dev

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dev last won the day on January 19 2014

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  1. I'd tip you some bits if I could on these forums
  2. Nexus 7 is awesome, bought it for my girlfriend and she loves it. Considering giving up iOS myself.
  3. Consider a chromebook, should be quite cheap, light with decent battery power suitable for writing JS. Can of course also install linux on it. (get one with an intel chip preferably). Although if you want to do 'the works' (e.g. also run something like photoshop) I'd either do that on a cheap desktop when you're at home, or invest in a macbook (the nice thing about them is that they tend to 'hold value' quite well. You can buy a Macbook for $1500, use it for two years and still get $750 for it, meaning you paid about $30 a month, which is really very little money for the principal cost of your business) or an ultrabook. I personally tend to prefer cheap powerful desktops at the (home) office combined with something like a Nexus 7 to do email, reading, research etc while on the road. It really depends on your life though, I don't spend 3 hours in trains a day like I used to. As for developing on a tablet... there's no real elegant coding environment out there, yet. I streamed my PC to my iPad once, it was smooth but just a huge headache to write any real code. And when you start adding bluetooth keyboards and such, you might as well get a chromebook in my opinion. You can get a much better JS development environment on a $300 chromebook than on a $700 ipad. Add something like nitrous.io and you're golden.
  4. I'd say most sponsors are probably willing to do a revenue share if the game is decent because they have no risk other than time lost getting the game on the platform. (and that's pretty much what half a sponsor's employees are specialised in, so to speak). So you could probably start reaching out to just about anyone. BoosterMedia of course is the key player in terms of revenue-sharing deals, it's most of what they do and they get some of the biggest traffic. Besides this there are plenty of portals like Kongregate, newgrounds etc, but as they're not focused on HTML5 or even Mobile, you're often competing with larger popular desktop games that allow keyboard/mouse controls. It's hard to compete with that and ad revenues on mobile always seem to be a lot better. So it's no surprise I haven't heard of any success stories of HTML5 developers in these areas. FGL offers an advertising API and does limited publishing, but you can use their API and publish the build yourself. Publishers are increasingly interested in native rights, so definitely mention this. You don't necessarily have to do any leg work, most just wrap your game and publish, a bit like a fullscreen browser app that only points to your game. But if you provide a native version that is better than your web version, they'll like that. Don't expect anyone to come looking for you though. Approach them.
  5. It's been happening for quite some time now. There's nothing to say about 'this deal' if you don't attach a price to it. But the fact that publishers are interested in licensing for the appstores too means they're getting value there either from monetization or purely for exposure to drive back traffic or create brand awareness. THe fact that publishers get value from appstores means that every HTML5 game that can viably exist on an appstore just had its value increase. That's a great thing. Of course there are exclusive-only deals. If the price is right, it's a great thing. However, there are a number of developers who're into HTML5 for the long run and it appears that they all fare much better by retaining their IP than selling it off in a one-time deal. I think exclusive deals are great if you're going to do HTML5 for 6-12 months while paying for college. But if you want to develop a viable business, non-exclusive deals, partnerships, revenue sharing, branded games and self-publishing (potentiall on an appstore) is the way to go. I've seen exclusive Web App + Native App rights go for anything upwards of 4k. In the long-run, that's not a great price. (a solid title can generally make 3k non-exclusives and 3k in rentals/revenueshares in 1 year, and you retain your IP and appstore rights). But in the short-term, getting 4-5k for an exclusive deal is nice, too. It allows you to kickstart your business and if you can make two titles like say every 7 weeks and investing $750 for each game in art and sound assets, you've got a pretty decent monthly salary.
  6. dev

    Game tracking

    You mean like Flurry for HTML5 games? Flurry can do that. Google Analytics is another, besides your average webstuff it can also track custom events.
