How Hard Can It Be?

Come To Coventry... The happiest place on earth, and let Justbiglee show you around

This morning I woke up with the most awesome idea for an iPhone game, it came about from the title “Justbiglee’s Big Adventure” that I mentioned in my last article “He Ain’t Heavy” for an 8 bit RPG. At the time of writing that it didn’t have anything to it other than the name and that it was an 8bit RPG. Truth is I just like writing “justbiglee” anywhere I can. Google gives me 6010 entries for it this morning. (32,400 at the time of publishing – Ed)

Anyway, so far I have a working title “Justbiglee’s Big Adventure” but I’m gonna shorten it to “Big Lee’s Big Adventure” just because I think B.L.B.A. will look better on the apps screen. Right, that’s job one done. Now you should know I know absolutely knob all about coding games, or code in general; I have a loose understanding of HTML and by that I mean that I know that <a herf> (he means <a href> I think – Ed) is something to do with links but that’s about it but it’s ok I’m guessing (hoping) Apple don’t use HTML to make games with, I don’t even know if you could make a game with it.

Hmmm right, where to start? I know… Twitter! Twitter never steered me wrong; I’m sure some of the guys I follow are at uni doing game courses so I’ll put a subtle hint out. And how did Twitter respond? With what I think is a bot disguised as a Pokemon. Clearly I’m going to need to find somewhere that intelligent people that might know how to do it hang out.  To the Gaming Lives message boards!  It might be a bit early for that lot they don’t seem to warm up until around lunch.

Fourth paragraph and I’m nowhere still, oh you plank Lee. I’ll have a look at the Apple site see what that says  here we go turns out I need to be in the iPhone Developer program its $99 a year, what’s that? About £60? Not bad, but its still sixty quid down the poop shoot if I can’t do it. I need a way to play with the programme without paying for it first, no not pirate – like an evaluation version. I have a real problem with people who pirate games (I’ll cover that another time) but sadly Apple don’t do one.

Oh the Pokemon’s got back in touch, it says it has (most of) the skills but no iPhone, and it wants to know if my idea will work on any other platform. I hadn’t given it much thought; it just started as an iPhone game in my head because I wanted to make use of all the clever arse stuff the iPhone will do, but it could work on anything else I suppose. That, and I’m trying to work out if this is just some prat on the net just having a giggle with me or someone who might actually be serious. I am giving serious consideration to this SDK thing, £60 though, it don’t seem that bad even if I get bored of it after a month, I happily pay £40 for a game I’m bored with after two weeks so its almost the same thing right? Oh wait hang on a free version of the SDK my luck might be changing … bollocks! “System requirements: Mac OS X 10.5.7 or later” – I need a Mac, fantastic this really is turning out to be quite hard and I’ve not actually got to programming anything yet. When faced with insurmountable odds there is only one person a man can turn to.


She said “no”.

Oh I know, I’ll ask Chadwick he’s got a mac.

He said no.


The Pokemon’s gone quiet too, I’ll get back on the forum see if they are out of bed yet. Ah, good old Victor. He’s like having a personal Chief Moral Officer. I know, I have a lot of stupid arse ideas at least once a week; last week I wanted to open up an online comic book shop and the week before I wanted to train chickens to fly again and have them deliver fresh eggs to people every morning. People would buy a small plastic nest for the chickens to land in and lay the eggs in and leave it outside the front door. Then on Saturdays I’d send roosters out to collect the money. I was gonna call it “Chicks Away”. I wont go into the number of problems I ran into with that idea. But Victor seriously is a cool guy I feel like I need to do it now just for him.

I’m gonna go and look for different ways of doing it, or at least something I can practice on. I’ll let you know how I get on. Keep an eye on that thread on the forum too – I’ll use it as more of a running commentary as the project goes on.

Well, you’ve been kind enough to read this far so it only seems right I fill you in on some of my ideas for the game. It’s going to be 8bit style top down RPG. Think Zelda on the Gameboy except it won’t be green, or the early Final Fantasies.  It’s set now, and based in Coventry – why Coventry? Well it’s my hometown and even though it’s run down it does have loads of different areas from old medieval parts of town to modern shopping centres, and it’s encased in a ring road which lets my world have a defined sandbox area and, while a big area, its not huge and it’s a case of write what you know I guess. It’s about Big Lee – a guy who works in the city centre.

Big Lee's Big Adventure - pushing the boundaries of technology with an 8bit iPhone menu. Steve Jobs will be kicking himself that he didn't think of it first.

