A Unique Valentine thanks to GameSalad
I'm feeling pretty proud of myself after creating a special valentine's game for my Wife's ipod Touch using the GameSalad game engine. I read about Game Salad a few weeks ago and was intrigued enough to download and play with it. In it's simplest form, GameSalad is a code-free gaming engine that allows you to drag and drop graphics and apply a pretty powerful set of rules to create games from scratch. The interface is nice and intuitive and there's a wealth of example projects and video tutorials to get you started. For what it is, I'm surprised how many genre's of games you can create - sure, you're probably not going to create anyghing groundbreaking, but it sure is fun.
The best part is once the game is finished they make it really simple to publish, then you just need to create a Provision for your device on the Apple site (which is a lot easier than it used to be!) and drag the two files into your iTunes. The only downside is that there is no (legal) way to get rid of the GameSalad animation when loading your game, and gameSalad does have a shaky reputation amongst other developers (and maybe hardocore gamers) since it's so easy to make bad games. But if you're willing to put in some effort you can create something fun and playable much quicker than coding it in Objective C.
The game I made for my wife was a simple platform game that involved collecting hearts while finding a key that will unlock the door to a special valentine message. I put the whole thing together in about 6 hours using Creative Commons sprites and graphics (from here & here), it's a pretty easy game but I think it makes for a unique gift. Guess I'll find out later.