  7. Interesting discussion guys, thanks for sharing. The article was a fun read One thing that excites me is the simply devices becoming more powerful. For example, I recently bought XCOM for my PC, finished the game, it was awesome. Then I noticed it was on iOS, too. So I tried the app on my iPad and played for 15 minutes then put it away. I was pretty blown away by that as the experience was so extremely similar to my PC experience. Graphics were not quite on par, but everything else was, it was just fit the form factor in a great way. And recently I bought KOTOR again, one of my all time favorites and am currently doing a playthrough together with my girlfriend also on the iPad. Again, fits the form factor in an awesome way and it's just a lot of fun, absolutely identical to the PC experience but now playable on a mobile device. It's these games that I'm absolutely willing to pay for. $10-15 for 5 to 30 hours of gameplay is nothing compared to paying the same for a predictable, non-interactive hollywood movie of 1.5 hours. So I'm looking forward to move of such games being ported. Final Fantasy on iOS was a great step for example, but we barely see any quality games being ported. There are so many good RPGs that don't have real-time combat that could easily work on Android or iOS. All these games wouldn't need any IAPs at all. Another model I'm very excited about is the walking dead. It's episodic, you pay per episode which are released every two months. It's been a big success and I think it might work for mobile too. Release episode 1 for free, really capture players, then allow them to buy extra content for a price of say $2 per hour of gameplay. So a 3-hour episode nets you $6 and if you make 4 episodes of a game you essentially sell the game for $24, to a mobile customer. That's a great deal for the developer, and I think it's a great deal for anyone interested in games with substance and depth. And it also works in terms of the psychology that was described earlier (people not willing to buy games upfront, but willing to pay for things in free games). The Walking Dead could have a similar freemium model where you just buy to unlock new content. You don't pay to unlock things that get you ahead (an especially big no-no for me in multiplayer games), but just to get more of the game. If this is communicated well, I think it's fine. (There was a Japanese game that, after finishing the final mission, basically said pay up or we won't show you the ending, give the praise, tell you what happened etc, which is pretty horrible.) But for the casual type of games, the puzzle genre, bejeweled etc... As developers I think we have to accept a lot of humans are not looking for games as art, not looking for games for a story, for immersion or emotion *all the time*. Some of them some of the time and almost all gamers some of the time will want to just play something like Candy Crush or now, Flappy Bird (ugh!). I think those games are entirely acceptable even though I hate playing them and never do. Then there's the 'wait 10 hours' or 'wait 2 days' for upgrade/progress or whatever type games, or use this gold, you have 200 gold at the beginning, and the game is neatly engineered to essentially make you run out of gold right after getting used to/addicted to the game, then throw up a paywall or wait a day or spam your friends and do their marketing. Candy Crush does this, but it's not nearly as bad as some games like Battle Island. At last I want to mention payment systems. That's something I think is very important and something that will be opened up soon. And interestingly enough, HTML5 both stands to gain the most from better payment systems and it's the most accepting of them. Apple won't quickly allow other payment systems because it competes with their 30% cut, their mission to get the next billion creditcards on file etc. So why is this important? Well, if you only had to pay 5 cents to play the game and did not have to go through any complex hoops to pay. You could just give your email and password, then press okay to send just that amount, and that's all. If that is possible, *so many* games could be viable paid for upfront. IAPs wouldn't be necessary to fund or monetize a game. You could essentially get money through volume, basically what ads are for the industry, without the annoyance of ads or the lack of effectiveness of some ad campaigns. Microtransactions are surprisingly hard however, they barely exist anywhere because transaction fees often start at 25 or 50 cents. Paying 5 sends or paying a fraction of a cent isn't really something that fits in our financial system, our financial technology or consumer mindframes. But that's something I think will change. Bitcoin was mentioned earlier on these forums, it's a great tool to do such microtransactions. If you get a thousand plays and they all pay 5 cents or 20 cents, that's a really great eCPM compared to ads and you're not annoying anyone, not obstructing or slowing down gameplay, not putting up paywalls or giving people with money unfair ingame advantages. So I hope payment systems will be improving and we're seeing a looot of news in that area. This wouldn't just change games by the way, it could really revolutionize all media. Newspapers for example could really benefit from microtransactions. Things like youtube or email. Imagine only accepting email if it was coupled with a payment of a fraction of a cent, I'd send just as many emails to my friends, colleagues etc, but it'd pretty much erradicate the majority of spam overnight. If watching a youtube video costs a fraction of a cent, I'd still do it, I wouldn't have to look at ads and someone with a million views could still make thousands of dollars from his views on a single video. Vlogging, podcasts, radio, newspapers and even simply accessing things like blogs, voluntarily paying fractions of a cent for wikipedia articles etc. It'd allow anyone to monetize anything in a fair, by-consumption manner, without immediately requiring subscriptions, large payments and it could replace advertising all together (which is a function taken over by people, reviews, news and word of mouth in a more social and connected world. Spamming banners is not the future of marketing your product). All these things require very elegant, secure, quick and extremely low-cost payment systems and they'e coming!
