GameMix Blog

GameMix Joins Kik Messanger

GameMix Team is Joining Kik!

We are excited to share some big news: We’re joining Kik! For two
years, we’ve worked incredibly hard to make it as easy as possible to
play mobile HTML Games. It has been a fun journey and rewarding to
build a product that nearly half a million Kik users play per
month. We’re excited to bring the knowledge and experience we’ve
gained to contribute to new products and services planned by Kik. We
couldn’t be happier to join forces.

Huge thanks to all our investors, users, partners, and customers who helped us
realize our vision. If you have any questions or want to get in touch,
shoot us an email to info@gamemix.com.

Find us at: http://blog.kik.com/new-la-office/

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Navigating The Wild West of HTML5 Games

It’s no secret that HTML5 gaming is still in its infancy. The “wild west” is probably a decent term to use when describing this space. It’s a bittersweet territory to play in, one that is ripe for innovation yet sour to a formula that works universally in its current state. By formula, I mean creating a sustainable business as an HTML5 game developer.

So how do we create this formula? Where are we going and how do we pave the path to get there? Well, the right answer to that would probably lead to some pretty fancy dinners. However, I believe the starting point is closer to us than we may think – that starting point being a retrospect on native apps.

If we look at the evolution of how revenue is generated with native apps, it has certainly witnessed some major shifts. The original model stated that we should charge for our games upfront, monetizing users with a fixed cost that scales directly with the number of downloads. Then market saturation kicked in and game visibility became a rich man’s world. Indie developers could no longer compete on exposure with a paid app, so we had to resort to offering the game for free and cross our fingers that virality would follow. Which also meant that we needed to find creative ways to monetize users on the back-end.

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Enter in-app purchases and advertising. It’s easy to look at [insert any buzzworthy game here] and see why they achieved so much success. It wasn’t due to how much they charged for their product but how they capitalized on the immersive experience. They analyzed where the stickiness occurred and demonstrated a compelling consumer offer via in-app purchases. And for those able to add a complementary revenue stream, interactive advertising provided a nice channel for monetizing high-volume traffic. Overall, these new methods of revenue creation were a gift in disguise because it required us to be more creative as game developers, designing games that hooked users enough to motivate a transaction.

Which brings us back to the wild west of HTML5. It isn’t unrealistic to say that our space could mirror the monetization cycle of native games. Maybe even faster so. Which is why we need to start looking at the smart monetization points of our games if we expect to create a business from them. Offering a non-restart or extra lives option for a nominal fee. Or how about prompting a rewards-based sponsor offer in between every other level? These approaches can provide different marks of value for your players while minimizing a negative user experience.

Anyone who’s ever deployed a game on any app store knows that acquiring quality traffic is crazy expensive. Maintaining positive LTV’s after the fact is whole different story. This is why (uh-oh, shameless plug) GameMix exists – we strive for smarter game discovery because everybody wins. Players get a better, relevant experience and developers see a better quality of traffic.

Imagine scaling your traffic simply on the merit of your game quality and relevance to other games. Instant gaming (a la HTML5) allows this to be quite seamless. Couple this smart discovery (a la GameMix) with a smart monetization point and you’re literally in business. This is the world we imagine.

As HTML5 technology continues to improve, it will be interesting to witness how solid game design gets leveraged into intelligent revenue channels. So saddle up and load those pistols, it’s time to become sheriff of this wild west.

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HTML5 Game Developer Spotlight – Ed Farias

ed_farias_picFor our third developer spotlight, we would like to introduce to you Ed Farias. Ed has a very rich history in the gaming industry. From Arcade-in-a-Box to Construct2Tutorial, Ed continues to show his love and support for the gaming community. We hope you’re able to learn a thing or two from our interview with Ed, and don’t forget to check out his Construct 2 tutorials if you’re looking to start making HTML5 games.

GameMix: Hi Ed, when did you first become interested in game development?

Ed: I started programming when I was really young using QBASIC on my ADAM computer. Back then I just copied programs out of magazines, never really understood what it was doing. I never really did anything with it until I got to College and started learning Visual Basic 3.0. Then I made a few baseball games based on dice rolls and statistics. I was playing baseball in college at the time, so it was fun to combine my 2 loves. From there, I stopped doing games and just started creating windows apps that were useful to my jobs. I’ve always had a love for making programs that made my job easier 🙂

GameMix: How did you get started with HTML5 game development?

