Sunday, 16 December 2018


It's the end of this book. I've made a few final changes to the game and am now looking forward to starting another project.

First, I've gotten a few friends to translate the app for me. Thanks to Anton, Bruno, Javier, Wes, João, and OnTranslate (I couldn't find friends in all languages that I could bother to do work for free). As a result, the app is much better now!


Then I added support for Bluetooth game controllers. Once the device is pared with the iOS device, it just works with the game. This meant adding focus support to menus and in game buttons so everything is navigable without touching the screen, using a d-pad, and then controlling the spaceship with the analog sticks. The navigation means each element in the menus knows where the focus goes once up, down, left or right is pressed. It also makes the game half ready for Apple TV.

The focused element is slightly enlarged and there's a dust of particles around it:

While in the menus, I've also updated the high scores table to show up to 100 scrollable players. GameCenter only allows me to query 100 at a time, so I settled with that.

Next in line was the virtual joystick, which was due a redesign. Here's a snapshot of the final look:

A couple of things I added really showcase what this project was all about: have fun while creating it!
One is the odd shooting star that dashes across space once in a while. It's so fast that it's hard to take a good screenshot of it.

The other one is the lightning bolt that shows up when the rocket gets too close to a blackhole. This was a cute trigonometry exercise, as it's generated in real time. Screenshot does it no justice.

Ah, yes... I've also renamed it NAVICELLA. It's Full of Stars! was such a common name.

Now that it's finished, I'll just let it sail away in its lonely interstellar voyage.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

... WE HAVE LIFT OFF! The game is on the iOS App Store!

Check it out:

And people have started to play it:

Next steps: try to manage this thing, catch up the Android build, get it on Apple tvOS.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

A Rocket Carousel

We can't have multiple rockets and no way of choosing between them. Here's the Play screen before and after the rocket picker. The screen is also more dynamic, those flares spin behind the selected rocket and the Go button pulses.

Before                                                     After

And this is how the rockets look in game:

Monday, 12 February 2018

Back to the drawing board! Yay!

I was trying to avoid showing the game to people or even speaking to anyone about it because in my heart I knew that they would send me back to the Freemium game path instead of Paid-up-front. "I'm not paying for any game!" – that's what any teenager tells me. Adults agree too.

And I was so close to releasing this thing. So close.

Right, so I've accepted that and now I need to go back and make it free with IAPs again. I'll need a Shop screen, some added value purchases like consumable power-ups, and also a choice of rockets.

This past week I sketched up a few rockets, created two of them in Blender, and have been hand painting those 12 frames each so they look good and in style with the game:

Now on to that SHOP screen...

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Final Final Touches...!

I can see a light at the end of the development tunnel. I'm thinking v1.0 is pretty much done.

I've been through a lot of fit-and-finish since the last post:
- added the loading spinners, Facebook icon, email links and a whole new About screen
- created a webpage at, with video and gallery of screenshots of the game, along with download links
- and I played through all the 45 levels again, tweaking them here and there, making sure they look as good as ever and are playable on Medium difficulty level and without any extra times.

Which means I have now pushed a beta build onto iTunes Connect and am now trying to understand what's next on the release checklist. I know I am doing it all wrong in the marketing department: I haven't built a community of interested people – basically no one has ever heard about this game other than a few friends, and it's likely to stay so, but I'm dying to have it released.

It has been a 6 or 7 year hobby project of stubbornness. Mostly loose half hours in train journeys and lunch breaks. I wanted to create everything myself and take as few shortcuts as possible, so I went with my lower level tools: C++, OpenGL ES, OpenAL, Box2D, I created my own level editor and totally refused to use any off-the-shelf game engine. I was lucky to have Darren helping me out with music, because I had already been learning how to create music for some 3 weeks – that would have taken me a while longer, so that's where I drew the line.

So now what...? Right, let's go through some checklists again.