The sense of a newborn kitten.

We have sensors!

Actually, senor infrastructure has been in for months, but I finally got around to implementing the “robot has bumped one of these” sensor.  It’s kind of cool in that it starts out generic, then you bump it into something and that’s the thing it senses.

Here’s a (slightly reduced for web) screenshot of the How Sensors Work tutorial:


After you “set” a sensor, the center area displays what it senses.  I’m particularly pleased with the “generic” sensor (i.e., generic “tree” sensor), which flips through the images of all the possible items it might sense.

(I need to do some minor image cleanup, there, but the general idea and effect are pretty cool.  🙂 )

Also:  Kittens!


Very nearly not-done!


Today I finished in-app-purchase, the only income stream from worfc.  It’s not particularly complicated, but there are a lot of small moving parts that have to be assembled just-so.  It’s one of those things where there are no “partial successes”, if any of the myriad little bits aren’t exactly aligned correctly, the whole thing fails catastrophically.

But, it works, now.  Yay!


In other news, I fixed all the various crises surrounding Alpha-2, and put Alpha-3 up a day early (today.)  It’ll be 24-48 hrs for Apple to review it, but there were enough cool new things — and A-2 was enough of a mess — that I just wanted to get A-3 out there before starting the next batch of fixes/additions.  Serendipitously, A-3 is lucky build #777.  🙂

Beta countdown[1]: 7


Also: I’m looking for Beta testers. I’ve got room to handle 1-200, but it takes time to get them all set-up, so I’m starting early[2].  If you’ve got an iPad running iOS7 or later[3], enjoy nerdy games and don’t mind seeing things before they’re fully-baked, drop me a note (or leave a comment) and we’ll get you signed up.

[1] The number of items remaining on my to-do list before I can go beta.  The big, time-consuming one is to get placeholder art for all the gazillion items.

[2] I anticipate Beta-1 in about 2 weeks.  Maybe 1, but I’m not going to rush things.

[3] That’s right, we support iOS7, now!  (Before: iOS8+ only)  🙂

Still here…

Work continues.  The pre-beta test group — in particular RKDA — has been sending me lots of good feedback.  Things are getting better each day, and we’re rapidly closing in on Beta.


Recently, we added the “where am I?” button that shows where your robot(s) are to help mitigate them being lost in the woods.  We also upgraded the market & crafting views for a smoother UI flow, and fixed a bunch of bugs.

Beta to-do list countdown: 8 (+1)

Note to self: I need to start posting screen-caps.  Especially as we start getting new art.


aka “Hey, it works on MY machine…!”

Well, maybe I should be more careful about what pictures I use for my blog postings, because Alpha-2 was an actual crash & burn.

Stupid, stupid, stupid!  Stuff I know better than, and rail on others to never do, I went & did.

I got a bunch of things fixed for Alpha-2 and, at the very end, after testing every other phase of login-less login, I did the final testing of downloading the farm on the simulator, not the device.

And, of course, the simulator has a case-insensitive file system (meaning “” and “” are the same file), whereas the device (iPad) is case-sensitive (meaning they’re different files.)

So, I delivered Alpha-2 to my eager testers and it was DOA — nobody could do anything.

Luckily, it was a quick & easy fix, and Alpha 2.1 has been submitted; it will probably go live tomorrow.

Let’s hope I don’t have too many more of these kind of moments!


We survived!

Well, Alpha-1 delivered and there were only a few problems, none of them related to delivery or other “alpha-testing infrastructure”-type things — yay!


Plus, we got some excellent feedback in the forums.  Not only that, but I just uploaded the Alpha-2 build, with dozens of new features and fixes.  (Should be available to test tomorrow or soon!)


Beta-countdown[1]: 14 (+2)

[1] The number of things on the to-do list before we can release Beta-1.  The parenthetical number is the “bonus items” that aren’t really required for Beta, but I’d like to get them out.

Alpha-1 — First public (well, private-ish) peek at the app.

Today I submitted the Alpha-1 build of WoRFC to be distributed to the Alpha testers[1].  Once it’s approved and distributed, this will be the first “out in the wild” exposure the game has gotten where I won’t be in the room when the other person views it.

It’s both a very exciting and very anxious time.


I’m excited to hear what people think, get their feedback and fix any problems they uncover.  I’m anxious that they’ll find a zillion problems about which I don’t already know and my workload-until-done will suddenly triple.

I guess that’s a good thing — if we find lots of problems and fix them — it’s just a little nerve-wracking to think about the potential extra load.  Still, better early-testers find things in Alpha and Beta than The General Public find them, after it’s released.

The idea of a bunch of not-family having an early peek at the app is kind of exciting, too.


In other news, today (and recently) I fixed a few bugs, enhanced the market & crafting views and added “one-time” infrastructure, along with a few one-time events.  A one-time is when a special note pops up the first time something happens to let you know about how that thing is different/special.  For example, when your robot’s battery starts to get very low, a one-time pops up to tell you about it, and assigns a mission to build a generator and recharge the battery.

