Multiple iOS Simulator Instances

If you do any type of web development, more than likely you will need to check your code on various iOS devices. The iOS simulator is great for this, but generally you are trying to check your layouts against multiple screen sizes, and the standard simulator only gives you one device at a time, with no possibility of viewing two devices side-by-side.

I created a little script that runs as an application which will launch two instances of the iOS simulator so you can view two devices at once!

Prerequisites– OS X 10.9.4+- Xcode 6.0.0+

Using MultiOS Simulator.app1. Unzip the app and move it to your Applications folder (or wherever you want)2. Launch MultiOS Simulator.app. (You will see the error below. Simply click “ok” and move one of the simulator windows to the side to reveal the second instance.)

  1. *Important Select each simulator window and choose a device for each. Menu —> Hardware —> Device.
  2. *Important You must use 2 different devices. Running two identical devices will not work (this is what causes the initial error above).

That’s it, have fun! Hope this is helpful. Feel free to reach out with any questions / comments.

Note You may need to Right Click the application and choose open the first time you launch it.

Download MultiOS Simulator

Download Source on GitHub!

Indie Board Games!

“I have never made my own board game.”

That is a sentence I can no longer say! In fact, I now have designed two of them! At the time of this writing, one is about 70% complete and the other is roughly 30% complete. I am not at this time going to go into details or mechanics of the games themselves, but rather will tell you a little about how this all happened. Full details on each game will definitely be posted as they are finished!

I honestly don’t exactly know how the idea of making my own board game came about. What I can tell you is that the first game actually started out as an iOS game. The turning point came when I was wire framing the game code up and came to the realization that the mechanics of the game were going to be above my current coding level. This, I will admit, was a bit of a letdown, but I still very much wanted this game to exist. Well, at damn near the exact moment I came to that first realization, the thought of, “what about making it a board game?” entered my head! What? That is crazy talk!

Now, thinking about making a board game is one thing; it’s entirely another to actually go through the process of creation and manufacturing. Once I decided that this game was going to become a physical board game, a whole other set of obstacles came up. When you are writing a piece of software, it is pretty straightforward: you write the code, test it, and publish it to one of the many “no barrier to entry” application markets, or even just pedal it from your own website. You may need someone to help you with design and so forth, but for the most part you can do everything with readily available and free tools.

When you start talking physical goods, everything changes. You are now in a very different world. You can come up with the idea, and maybe prototype some game parts and pieces, but what about making actual game boards, cards, and so forth? This was about the time I found myself doing A LOT of research on Google to figure out how others have gone down this path. If you are willing to pre-buy 15,000 units of your game then you can probably get a game printer to run that for you. I definitely am not looking to turn this into a full time job; I really only wanted to have a couple copies made for myself and maybe a couple to give to friends. What I needed was a company that would create the various parts in a more “print on demand” style much like Blurb does with books. So instead of having a room full of games that I realistically will never sell, I can just order them one at a time as needed. After a bit of googling, I found just the place that does exactly that! TheGameCrafters.com are exactly what I was looking for. They make it super easy for you to go from concept to completion.

1. Create your game idea.
2. Create all the art for the game board, cards, etc.
3. Submit for printing.
4. Game shows up on your doorstep a few weeks later!

This is, of course, slightly over simplified, but honestly not by very much. For the first game I came up with, after building some prototype boards and game pieces, Valerie and I played through the game enough times to work out any play mechanics bugs. She also gave some great input on how to make the game even better! After that, we got all the art put into the .PSD templates (huge thanks again to my awesome wife for helping with this part of it!) that TheGameCrafters provide, and then uploaded them to their website. Aside from printing all the boards, cards, manuals, and various other printed items, they also have a very large selection of game pieces and tokens for almost any kind of game you can think of.

Once you have all the parts picked out and added to “your game”, you can then publish it to their shop as well so others who are looking around the site can purchase your game if they wish. TheGameCrafters have a pretty standard revenue split setup for the selling: you pick a price above whatever the base cost of parts is, and that profit is split 70/30 between you and them. Pretty damn good I would say, considering you have $0 upfront investment.

If you have ever wanted to make your own board game or card game, I would definitely check out TheGameCrafters.com; they make it very easy to turn your idea a reality. I am having so much fun making physical games, and it is such a different creative process than working on computer based projects. I look forward to announcing the 2 games I am working on to everyone very soon!

“I am in no way sponsored by this company, I just really like their product and wanted to tell you about it!”

— Jason

OS X Dock. 2D or 3D? Dock23d.app

Every time I get a new mac (which seems to be often), there are always the setup tasks and procedures i go though to get everything looking and working right. Setting up a new computer is always pretty time consuming, so I am always looking for ways to cut down on the setup time. One thing that I always do on all my macs is change the dock from being the “3D” glass look to the 2D style. This is a simple enough task to perform from the terminal, but remembering the longish command is the trick. Because if this, I decided I would write a little utility that would make switching between 2D and 3D trivial. Without further delay, here is the download of the standalone application. Download Dock23d.app

Update 12/19/12: If you use Alfred (which you should) and have the powerpack (which you also should), here is an extension you can use with Alfred to do the same thing even faster!

I have also made the source available on github. Download Source of Doc23d.app

Hope you find it useful! 🙂

Comment below with what you think of it, if it needs something, or if you decided to fork it on github!

Enyo or Eny(N)o?

I have hit a fork in the road. A week or so back I decided to port a project of mine over to the Enyo framework. Enyo looks to be a perfect fit for this application and its intended use / audience. Today I had one of those moments of panic when you find yourself too focused on the present and not enough on the future. I had to ask myself that sobering question, “what is the track record of this project?” After the horrendous handling of WebOS by HP, that lead to its demise, can Enyo ever get off the ground with HP still attached? Or is this a truly new beginning for the excellent product that was once know as WebOS?

If I port to Enyo, I will be getting into the platform at the ground floor, much as I did with WebOS. This has many positives, but as we have seen, can lead to harsh negatives as well. In the case of WebOS shutting down, the very successful app I had in the Market was left to die as the dev tools were never updated to work with current versions of OS X. This left me with no choice but to open source the project and move on. Granted, being a web framework, it would be less of a pain to pack up and move out, but avoiding that scenario entirely would be ideal.

What to do, what to do..

What would you do? What mobile web frameworks do you use? Comment below!

Writing an iOS app!

In June of 2010 I finished writing my first application for a mobile device! Actually, this was the first full fledged application for any device. It was an app for the fledgling OS called WebOS from Palm. I had never written an application before, but since WebOS was built with web technologies which I had some familiarity with, I thought it would be an attainable goal, and it was! Creating that app and getting it published to the app catalog was such a fulfilling experience for me to say the least.After going back and forth between various phones and platforms following the demise of WebOS, I ended up with an iPhone 4. This of course meant I would be using iOS. After about 6 months or so I was starting to get the itch to work on creating an app for my phone again. After doing some research about iOS development, I decided to start out my adventure using the Titanium IDE. This meant I could not only build apps for iOS, but also build an Android version of the app as well with the same codebase.

The best part of building this app was that it was built by both myself and my wife! We started a new company to develop software and attacked our first app! Our first app was completed in about 2 months in-between work and life. We had a lot of fun building and learned a ton as well. Now that our first app is in the iTunes App Store, we are working on a few updates and new features for it. After that, we are going to begin our second app!

I have been really happy with the workflow and feature set of Titanium so far; no major issues at all. We will definitely be using it for our next app as well!