Ed: Every few years I would get a bug to try and create a game. First in visual basic, then rpg maker, then game maker. I never finished anything. Then the bug came around again and found Construct 2. I fell in love and finally finish my first game, Ground Control. It’s nothing amazing, but finishing it was something to be proud of :).

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Building Logic for AI in Games – Part 2: Vision

In my previous article, Building Logic for AI in Games – Part 1: Simple Movement, I discussed how I made enemies follow certain paths in my HTML5 game, Infiltration. I then had to figure out how to make enemies see the player.

In order to check if an enemy sees the player, I first perform a simple distance check. Indeed, if an enemy is too far from the player, I consider that he shouldn’t be able to see him.

Then, I perform the angle check. I have two angles: the direction towards which the enemy looks, and the angle from the enemy directly to the player. Considering that the enemy has a 90° field of view, I have to check if the difference between these two angles is below or above 45°.

schema-coneCalculating the difference between two angles is more difficult than it sounds. It is more difficult than simply calculating the difference between two numbers because of the sign. This article explains it in further detail. Now that I am sure that the player is within sight of the enemy, and in its field of view, I have to check if there are no walls between them. This is the trickiest part.

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HTML5 Game Developer Spotlight – Taylor Lino

charyb-logo

Today we would like to introduce you to Taylor Lino from Charyb Games. Taylor is an HTML5 game developer who develops games primarily with GameMaker: Studio. You can check out the games he has worked on at charyb.com.

GameMix: Thanks for joining us today, Taylor.  So, when did you first become interested in game development?

Taylor: I played a lot of games when I was younger. Some of my favorite memories playing games involved Crash Bandicoot on Playstation, Super Smash Bros., and Melee on the Gamecube. Those were definitely my two favorite consoles of all time (and still are). Games like Crash Bandicoot, Super Mario, Luigi’s Mansion, Castlevania, and games that were/are (IMO) high quality with a great storyline helped me develop a unique perspective. In large part, I really think such experiences are what inspired me to become a game developer. I definitely saw myself doing game development for a long, long time.

GameMix: How did you get started with HTML5 game development?

Taylor: The first time I was introduced to HTML5 was at school when one of my web development instructors told us about a new development for browsers that would essentially “put flash off the market”. As a fan of many flash games, I became very interested in the possibilities of HTML5.

GameMix: Do you develop games full-time or part-time?

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Building Logic for AI in Games – Part 1: Simple Movement

In this series of articles, I’m going to describe how I created the enemies’ artificial intelligence in my game Infiltration.

The first step was to determine how enemies should move throughout the levels when they do not interact with the player. Having them take random patterns was not an option, because I wanted them to take the exact same path every time the user plays the same level.

In order to achieve this, I decided to use nodes. Each node is a point in the level, and has a successor and a waiting time. When an enemy reaches one node, he stays idle for the specified time and then walks towards the next node.

waypoints

Some of them are spawning nodes, meaning that enemies should spawn at their position at the beginning of the level. On the image above, you can identify the spawning nodes by their color: the orange ones are spawning nodes, and the yellow ones are just regular nodes.

Each node can be identified with a unique ID. This ID is used by other nodes to identify their successors. On the screenshot, the ID is the text above each node. The number next to the ID is the waiting time.

warehouse

The nodes are connected to each other and they create a graph on the level. Each connected component must contain a cycle in order to be the path of one or several enemies.

I already used the concept of nodes in one of my first games: Haunted Gardens. If you try it, you might notice that zombies have pretty random movement patterns, but they do follow predefined paths as much as possible. Infiltration needed something more restrictive, less random.

haunted

Using nodes also allowed me to optimize collision detection. As I am not going to connect two nodes with a wall between them, I don’t need to check the collisions with the enemies, as long as they stay on the predefined paths. In other words, the graph can be seen as train tracks: everything should be fine, as long as nothing gets in the way, like, for instance, the player. But this is another topic that I will cover in the next article.

Rémi Vansteelandt- GameMix and HTML5 game developer

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Anyone Can Make Beautiful Games: Tweening

This is a guest blog post written by Ryan Davis, who is an HTML5 game developer and designer. He is the owner of Creative Ink Games.

