Archive for August, 2011

HTML5 Game promotion strategy

Posted in Entrepreneurship, Web Development on August 17th, 2011 by Jarred – 6 Comments

I have just finished my first game and am now in the process of promoting it. From what I gather, if I were promoting a flash game the process would pretty much involve submitting the game to the many gaming portals and hopefully land a sponsorship or licensing deal. It appears (when it comes to flash games) that as long as you have a reasonably decent game you have a reasonably chance at getting accepted into one of these portals and making some profit. As for HTML5 games, things are completely different. HTML5 is a new technology and there is not yet a whole industry built up to cater to the indie game developer. There are no huge gaming portals (that I could find at least) looking to license/sponsor games done in HTML5. I do believe that HTML5 is the future and will eventually replace flash, but we are not there yet, so I have to come up with a different strategy.

Initially I was trying to promote my game the same way you would promote any other website by trying to get my link in as many places as possible. I was visiting every blog that had anything to do with HTML5 games and trying to spam my link in a comment somewhere. However I came to the realization that doing this is probably is not an incredibly efficient way to go about getting more traffic. My target audience does not go to blogs about HTML5 games and then look through the comments for links to playable games. It is true that links may help improve my search engine rankings a little (maybe) but once again, I am not sure if this really will lead to more visits. When a casual gamer wants to play a casual game they usually are not sure what they want to play and are looking for site where they can browse and try out lots of games easily, kinda like an arcade (hence the popularity of the large gaming portals). They are probably not looking for a site with a single game on it (like mine).

This line of reasoning has led me to conclude that instead of trying to improve my organic search engine rankings for the game(i.e. getting a massive amount of backlinks), My strategy should be focusing on trying to get my game on sites that already have users looking to play games. Below is a list of some of the ideas I have come up with on how to go about doing this.

Social Bookmarking/Sharing (Facebook, Twitter, Google +1)

How many things have you looked at because one of your friends facebook ‘liked’ it? It kinda seems like this may be were the web is heading and I think it wise to try and tap it.

 Apps Sites

I already put the game in the Google Chrome Store. So far I have seen almost no traffic come from the listing, but I do know there are likely a lot of users there looking for games. Beyond the Chrome Store I know that there are many other apps sites/stores that I need to get listed in.

 Submit the game to the HTML5 portals that do exist

There are a handful of smaller gaming portals out there specifically for HTML5 games. They are small and just starting out, but who knows what they will become in the future. I already have gotten into one of them and they send me a few visitors each day.

 Start my own HTML5 portal site.

I am realizing that the is a need for more HTML5 arcade type sites, so why not try and fill it. I am planning on creating more games in the future so it might be a good asset to have to promote future games.

Update: my HTML5 portal site is now completed. You can submit your HTML5 game here.

 HTML5 Design/Promo sites

Due to the newness of the technology there are lots of sites out there which are showcasing HTML5 examples. I think that this is a great way to attract visitors who are looking to try something out. I already made it onto one such site and it has sent me hundreds of visitors.


Centering A Div – Quick Reference Guide

Posted in All on August 4th, 2011 by Jarred – Comments Off on Centering A Div – Quick Reference Guide

I have been designing web pages using CSS for years now I have to admit, I still have to regularly look up how to center a div. It seems simple enough (maybe I am too used to the old HTML <center> tags), but I as am constantly struggling with it I decided to write a quick reference guide.

Center a Relatively Positioned Div

.centeredDiv {
width: 500 px;
margin-left: auto;
margin-right: auto;
}

Note: You must set a width for this to work

Center Absolutely Positioned Div

.centeredDiv {
width: 100px;
left: 50%;
margin-left: -50px; /*half of the width*/
}

Note: This will center the div relative to the first parent element that is not positioned static or the <html> block if no element is found.

As I was figuring all this out (again) to write it down, I think I am realizing the reason why I always seem to get it wrong. You have to employ different strategies depending on whether or not the element you are trying to center is absolutely position or relatively positioned.