  8. Mostly doesn't work. For example, Toon Goggles just posted it has 350k plays per month on average. If you monetize it with ads at an ad per play and an eCPM of say $1.50, that's roughly $500. Usually revenue is split 50/50, so if Toon Goggles has 100 games on file, that's $2.50 per game per month of revenue. (we've had reports from developers they make < $0.50 per month). Now, Toon Goggles is just an example and there are platforms out there that reach many more players. BoosterMedia for example has millions of monthly active users, each playing the game multiple times each month. Spil Games probably boasts 200 MAU (although it probably counts its massive flash network and does not count unique users because that would mean its games are played by 1/15 internet users!). These two companies, both from the Netherlands by the way, generate solid revenue and that's why the latter is commonly seen licensing HTML5 games around $500 non-exclusive and upwards of $3.000 for exclusives. Generally if a publisher is not willing to pay you $400-500 for a license, it's because they won't make more than double that from ads and don't want to invest and potentially lose to build portfolio size. That means the revenue share will very likely pay very little. There are a few exceptions like BM who generally don't do lumpsum amounts even though they have good money from ads. Should you still do it? That depends on your opportunity cost, really. If you value your free time, or have loads of client-work that will definitely pay, I wouldn't bother with 9/10 revenue sharing deals that generate $50 a month. Packaging and branding the games for these platforms is just not worth the hassle. But if you don't have any client work, nothing else to do, then why not! It usually doesn't hurt if you've already sold some non-exclusives, very few platforms ask you how much exposure your game has gotten before deciding to license it. If you can negotiate your own brand/linkback, it might drive a bit of traffic back to your site, too. Me personally, it's really simple. From some publishers I know they can deliver massive traffic, e.g. BM. I'll do an adshare with them anyday (unless their API gets extremely complex). From others I have no clue and I'll ask for some rough figures of traffic for their platform and for your average game. Then I look at the implementation. If there's a bit of traffic and upwards potential and I just have to add a single brand, I'll do it and upload it. If I have to integrate some complex API for every single of my game and spend days on integrating my portfolio for $50 a month, I'll skip it.
