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.