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Questions from a HTML5 rookie: Unity, market and web portals


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Hi. I'm a programmer and designer who is currently deciding about the next steps in gamedev. I've been reading about the market and got mixed info about some topics, so I'd like to ask you.

1. Unity: Is Unity WebGL considered HTML5 for the purposes of this market? Do these game portals (Y8 and alikes) accept Unity WebGL games?
2. Talking about market: how exactly does the market works? The newbie way is to submit the game to portals, with APIs that grants us a very small sum of money after thousands of impressions? Any other important strategies?
3. Let's say I have a game done (good enough to have fun, not good enough to sell for a thousand bucks): What should I do next?

For clarification, I'm not a complete newbie, but I know very little about HTML5 and it seems like an interesting path to go.


Some examples of previous works:



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  • 5 months later...
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I too would be interested to hear. I know that at least in the past mobile browser support for Unity WebGL was an issue and I'm guessing the 3D stuff would not run well on old phones. I also know that at least some publishers consider Unity WebGL games different from generic "HTML5" games. Right now I'm thinking the Unity "Project Tiny" will be eventually absorbed by Unity "DOTS", which could become a decent way to deploy Unity projects to the web.

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If you are asking this question then you are probably planning to make a game first, then hope to find an audience / monetisation second.  If so use whatever tool you like - it really won't make much difference to the financial outcome but will make a huge difference to your enjoyment and productivity in the meanwhile.  Be mindful that Unity is proprietary, it is offered as a service, there is no entitlement to it.  Therefore Godot might be worth a direct comparison for similar tooling.


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I can't talk about Unity because I don't know it, but AFAIK it currently doesn't generates pure HTML5 code. One needs a plugin to run it on browsers. 

@Roth You'd better off picking a javascript framework. In this case i highly recommend Phaser.js .js. It is the best 2D framework hands down.

If you intend to generate games for MS Windows, MacOS, Linux,  Android and iOS, there are tools that allow you generate binaries for these platform from your javascript code.

Other frameworks I'd recommend that generates HTML5/javascript framework are cocos2d-x  (I'm talking specifically about its tool named Cocos Creator).

For the above mentioned frameworks its required you understand how to program in javascript.

If you don't know / don't want to learn it, you have other options. 

Gideros mobile:

- its programming language is Lua. Lua is a very easy programming language. It resembles python (but it is easier). Also, lua is the fasted script language. Under the hood Gideros engine is written in C++.

You write your game once in Lua and export it to MS Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iPhone and to WEB.

For WEB, the code generated is WASM instead of JavaScript. It has the advantage of make it harder to retrieve your source code than those written in plain JavaScript. 

Also Gideros allow minification, compression and encryption of both assets and source code. Its an extra layer of protection that will make reverse engendering harder.

I'm learning it since November 2019 and I'm loving it. I highly recommend it. 

Cocos2d-x also allow you to develop in C++ and Lua. You can export code to Android, iPhone and to WEB  (the code generated in this case is in javascript). I'm not sure if it exports to consoles (but I think so).

Openfl is a wonderful framework. You will code using Haxe programming language. Think of Haxe as ActionScript 3 on steroids. 

Openfl exports to MS Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iPhone, WEB and consoles.

There are a lot of frameworks I didn't talked about. You can search for them on Google. 

I highly recommend Gideros for those that don't want to code in JavaScript and Phaser for those that want to use it. But in the end,  you should study a bit of each framework that you think is nice, make some projects with it and then make an educated decision on which to use. 


Now that I talked a bit about which tools to use, let's talk about some options on how to make money with game development.  

1. Develop games as a freelancer. You can sign-up yourself in sites like upwork, and freelancer and take jobs to make custom games as well as convert games made in Flash to HTML5.


1.1 you must have a good experience making games in order to delivery what was requested. Otherwise you won't be paid.

1.2 you won't have any rights of games delivered.

1.3 Once a game is delivered you have to look for the next job.


2. You can sell exclusive licenses of your own games. You decide which game you want to do (based on your experience,  on your personal taste, on what you think market is demanding, or even by asking directly to probably clients).

You have to get in touch with sites like Y8 and deal with them directly.


2.1 you may develop a game market is not interested in. 

2.2 you have invest your time developing a game that may not be sold.

2.3 you have to invest your money buying assets (images, sounds...)

