GamePix and HandyGames team up to port hard & mid-core HTML5 games on the web GamePix prides itself on partnering with the best game developers and publishers in the world. After dealing with successful companies such as Zeptolab, Playmous and Miniclip, we are proud to announce a new partnership between GamePix and super game studio HandyGames. GamePix is on its
When I renewed my website last year, I added this blog section and told that I will share my progress but I did not. Well, I’m a shitty blogger. However, after I got some emails and comments I thought that it’s time to share my experiences about making money with HTML5 games. I know there are
Recently it became more difficult to convert interactive content from Flash to HTML5. Google announced they are shutting down Swiffy on July 1st, 2016 and development on Mozilla Shumway seems to have stopped. Fortunately there is a new tool, FlaExporter, for publishing faster, smaller HTML5 directly from Adobe Animate or Adobe Flash. It has an
If you want to monetize your HTML5 game, Facebook can be a gold mine if you manage to make it viral, as according to the official developer page, every month more than 250 million people play games on Facebook.com and on Facebook-connected devices. http://www.emanueleferonato.com/2016/03/10/how-to-publish-your-html5-game-on-facebook-using-facebook-login-share-and-cpmstar-ads/
Software Engineer Takashi Kitao has written a CSS3 based 3D graphics engine called DivSugar. While it’s not as performant as a WebGL might be for full games, the fact that it uses CSS3 means that it can easily be integrated into existing sites and be used for casual games. DivSugar provides the following features: -
CSS powered 3D engine with lighting, shadows and collisions. Built using HTML5 and CSS3 3D transforms. http://keithclark.co.uk/labs/css3-fps/
… developers pinpoint and solve performance issues in iOS, Android and HTML5 apps, while companies like Airbrake and Exceptional cater to the Web side. But, as…
We recently participated in Indie Speed Run, a new game jam apparently started by some members of The Escapist. Those who have already been exposed to other popular game jams such as Ludum Dare or Global Game Jam may find Indie Speed Run very familiar – developers have a 48-hour window in which to develop a game based on a randomly generated theme (and in this case, element).
Indie Speed Run offered some unique additions to the typical game jam format. Of all the game jams out there, we chose to participate in this one for the following reasons:
- Well respected group of judges helped legitimize the contest (also, who wouldn’t love for Notch or Yahtzee to play their games?).
- Ability to use your own tools without having to open source them.
- Developers choose the 48-hour window that works for them.
Additionally, Indie Speed Run had a $25 entry fee which, while it probably turned off a few teams, surprisingly made us feel better about the whole process. It’s a small amount of money that acted as a barrier to entry, meaning that only dedicated developers would participate.
Our game: Asylum Night
Our randomly-generated theme and element were telepathy and booby-traps, respectively. We looked each up on Wikipedia and dictionaries to ensure that our understanding was correct (and to help give us ideas). One common trait of telepathy is that it can be used to move objects, which plays well with the booby-traps element. So we wanted to make a game where booby-traps could either be set or disabled by using one’s mind.
Though we were obviously on a tight deadline, we knew that allocating several hours for game design would pay off in the end. So we rapidly discussed and threw out several concepts for various games. Pretty early on we settled on a mental hospital for the skin (graphics) of the game. Asylum Night could have been about a telepathic person in a castle or on the moon, but with the telepathy theme it seemed appropriate for the game to exist in a place dedicated to the mind.
We liked the idea of a player trying to navigate through a maze riddled with booby-traps, disarming them with telepathic abilities. But we know from experience that mazes need to be relatively deep and large to be compelling, which meant a scrolling tilemap and time we didn’t have dedicated to content generation. A game where all the action took place on a single screen seemed doable, and we wanted something that simple so we’d have plenty of time to polish it up.
Additionally, we preferred a side-scrolling perspective. Since we were allowed to use our internal tools in this game jam, we wanted to use them! One of our more powerful tools, the Doll Animation Tool, allows us to animate 2d sprites cheaply and effectively. For those familiar with the popular Kickstarter project Spriter, it’s a very similar tool.
After several ideas that didn’t pan out, we settled on a tower defense game. Players would control a telepath kept in an insane asylum operated by murderous doctors. Using their telepathic powers, they could knock out doctors directly or set booby-traps to help protect them. The first day, Geoff banged out the game’s model, I began working on art concepts, and Joshua Morse started composing music.
Geoff did a fantastic job with the game model. On the second night, I was playing through the game and it had a drastic difficulty spike. We wanted the game to be about surviving a week in an insane asylum, but on the fourth day the game became impossibly hard. Doctors would inevitably overrun the player and there was nothing, mathematically, that the player could do about it.
But on the second night, Geoff committed a major update to the model. After three more sessions, I was able to beat the game – but just barely! This demonstrated the game’s depth and learning curve. I think it’s a game now that’s impossible to beat on the first (or second!) play, but can be mastered with practice and learning. This is all Geoff’s doing and I think it turned out great.
Joshua Morse also did a terrific job with the audio. The funky title screen can really get you into the groove! Joshua also took extra care to note when sounds would be repetitive and took steps to make them pleasing when they could easily have been irritating. You may notice while playing: sounds that happen often such as the use of basic abilities or doctors dying cycle through a handful of slightly different sounds. This means that if you kill three doctors in a row, you’ll hear three distinct sounds, which I think makes the game much more enjoyable.