Beta-task countdown: 17 (+28) [2]

[1] “Alpha” means[3] pre-Beta.  The app is stable (as far as I know), but it is not feature complete.  In fact, it’s not even content complete (a lot of content shows up as a big, red “image-missing” image).  The testing is similar — look for problems and report them — it’s just a little more “raw” and the whole thing is absolutely “not yet ready for prime-time.”

On the one hand, being an Alpha-tester is exciting and cutting edge.  On the other hand, it’s sort of a Pain In The Rear, as an awful lot of stuff isn’t fully-baked, yet.

Still, Alpha-tester feedback helps make for a better Beta experience, so that’s cool.  For me, anyway.  🙂

“Beta” means[3] “feature complete”, though there are likely bugs, and balancing issues, and perhaps room to add more content.

[2] Though I was noticing that most of these are “bigger” tasks, since I’ve been whittling down the list by taking all the “easy” ones.  Nothing really huge, but there aren’t many “3 or 4 in a day” items left.

Also, I made a “Beta 1.1” list, which is things that used to be on the Beta-1 list, and I think they’re probably implemented/fixed, but I haven’t really tested them and I’ll have to spend some time making sure.  Fortunately, those items should be in the “dozens a day” category (hope, hope!)  There are actually 28 of those.

[3] An intersting thing in software: almost everybody has a slightly-different definition of “Alpha” and “Beta”; they’re usually very similar, but maybe not quite the same.  When I say “Alpha means…” or “Beta means…”, I mean “…when I say it.”  🙂

Check out this chest!

Now we have chests!


Chests basically just vacuum-up anything that’s laying on the ground nearby.

There were a few funny bugs during implementation.  On my first run, the chest vacuumed itself up.  “Whoops!”  Ok, easy fix.  Then, I sent the robot over near the chest to drop a few items on the ground, and the chest vacuumed-up the robot.  “D’oh!”  Ok, another easy fix, and I pre-emptively did “don’t slurp-up other chests”, as long as I was in there.  After that, testing looks good!  🙂

I still need to add the part where you open the chest, view its inventory and pull items back out of it, but that will be easy enough.  (I have all the infrastructure in place, so just need to do it.  Probably yet this afternoon.)


Currently, a robot can drop the selected inventory item on the ground. Also, if an item is on the ground near a chest, the chest vacuums it up.

There isn’t currently a way for a robot to select a specific chest and put things in. For example, if there are 2 chests, and the robot drops an item near both, which one will get it is not clear.  (The answer has to do with the internal data structures.)

Also, there’s no way for a robot to take an item out of a chest. That has to be done manually, but the user.

It’s possible that things will stay this way for v1.0 and won’t get updated until after but, if we come up with a really good interface and it’s not too difficult to implement and “get right”, we could try to squeeze it in for v1.0.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on how this could/should work.



Pardon, is my slip showing?

Throughout this project I’ve been being pleasantly surprised (and I guess a little bragging 😉 ) about how everything is happening pretty-much on schedule.

Now that I realize just how much “a boatload” of content is, and how long it will likely take me to create the technical content, then obtain & integrate artwork, I’ve had to push the schedule out a few weeks.


We’re still scheduled for “Summer, 2015”, just not “early Summer”, as I’d originally hopped.  (I’m still hoping to do Beta-1 yet in May.  I think we’ll be ok, there.)

There’s no real news; I’m just publicly “owning up”, to keep myself honest.

Fire, fire, fire!




One of my Beta to-do items is to fill-out the crafting information.  “Crafting” has been in as a feature for quite a while, but with only a few basic items.  Before we can go Beta, I need to define all of the items you can craft.

Turns out there’s an awful lot of them!  I spent the entire weekend just creating crafting-recipe definitions, and I’m only about 75% of the way finished with what might be considered a bare-minimum set.  So maybe only 50% of what will finally ship in vsn1.0.

And that’s just creating the crafting-recipe definitions.  Once that’s done, I have to use my “list everything that is possible to craft” debug tool, then create all of the item definitions (I may be able to automate at least part of that job), then find placeholder artwork for each item, then go through and test everything.  Whew!

It feels a little bit like trying to drink from a firehose.  Hey, at least I’m not standing on a pier, like the guy in the picture.   🙂

Anyway… not really complaining — it’s actually kind of awesome to watch big amounts of content all come together.  It’s just crazy-huge amounts of work!  Now I look at that stuff and think “man, it’s too bad I can’t just implement features while a small army of minions make art and create content…”   😀



Save my farm, I’m loading-down for the last time!

Sorry I haven’t been updating much; aside from fixing a few miscellaneous bugs, I spent almost the entire week getting login, save (upload) farm and download farm to work.


There were a bunch of little details but, last night, I finally got it all working smoothly — yay!

In other news, I contacted an artist last weekend for some experimental art.  We got new trees (basic), grass and dirt.  I’ll be posting screenshots once I get everything set up.

Beta task count countdown: 39