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Useful Swift and Xcode learning resources

A few months ago I completely fried my brain writing an app in Swift. Prior to beginning to write it I had used Xcode once. Amazingly, I came up with a 90% working app. Basically my app works aside from a few irritating bugs I was not ready to tackle.

Finding online resources to help me was insanely hard for Swift. Mostly because there are a LOT of outdated guides out there. For the record, we are on Swift 4, but most tutorials I found were for version 2 or below. It is my understanding that most big changes came in version 3. So avoid anything in Swift 2 or prior.

I’m finally re-visiting a few code projects from earlier this year to fix issues I came across. But anyway, I wanted to highlight a few learning resources I found which really helped the development of my app, Treckio:

Learning Swift and Xcode

The following are a bunch of Swift and Xcode tutorials and example exercises I found really useful in comparison to the tonnes of now irrelevant stuff that is out there:

  • Firstly, any beginner should really give Swift Playgrounds a try. It’s a pretty kiddy game but it teaches you the basics, up to some pretty intermediate sample functions as part of a little fun platform game. It’s not going to teach you how to create the best app ever, but it’s the best starting point I found.
  • is my choice website for online courses. It’s a paid subscription, but I learned a lot from ‘Learning Swift 3 for Developers‘, ‘Xcode 8 Essential Training‘, and, possibly most importantly ‘iOS Game Development with Swift 3 and SpriteKit
  • Apple’s own ‘Jump right in‘ Swift tutorial is a brilliant beginner example. It takes you through creating a simple food tracking app. It guides you through how to use the Xcode interface and handle different asset types.
  • Of course, nothing works quite as well as just getting stuck in. When I fell into issues I couldn’t solve with Google’s help, I searched ‘StackOverflow‘ and asked my own questions as well. 

Sample Xcode Projects

Learning by editing existing scripts works well for me, the following are some sample apps I found really handy:

  • Fruit Eater‘ by Awesome Tuts is $5 to buy, but even though it’s a paid for tutorial the assets come with a step-by-step guide on how to build the app from scratch. I found this really handy.
  • FlappySwift’ is another useful download – most people will be familiar with how Flappy Bird and it’s hundreds of other similar games work, it’s a good example of a really simple game.

There’s a couple of useful resources I’m struggling to find right now, but I’ll update this post as and when I find them and any more that help me fix my current issues.



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New Layout & 2015 Resolutions

Aside from the Logic Lines post a few weeks ago I haven’t really felt much up to blogging, drawing or websiting lately. Half because of awesome new games, and half because of silly personal reasons draining my creativity which I won’t go into too much. I’m feeling somewhat better hence the attack of new website stuff.

I completed NanoWriMo, which is amazing, turns out when I’m over-thinking it pours onto creative writing surprisingly well. My NanoWriMo project was a series of short stories starring my dragon characters. I’ve had many of said stories in my head for years, and I finally got most of them onto paper.

They need a touch up, but as I edit them I’m going to post them into a new section on my site. That’s the main reason for the new layout, I have new ideas and sections to add to my site.

The gaming blogs will go into a new section, I’m actually thinking of taking out a new domain name altogether for them, since they don’t really fit in with my personal site. I’m also going to have special, full sections for my artwork, coding, Albinotoons and the new story section. It sounds like tons of work, but I’ve got ideas in my head for how I can keep on top of things.

New Year’s Resolutions

For the most part, things are super good with myself at the moment, so I’m only gonna do a couple of resolutions.

1. Blog/Website more. – I should probably also include not using the word ‘website’ as a verb anymore.

IMG_03902. Have confidence. – 2014 has really highlighted this for me, an intense lack of confidence needs to be addressed. So I’m going to start having more courage to talk about things out loud and generally not being a coward at life.

3. Usual diet crap. – I joined a gym. Might be good if I actually went.

That’s it really, I don’t have much I want to achieve in the short term except for a much needed improvement in the confidence department. I get far too scared thinking about how people might react to things I say or do.

Work and stuff is going great, Siobhan and I decorated the office (poorly) last week. We also rocked our Christmas jumpers!

I’m really, really looking forward to January; Garfy is coming down to England and we’re gonna have an awesome time. 😀 There’s holiday plans and fun times expected. Hopefully we get to do everything we want.

