We started the development in February, 2010. Our team has 4 part-time developers: Hansen, Frank, Ye and me. Especially, Ye was a big fan of Nintendo’s Picross DS, which became our primary reference and ultimate benchmark from quality respective.
We had a tough discussion about whether we should make it a universal application to run on both iPhone and iPad. And we realized that it would be impracticable to put a medium size board on iPhone screen without zoom-in. The operation would be unnatural. So we decided to give up the iPhone and concentrate on iPad only.
Although all of us are experienced console game developers, neither of us had experience with iOS before. And we could only work part-timely on this project, around 6 hours per week on average. The workload would be overwhelming for us if we built everything from scratch.
Fortunately, we found cocos2d-iphone and recognized that it was the ideal engine for us to start the project with. The cocos2d framework is simple, flexible, and provides most of the features we would use in this project. The code architecture is clean and well-structured. On top of that, it’s open source and free.
We had some fancy ideas since the very beginning. One of them is to have a “versus” mode running in a split screen. But we realized that, even on iPad’s 10-inch screen, to put two identical boards would be too crowded. It would be too easy for player to make a mistake when the grid is small. And, it would also be a technical challenge to support both players to do panning and zooming on the check-board at the same time. So we decided to postpone this feature and concentrate on the core game play in the first version.