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I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Anyone can make beautiful games. Last time I wrote about this I made a list of things you can use to make your games beautiful, but this time I’ll go into bit more detail about just one concept so we can drill down a bit further.

For those who are not yet aware, tweening is an animator’s term for the process of drawing frames between two distinct and separate images. In traditional animation, the lead animators usually create the rough outline for a scene and pass on their work to a team of animators who fill in the gaps. Good animation has excellent use of tweening. You should not be able to tell where each key frame is.

tweening_html5_gamedev

Game developers also benefit from tweening. If you would like to read more about why we tween, you can look at some of my previous posts. For this post, however, I will be talking more specifically about how to tween. Let’s start with an example.

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W3C Introduces The <live> Tag

GameMix_Team_Halloween

This year for Halloween, the GameMix team revealed a new World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standard – the <live> tag. It was a very exciting day at the office this Halloween, as we were able to demonstrate the <live> tag in action for the very first time. The first people to witness this amazing development were the fine folks of Idealab. Every year Idealab has a Halloween celebration where different companies dress up for the day and put on a small (optional) performance. The GameMix team decided to bring some great HTML5 games to life using the <live> tag. Keep reading to see and play the games that inspired our costumes.

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HTML5 Game Developer Spotlight – Johannes Wärn

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 5.49.29 PMWelcome! This is the second installment of our GameMix HTML5 game developer spotlight series. For our second developer spotlight, we would like to introduce you to Johannes Wärn. Johannes is a very talented HTML5 game developer with a great story about how he became involved with HTML5 games. He was born in Stockholm, Sweden, and he is currently studying mathematics at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. In 2011, he placed second in an HTML5 game competition by Spil Games for his game Lazors. Spil Games described it as being perfectly designed for touchscreen devices.

It’s a great puzzle game, and it really shows off Johannes’ skills as an HTML5 game developer. With that said, let’s now turn to our question and answer session with Johannes. We hope that you’ll gain some valuable insight into HTML5 game development.

 

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The Past Week In Mobile And Gaming – Week of 9/30/13

This past week we saw some very exciting news in the mobile and gaming space. From HTC looking to bring Windows Phone to its line of Android devices to an industry look at how wearable tech can win over gamers, it was an eventful week and we look forward to recapping it with you today!

kids_tablets

More than a quarter of UK kids aged 12 to 15 have their own tablets. One of the major benefits of HTML5 game development is that you’re not restricted to one single platform. Yes, you can develop games that only work on desktop, but in doing so you’re not taking full advantage of developing games in HTML5. UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has released a report showing that tablet usage and ownership among children is growing. What does this mean for you if you’re an HTML5 game developer? It means you might want to start looking into one of the major benefits of developing in HTML5 – it actually works on mobile devices. (Read more.)

HTC-Windows-Phone-8S-Yellow-640x491Did you know that Microsoft is talking to HTC  about adding Windows OS to HTC’s Android-based smartphones? If the speculation is true, and this deal would be at little or no cost, then it would seem to further indicate Microsoft’s struggle to gain ground in the mobile market. (Read more.) Does that mean you should not develop games for Windows mobile devices? No. However, it might impact how you prioritize your development resources. Interestingly, the CEO of gaming company QONQR attributes much of his game’s success in the Windows store over iOS to device support and overall visibility. “Windows Phone can generate twice as much revenue for developers as iOS – and ten times the downloads”. (Read more.)

be-more-mobile

If you’re a mobile developer, maybe you should consider being more “mobile”. At least that’s what Stephen Morris, the technical director at Greenfly Studios, said this past week. According to Stephen, “It’s all too easy to forget that, while focusing on making your game a success, life is happening outside of the four walls surrounding your office. Ironically, the portable nature of mobile games doesn’t always extend to the developer who is chained to a desk.” (Read more.)

 

Have you heard about Pocket Gamer Big Indie Pitch? This is a completely free event and it will be held in conjunction with AppsWorld London on 23 October 23 from 2pm to 4:30pm. Check it out to have you game seen by as many mobile journalists and taste-makers as possible. (Read more.)

Thanks for tuning in to this week’s recap of the past week in mobile and gaming news! Check back next Monday for another update. If you have any suggestions, tips, or feedback, please let us know at tips@gamemix.com.

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