The Toolbox for Fools

Should you be crazy to think that this is an idea you want to do yourself, then you are going to need the tools. This is a bit of a work in progress but basically boils down to several key areas, some of these are more solid than others!

Essentials

There are one or two things that you are going to need throughout this experiment most things will share in common.

iPad - as obvious as this is it is worth pointing out. I rock the iPad 3 so don't assume everything will run on anything lower (sos), but do look into it as it could well be possibly.

Dropbox - everything will seem to revolve around a Dropbox account so go off and get one set up if you haven't already.

Programming

There is only one choice for the on-iOS developer and that is the simply superb Codea. This is going to set you back a few bob, but take it from someone who has wasted too much money in the App Store, it is mad worthwhile. Codea is an IDE for writing and compiling Lua script, it has a list of features as long as your arm. There is a built in physics engine, a simple way for using assets on your Dropbox, neat documentation, multiple projects with submoduling, a beautiful code editor and the fantastic Air Code feature. It is worth saying that Air Code on Codea will allow you to edit your Codea projects on an external device, namely a laptop, and see the code live reload on the iPad. That said, it isn't needed (though massively cool), I do the majority of this project on the iPad only, with soft keyboard though I image a real keyboard will speed the process up considerably.

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Graphics

So there are a million apps out there that you could use to do your graphical assets, and really it is your own choice, and massively dependant on the sort of art style you are going for. Now me, I am after a classic pixel look, I want to be able to do animated sprite sheets and I need some way to get the final assets to Dropbox. So far my favourite that I have yet to find an issue with is the super Sprite Something. It's a couple of quid and absolutely on the button in terms of functionality, it'll even help you make tile maps!

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Music and SFX

I must admit that this isn't an area that I have actually done any hands on with so assume that a lot of this section will need refinement when I start tearing my hair out when actually trying to do it! again this will really come down to what you are happy with and also what sort of music you are out to make. If you are going for something of the dance variety, I am thinking a bullet hell schmup or intense racer, then look no further than the mighty Auxy. It is quick, stupidly intuitive and possibly one of the sexiest music creation apps out there, but it does have limited range in terms of genre of music.

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If you fancy yourself as a bit of a chip tune whizz, I'm thinking classic 8-bit style platformer, then SunVox is your chum. It needs a bit of brain power to get to grips with but in a nut shell it is an old school tracker application where you program the individual beats and blips for your tune. SunVox is super flexible and you can create some amazing things with it, but prepare yourself for a long session in getting anywhere.

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So that brings me to my choice which is perfect for the more cinematic or realistic sounding music, perfect for RPGs and adventure games, the classic GarageBand! Apple aren't in the habit of making bad apps and this is possibly one of their finest, so expect it to take you no time to be producing fantastic sounding pieces.

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Blogging

Obviously I am also doing this blog on the iPad, as anything else would be a cheat. You will have also noticed, unless I set up a hosted domain in future, that I am using the rather fantastic Scriptogr.am service. It is free, though has limits on the free accounts, and takes a directory on your Dropbox full of markdown files and turns them into a whizzy blog, just like this one! All you need then is a nice ipad markdown editor, and they are two a penny on the App Store. There are literally loads, but for my money I went with Write which I adore, and it connects direct to Dropbox, so perfect!

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So get those tools all set up and join in on this crazy wild trip!

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