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 :).  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.

 

Sept 2018

September 2018 Update

Hello September! I know it been quite some time since I posted. I did get married and go on my honeymoon but I’m hoping to get into more of a regular scheduled updating. In terms of HTML5 mobile game development, I have made some changes. I am still using Gamemaker Studio 1.4 , mostly because I still dislike GMS2 as a game development tool. I don’t think there’s any point changing until GMS2 gets significantly better. It also looks like I’m not the only one.

I am now working on a relatively simple HTML5 game that I also want to port over to Android with more features. My brother and I came up with the idea of a web based chef game where you cook steaks. I’ve recently finished the HTML5 prototype for the game but for the moment here are a few screenshots of the mobile game in action! I also want to be more open and more social about my game development – I think it would force me to work and post more – so I’ve posted a link of the prototype to Reddit for feedback. I’m more than a bit nervous! If you want to play this game the link is here for you

Steakhouse Chef prototype

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gameplay in action

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hopefully you can see the kind of mobile game I want to try and make. I am thinking of making two ‘versions’: a HTML5 version and an Android version. Thankfully one of the great advantages of GM:S is that you can essentially have one code base and port the game you are working on from one platform to another quite easily.

 

Mobile Game Development Branches:

Android

The Android game version will be a fully realised game in it’s own right. I want to have the storyline of a chef who moves into a run-down dirty store then starts cooking for customers. I want this game to have subtle RPG elements in it as well. So for example:

 

  • Upgrade to nicer cookers
  • Buy better quality food
  • Refurbish/fix the restaurant

 

The above is just an example and essentially you keep playing. Pleasing the customers in the game gets harder but your tools are better and you keep have to give your customers the perfect steak every time. I think, especially with the RPG elements, the game should have a reasonable lifespan, considering it’s a hyper casual game. If this all pans out well, this will be my first Android game I’ve ever made! I’m really excited to be able to say I’ve made a game that others can find and play and hopefully give feedback to me!

HTML5

The HTML5 version will not have as many features as the Android version. This is because bandwidth must be considered when making HTML5 games. The more features I add, the larger the game and the more bandwidth consumed. HTML5 games should be quick to download and play, but as a consequence may be a bit less fleshed out due to the constraints. I want the HTML5 version of the game to be playable and fun but perhaps more focused on high scores and leaderboards than anything else. Pleasing as many customers as you can in a row and creating a leaderboard so people can see where they stand with their friends.

Future

There are differences between the HTML5 and the Android version of my idea. It makes sense to complete the simpler HTML5 game version first. I can upload the HTML5 game to this site, Kongregate and itch.io and request for feedback. Maybe even try to sell the game and have it hosted on various websites. Then work on the Android version. Seems like the way to go.

 

I will post again soon with an update on how things are going, but I’m happy with my progression so far!

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 commute walking! which is insane. I have 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 HTML5 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 some major changes 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, 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.  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. I’ve already got a couple of rejection letters from armorgames.com and famobi.com.

I’m not too disheartened about famobi.com. Their technical requirements are insane! (text localisation, minimal user interface, unminified and unobscured game files – no way! As for armorgames.com…I made a HTML5 card game when most of their games are action games,  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. I 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 (but 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, but 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 bots 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 game 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.