is explained in the preceding section.

    Edit Provisioning Profile

  5. Click Submit.
  6. You should see a list of the Provisioning Profiles that you’ve created. Click download on the Provisioning Profile that you just modified, and save it to your computer.

    Save Your Provisioning Profile

Download your Distribution Certificate

You just need to download the Distribution Signing Certificate that you created at the top of this tutorial, and then you are ready to bundle your .ipa file to submit to the App Store.

  1. Click on the Certificates section in the sidebar.
  2. Click the Distribution tab.

    Apple Provisioning Portal

  3. You’ll see that your Distribution Signing Certificate is ready to download. You can also see that it contains the Distribution Provisioning Profile that you just made.

    Your Certificate is Ready

  • Click download and save the file to your computer. Just to make things easier, you can save that certificate in the Open SSL bin folder, where your Certificate Signing Request file is sitting.

    Hooray!

    Note: Make sure not to get confused between your Development Certificate and Profile, and your Distribution Certificate and Profile. You won’t be able to upload your app to the App Store if you accidentally use the Distribution set of certs in these next steps.

    Convert the Signing Certificate to a .p12 File

    You’ll have to perform the .p12 conversion on your Certificate again, as you did in an earlier tutorial. Here are the steps:

    1. Open up your command prompt.
    2. Navigate to your Open SSL bin folder.
    3. Copy and paste this command:
      openssl x509 -in distribution_identity.cer -inform DER -out distribution_identity.pem -outform PEM

      After you enter that command, you’ll see a .pem file show up in your OpenSSL bin folder.

      .pem file

    4. Copy and paste this command in the CLI:
      openssl pkcs12 -export -inkey mykey.key -in distribution_identity.pem -out iphone_dev.p12

      Note: These are the exact same commands that you used for our Development Certificate in an earlier tutorial, except that the file name has been changed from “development” to “distribution”.

    5. After you punch in the command, enter a password and then verify that password. Make sure the password is something that you will remember. (Save it in a .txt file! – Ed.)

      Note: Remember that you may get an error mentioning a “random state”. Just type in the command set RANDFILE=.rnd and it should fix the problem for you.

    6. Navigate to the bin folder in your Open SSL directory and you should see your .p12 file. Hooray!

      .p12 file

    Hello, Planet

    As we mentioned off the top, much of this is familiar territory. With all of your Distribution certs sorted out, you’re ready to bundle up your final .ipa file and foist it onto an unsuspecting public. In the next tutorial, you’ll follow familiar instructions to bind your certs to your .ipa, and experience that magical moment of uploading your app for Apple’s approval (followed shortly by that equally magical moment of getting your app rejected cuz BEWBZ.) Let’s do it!