Monday, February 4, 2013

HTML5 Game Review - Furries (Android)


Taking a closer look at mobile games


The underlying reason mobile games are so appealing to the millions and millions that download them via Apple's Appstore or Google's Playstore (which can be done with HTML5 as well) is that these games are accessed and stored all via their cell phone. These people literally carry their phones with them almost all day, EVERY day. That means there will be times when user sessions will need to be bite sized. For a game to be bite sized it usually needs to accessible, unless a developer can manage to put in mechanics that are fun enough to keep players playing even though they're losing. Which is why it's on the list below.

The List:

  • Presentation-Nowadays mobile games must look good, it can sink your ship if it doesn't.
  • Gameplay-Interesting twist now that games have their inputs coming from phones
  • Sound-Video games with sound are the best games
  • Accessibility-Easy to get into? How good is your freemium?

Furries Review


Furries, developed by SUGART, is a game that will immediately remind most people of Rovio's Angry Birds. To be fair Angry Birds wasn't the first game to ever implement the type of "sling" gameplay that is offered here, they were just the first to mass popularize it on mobile platforms. Furries takes the classic sling gameplay and puts a unique spin on it. It was also created with none other than Scirra's very own Construct 2 game maker.

Presentation

Though this probably has more to do with HTML5's limitations at the time of it's release, but the graphics and animations aren't as high production as most of the the top titles in the Google Play Store. The graphics are still nice and bring that cheery vibe usually synonymous with games that are suitable for all ages. The game also runs smoothly on my Android 2.2 device (it's all I've got at the moment). Check the neat trailer below.


Gameplay

As mentioned earlier, Furries implements the "sling" gameplay, and does it well. While many other titles have sling mechanics Furries has a unique take on it. The object is to use various objects such as trampolines and planes to propel you higher and further while gaining experience, stars and gems to spend in the shop. Once you buy more upgrades from the shop, you're in for a real treat (which is how it should be). While there is slightly less trajectory calculations than players will be used to, there is a power meter that when struck green maximizes the power of the sling. Getting meteorized is also a rewarding feeling every time you get it.

Sound

There is no background music to speak of in Furries, only sound effects (more than likely due to HTML5's sound limitations at the time of its release). Interestingly, this doesn't really take away from the game. Sure it most likely would've been better with some background music, but the sound effects presented still makes the experience feel complete. The sounds are appropriate and add to that sense of reward you feel when you hit a plane, collect an item, or get meteorized.

Accessibility

The most difficult thing to grasp in this game is learning how to aim your trajectory, which really isn't that difficult at all. The shop itself gives you an idea on how to perform better through the use of upgrades to your character and environment. It also has a good freemium model that doesn't "tax" you just for progression, that it always appreciated. 

Conclusion

Overall Furries is a fun experience. It has the pick up and play features and mechanics that are sought for in most mobile games. Don't let the sling like gameplay turn you away. It feels very rewarding once you get that 1000m launch. All around good.

You can download Furries for free from the Google Play store here.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Construct 2 HTML5 Game Maker Review

Construct 2 is a game making software that has been developed by Scirra Ltd. Construct 2 exports games using the HTML5 web standard, taking advantage of many of the new features that come with HTML5. Not only are the games produced created with HTML5, but there is absolutely no programming required to create these games. Construct 2 implements the use of plugins, behaviors, and it's event sheet to get the game objects feeling like they're alive. And don't worry, for the those of you who would like to get in and add extra functionality to their game via their own coding skills, Construct 2 also has a JavaScript SDK for you to create your own plugins and behaviors.

Plugins

Plugin Dialogue

Plugins in Construct 2 are essentially like "behind the scenes" directors that add any needed background systems or functions that may be required for you to complete your game. These may include various input plugins such keyboard, mouse and touch, or any platform specific plugins for your game to run properly on iOS or any other mobile platform.

Behaviors 

Behavior Dialogue

Behaviors are similar to plugins in that they add functionality, but instead of adding functionality simply in the background, the functions are added to the game objects themselves. Say for instance you wanted your game's main character to have similar control scheme to that of Nintendo's flagship character, Mario you would select your character object then simply add the "platform" behavior to it. Your character instantly gains the basic attributes and control to that of Mario. They also have various other control types that you can implement with the simple implementation of a behavior, a truly convenient feature.

The Event Sheet

Event Sheet of Space Blaster Demo

Even though there is no programming required, game objects and buttons still need to be what to do in certain situations under certain conditions in order for your game to feel truly complete. This is where the event sheet comes in. You set the condition for whatever event you feel needs to be taken into account on an object, and for each condition or set of conditions you set an action or series of actions. This is where you will spend the bulk of your time when designing the rules and logic for your game. Those already familiar with programming will grasp the event sheet quickly. Those who are not will need to spend a little more time understanding it, but it sure won't take anywhere near as long as learning how to code.

Final Notes


Construct 2 is an over breath of fresh air for those who would like to get into game development without taking the (painstakingly long yet possibly rewarding) journey of learning a programming language. And with the games being created being built on HTML5 technology, your games have "share with the world" innately built in them.

