Jeff Hangartner – Revealing the Path Less Travelled in Video Game Industry

Jeff HangartnerJeff Hangartner, the founder of the gaming start-up, Bulletproof Outlaws has been a professional developer of games over the last half a decade. Creator of Pixelation, the 1st Pixel Art Forum and also originator of the Pixel tutorials which have been published in the form of a book. Jeff has always been a pioneer of the gaming industry.

CG Today is proud to present Jeff’s exploration as he shares the whole process of creating a start-up right from day 1. With the belief that gaming development is coming back to its original “one programmer in the basement roots” idea, Bulletproof Outlaws is chronicling every step of its start-up process from strategies, to marketing, setting goals and outsourcing, successes and failures. The aim is to help other developers who have ideas but are intimidated by the whole start-up process and are not sure how to go about it.

You can visit his website Bulletproof Outlaws to know more about him or send an email to get connected.

This update is a couple days worth of work in one and it has good news and bad news. Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: We had to kill the Retina version. :( The way we did the animations turned out not to translate nicely to the pixel/point stuff Cocos2d uses. It looks like the animations line up right if we use the Retina art with the regular iPhone animation files, but then the menu and general “touching stuff” system gets all shot. It’s fixable, but it’d take a while and Derek has other projects to move onto and this project has gone on way longer than it was supposed to. I’m not super bothered by the lack of a Retina version because the art is hand-drawn so the lines are anti-aliased as it is, which means it looks good on an iPhone 4 anyway…the art is cel-shaded so there’s not a lot of need for the Retina resolution with cel-shading since everything is flat-shaded with big areas of one flat color, versus a game that uses photographs or heavily painted artwork. So visually, it’s not a big deal, though a bit of a bummer! On the plus side now that we know what happened with it, in future games I’ll be able to have a Retina version for sure! The other good part is that it chops the iPhone version down to well under the 20MB 3G transfer limit which means users won’t need to be near Wi-Fi to download it.

It also means the iPad version is officially the HD version:

Bulletproof Outlaws - ElusiveNinja iPad Screenshot

Bulletproof Outlaws - ElusiveNinja iPad Screenshot

I’ll throw an HD on the title and market it that way since the art is huge for the iPad version (well over the 20MB limit, but I figure people use their iPhones on the go so you want to be under 20MB there, but most people’s iPads are used at home where they’ll have Wi-Fi). So it’s not the worst thing ever in the long-run!

Bulletproof Outlaws - ElusiveNinja iPad Devices

The good news is Derek is officially off the project (aside from going over the final source and helping me submit it to Apple in a bit). He’s moved on to work on Burrito Bison for Juicy Beast, which should be awesome! I’ve got the final source and I’m using my epically weak programming “skills” to tighten the controls and tweak the gameplay and add a little polish. The Macbook I bought way back at the start was bought specifically for this purpose because I figured I’d run into this situation, where I’d want to tinker with the source a bit…it’ll speed up testing and it means Derek doesn’t have to worry about the project. I’m basically taking the source, vanishing for a week, then bringing it back to him with it all balanced out and polished up. I don’t actually know how to use a Mac, or XCode, or how to program in C or C++ or C# or whatever this is, so I am pretty much completely winging this with good ol’ trial and error haha I change some numbers, or cut and paste some code, run it, see what changes, then change some more numbers, or un-cut and paste the code, until it works. It’s not fast, but it works, eventually. Google + tutorials are a massive help too.

The game is looking good, and I’m pretty psyched to get it out there! I’m hoping to get TestFlight going when I wake up later, then have some friends testing it through the week as I polish up some of the animations and create all the external stuff, then hopefully submit it on Monday. I’m playing this part by ear because I have no idea how long a lot of this is going to take…Making the ninja change to his idle animation when he bumps into the edge of the screen took me like 6 hours to figure out…but I added multi-touch support on the first attempt. So like, jeeze, who knows haha

Email: Jeff Hangartner | Web: Bulletproof Outlaws - Elusive Ninja: The Shadowy Thief

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