The Modern Father: iPhone the Focus of Family Projects

in Games (E)

[] Asheville, North Carolina - Model airplanes, trains and tree houses are the types of projects typically done with dad, but in a world full of iPhones and Xboxes, Keith Phillips knew what would excite his kids. Together they created an iPhone game.

On May 30, 2011, the Phillips', Keith (Dad), Greyson (12) and Iva (11) released Redneck Jellyfish 1.02 into Apple's iTunes store. Gus Hickey is a jellyfish. His job is to build coral reefs. Simply tap the screen to make him swim and pick up coral seeds which he uses to grow more coral. Sounds simple, until he starts losing his tentacles to barnacles, crabs, sea urchins and other sea hazards!

"So many games today focus on destroying and tearing something down. With this game, I wanted to be sure the goal was 'building' something up", says Keith. They can't remember how it started with a jellyfish, but the coral idea came from Greyson, who had done some cool sketches with a Sharpy marker that looked like abstract coral.

It took about four months to develop the game. Each played a part in the development. In typical "dad" fashion, Keith wrote most of the code. He used Ansca mobile's Corona SDK, which made development a breeze. The language was easy to learn and there is a wonderful online community to help solve problems and share code. Iva did the concept sketches for the main character, and Greyson is the voice of Gus. They all collaborated on ideas for over 60 levels.

Keith says, "We kept getting more and more ideas for the game, like eating plankton and shooting fart bubbles at the crabs. Iva was learning about undersea vents and fault zones so she wanted a Volcano World. Greyson came up with pepper plankton, that gives you a speed "power up" to help battle the current. Eventually I had to say 'enough'! And so we wrapped it up and submitted it to app store".

Keith's dad, Fred Phillips, taught him to program when he was 10, almost 30 years ago. "We didn't even have a computer yet. We would sit down for an hour after dinner, and I would write simple Basic programs in a spiral notebook. Dad would go through the logic and tell me where there were problems." Eventually they bought one of the first home computers, a Timex Sinclair 1000, and started writing real programs. The difference in technology today and back then is staggering. The Timex Sinclair's graphics had a resolution of 8 pixels per inch(ppi), and two colors - black and white. The iPhone 4 boasts 326 ppi and millions of colors.

The music for Redneck Jellyfish was provided by a family friend, Shane Hickey, aka Ukulele Guy, who composed it and played a banjo ukulele. "It was a perfect compliment and we felt it really put a shine on the game". To compensate Shane for his contribution, we named the main character after his son.

The Phillips's have some more ideas and plans to eventually enhance the game, but when asked if they wanted to work on it over the summer break, and they said "In the summer, we'd rather play outside."

Device Requirements:
* iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
* Requires iPhone OS 3.2 or later
* 19.0 MB

Pricing and Availability:
Redneck Jellyfish 1.02 is only $0.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Games category. If you would like to review the game, please contact us for a promo code.

MudStuffing Industries is the umbrella business for Keith Phillips and Family. Primarily creating functional handmade pottery, MudStuffing Industries also helps other artists sell and market their work on Etsy. Copyright (C) 2011 MudStuffing Industries. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.


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