You can download the FREE version of Construct 2 from Scirra's main site to get started making games today.

As always Happy Deving

Friday, February 1, 2013

Fund your own Indie Projects with Online Marketing

What brought me to Internet Marketing?


In the last few months I have tried many ways to earn money to fund my projects while still having time work on my projects.

I have tried:
  • "Contract" work designing web templates
  • Finding a part time job
  • Internet marketing
There are plenty of people who manage to succeed with the first two options. There are only "potential" problems when it comes when you evaluate their ability to bring you income. With contract work you need your tools in tact and functioning to complete the job and getting a part time job actually requires there to be an opening available for you to fill. And well, with me...

...what could go wrong, did...

It's not that I didn't make any money with contract work, it's that I didn't make enough QUICK enough given the amount of time and effort I put forth to it (that and my computer became out of commission).

But me being as persistent as I am I turned to internet marketing and sales and gave that a try.

Fastest Results I Achieved Thus Far!

I have joined a few different opportunities in my search for online income and internet marketing is by far the fastest way I've gotten money into my bank account. It takes dedication and persistence to build up an actual stream but what you reap for what you sow is well worth it. It also gives me an extra edge in my niche...Indie Game Development.

That Extra Edge

What exactly is this extra edge? Well, every business in the world need marketing to get it's product out to the world, and that proves even more true for Indie Game Developers. We are small and make less of a splash when it comes to starting up due to small teams, small budgets, and virtually no publicity. What researching internet marketing has done for me is teach me lots of marketing tips (surprise surprise).

That's right! I have effectively expanded my knowledge in an area that is REQUIRED to succeed in the Indie Game Industry (marketing), while earning money at the same time. What's more is that most of my knowledge was not gained through painful trial and error or shoot and miss. Most of my knowledge came from training that is PROVIDED for you from within the various back offices of the different systems. There are also support groups available for any questions you might have.

You can check the page at the top for more info on different opportunities to fund your indie projects with internet marketing.

Aseprite - Art Tool for Game Creation

Game Making Tool of Interest: Aseprite


Allegro Sprite Editor (ASE) is an open source image editing tool that is particularly useful if one wants to create their own pixel art for their games. It is very light weight with a learning curve similar to that of Microsoft's most recent installment of MS Paint. This is deal maker for those who are deving on a budget (as most of us struggling and just starting up are).

Offerings for Game Making:

  • Pixely "retro" feel
  • Free Transformations
  • Animations

Good ol Retro


If you want retro...

...then ASE can do it for you. the pixels are double sized giving your creations that classic "blocky" feeling that has become synonymous with old school game.

If you don't want retro...

...then the ASE project site provides you with instructions to revert the pixel scaling back to normal by modifying one of the .ini files here.

Free Transformations


Free transformations a useful way of quickly creating modifying individual or multiple objects that have been drawn in the editing area. Transformation operations include scaling and rotating. Free transformations also allow for a more seamless animating experience, which brings us to the next neat feature...

Animating


Simple animation using rotation



ASE has an animating system that makes animating your characters a fairly straightforward process. Pressing the tab key takes you to the animation screen where you edit your frames. It also has a nice onion skinning feature, what's an animating application without onion skinning nowadays?

These a just some of the most basic features of ASE that should put most beginners on the right track to creating fun game objects. More intermediate and advanced functions will be covered later.


Visit the ASE main site is here.

Like what you see so far of ASE? Stay on top of things at the ASE blog here.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Assaulter Review (Android)

Taking a closer look at mobile games


The underlying reason mobile games are so appealing to the millions and millions that download them via Apple's Appstore or Google's Playstore (which can be done with HTML5 as well) is that these games are accessed and stored all via their cell phone. These people literally carry their phones with them almost all day, EVERY day. That means there will be times when user sessions will need to be bite sized. For a game to be bite sized it usually needs to accessible, unless a developer can manage to put in mechanics that are fun enough to keep playing even though you're losing. Which is why it's on the list below.

The List:

  • Presentation-Nowadays mobile games must look good, it can sink your ship if it doesn't.
  • Gameplay-Interesting twist now that games have their inputs coming from phones
  • Sound-Video games with sound are the best games
  • Accessibility-Easy to get into? How good is your freemium?

Assaulter Review

Assaulter is an older game developed by CWA (China Wireless Arts) Games that when you look at it's trailer you instantly realize that if you're about to make happen what you just saw on the screen happen that you'll be in for a grand experience. This brings me to the first item on the list.

Presentation

Assaulter looks every bit like an action shooter should look like. The art embodies that "retro" feel without feeling dated. The animations are smooth with lots of action, bullets, explosions and action. There are even boss fights where you can fight guys raining on you from helicopters and firefights on wave racers. That trailer is totally awesome.



Gameplay

This is where the game falters a bit. It's not that you can't have fun with the game, it's that the shooting is done automatically for you. It's still fun as it has a slide maneuver that is useful for getting yourself out of a pickle. It also have lots of equipment options with the 3 different characters specializing in different weapons.

