Archive for the ‘HTML5 games’ tag
Making games in HTML5 is tough. You’re facing the fact that it’s a new standard, that you’re competing with other technology that’s much more mature (sometimes by 10-15+ years) and has loads of toolsets and workflows, and that most people would rather do what’s easiest rather than figuring out how to make new tech work well.
These guys are making HTML5 games. But they’re doing the hardest thing possible with HTML5 — synchronous multiplayer. God bless ‘em, and best of luck. Side note, they seem pretty sharp — all three are ex-Googlers, they’re all engineers, and one’s the first Facebook Platform Partner Engineer. Not too shabby.
It’s through the efforts of folks like Artillery (and the guys behind the new versions of Safari Mobile and the Android Browser, and Chrome, and a bunch of platform-makers and toolbuilders) that the tech gets driven forward.
The future isn’t Flash.
We’re trying to keep this blog updated. Generally failing in any reasonable sense of the word “udpated,” but we are trying
We had a small game night last night, just me, Sean, and Jordan, our new(ish) QA guy. We opted to try out Fiasco, a “storytelling game,” I purchased a digital download of last week. Fiasco aims to replicate a kind of loose, short-session Dungeons & Dragons, only with far less rules and no Dungeon Master. Drawing from small-time caper films where something goes horribly wrong (BLOOD SIMPLE, A SIMPLE PLAN, THE KILLING, FARGO, etc.), players take on various roles, have relationships with one another, and then most of us try to do something stupid, with the end result being catastrophe. The goal being to simulate in about two hours one of those caper films. Our first play session went reasonably well. We chose an Old West scenario, with Sean playing a grizzled ranch hand (Billy Bahb) and partner to Jordan’s ranch hand (Skeeter Montana). Years ago, a drunk Billy Bahb tried to convince Skeeter to purchase his railroad pushcart and goaded him into taking it down to the haunted mine, where Skeeter found old pirate gold (no idea why there were pirates in the Old West, but hell, it’s our first time playing). Back to the present of our story, and Billy tries to convince his no-good stepson Bobby Bahb (me!), a janitor at the hotel Skeeter owns with part of his gold proceeds to rob the hotel safe and get the gold back that should be rightfully his. Bobby sleeps with Skeeter’s wife after nailing him into the outhouse. Billy Bahb tries to (unsuccessfully) burn the outhouse down with Skeeter in it (Skeeter rocks the outhouse over on top of Billy Bahb). Billy Bahb’s wife, Dolly, tells him she slept with someone else, setting off a drunken rampage where he beats Dolly.
Billy Bahb asks for Bobby’s help again, with Bobby agreeing. Skeeter overhears and becomes paranoid. In the second act, Skeeter sends goons out to beat Billy Bahb and Bobby up and tie them up. Dolly comes in with a gun, shoots her husband in the leg. The Bahbs get free and open up the safe with Dolly’s help (she had the key due to her relationship with Skeeter; and of course, I have to sleep with her again). Bobby turns on his dad and knocks him unconscious. He and Dolly get the gold. Billy Bahb shoots his son in the head, Dolly shoots her husband a few more times, and Billy Bahb rides off on the handcart with the gold, down to the old haunted mine. Skeeter dies of his wounds, Bobby ends up mentally handicapped, working as a janitor in the new hotel in town, no longer a ladies’ man, and Bobby haunts the mine. Dolly winds up with the gold that conveniently fell off the handcart and takes over the town.
Fiasco was a lot of fun, and even with people who aren’t the strongest at improv, the suggestions and twists gave us a decent little story. Rules are fairly limited, which lets you craft a story fairly easily and also adds some tension and complications. I’m interested to try the game again.
We also played Small World, with Sean edging me out by a single gold coin at the very end (120-119). What a frustrating way to lose!
On to actual Gamzee product news. We’ve been working hard away on a few things. First is the iOS version of DownWords, which we actually finished and were ready to release. But then we realized we should wait, because we’re also adding some cool multiplayer features to the game that will make it that much better.
And we’ve also been working on our mysterious third game, which is seeing great progress. I can’t say what it is, but can say that it’s a very social, multiplayer game that should appeal to people who like things like Words With Friends and Draw Something.