2.4 you have to digg for contacts of clients and sometimes its harder to get them. Sometimes they don't deal with an independent developer. They acquire their games directly from a partner.

2.5 it's a time consuming task to deal with many possible clients.

2.6 the process, from contacting a prospect until get contracts signed and receive the money may take months.

2.7 Your game must be well made, attractive and have a great playability in order to attract attention of your prospectors. The more amateur the game looks, the less it will be worth. 

Even with all this drawbacks, it's one of the best way to make money. 


3. You can sell non-exclusive licenses of your own game. It's very similar to selling exclusive licenses.

The differences are that in exclusive licenses the value paid by client is higher but you can sell the game just once and that in non-exclusive licenses, value paid is lower but you can the game many times.

Usually you would earn more selling non-exclusive licenses.

A very important think you must bear in mind if you want make a living selling non-exclusive licenses: NEVER, EVER sell non-exclusive licenses to game distribution services like famobi, game distribution, gamonetize, and others like them. They will distribute your game to all portals that use their services to get games and you will never be able to sell another non-exclusive licenses of that game. No one will pay for something they can have for free. You were warned!


3 - Monetize your games with ads. It basically works this way: you submit your game to a game distribution service like famobi, gamonetize and game distribution after adding their Ad SDKs.

Read what I wrote here: 

I'm sure that there are other ways to monetize, but those are the ones on the top of my head. 




Edited by plicatibu
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1 hour ago, plicatibu said:

I can't talk about Unity because I don't know it, but AFAIK it currently doesn't generates pure HTML5 code. One needs a plugin to run it on browsers. 

That was true many years ago, but not any longer.  Standart HTML5 output from Unity is effectively a WebAssembly blob that runs in all modern browsers, and it's possible to hook it into other Javascript (in or out) quickly enough.  It has it's advantages and drawbacks.  The new tooling, aka Tiny, is using ECS approaches to modularise things to an atomic level - and is very smart if you are impressed by such things.  But the takeaway is there's really no current reason to think that the output from Unity can't be as efficient (or more so) as something like Phaser given some of the techniques it now employs.  It's just that most developers aren't especially efficient in using the tools available ;)

As for the other points I think there's big risk in explaining "all the ways to make money" because most will result in high hopes, reality crunch, and loss.  Why?  Because it's easier than ever to make a game, so it's harder than ever to make a dollar from that game.  Instead move creative thinking to value generation: find a problem, fix it, get paid, repeat.


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@b10b Thank you for correcting me regarding Unity.

I know how hard it is to make money in the game industry,  but I never told them it would be easy :)

It seems OP and the others that posted didn't have a clue of monetization possibilities, so I told them some possible paths.

If you have some other ways I'd like to hear too. ;)


Edited by plicatibu
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47 minutes ago, plicatibu said:

If you have some other ways I'd like to hear too. ;)

I don't recommend anyone set out to make money from games.  Instead I propose generating something else of value from games, e.g. insights, influence, expression, loyalty.  Money will be attracted to anything exceptional.

@plicatibu Your post is a good description of those indie-web-game-niche-monetization-possible-paths and you've methodically and enthusiastically listed lots of detail.  Thank you for your contributions.

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  • 1 month later...

From talking to some developers of hypercasual game developers, many wanted to use Unity, but said it wasn't possible compared to something we offer. I think mostly because Cocos Creator uses Javascript and Typescript compared to Unity using C# and the difficulties of moving C# to JS. Not disparing them, but that's their challenge.

For the market, there aren't many ways other than Facebook or Google for HTML5 games that aren't niche except in China where WeChat and other mini-app games platforms that are getting popular here. Contact me if you want more information.

Start looking at platforms and how to add your game and monetization model ready for those platforms.

Good Luck!

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  • 2 months later...

Thanks a lot for all the insights and for the topic bump that brought this up again. I had already given up on getting these ridiculously valuable answers. Using Cocos2d or Phaser is certainly a possibility.

The thing is: We already have this Unity game ready (already released/sponsored on ArmorGames) and we will release it in HTML5 websites to get some awareness and a few bucks. My main problem is that I don't really know which are the best websites for this (since most are focused on pure HTML5 instead of WebGL), but I'll keep doing my research and post here if I find anything useful.

In case anyone is curious, this is our game: https://armorgames.com/cute-army-a-cat-story-game/18669

Thanks a lot again! It was already of great help to me and other people looking for these answers.

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