May 2020

May 2020 Update

Another month, another HTML5 game dev blog post. I feel like I’ve made HUGE progression for the game, SteakHouse Chef. Specially compared to the previous months I’ve added animation for the characters, replaced the characters and am closer to having a consistent theme throughout the game.

Game Dev News

I wanted to share the work of Donislaw, who is has generously added his name to the very small list of independent game developers who work in the mobile/HTML5 game development space who actually posts about how much money he has made from game development. To my knowledge there are only a few people who have actually done this:

So Donislow has joined a very small and elite group. I enjoyed our Reddit conversation very much.

Game Update

I have now made big changes in terms of the game Steakhouse Chef. I am using the Google emoji list of characters as much as possible, just to give the game a unified style. Go through and amend some of the buttons to improve the aesthetic cohesion is quite a challenge!

One of the things I noticed is that, in the version on the left, the steak and the users just disappeared then reappeared somewhere else. It took me a long time to realise that things seem better when they don’t disappear and reappear. I said as much when providing feedback to a fellow indie game dev releasing his first game. Things need to be shown to come into existence and slowly leave existence. With easing of course!

I think with the GIF on the left, the movement of the people, slowly moving to the right of the screen makes things move real and in keeping with reality. I think the fact that the steak also moves with the user is important.

Next Month Goals

I think, from now all future goals for the game should be written here, so I can compare last month with this month more readily.

Background layers

I don’t like the way the backgrounds are so static, I can’t help but think they should have come animation…perhaps not. I’ll have to see what works

Font

I don’t have a single font that I am comfortable using in the game. I think that would be good to standardise to, again, have cohesion throughout the project.

Brown fire backing

Probably the oldest sprite in the game I’ve let to replace!

Timer

The timer doesn’t seem quite right. I like the shake to alert the user about the time running now but something about it isn’t quite there.

Money

So ugly. Should probably be replaced with an emoji of some kind – šŸ¦, šŸ’²,šŸ¤‘

Apr 2020

April 2020 Update

I lost focus this month. Big time. I’m pretty sure I put in less than 5 hours in total this entire month. COVID has put the world in a unique place and I although I am still working, this is the perfect time to push my HTML game development and write new stuff and be prolific. But, I realised this a bit late in the month. So no. No big game updates from me I’m afraid. Not much, not it’s not zero. I spend a bit of time studying color theory and artistic cohesion which I hope shows below.

Game Inspiration

Thanks to a brilliant YouTube tutorial by TinyGamesLab I’ve been able to create a screen transition that’s a bit rough perhaps, but good enough until a real artist gets involved with the game development. Or at least maybe that’s the plan. I read these 7 tips on Reddit on game development and realised that it could quite easily apply to my development work.

Particularly the rule:

No prototypes. Just make the game. Polish as you go. Don’t depend on polish happening later. Always maintain constantly shippable code.

Powerful stuff. Making a HTML5 game I find myself making decisions and thinking “well, it’s bad, but I can fix it later”. Perhaps I shouldn’t. Perhaps I should get moderately right as I go.

Game Update

So below is my usage of the brilliant tutorial by TinyGamesLab. I can’t get over the fact that the purple transition is the only bit of movement in my entire game that doesn’t use easing. This is upsetting to me. I’ll have to fix this. Easing makes everything seem more real, more professional, more like a real actual real game! Below is the screen transition.

Purpley Game Transition
Seamless Transition to gameplay

Other minor game changes

I’ve also changed the cooking oven to something a bit more sleek and slender. I think it looks much better and more in keeping with the type of emoji style I want. I can’t draw. At all. But rather than learn and take time away from actual game development, maybe I can just use what free art is already available. If emojis are good enough for day-to-day speech, why not in a game?

Wow, maybe I did a bit more than I gave myself credit for. The background for the customer looks more like an actual restaurant rather than a blue void of emptiness.

The over looks even better than I thought it did side-by-side. The emoji fire just feels better than the harsh, pixel heavy before. I feel like slowly, this is something that might catch someone’s attention. Good complementary colours, tweening is alive and well.

Jan 2020

Wow, I didn’t blog at all in 2019. It has been some time, but I have continued HTML5 game development through, promise!

There is a lot of discussion about burn out and for most of 2019 I couldn’t face running GameMaker Studio, understanding what I’d written (usually take a few hours), then start HTML5 game development. I started to fill my time with other, “more productive” things. Things like understanding GitHub, like building up my PowerShell knowledge.

