I love the TRC

Wow, it’s been so long.

The last game I did TRC for was Atomic Betty, the Gameboy Advance game I worked on before leaving Big Blue Bubble. That would have been some time during July of 2005. That finished up, and I was a free man for August 1st.

By TRC I mean Technical Requirements Checklist. Every platform holder has them, though they sometimes have a different name for them. A TRC is a combination of guidelines. Terms to use do identify aspects of the target platform, or the brand. Generally speaking, it’s everything you have to do to be officially allowed on a system.

The TRC process also includes requirements necessary for submission. How to package things up, naming conventions to use for files, and so on.

Apple’s TRC is interesting. It’s not as explicit as saying refer to the d-pad as the directional pad, but it’s more a collection of user interface and aesthetic design guidelines. After all, it’s a system without buttons*. ;)

Apple does have separate guides for name, logo, image, and trademark usage, as well as standard submission procedures. But it’s refreshing to be met with guidelines that encourage a streamlining of the user experience.

A perfect historic example, it’s a TRC requirement that every 3rd party title must display “Licensed by Nintendo” on the first screen you see. It’s the continued legacy of the so called Nintendo Seal of Quality, as well as protecting them from liability. Even though you’re greeted with is the Nintendo logo on the original Gameboy, your relationship with Nintendo still must be made explicit.

Then that’s usually followed by half a dozen screens letting you know who paid for the game, what brands were licensed, and finally who made it before bringing up the title screen.

Not a problem per se, but Apple strongly encourages you to do away with this time wasting legacy. Like a “google.com” of a mobile interface. Right to the point.

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My point finally is the timing. TRC comes at the end of the project. It’s how you really tell the project is finally finishing. Making terminology corrections, digging through documents making sure you’re 100% to spec. Sure, it’s one more thing on a long list of things needed to finish a game. But what’s not to love about being done?

Early in my “career”, I always got the impression from friends and colleagues that the TRC was some sort of painfully horrible task, and I’m sure I’ve had my moments with them as well. But seeing how long it’s been from when I thought I was nearly done to now, I’ve been chasing TRC time for weeks and months. And it’s certainly a much better product as a result.

Potential sales, oh who knows. The weirdness seen watching the marketplace is topic all in itself. Might ‘break even’, might not. But I’m happy with the product. It’s everything I’d want in such a game.

Outside of some final testing, all I have left is the submission material. A text blurb for the store, some screen shots, an icon, and a large promotional graphic. That actually a piece of art I still need to create. I made sketches and roughs a few weeks ago, but never got around to coloring a final image. In this age of digital downloads, it’s the closest thing to box art.

A gameplay video isn’t an Apple requirement, but everybody does it anyways. You’ll have to give me a couple days for that. When that’s done, you’ll see it here first.

So that’s what I’m up to. Testing, and promotional artwork.