Sound

The game has a good score of war like tunes that is fitting for an action shooter. The same goes for the sounds effects. The games production is as good as I've seen for mobile, especially since the game was released in October of 2011.

Accessibility

Assaulter's controls are easy enough. The only thing that I found myself having a little trouble with at first was the jump ability. Sliding is done smoothly and swiftly. While the shooting is pretty much automatic, it works, not really putting you in a position where you would go "Grr...if only they didn't do the shooting for me!" The freemium model here is full of time meters and grinding to continue, not the best freemium model.

Conclusion

While a number in no way determines how much fun you can have with a video game, it can however be used a gauge on how complete the experience felt when you finally reach that stopping point of your play session. Assaulter gets a lot of things right and you can still walk away with the overall experience being fun while only faltering slightly due to its "grind to advance" freemium model. All around good.

Assaulter can be downloaded for Android from the Google Playstore here.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What's the Big Deal About HTML5?

The significance of HTML5


If you take a look at HTML5 without the "5" all you have is HTML. HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language. HTML is the core language that is responsible for how information is generated and consumed through services like Google, Facebook, and all the other high profile sites millions of people utilize on a daily basis. The very foundation of the background code systems responsible for displaying information through the web is receiving an upgrade (and has been for a couple years now). 

This is where the 5 comes in


Coming from the 4th iteration of the language and going into the 5th, some might ask why is number 5 so magical? With this new standard new features exciting features come into play that required the use of plugins and applets before. Do you remember those times when you go to log into either a school computer, or just any public computer due to some unforeseen yet fatal event and you come across "You need flashplayer installed" in order to view the content you requested? Well with the implementation of this new 5th revision here situations like that will decrease drastically given that functions and features such as handling video media will be built in right out of the box.These include (but are certainly not limited to) hardware acceleration (for high quality games and videos), access to device specific features (given so many different devices connect to the web now), and offline functionality. This brings me to next point.

These features change the way EVERYONE uses the web


There are two kinds of people who handle software, developers an consumers (developers nowadays probably develop AND consume). Consumers use the software for what it is they see any use for it at the time, whether it be to post a status, read a status, watch a video, play a game, read an article, or just simply  fulfill their boredom. Whatever use they find for the software they sure will attempt and use it for that very purpose. Developers on the other hand PROVIDE the software to the consumers (while probably being consumers themselves be it for development or entertainment or whatever).  If you are a provider there, is one other thing you must do besides simply obtaining whatever it is you are providing. Whether you are creating it yourself or getting it from somewhere else, you must get the service or product to whoever it is you find has the most use for what it is you dedicated your time to obtain.

No other software in the world is used more than the World Wide Web with HTML being the primary means by which information is generated and consumed. It is what connects the whole globe and took every populated continent as well as orbital devices to build.

The most important part of what the inclusion of some of these new features is that it changes the WAY developers can get their software to the end consumer. The developers write the code for said game or service with "share with the world" innately in the code's base functions. When there are less barriers between that of the provider and consumer, costs (mostly developmental) to simply get your software to reach more people will decrease dramatically.

A lot also has to do with convenience on the consumer's end. Instead of the having to install certain plugins or take other steps to achieve the same experience they are used to enjoying when they access the web, they get on with the functionality right into the browser itself be it on a computer or cell phone.

This advancement shifts both ends of the equation at the largest scale


But even given all all that is said here, HTML5 still hasn't completely took root yet. This is for various reasons but mostly for browsers yet complying to the new standard (for reasons of their own I'm sure). This leads to particular obstacles that must be handled correctly by developers in order to take advantage of the potential massive reach HTML5 brings being able to run on both mobile devices and personal computers. As with everything, there is always an adoption curve with different phases of the adoption period being more useful for different people at different times with adoption already happening at an alarming rate.

HTML5Boom is Still Booming

Sometimes life gives you lemons...


...and sometimes lemonade don't cut it. Sometimes things happen where you have to to think outside of the box because life puts you in situations that force you to stop and think. Things like computer crashes, and/or some resource somewhere falling short.

Starting up is one of the best and worst times to fail.


On the one side, failure of any kind usually causes a person to quit. This could be short term failure, long term failure, failure on your end to uphold a bargain, or failure from another to uphold their end of the bargain, most people see it as a some magical sign or reason that they should quit.

On the other side, those with the resilience to push through the failures brought on to them and take them as gifts in the form of lessons instead of taking them as their que to close the curtains on their wants and dreams. With each and every result comes information with it that you can receive and utilize for your next endeavor and nothing comes with more information on how to improve than failing.

It is all just a matter of how you perceive the information that is given back to you for your efforts.


My experiences with failure have helped me: 
  • Appreciate my tools more
  • Seek more wisdom
  • Make money online through marketing

Even with all of my failings and shortcomings I never gave up on anything. I have stepped back for short periods yes, but I still love games and software as much as I ever did if not more and I can't wait to share my many experiences with some of the things that kept me this whole time.