Doing that was fine, nothing really wrong with it in any sense. My time was spent “productively” but I do regret not spending more time using GameMaker Studio making HTML5 games. Keeping that drive going is hard. Very hard. I have recently read quite a lot about how to keep motivation levels high when you really don’t feel like it. Especially if you are like me, and after doing a LONG shift at work, where you stare at a screen all day, to stare at yet another screen. Sometimes you do need a break for HTML5 game development!

It seems that motivation is a common issue amongst the creative industries. The remedies that I want to enact this year is to try and open GameMaker Studio at least once a week and make at least one edit and sync it to my BitBucket repo (Bitbucket is basically GitHub but free and private). Just one update a week, even it’s just updating my todo list, that’s OK. If I keep building this into my weekly routine, I’m bound to even *gasp* continue to develop something. To that end, I have written a NEW YEARS GOALS which contains “Blog 1 a month” on it. So by January 2021 there should be at least 12 more additions to this blog.

Update – Before/After

So what have I been doing? Mostly, after receiving feedback from my younger brother, I should try and work on the aesthetic at bit more than not at all. I’ve really tried to make Steakhouse Chef juicy…*shudder*. I’ve uploaded some before and after shots so you can see I have been actively working.

You can see the biggest difference is the flames. The look and act more like actual real flames on the right than the flat images of yellow fire on the left. You can also see there’s more animation in the countdown on the right, but I’m still not entirely happy with how it looks. I think it’s the font(?) not too sure, but that’s likely to change.

Oct-2018

October 2018 Update

Hello October! I am trying to blog and develop HTML5 games regularly. It’s not that easy! Recently, I’ve going easy on myself and trying to do at least one thing every couple of days – post on Reddit, like, comment or share a HTML5 game developer I rate – that kind of thing.

Reddit Feedback

This month I posted my proof-of-concept game – Steakhouse Chef. I posted the fully HTML5 compatible game on Reddit which was a really scary. Some real effort went into the game. It was tricky to make it simple but appealing. Ultimately it was to ensure the HTML game design was good. This really means it plays and scales well on mobile, tablet and PC, which is does :).Ā  I posted the game in a couple of subreddit places – r/indiedev and r/gamemaker. The actual articles can be seen HERE and HERE.

Gameplay in action

 

The feedback from the two threads were positive! I received comments such as:

“It is pretty easy and simple to figure out what to do, so that’s good”

“It looks like you have the components of a functional game all in place. Well done!”

 

 

 

Thoughts

The game works on other people’s devices including iOS. I completely forgot to test the HTML5 game on iOS so that is a relief! The game seems like a simple game that other just understood and could play, which was nice to know. It was really scary to have something I created out in the universe for others to judge. But everyone seemed to think there was the basis of a game here, so I could continue to refine the graphics and gameplay. I wanted to add RPG features to the game including:

 

  1. Ability to upgrade the cooker

  2. Purchase different quality meat

  3. Ability to redecorate the establishment

 

Low Poly

I am enamoured with low poly graphics. Particularly graphics from QuaterniusDev. His low poly art is fantastic! So smooth and elegant. At the moment I want to use his art wherever possible in my game.

 

Jan 2018

Jan 2018

Happy new year to all! It’s been some time since I’ve last updated my HTML5 game development website and blog. I’ve been moving from the South of England to the North. Finding a new job has been time consuming. I’m also getting married this year so have been busy planning that too! It feels good to be able to post game development plans again!

My new job is going well so far. One of the main benefits of this new job is the amount of free time I will have to make games. Previously, it would take around 90 minutes to commute – one way. So a total of 3 hours travelling to or from work(!) I would also be expected to work an hour of overtime a day.

As you can imagine it’s been difficult to try and write HTML5 games or update the website about the state of my HTML5 Mobile Games (or even work on these games) when most of my time awake was spent either travelling to/from work or at work. Thankfully my new job has a 15 minute commuteĀ walking! which is insane. I haveĀ never had this much free time available as I do now to create mobile compatible HTML5 games. It’s almost too perfect!

New Year Goals

I really want to use the great position I’ve found myself in this year to do some great HTML5Ā development. With such a short commute, in a job that wants me to do my work hours – no more, no less – should allow me to make someĀ major changesĀ in terms of focusing on mobile game development. I want to do the following:

  1. Exercise twice a week
  2. Interact and engage in the communities I like (tweet more than retweet, blog about my game development, work on game development)

 

I think these goals, especially with the time I’ve gained, should make it easy for me. I am going to start by at least tweeting or replying to a post online a day about HTML5 games. The more you engage in a community, the more you get back.

