Why a WebApp?

Well, the short answer is that I don’t want to learn Objective C in order to write a proper iOS app :¬D

Since I’m already familiar with HTML / CSS / PHP / MySQL I figured why not just use that to cobble something together. In addition I figured that there are a couple of other ways to add some value to the game by making part of it online:

  • You can include a lot of different types of media as part of the game (images, sounds, video etc) which you couldn’t if it was simply printed.
  • You can continuously add to the pool of questions – and even open this part up to anyone who is interested in contributing.
  • Since the game is controlled programatically, you have the opportunity to introduce some random elements which would be difficult to do otherwise
  • You can use it (almost) anywhere you have a connection to the web

So with that in mind I figured that what I came up with would basically be a series of static web pages that would serve the purpose but not be as polished as a real app. Boy was I wrong! Turns out that taking advantage of webkit which the iOS uses, and it’s support of HTML5 and CSS3 you can create something that is indistinguishable from a compiled app! Here are a few resources I found which were great help:

Designing Web Apps for the iPad by Stephen Vescio was invaluable in terms of describing the general approach as well as some of the limitations.

How to make an HTML5 iPhone App by Alex Kessinger is another awesome project page which includes bits and pieces which I used to get Yes Chef! up and running.

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Game Basics…

So here’s what I’m thinking about in terms of how the game works:

  • 2-6 players (or teams)
  • There is a game board with a track that users move along, starting at point A, moving to the end point B. Each player (team) has a piece on the board.
  • The game is won when the first player (team) has reached the end of the board and correctly answered the final question.
  • A single dice (die?) is rolled to move the pieces forward on the game board
  • A player rolls the die and moves the piece on the board the number of places indicated by the die
  • Another player (“the Chef”) selects the question on the iPad and asks the player
  • The player has 30 seconds to answer the question
  • The Chef reveals the answer and indicates to the iPad whether the player has answered the question correctly
  • The iPad displays the move for the player
  • The next player rolls the dice, and the iPad is passed on to another player
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The Genesis of the Game…

The idea for the game was born out of a desire to have a game that could be played at dinner parties which was simple, fun and quick. At the same time, I was interested in creating an application that could be used on the iPhone and iPad which I love – but I really didn’t want to learn Objective C to create it, so it’s a perfect opportunity to learn more about iOS Web Apps, HTML 5 and CSS3.

In order to set up some parameters to guide the project I chose the following:

  • The game would include some physical elements (a board, player pieces etc) so that there was a sense of where everyone was at any moment
  • The game would include the ability to use images and recipes as questions in a way that made sense and was easy to incorporate
  • The game needs to have some randomness to it – which is available via having some kind of programatic element to the process (other than dice)
  • Since an iPad is kind of the right form factor for a menu or clipboard, the game would utilize that as a physical metaphor for something that’s happening in a restaurant or kitchen
  • The game would use an online database of questions which would allow people to contribute to the database and which would provide an ever expanding array of play
  • The game is based on the latest HTML 5 and CSS3 technology which is supported by the iPad and iPhone
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About this blog…

Hi there – my name’s Mike and I’m a food nerd.

I’ve also got a bunch of friends who are also food nerds (maybe they prefer the term ‘aficionados’), and we have a dinner club where every month we make great meals for each other. One of the things that I’ve always thought was a great addition to a dinner party was to have some kind of game – typically between the main meal and the dessert, so I decided to have a look to see what was out there in terms of games focussed on food. Not a lot.

I’m also a Graphic Designer and amateur coder, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to learn a bit more about designing apps for the iPad and iPhone and this is the result of the idea I had for a fun, fast game that could be played at dinner parties.

In this blog, I want to document the steps I’ve taken to get the game up and running, and to open the process to anyone interested, as payback to some of the awesome resources I’ve found on the web, and to encourage anyone who has an idea for an iOS web app to go for it.

Let’s eat!

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