I have yet another HyperBowl-style bowling game on the App Store, called Learn Unity, since this is the game built following my book in-progress, Learn Unity 4 for iOS Game Development. Besides the name (maybe I should have called it something like Unity Bowl), the game is a bit odd since it uses conveniently free assets from the Unity Asset Store. That’s why it’s bowling for barrels and the barrels sound like coins (the video game kind).
My upcoming book on Unity iOS is now available as an alpha on the Apress site (and also a preorder on Amazon, which for some reason is cheaper). Actually, I think the alpha’s been available for a couple of weeks now, since it’s on page 3 of the alpha list (or they’ve been cranking them out for SXSW). Anyway, the alpha currently has five chapters in near-to-final state (behind the scenes, another three are pretty near done), the rest in various states of draft. Accompanying projects are currently in-progress on github.
I get a lot of email asking me to fill out a survey. I never do – it’s like saying, “Thanks for being our customer, would you mind filling out a bunch of forms?”
This email I received from Dark Horse yesterday is the right way to do it. Just give us some feedback in a manner that’s convenient for you, and here’s a token of our appreciation. Now, that token is more a coupon than a prize, and it’s only redeemable on their web store, whereas I prefer to read comics on my iPad, but I’ll save a discussion on why they have two or three different digital stores for another day. In the meantime, even though I probably won’t use the coupon, I’ll try to remember to leave a review for their iOS app.
I was talking to someone about user interfaces today and mentioned some of my favorite books on the subject. I might as well share them with everyone:
Apple Human Interface Guidelines (it’s actually kind of a mess compared to the original one-volume Mac guidelines, but still…) http://developer.apple.com/library/mac/#documentation/UserExperience/Conceptual/AppleHIGuidelines/HIPrinciples/HIPrinciples.html#//apple_ref/doc/uid/TP30000353-TP6
http://www.designinginteractions.com/ Cool stuff like how the guy who made the Palm walked around with a small slab in his shirt pocket and pretended to use it as PDA as a simulation.
http://www.asktog.com/books/toi_detail.html One of the original Mac user interface guys.
http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/ Really interesting principles and ways to visualize data – it actually got me interested in data visualization. And looks good on coffee tables.
http://www.jnd.org/books/the-design-of-everyday-things.html This really made me think about product design (“yeah, the VCR, what’s up with that?”)
I picked up my fiction reading since I turned indie (it’s a lot easier to schedule afternoon reading breaks when you work at home), but it’s still not like when I was a kid. I was a reading machine back then. And I read a lot more science fiction. I read a lot of other stuff, particularly the mysteries of Agatha Christie and Earl Stanley Gardner, but it was the science fiction stories that made an impact on me. I used to just sit by the stacks in the public library and churn through a book in an afternoon. I can barely remember most of the stories, but I remember some books in particular.
First was 20,000 Leagues under the Sea. That was my first significant book and probably not the best choice to start off the book-reading contest I entered in second grade. And I had no idea what latitude and longitude meant. But every book after that was like reading a Cliff Note and it got me on a Jules Verne kick and maybe some H.G. Wells.
My favorite author was Robert Heinlein. I liked Starship Troopers, of course, but my favorite was Have Spacesuit, Will Travel, a teenager fantasy (not like Porky’s). The Moon Is a Harsh Mistressgrabbed my imagination (rebelling colonists lob rocks on Earth) And I always wondered if the body snatchers movies were based on The Puppet Masters. I just realized Donald Sutherland was both in the Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Puppet Masters. The latter was missing a neat and logical concept of the book – once the alien symbiotes are discovered, nudism becomes popular to avoid a lot of security hassle (shades of the TSA).
Another one that got made into a movie, an old movie, was The Day of the Triffids. Some cosmic event blinds the populace and meanwhile mobile venomous plants take over. I’d like to see a modern film version of that.
I’ve wondered also if The Dueling Machine by Ben Bova was the “inspiration” behind the movie Dreamscape with Dennis Quaid, where people get assassinated in dreams (come to think of it, that’s the idea behind all the Freddy Krueger movies). However, I just read in Wikipedia that Dreamspace was based on a Robert Zelazny story. The Dueling Machine is a way for people to fight without getting hurt, until someone figures out a loophole. Pretty cool.
And then of course there was Isaac Asimov (I, Robot and the Foundation series), Arthur C. Clarke (Rendezvous with Rama and a bunch of other shorts stories, and the 2001 novels), and Ray Bradbury (The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man…) But you’ve heard of all of those. And to tell you the truth, I considered the Roald Dahl stories science fiction. A glass elevator in a chocolate factory that goes into space? Giant bugs rolling around in a peach?
What am I reading these days? Well, The Hunger Games was pretty good. I read each of those books in one or two days. And I’ve been reading some Philip K. Dick short stories. It’s sort of apples and oranges, but the stories are better than the films based on them. To tell you the truth, I liked what I read before, like The Man in the High Castle, but I didn’t think he was that great a writer – the longer fiction seem to start off with a great premise and then just kind of end, but in the short story form he excels. The original short stories behind Minority Report, Total Recall, and Paycheck are entertaining to hilarious, and the story behind Screamers (which is a movie I liked, by the way – Peter Weller on a planet with self-replicating killing machines) is just plain creepy awesome.
I’d like to read some Neal Stephenson again, if his next book is less than a thousand pages. In the meantime, maybe I’ll crack open Snow Crash or the Diamond Age again…