Documentation for CartoonSmart’s tvOS and iOS Platform Game Starter Kit

Introducing the Platform Games tvOS and iOS Starter Kit

New here? Watch a quick introduction to the kit above. We’ll get into the nitty gritty details later!

Let’s make a classic platformer!…

The Platform Games tvOS and iOS Starter Kit has been developed with one thing in mind: to help you make a complete app for the new Apple TV, iPhone, or iPad with ZERO coding. We love coding. We teach it. We dream it. But nothing completes a great game engine more than adding easy-to-set properties to toggle every bit of the game. And that’s exactly what we’ve done. When using the Platform Games Kit, you can work from start to finish within Xcode (assuming you have your artwork ready), and spend your time exclusively with the Scene Editor (visually laying out and animating your levels, or SKS files) and the Property List (defining simple things like whether or not enemies are removed if they go offscreen).

Take a look at the following property list defining some options for Level1 in the demo…

Property List define how levels are made in the tvOS Starter Kit

Properties in all of our kits are very literal. SKSFile is the name of the scene to load. PassLevelWithEnemiesKilled is pretty obvious. GoalMultipliedByLevelsPassed would take the previous value (20) and multiply it by the number of levels already passed. CameraFollowsPlayerX would make the scene’s camera follow the player on the x axis (horizontally).

Easy right? And of course, we’ll be documenting every property here on the website (look to the right sidebar for broad topics to click on for info).

What’s possible??….

Before you have to ask, let’s go over some of the basics and key features of this new kit….

  • The starter kit is Swift 2 and Sprite Kit based, but no coding is necessary to work with the kit.
  • The kit includes two Xcode projects, one for building apps for the new Apple TV, and one for building Universal iOS Apps (for the iPhone and iPad). Even though these are separate Xcode projects, apps made using them can be submitted to Apple under the same App title. In iTunes connect, you’ll see two options now for submitting apps (tvOS and iOS) under your app listing.
  • Apps made using the kit automatically support up to 2 external Game Controllers (in particular the Nimbus which Apple sells for the new Apple TV).
  • Game Controllers work for the Apple TV, iPhone and iPad (yes, you can play on your phone using the controller).
  • You can alter the code if need be.
  • Is there an app in the store using the kit? Yup, right here.

Image from iOS and tvOS Starter Kit for Platform Games with External Controller 2

Okay, so what’s possible??

  • Levels are designed within Xcode, using the Scene editor (a snapshot of which is above). You can lay out platforms, poles, spawn locations for enemies, respawn locations for players, etc. You can also animate and define most physics all within the Scene editor. So for example, if you want to make a deathly shredding wheel to kill players, that can be set to rotate infinitely and move in a particular pattern all in the scene editor.
  • You can create an unlimited number of levels and players can continue from the latest level they’ve reached.
  • Levels can be passed by exiting through portals, enemies killed, or a certain score value.
  • The scene camera can follow the player on the x axis (horizontally tracking the player), y axis (vertically), both axis, or none at all.
  • Levels can reset the score, enemy kill count, hearts (essentially Lives lost), or ammo.
  • Players can play with or against each other using separate controllers. The kit refers to these as Co-op and Versus modes.
  • Player artwork can be changed from level to level, or simply reused every level. So “Player 1” on Level1 might be an peasant character and on Level 2, he’s been upgraded to a Knight.
  • Player artwork can include animations for idling, dying, shooting, jumping, climbing, walking, and running.
  • Enemy artwork can include animations for walking, angry-walking (after they’ve been damaged once), attacking, angry-attacking, hurt, dying, and shooting.
  • Enemies can shoot out other enemies (any enemy can be used as a spawn location for new enemies). So that could be as simple as shooting out a bullet (to use the term enemy loosely), or for example, a Vampire might shoot out a Bat, which is itself a new enemy.
  • Player ammo can be dropped which awards only to Player 1 or only to Player 2, or for both players.
  • The Home Menu can include buttons to jump to specific levels or change modes of play (for example, one player games, two player co-op games, two player versus games, etc). Buttons can also open Game Center, continue a game using the last level and settings played, or open other menu pages.
  • Buttons can jump to specific levels, and be disabled if the player has not reached a particular level yet.
  • Game Center can be enabled (your game will simply need to setup a Leaderboard in iTunes Connect named “HighScore”)

More documentation to come…