7th Nov 2012
I came across Objecty on Kickstarter today and I pledged before even watching the video. It’s a Windows and Mac app dedicated to easing 2D game dev by bundling a raft of common tools together. At the moment they claim to have in a Texture Packer, Sprite Animator, Skeletal animation, Tweening and keyframe editor, Hotspot editor, Tilemap editor, Physics / Collision editor and others. It’s all wrapped up with LUA export scripts, so you can tailor the data it outputs to your own game engine with ease, if it’s not one of those already supported.
Now I don’t know if SKN3 are capable of finishing this app of course, but I do know that something like it is needed and for that I was willing to risk some of my own money to see it happen. They are about 6% funded right now so I’m posting this just to do my bit and help them out. But as with all Kickstarters you do so at your own risk. Personally I thought the video was too long and cheesy and should have just focused on the app features up front, but hey, at least they actually have a video (*cough* Elite *cough*).
1st Nov 2012
Retro Fusion is a 72 page full colour magazine dedicated to retro and homebrew gaming. The first two issues were published years ago but it has recently enjoyed a revival via a successful IndieGoGo project that we were happy to support. My printed issue arrived today and it’s a great read. Some of the features include:
- Jon Hare talking about the ‘Over Use of Sci Fi’ in games
- A detailed look back on the Alien films and the games associated with each episode
- The Top 10 SCI FI Robots and Cyborgs within Film
- The best of the SCI FI related games
- From Screen to Toybox – a look at the most popular toys that have been spawned by movies
- Plok – a look back at a forgotten Pickford Brother’s classis – includes interview with Ste Pickford
- A brand new SCI FI game by Jonathan Cauldfield written especially for the issue with a background ‘epic’ story – the game is called Encyclopaedia Galactica.
We also took out a rather fetching half-page advert, so if you buy a copy look out for that
26th Oct 2012
It’s always a good feeling when you release a new game. A heady mixture of the elation of having finished combined with the daunting high of knowing that people are now actually playing it. So when you release three games on the same day the feeling should be 3x greater, right? That is what happened today when three of our HTML5 games went live on the BBC’s CBeebies mobile web site.
CBeebies is the brand under which the BBC release TV programmes aimed at children aged 6 and under, so from baby and toddlers to pre-school. Supporting the TV shows are a wide range of activities and games on the main web site. But like many organisations they identified the need to offer content to the increasing numbers of visitors hitting the site from mobile and tablet devices.
Working closely with the CBeebies team they selected three popular Flash games from the main site that we rebuilt in HTML5 for the mobile audience. The games included two titles based on The Numtums show: Poppedy Pop and SwipeTum, and one from the Andy’s Wild Adventures series called Run Sengi Run.
27th Sep 2012
I had the pleasure of giving a presentation at the onGameStart 2012 conference in Warsaw, Poland. The title of my talk was “Insert Coin to Continue”. A gentle nod to the fact that lots of game developers do actually need paying in order to carry on creating great games! I wanted to share my experiences and results of working in the HTML5 game sponsorship market. The Flash world is well served by sites like FGL and blog posts detailing income and strategies. But very little exists for HTML5 games, hence the choice of topic for my talk. This article will cover most of my presentation for those who weren’t able to attend.
Client games vs. Indie games
As a company we develop HTML5 games for both clients and ourselves. The reason is both financial and practical. Client work simply pays better right now. And the more of it you do, the more doors it can open to other bigger and more interesting projects. In my experience this is no different to any other platform. But there are obvious benefits of making your own games:
- It’s your own IP! There is value in establishing a brand and common IP even in the relatively small scale sponsorship world.
- You can make anything. This is important – no matter how awesome your clients are you are always working within set brand guidelines. They’ll never really allow you to do truly anything you want. But when you build for yourself this restriction is removed. You have to be careful of course, as great as Dinosaur Chicken Rock III might sound to you, if you want to get sponsors it needs to appeal to the wider market too.
- There is the very real chance of long term income. I’ll cover this later in the article, but ad revenue and ‘game rental’ can build up substantially over time, where as most client work is a one-off payment.
The benefits are obvious. As well as getting to flex your design muscles in your own way there are significant long term benefits as well. Lots of companies started out by mixing client and indie work only to find that the income from their indie endeavors was enough to leave the client side behind (Nitrome are a good example of this). So let’s explore how you turn this passion into income.
17th Sep 2012
We’ve been busy working on our own titles recently, along way a raft of games for the BBC, and one of our new titles is called Dungeon Darts. It’s part of my series of games where I tried to think what sort of bar games would take place in a stock Tolkein fantasy land. In this outing we’ve got dwarfs playing darts, using jewel encrusted daggers and a dragon emblazed dart board Here’s a WIP of the title page:
The game art was created by Ezra Allen, so if you’re ever in the need of quality 3D modelling or illustration then drop him a line. We hope to have the game itself released in the next couple of months.
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