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Kay’s Top 10 Retro iPhone Games

Because these are all over the internets. I’m always searching Google for blogs listing old school games which are now out for the iPhone. I’m going to suggest my favourites here, and some of them I am yet to see featured on other blogs so hopefully I will help someone find a new game to download here.

Top 10 Retro iPhone Games

10. Alone in The Dark

Alone in The Dark - iPhone

Alone in The Dark is a classic game from my childhood; as messed up as that seems. I really enjoy the series so I felt it needed to be added here. the only downside to it is the awful controls – which has always been an issue for the series. For 69p on the App Store though, this classic horror game is definitely worth a download.

9. Another World


Admittedly, I was a bigger fan of the sequel to this game back in the day; Flashback. But Another World is a great side scrolling shooter game. It’s quite difficult to finish, but give it a try.


8. Chrono Trigger

ct05The disappointing fact here is that Chrono Trigger should be in the top three iPhone games here. The amazing classic is let down by poorly calibrated controls and tendency to crash. But if you remember to save your game at every opportunity you can enjoy this amazing classic. It is one of the few Square Enix ports where they haven’t ruined the game with half-assed sprite redraws.

7. Little Big Adventure

Little Big Adventure

Little Big Adventure was really popular in my house growing up. We had both games in the series for the Playstation and the PC. I was really pleased to see this classic adventure game make its way onto iOS. Download it. Download it now!

6. Dizzy – Prince of The Yolkfolk

Dizzy iPhoneI’ve always been a big fan of the Dizzy series for Spectrum. I downloaded the iPhone port of The Prince of The Yolkfolk instantly when I saw it hit the iPhone App Store. The only thing that lets it down for me are the revamped graphics (I love keeping classic games to their original graphics, it’s part of their charm!), and they made in significantly easier to finish. No three lives and then it’s over this time. Still, an absolute classic.

5. Mickey Mouse’s Castle of Illusion

Castle-of-Illusion-iOS-619x346Okay, I know I bitch about graphic revamps. But this game is the exception. Disney did a fantastic job remaking Castle of Illusion, and it still holds it’s Mega Drive difficulty and they have remade it in a way that you still feel like you are playing the same classic game. This is new to the App Store this week! I also recommend the XBox 360 port in all it’s HD goodness.

4. Sonic The Hedgehog 2

01-620xSonic was so huge in my house that I can literally play Sonic 2 so well that I jump before monsters even appear on screen – I just know the maps so well. I’ve finished the entire of Sonic 2 in well under an hour. It’s the best of the entire Sonic series and a must have on any iPhone, great for killing time on those long bus journeys.

3. Final Fantasy Tactics

final_fantasy_tactics_ios-1Harsh but fair – Most Final Fantasy ports for the iPhone suck. The shoddy graphic replacements and terrible controls really ruin some of my favourite games ever. Final Fantasy VI doesn’t even make this list because of how bad the port was; it’s a real shame. The exception to the rule is Final Fantasy Tactics. This classic Playstation game seems to suit the platform so well; I think it’s because unlike normal RPGs, this tactical piece of awesome is the kind of game you can pick up and leave for a while. Having a quick skirmish during your commute works well here, and I chose this as it is also one of my favourite games in the Final Fantasy series. It also has an amazing HD iPad port.

2. Secret of Mana

Secret of Mana iPhoneSecret of Mana is my second favourite game of all time. I was flitting between this and the number one title the entire time I wrote this article. Secret of Mana is well ported, the controls aren’t great but I have managed to complete the iPhone port just fine. It’s one of the best classic RPG games ever and a must have for fans of the genre. It has an epic storyline too.

1. Broken Sword – The Shadow of The Templars

image0111111Broken Sword is another game I grew up with and one of my favourite game series of all time. I think the reason this is my number one retro game for iPhone is how well the point and click adventure genre translates to the handheld mobile platform. Point and Click adventure games arguably have no place in the current generation of gaming, but it’s the perfect game for your iPhone. The story is engaging, well written and exciting. There are a few Broken Sword games available for the iPhone but Shadow of The Templars is my personal favourite. Get them all though, totally worth it.