The games starts in his flat with some numpty teaching the player the controls and the game mechanics needed to get them on their way. One of the main cool things you have in the game is the menu system which is basically an 8 bit iPhone which will make use of the iPhone’s APIs for things like playing music in-game. Before leaving the flat it brings up the phone/menu and asks you to pick your favourite track, this song will basically become the theme tune to the game and also the song that you listen to during the intro movie that’s about to follow. You’ll be able to listen to your own tunes whenever playing the game but that first song will show up a few times as you go on.  Another cool thing about listening to tunes is that the game sprite will have a set of headphones on too (a little thing, I know, but the game will hopefully be full of ‘em).  So on to the little cut scene on the bus on the way into work while listening to the tune you picked when you left the flat, then the bus arrives into town… a short walk through town and a map tutorial (the map is also accessed via the phone – think 8bit Google Maps but only of Coventry), then half way up Spon Street an alien spaceship comes crashing through a block of flats at the end of the road.  The ring road turns to fire, you’re trapped with nothing but your phone, backpack and your keys and you need to work out what the eff’s going on.

That’s all you’re getting of the game so far.  I’ll cover it some more in part II as well as letting you know how I get on in my quest to actually make it. I know I’ve not given much away but I’d be interested to hear what you guys think, so hit up the forum or the comments with your suggestions/questions.

This is more of a check list for me but these are some of the things I think I need to sort out

Find something to build the game in
Find out how to build a game
Make somebody buy me a Mac
Maybe put together a team that know what they are doing.

Last five articles by Lee



  1. Rook says:

    I don’t like it. There I was reading about the game, alien space ships crashes, ring road of fire (Johnny Cash – Ring Of Fire for the theme tune in my head) and you’re trapped. It was getting exciting and then you stop… Oh c’mon Lee, don’t leave it like that.

    OK, you have me intrigued so far, but seeing as I don’t have an iPhone I won’t be able to play this, so it’s ok, you won’t be spoiling the game for me if you tell me more……………………. Fine! If I have to wait, I’ll wait, but not too long or I’m telling your mum.

  2. Samuel The Preacher says:

    I made not a game, but a game mod, when I was at college. It was for Star Trek Armada, and it took me 2 years to sort of finish it (which is to say, I got to about 99% of done and by then the game it was based on had aged horribly and I couldn’t be arsed). So the idea of you going out with no tools, no experience, no nothing other than the basic idea of making a game on the iPhone set in Coventry is very amusing. Proportionally amusing to contrast how bleeding frustrating I found it working on a project where I sort of knew what I was doing and actually already had a game to build on top of.

    I would have to be honest and say the odds are not in your favour on this one any more than when you had your chicken idea. But I’m a cynic, so what the fuck do I know. Prove me wrong, Lee, you crazy optimist. Or at least post a follow up about how disastrously wrong it all goes…

  3. Lee says:

    @rook ah so my pitch worked, glad to hear it. i’m still working on part 2 of the article and i’ve got using a thing called unity which will let me get it up as a web game so everybody can play it, but i wont say to much about it you’ll have to wait

  4. Kat says:

    Good luck Lee! ^_^

  5. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    I loved this article, it had me laughing at the absurdity from the point where I read the first paragraph when it was sent over. As soon as I saw the screenshots from your conversations… I was laughing again. I’d love to live in your world mate, seriously. Mine is too hectic and stressful but yours sounds fantastic and profound… your next idea should be to set up short breaks to Lee’s World. I’d be in line for tickets in a heartbeat :)

    I’m taking a half day today, so I may end up in my own little happy place. Mine involves guns and cities too, funnily enough :D

  6. Victor Victor says:

    I have even got an idea for a sequel. Big Lee and Big V offend the world via Twitter. How many anti-Star Wars tweets can be sent, before @DarthVader uses the force to crush our windpipes.

    Good blog.

  7. Pete says:

    Nice one Lee!!

    I do have an old iBook that doesn’t work…. not much help BUT if you can get it repaired you’re welcome to it!! I’m sure it’ll run OSX happily enough!!

    If I had an iPhone I’d get B.L.B.A. for sure :D

  8. Lee says:

    @pete thanks for the offer mate but its ok, i seem to have had one of those epiphany moments and got the hang of it, I think i’m actually going to be able to finish the game to a standered that people will be able to play to play it and hopefully enjoy it. maybe i’ll give gaming lives the exclusive lol

  9. Lorna Lorna says:

    Lee’s world must be incredible…there’s a new game idea right there…’Big Lee’s Big City’. Kind of like Sim City, but not. Rather than earthquakes and Godzilla attacks, you coul have elderly women with walking sticks rampaging through the city and a swarm of hoodies who devastate shopping centres. I’ll take 10 per cent for that thanks ;)

  10. Adam Adam says:

    I live pretty close to Lee’s world, it is a very unique world. It has a very comfy sofa and it’s parliament recently passed an act to grow an awesome beard.

    I’m now on the inner circle of Big Lees Big Adventure, someone should sign for the merchandising rights now before it explodes.

  11. Lee says:

    ohhh i hadn’t even thought of merchindising yet

  12. [...] you’ve not read part 1 yet it might be worth going back and reading it. I’m going Empire Strikes Back on this post and getting right to [...]

  13. [...] only US based efforts will be eligible.  Sad news indeed for GamingLives writer Lee’s ‘Justbiglee’s Big Adventure‘ Last five articles by GL [...]

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