Future HTML5 Plans

As I posted here, 2017 was tricky for game development. I was busy relocating and have been unpacking and busy with Christmas. Additionally, I have been stuck trying to create a HTML5 .io game in GameMaker. I’ve pretty sure I’ve looked everywhere online, and there isn’t an example of a working, playable HTML5 multiplayer game made in GM:S. It just doesn’t exist. I thought I could make the first game, but kept running into roadblocks. Issues with design and GameMaker’s lack of HTML5 support with certain functions have made it virtually impossible for me. I even purchased GameMaker 2 that should have fixed some of the known bugs in GM:S 1.4 but it STILL has problems.

HTML5 module just doesn’t seem to be as polished as any of the other modules available (Android, iOS, Windows etc.) Even more annoying is that my whole plan was to write it in HTML5, get it to work perfectly, then convert the HTML5 games to iOS, Android, Windows, etc. to widen my potential customer base! This isn’t great for me. I am seriously considering abandoning using the HTML5 module and learning another, more stable Javascript language – phaser for example. I dunno…we’ll see I guess.

April 2017

April 2017

I’ve been really busy this past month writing HTML5 mobile games.

HTML5 Game Development in April 2017

This month I released the second in my series of HTML5 mobile games,Ā Higher or Lower, a card game that works on PC and mobile. (It would be so much easier if my games didn’t have to work on mobile and PC!) This post discusses my thoughts and feeling around this biggest development for me.

HTML5 Higher or Lower game playHTML5 mobile games. Higher or Lower title screen

Thoughts

The response for Higher or Lower has been about what I expected. The few non-gamers I’ve shown it to played the game, said it was easy to understand. They also knew what to do and played it for a while. This is the kind of behaviour I wanted for this game, it’s not Breath of the Wild! I think, since I finished my first (proper) HTML5 Mobile game, Greedy Panda, I gained a lot of experience. Ā Particularly writing and what the HTML5 game market is looking for in terms of games companies would want to purchase.

In doing a card game (and HTML5 mobile games in general), I attempted to continue to create a fun, bright, colourful HTML5 mobile game (certainly more vibrant than other Higher or Lower games on Google Play). I think adding the Ouch Face in a manner similar (read copied) from Doom made the game stand out a little.

Monetization of HTML5 Mobile Games

With this game I have been more mindful in getting some kind of financial reward. After all I spent a lot of time writing Higher or Lower. I have a spreadsheet of 20-30 companies and contact information. I spent an afternoon(!) filling in forms and emailing various companies about my HTML5 mobiles games. With a bit of flattery thrown in, asked them what they thought of my HTML5 mobile games. It may been too soon to tell though.Ā I’ve already got a couple of rejection letters from armorgames.com and famobi.com.

I’m not too disheartened about famobi.com. TheirĀ technical requirements are insane! (text localisation, minimal user interface, unminified and unobscured game files – no way!Ā As for armorgames.com…I made a HTML5 card game when most of their games are action games, Ā it was a poor fit. I’ll wait and see what the other companies say when they playing my game and replay. I will share those results here. It should be noted, that they were complimentary about the end result, which is really nice to hear. It’s easy to get praise from people you know. When strangers like your HTML5 mobile games, I think it means more

Future Plans

So I think my next goal is to (obviously) produce another game. I use Gamemaker Studio to make games. IĀ have learned a lot about how the software works, even just realising how to use the built in troubleshooting tools to find out what the problems were. That was a major roadblock for me. Even trying to find out what the root cause for the problems I was experiencing actually were! Fixing problems is easy, actually finding out what they are…that’s the hard bit. I feel like I’ve gotten better at that so my next game should go smoother.

On the subject on what to make, that is a tricky one. I like to think that every game (butĀ especially multiplayer games) made by developers is made with a little love and pride. Some of the things I’ve seen/played…don’t appear to be made with that much love or pride. I am super proud of Higher or Lower. It’s not perfect. There are some changes I want to make, butĀ is a game under 4MB that you can play in a browser.

HTML5 Multiplayer gaming?

I initially wanted to make a multiplayer game. The multiplayer games I’ve played either:

 

  1. The game aren’t compatible on mobile, where I do the majority of my web browsing
  2. They are full of bots, no real humans
  3. The games have no botsĀ or humans!

 

It would crush me if I spend a ton of time and effort trying to make the best multiplayer game I could and not have real people logged in to play it. I have an idea of a multiplayer game that would work on mobile and PC. It should be exciting to play, (or at least I think it would be) but there’s no guarantees people would play it! On reflection though, it’s wiser to make a larger but single player game. The risks and time required will be lower and I think I can compete with all the other game devs out there. I will spend the next couple weeks planning this next game. Hopefully I will have a skeletal structure of a gameĀ available for people to play, just so they can play it and let me know what they think.

I think the rules I have made so far are still robust enough to last – mobile friendly HTML5 game that works on both mobile and PC.