 

Source: http://www.thesitewizard.com/css/center-div-block.shtml
Source: http://www.sitepoint.com/css-center-position-absolute-div/
Source: http://www.w3schools.com/css/css_positioning.asp

AsteroidsInc is ready to go

Posted in Entrepreneurship, Programing, Web Development on August 1st, 2011 by Jarred – 1 Comment


Well at long last I think I am finally ready to release my first game. Check it out at AsteroidsInc.com

 The game was programed entirely in JavaScript using the HTML5 canvas and audio objects. It should require no plugins to play (looks like safari may require quicktime). This was pretty much the first game I have ever programed and I learned a lot and did lots of stuff wrong the first time around (and most likely still have a lot of stuff not quite right). If I write another one it should go a lot smoother. If you play it and have any feedback or find any bugs please let me know.

 At the outset I had even grander designs for the game, but I decided to try and simplify the design so that I could get the game to a releasable state sooner. As it was this beast took me several months of my free time to complete. I estimate it has probably taken me around 200 hours total from start to finish (next time I will try and keep better track of the time).

 So if you refer to my post here on how I plan on accomplishing my goal this marks the completion of step one and two (at least for my first project). I hopefully have created something useful which will attract Visitors & Links.

 Now I plan on trying to figure out the most efficient way to monetize the game and start generating some passive income from it. I am aware that it will likely be a challenge and may not be a simple task to do, but I am determined to see this through. I will keep the graph on the upper right hand corner of the blog updated to track my progress.

Little surprises for the uninitiated

Posted in All on August 1st, 2011 by Jarred – Comments Off on Little surprises for the uninitiated

AsteroidsInc is pretty much the first game I have ever programed so there have been lots of surprises along the way. Probably one of the bigger surprises I have come across so far is the amount of time it has taken me to program the menu system. I was expecting that to be one of the easier/simpler parts, but has taken me quite some time to get everything working correctly. I have tried to take a OOP approach to make everything as organized as possible, but it is still quite complicated, is requiring a massive chunk of code, and in truth has been quite boring. Quite possibly this is due to me doing stuff the “hard way” or flat out the “wrong” way (like everything else), but I cant think of any easier way to accomplish what I need. I guess the moral of this story is that sometimes the little things take a lot longer than expected. I am finding that it takes quite a bit of perseverance to push through the “little” things that are turning out to be “big” things. Hopefully the finished product will be worth it…

Along the same note, I think that focus is also becoming an important factor in bringing this project together. I keep on coming up with other projects/ideas/tangents that sound more interesting in the moment and the temptation is to work on those. However, time I have to work on this is limited and if I am ever going to finish my game, I am going to have to focus on it.

HTML5 Canvas performance for scaling sprites

Posted in All on August 1st, 2011 by Jarred – 1 Comment

Well…This is likely a nobrainer for most, but for some reason it took me quite a while to figure this one out.  In my latest game asteroidsInc I have been designing I was experiencing some pretty awful frame rates, and so I started to try and optimized the code for better performance.  I was using the JavaScript drawImage function to scale the images I was using as sprites in order to achieve a retro pixely effect.  While it did accomplish the effect I was looking for it turns out the frame rate took a big hit due to the scaling.  To improve the performance I simply used Photoshop to enlarge my images (in order to retain the retro effect) and then used the drawImage function using no scaling. The performance boost was quite significant. In hindsight it seems quite obvious that using the scaling was a bad idea on sprites and would require more resources to render, but hey…sometimes the obvious just takes a little longer.

 

In recap, if you are are trying to animate multiple objects on the canvas it appears that resizing the images themselves has performance advantages over using the drawImage to scale the images.

8/11 Update

Posted in Entrepreneurship on August 1st, 2011 by Jarred – Comments Off on 8/11 Update

Well, unfortunately as of the beginning of August I have yet to make a single cent in my little experiment. All of this is taking a whole lot longer than I originally expected. Good news is, my game is finally done and I should start seeing some revenue from that in the next month. I am hoping it is as simple as doing a bit of promotion, and then getting some ads up. As for my blog (this blog) it really isn’t doing so hot. Only gets a handful of visitors a day and so far has only had a single comment. The most visited post so far has the free animated explosion .gif post, which is a little disappointing because its not really that relevant to the overall theme of the blog. I guess I might need to look into to promoting the blog a little to see if I can get some traffic here as well. I will keep you updated