Handling Time Zones in iOS Apps

Time zones are one of those tricky programming problems. It can be difficult to understand what’s going on and maddening to debug, especially if you have customers all over the world.

The key is understanding that the Date() struct in Foundation returns an absolute timestamp in UTC. UTC is a time standard (i.e. no countries adopt it as a time zone—they would use GMT which is a time zone but, for our purposes, is identical to UTC).

Continue Reading →

Plans for 2019

I find the New Year to be a very optimistic time. I’m grateful for a lot of what the past year brought, I can take a moment ditch things that aren’t working for me, and I can ask myself what I really want to do with the next 365 days.

The year boundary provides a natural deadline in a life that otherwise wouldn’t have any. I function better with a little bit of pressure and without it I would probably spend all of my time drinking beer and playing video games.

So here are the things that I want to get done in 2019:

Continue Reading →

External Libraries with the SpriteKit Visual Editor

I’m in the process of developing a library of useful, reusable components that could be dropped as an external library into a SpriteKit project.

They include things like my NodeComponent and an abstracted way of managing three different kinds of input from either macOS or iOS (single tap/left click, double tap/right click, and pan/mouse drag). It also has a physics component and a render component—things that come up in games of all different types.

The components often have a lot of editable properties that affect how entities behave in the game. Tagging these properties with the @GKInspectable tag allows you to use these components within the SpriteKit visual editor.

Continue Reading →

Simon’s Instagram Top 9

These are my Top 9 posts from Instagram this year. A nice mix of stuff from my location studies (2, 4, 5, 7, 9), some concept work for my adventure game (1), and the results of my first art stream on Twitch (8).

Erin had been trying to convince me to do more illustrations of the places we travel to for years because she thought folks would like them. This year I finally started doing some and already they make up the majority of my top 9.

Turns out she was right.

(Again.)