We’re really pleased with how Asylum Night came out, but it took more out of us than we expected. The second night, Geoff and I were both on 4-5 hours of sleep, which bled into the next day. So though we only planned for a 48-hour window, it ended up costing us 3-4 days of lost productivity on other projects. We could have avoided this by scoping the game down even more, or by cutting unnecessary polish.
On the plus side, I think we were able to deliver a very playable game in the allotted time. We also learned a lot in the process, such as when (and where) to cut corners to increase productivity, and the great feeling of motivation that comes from shipping immediately. This was the first 48-hour game jam for all three of us, and it was a wonderful experience. If you’ve been thinking about participating in a game jam but never have, consider this a gentle nudge!
What’s next for Asylum Night?
As a young independent company, we need to be frugal with regards to how we spend our time. We literally wouldn’t have been able to afford to dedicate a couple of days to Indie Speed Run if we didn’t think we could use the game to help pay our bills. With that in mind, we designed Asylum Night from the ground up to be mobile-friendly so that we could add it to our growing portfolio of HTML5 portal games. If you’ve got an Android or iOS device, play Asylum Night in the browser – it runs surprisingly well!
Additionally, designing for mobile will make it easy for us to launch the game natively on Android and iOS using Ludei’s CocoonJS platform, so the next time you see Asylum Night, hopefully it will be in the App Store and Google Play.
Goals are important. Without them, it can be difficult to gauge your progress, and that makes it hard to tell how much ass you’re kicking! Geoff and I banged out some goals for this year and I thought I’d share them with you.
1. Make $100,000 total revenue
Unfortunately, money is the most fundamental aspect of staying independent. Rent is due, and somebody’s got to pay it! We made a little more than half of this amount in 2012, and we want to stay ambitious, so this seemed like a nice, round number.
It’s ambitious but doable. In order to achieve this number we’re going to need to hit one of these bullet points really hard:
- Pursue passive revenue streams
- Sell game licenses
- Find development contracts
We’re most interested in passive revenue streams. Really successful indies are making money in their sleep, and our goal is to join them. Game licenses are the most immediate way to pay rent, but the HTML5 game market is very young and tumultuous (translation: it’s unreliable). Lastly, development contracts were far and away our biggest earner last year, but were also the most demanding of our time.
2. Make $1,000 in passive revenue during a single month
In our best month last year we made a few hundred dollars in passive revenue, but spikes like that typically only happen when a game is launched or first introduced to a new platform/market. Payouts from portals like AOL and Kongregate have been sadly lackluster so we’ll be busy this year trying to dig up great portals for our games where we can share in the advertising and IAP revenue.
3. Get a news story on a popular games news site
I’m proud and happy about our coverage on VentureBeat last year, as well as our coverage on TechCrunch in 2011 (even if we aren’t the focus in the former). But we want our games to be put directly in from of gamers as well as entrepeneurs and techies.
Getting high-profile media coverage for indie games is extremely difficult to say the least, but offerings like Joystiq’s Indie Pitch are a big step in our direction. Rock, Paper, Shotgun is also known to be very indie-friendly, though it may be difficult to get their attention as browser-based developers.
Either way we’re hoping to somehow garner the media’s attention and get many gamers playing our games!
4. Get 5,000 Twitter followers
I was really stoked last year when we reached 1,000 Twitter followers, but each 100 feels like a sprint. As of this writing, we’re not even 100 over that first 1k yet, and though I’d love to shoot for 10,000 followers, it doesn’t yet feel like a reachable goal. So I’d be really happy with 5,000 by this time next year. Help us out by retweeting our stuff!
We met two of our goals from last year: get 1,000 Twitter followers and get 10,000 unique hits in a month. Both of these milestones were hit near the end of the year; we just barely made it.
Developers! Developers! Developers!
Notice that our goals list doesn’t include a bullet point like, “Launch 5 games.” Our primary focus is always developing games, and we will release several games this year (as you’ll soon see!), but we don’t want to restrict ourselves to an arbitrary number. We’re not even sure what exatly we need to stay afloat just yet, but the world is an ever-hungry bottomless pit of desire for games, so we’ll keep cranking them out and experimenting with ways to make them profitable.
Wish us luck, and thanks for your support!
Recently a friend of a friend contacted me about doing a photoshoot with us. She’s a local photographer and was looking for subjects that would fit a “startups in startup environments” kind of vibe. Naturally, we were game!
So Maki of Maki Photography came by one afternoon and shot us doin’ our thing. We’d be coding or whiteboarding and she’d be running around looking for and taking excellent shots. She has created a gallery of 36 of these photos on her website.
I’ve also included a few I liked quite a bit right here; click any image for a high resolution version.
Our games on many devices
A culture of cats
Our games run on cats
Matt at the home studio
Whiteboarding fun stuff
A lost portrait
Maki has a great eye for a good shot and is really fun and easy to work with. If you’re looking for a photographer local to the bay area, be sure to contact her!