9th Mar 2012
We put the finishing touches to our first HTML5 Mobile Browser game tonight and it’s now ready to find a home with a sponsor.
Called Nutmeg, the game is a single “button” platformer set over 5 challenging levels. An increasing variety of baddies, spikes, traps and tricky jumps to negotiate stand between you and rescuing the 5 kidnapped chicks.
Those of you familiar to this site may recognise the graphics from the Flixel platformer tutorial I wrote. It seemed sensible to give them a new lease of life and they look great on mobile resolutions Technically I’m happy with the game. Parallax scrolling, animated sprites, a full detailed intro sequence, particle effects and highscore leaderboards make it closer to the sort of game we’d typically create in Flash. We built it on an iPhone 3GS as our base test unit, but it plays ok on an Android Nexus One. As with anything performance is quite device specific though.
We contacted a range of mobile games portals today, but as there is no single unified place to put games up for sponsorship yet (like Flash Game License does for the Flash world) we figured it wouldn’t hurt to post this blog entry up.
So if you run a mobile games portal and are interested in a site-lock deal for the game, please drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to your site and the outline of your offer, and we’ll take it from there!
1st Mar 2012
I’m pleased to say that our latest game is released. Veracode Defender is a Flash retro-styled tower defence game. It was a departure from our normal titles in that we made it specifically for a client, something we’ve never done before. It all came about via a casual tweet between ourselves and Melissa, a chiptune composer and NES fan (yay!) who works forVeracode. They were looking for a tower defence style game to help promote their security services. The deadline was a bit insane, but we pulled it out of the bag and delivered on-time. Having never written a tower defence game before it was a challenge, but a good one to under-take. And I now have a new-found respect for developers who churn out TDs by the bucketful, because believe me – balancing those game is far from easy!
The graphics were created by Diego, who I had met at Aardman where I work. He was a matte painter there, creating stunning backdrop scenery for our latest film The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists (do watch the awesome trailer! the film is out this month). Anyway he felt like taking on the challenge of moving from gigabyte sized Photoshop files down into 16×16 pixel sprites. So off we started and literally 10 days later the game was finished.
You can get some developer insights from me on the games page itself, but what I wanted to show here was the graphical evolution of the game from concept to final pixels:
Diego and I spoke about how the screen would be structured, I gave him some rough dimensions and he produced this first-pass concept sketch. We wanted the turret menu down the right-hand side, your available funds above it and the wave counter on the far right. The robots would attack from the left and be trying to get to your base on the right. The game turned out remarkably similar to this initial sketch, but went through a few iterations first. Especially the robots …
24th Feb 2012
It’s been a busy few weeks for both Ilija and I. He has been off in Melbourne VJing at the Blip Festival. It was the biggest chip music event to hit Australia and had a formidable line-up including Bit Shifter, Nullsleep and my personal favourites Trash80. There are various videos and pictures of the show, all of them varying from “ok” to “terrible” in quality at the moment, but here you can see Saitone play while Ilija mixes the visuals in the background:
Now he’s finished playing with video mixers for a while he may even post the “Making of” the pixeltastic new RGCD logo
A book you say?
Over on my side of the planet I’ve been kept busy mostly buried deep in HTML5 land. I started out the year by doing a technical edit of Jesse Freeman’s new book Introducing HTML5 Game Development published by O’Reilly. It’s one of O’Reilly’s new short-format books, meaning it weighs in at just over 100 pages rather than the usual epic tomes they publish. Jesse focussed the book specifically on coding with the ImpactJS framework and walks you through the process, start to finish, including wrapping it up for mobile. If you’re new to ImpactJS and want a good cheap overview of using it, then for $14 you can’t really go wrong (and members of his NY User Group can get 50% off even that low price!)
… and a podcast!
Matt and Geoff over at Lost Decade Games record a regular podcast called the Lostcast. Being html5 indie game devs they focus their podcast on and around this subject. Recent topics have included the Zynga cloning debacle and HTML5 the Bad Parts. Episode 9 was released today and features a nearly hour long interview with me about the subjects of html5, flash and game development in general. I had great fun chatting with the guys and thank them for inviting me to interview. To anyone who listens I apologise for rambling on for too long in parts, but hope you take away something interesting from the discussions anyway!
20th Feb 2012
If you’re able to get to San Francisco on March 4th 2012 (the day before GDC) then I’d strongly recommend attending the Flash Gaming Summit. This is the 4th year it has been running and it’s a great place to meet pretty much everyone of any importance in the Flash gaming world. Sponsors, companies, portals and fellow developers will be in attendance. The topic this year is “Maximise your game” which is a PR way of saying “hold onto your IP”. Accordingly it will cover taking your Flash IP onto other platforms, and who knows – you may even meet someone who has actually made some money from Android games 😉
The speakers list is impressive: CrowdStar, KIXEYE, Adobe, The9 and BioWare to name a few. Definitely go and hear what Thiabault Imbert (Flash Player Product Manager) has to say in his Flash: The Next Generation talk. The summary is enticing: “In this session the Adobe gaming team will discuss the next generation of Flash technology that will enable incredible games for both the web and mobile devices. Topics will include new GPU rendering technology and advanced profiling tools that will empower developers to take their games to the next level on the Flash Platform.” – maybe he’ll even demo FalconJS.
If you’re anything like me it’s probably the more indie dev speakers you’ll want to hear and there’s a good selection of them. The Ninja Kiwi guys will be talking about multi-player game development, Ben Garney will cover “the death of Flash” and Sean McGee is hosting a panel about Flash development circa 2012. Iain Lobb will also be doing a talk about making a “real” 2D game in Flash, i.e. apparently something that doesn’t use Flixel. BTW I’ll give away one Amazon gift voucher to an attendee if he disses HTML5 more than 10 times in his session 😉
It sounds like it’ll be a great conference. If you’re going to be in the area for GDC anyway then it makes complete sense to attend, or if it’s easy for you to get there then do so too! The organisers have offered me a discount code. So if you want to buy a ticket you can save 15% by registering here and using the code: promo_photonstorm_15.
I’ve also got 2 free tickets to give away. If you’d like to win one just post a comment to this article and I’ll pick 2 people at random at the end of the week.
The full program schedule here: http://www.
9th Feb 2012
The Indie Game Music Bundle 2 is here. You can pay what you want for 5 indie game soundtracks including Aquaria, Sword and Sworcery, To the Moon, Jamestown and Machinarium.
But if you pay $10 or more you’ll also get the complete soundtracks for another 9 games (so far!) one of which is the superb 8-bit soundtrack from our Gameboy tribute action adventure Cat Astro Phi, composed by the masterful Disasterpeace
Full details at http://www.gamemusicbundle.com/
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