  9. Very interesting, bitcoin enthusiast myself here and I know of a few other HTML5 devs who are. Definitely want to keep up to date on this but not sure how I would be able to help and if I have any time for it. Drowning in work at the moment. Been thinking about developing for bitcoin for a while but I don't have much experience in some of the key areas, in particular security, so it's just been a thought so far. Anyway, what's the general concept you're trying to push towards? You mentioned passing around bitcoins with games, it's a little vague still. Happy to hear any elaboration on this
  10. A few things to note: - Always have some kind of credits / linkback to your own game. Even if a game gets plays elsewhere, you'll at least benefit from some exposure driving traffic back to you. This also helps give you the credibility you are the original creator of the work when you request it to be removed from platforms. - Consider running a very simple server that responds to very simple get requests. e.g. a http request to the url yourserver.com/?game=game_id will return the latest version of your game. Run this request ingame, and if it's different from the one you're hosting on your own website, quit the game and simply show a button linking back to your own website or partners. You don't actually have to change the game at all, but you can simply change the ID number monthly and reupload, should take 3 minutes per game. It's a small effort on your part that can be circumvented by a slightly bigger, yet still smallish effort on the pirates' part, but generally all they do is run a script, download all your files, find a suitable icon-image and package these things in bulk. If the game doesn't work, it's unlikely they'll go through the effort of trying to hack it somehow. So even small deterrents really help with small games that are auto-pirated in bulk, especially by people clueless about anything other than downloading, packaging and uploading other peoples' work. - Mail the content provider/host. Very often pirates will host or market a game through entirely legitimate sales channels who have a policy of complying with IP-infringement complaints because their business can't legitimately exist if it doesn't honor such requests. While some of such hosts won't go out of their way to fight piracy on their platform, they will generally honour requests to at least keep up the appearance of being anti-piracy. This generally works much better than contacting the pirate himself. Which is the next thing you should do. - Ignore it. If you look closely, the pirate has less than 400 downloads on 10 games. 40 downloads per game on average. (for your game probably a bit less, e.g. he also pirated Zombies Can't Jump which is probably a big chunk of those 400 downloads!) You're *not* missing out on any revenue. Those 40 downloads are probably worth about 50 dollar cents. If you have a job that pays $15 an hour, spending more than two minutes on this means you have a more profitable opportunity cost haha. For smaller game titles, piracy generally has no effect on your sales, not to the extent that going out of your way to prevent it is worthwhile.
  11. Hehe, because everyone thinks they can still make money out of it. I mean at the end of the day you can set up a site like this with the best arcade package, hosting for a year and a custom theme for under $300. It's a small investment for your own portal with hundreds to thousands of games. If you can market it well, curate the games well, write some unique descriptions for some of the popular games, build a viral campaign, build links, integrate social stuff and drive traffic, you're essentially able to make money in your sleep. Some are quite succesful. Plicatibu for example mentioned he has well over 50 thousand unique visitors per month. If a unique visitor plays 8 game sessions and looks at 10 refreshed pages in a month, that's 500k pages served, with 2 ads on a page that's a million ads. With an eCPM of say $1 that's a thousand dollars a month in income. A great place to start investing in more marketing, new websites, better content etc. The problem is, all that really is very difficult. It's definitely not as popular to do as it used to be and I see a lot of people make very little money and then end up selling their site for $50 or $200. It takes a long time to build up the right numbers and unique content. I'd rather stick with building games, but it's definitely an interesting career
  12. It's hard to say. On the one hand publishers accept extreme amounts of near-duplicate content. The amount of match-3 games for example that still sell (I saw an exclusive sell for a few thousand recently earlier this month) is bordering on the silly you would think if you're new to the industry. On the other hand, unique content generally always does best if it's very polished. Look at Zombies can't jump, a game like that has great value. So categories are really hard to say. For one, most publishers have multiple portals, barely anyone has only a single website. But even the ones with a single website will have different game categories (Girls and Women being very very important in the casual game market). So they're really looking for quite a broad range of games, but I'd definitely urge anyone to consider making female-oriented games. What that means is even harder to define, and I think it's important not to stereotype this and make yet another dress-up game. But that's something to think about. Again, Candy Crush is a great example, with the most popular gaming category being women between 22 and 55 who collectively spend about half a million dollars a day on this addictive game. Publishers love that and focus on this segment. That means that one thing you should be careful with is macho/violent themes. Not sure how well strategy/action will faire, it depends on the context. Plants vs zombies is a family-friendly & gender-neutral strategy game that will do very well, but your typical world-war strategy game is not family-friendly or gender-neutral enough to allow publishers to market it to everyone. So I don't really think 'what categories' is a good question to ask. But in short, puzzle, girls, action are a few good categories.