We’re super-psyched with all the attention the game has been getting. We’re a featured game on Facebook, and we made Inside Social Games’ top fastest-growing Facebook games this week (#18).
When you take into account that almost all the other games on the list are from gigantic companies like Zynga, EA/Playfish, Wooga, etc. that makes it all the more impressive.
This time, from the folks at Gamzebo. They seemed to key in on the two things we’re proudest of: the ability to stack blocks and build whatever you’d like and the cross-platform nature of the game that HTML5 gives us.
We are pleased to announce Emiley Flowers joining the team, at least for a while, as a contract artist. Emiley is super-talented, and is going to be helping our art director, John Flynn out with cranking out all the assets making an isometric game requires.
You can check out some of her work here:
On an unrelated topic, as game dorks, we have a weekly game night every Thursday evening. Most of the games we play are Eurogames and/or Fantasy-themed. Frequent favorites are Munchkin, Munchkin Booty (the pirate set), Talisman (2nd edition), and Settlers of Cataan. We actually have a bunch more games, but we usually wind up playing those.
Last week, we tried out Dominion, which John bought. For those who’ve never played, Dominion is a “Living Card Game,” which combines a lot of the appeal of Collectible Card Games, except there aren’t sealed, randomized packs, and you can get all the cards in a set for a low price (saving you hundreds to thousands of dollars versus something like Magic: The Gathering).
In Dominion, you have a varied set of communal cards that you can “buy” to add to your deck each turn. Each player tries to amass the most Victory Points, and play continues until three stacks of purchasable cards are exhausted or the stack of 6-point Victory Point cards (Provinces). What makes it cool is that the base set comes with a wide variety of cards, so you can swap out the purchasable cards with dozens of variants, making each game different with totally new strategies.
We played a couple games, the stock setup, which Sean won outright, and the “Large Size” deck variant, which has a bunch of cards that add cards to your deck (and one that gives you points for each 10 cards in your deck rounded down). That game was much closer, with a 2-point difference between last and first. I won that round
Next week, who knows? Michael’s been clamoring for some Trivial Pursuit. We have Bang!, and haven’t yet played (and I’m definitely interested). And I just bought Small World, but have only played with my long-suffering fiancee.
Just got back from this year’s Mobilebeat (and Gamebeat), where we were fortunate enough to present in the Startup Competition.
Lots of interesting stuff going on, with a lot of excitement around payments (particularly NFC) and mobile wallets, a lot of excitement about HTML5, and some really cool demos of upcoming things like Nvidia’s quad-core chips for mobile devices. It was fascinating to see a tablet running a demo with realtime lightsourcing and curtains being rendered blowing in the wind or reacting to a ball passing through them with all the physics you normally only see on consoles or PCs with a high-end graphics card. It seems like with new hardware, new standards support, and 4G, we’re only a little while away from a renaissance in mobile gaming.
The other really gratifying thing was hearing some industry giants speak about the future of gaming (mobile and otherwise). Trip Hawkins from Digital Chocolate (and the founder of EA!) gave a long talk about how the walled garden approach (he called it a feudal serfdom) that Apple and companies like Sony use is over (where you’re making native content for that platform only), and that content longs to be free and soon will be thanks to technologies like HTML5. That was refreshing, because that’s our philosophy here at Gamzee!
And Peter Driessen, CEO of Spil Games, in a talk about HTML5 gaming said that although it’s early on in the space, there are a few companies doing interesting things with the tech right now, and then called us out by name. So that was pretty cool.
We didn’t wind up winning that startup competition (a startup called Onavo, which has already achieved some amazing success and funding by compressing the data your cell phone uses, did; and a really cool startup of college students, Tappmob, won the audience award in our category — they were super-impressive, because they looked to be in their teens and already started a company; it took me until my mid-twenties to start my first company), but it was an awesome experience to publicly present Gamzee for the first time. The feedback we got — from VCs, from other companies in the space, from fellow entrepreneurs, and from friendly folks who happened to see me speak — was outstanding.
There’s a bright future ahead for mobile and for HTML5 gaming, and we’re psyched to be leading the charge!
We’re looking forward to demoing our game to interested folks at Casual Connect next week.