  13. In terms of gameplay, you either want a simple mechanic with high-volumes of levels (e.g. there are about a million sokoban/sudoku games with a million levels ) or games where you have an infinite gameplay mechanic. (e.g. an infinite runner, word games that randomly pick from a dictionary of thousands of words, a dress-up game with enough items to allow hundreds of thousands of permutations), the best example probably being a match-3 game which keeps on generating new objects to match creating infinite gameplay opportunities. The key is then to divide those up into bite-sized gameplay packets (e.g. 90-second match-3 games) which introduce gameplay elements that get increasingly harder and somehow incentivize the user to come back and play on to the point that they either look at a lot of ads, or are so eager to get ahead that they're willing to pay for in-game perks. Candy Crush is an absolute prime example, although publishers don't require such a depth of balance, social and inapp integration or polish, they'll be very interested if you can deliver something like it. Thats kind of the most formulaic way to look at commercial casual games. Publishers want to have users return and want to retain users as long as possible. More time spent on the platform means more revenue generally. So a game that has 8 30-second puzzles and has no replay value is pretty limited.
  14. How does that work though? There has not been any information from any of these programs that I know of about them actively promoting your game or guaranteeing a certain amount of exposure like you would normally expect from publisher/promotional agreements with stores. Listing your game on e.g. the Amazon platform is something you can do yourself, but in this case it's through your own account rather than by sending your files to an fgl mail and simply getting paid, which means there's a possibility for future content/monetization updates. As for Tizen, it clearly states there is no inapp purchase support. And for Amazon it's explicitly been stated you can't have a premium game through this programme, only free games. So all in all, the $200 is not necessarily a bad deal, but don't forget they launched this deal when there was a similar one at $250 by appbackr for $250. It's quite clear (although I can be mistaken) that all of this is funded by the stores behind this, Tizen in particular, so it's still not clear to me why I'd be a great idea to give away my control over future versions/updates of my game, have monetization limitations, share 30% of my revenue with FGL for the task of implementing an API, when appbackr paid $250 without requiring anything? FGL is doing interesting things, great things actually, it's slow but they're working HTML5 partly because there's a lot of interest now from some stores. I appreciate the fact that stores are going through parties like FGL, Yoyogames or appbackr because they don't have the bandwidth to deal with hundreds of developers themselves. But some things are not clear from a technical/monetization/ownership & updating perspective, other things are not transparent and so far the incentives are just not competitive. Would love to hear from anyone who's been targetting these stores, particularly through programmes like these
  15. Thanks for sharing. As far as I understand it, all this money is coming from companies like Samsung and Intel who are trying to push Tizen. It's actually all just Tizen money and they apparently reached out to larger companies with big networks for quality assurance, communication and exposure. In return these companies get to deliver big revenues to their users and recruit new users for their SDK or API. Samsung did a 4 million contest to produce Tizen games last summer. Yoyogames currently has a $60k contest to produce Tizen games. FGL now has this send-in period.There was another send-in that offered a similar amount that closed last month. It'd be nice to see these companies be a bit more transparent about this. I'd definitely urge anyone to look into alternatives. $200 isn't much as a lumpsum amount. Monetization is tricky because Tizen doesn't really support inapp purchases very well at the moment, and I'm not sure how advertisers react to web-ads (e.g. Leadbolt serves ads only for mobile devices, but doesn't recognize Tizen devices at the moment). So monetization is tricky and barely anyone has any test devices. Tizen is definitely interesting, but I have my doubts about their current approach. As these games are published through third party companies, I'm not sure how you actually retain control over your IP for future (monetization) updates if and when Tizen does take off. Sure $200 is great on the low-end, but there's a few developers here who make a minimum of $5000 of revenue per platform/store. In that case, a lack of monetization or control is just a joke. Sadly, most of these contents barely have any information, they've got a small 'guidelines/api' to get your game running without a Tizen test-device and an email to send in final documents, that's it. Happy to hear other peoples' thoughts on these contests as well as Tizen in general. Always eager to learn!