Blog: January 2017
January has seen me take a nose dive into HTML5 game development. It’s been fun, but there have certainly - already -
been some challenges. What are these? Well, let’s see… Firstly, I guess, is the fact that they are web based games. This
means that aside from learning how to make a game, you also have to make the game work within a browser. This means
meant learning some new languages as none of these have been of much interest to me in the past. I’ve done some studying
and after a week or so, feel I have a basic grasp of them. As time moves on I think I will need to continue to learn these more,
but for now, I have a basis to get a game up and running. The good thing is that there is a reasonable amount of overlap to
what I already know, so the initial mind boggle hasn’t occurred.
Second challenge, is resource management - or efficiency if you prefer. You see, when making a Windows/Mac based game,
you can be fairly liberal with your resources. You can fling sprites around and it makes no difference, other than a larger
game size of course. Considering I’m talking in 100’s of MB and modern AAA games are talking in 50GB+, I have been able
to be fancy free at my indie level. It turns out this isn’t possible for HTML5. Very quickly my game was chugging like a beast
on Android, and my Android phone is fairly top of the line. The problem appeared to be with multiple 60 frame sprites being
on the go at one time. It didn’t like all those image swaps. So I had to get inventive. I actually found an ingenious solution on
a blog for a game called Crashlands. Even though they weren’t talking about HTML5, they did mention that for their animated
sprites, they used limbs. I’m sure a lot of people already do this, but it hadn’t occurred to me until now as I have always
animated through image swaps (like a flip book). But using limbs, I was able to take 260 images and reduce them to around
50; just for one character. All I needed to do then was move the limbs using code. Turns out this is pretty easy! Net result -
game chugged a lot less!
So what is this game I have been developing in HTML5? Well, oddly, considering it is now January, it is a Christmas game
called the Evil Elves! The reason for this is that I had some festive sprites from a previous project and a nice little idea for a
Christmas based game. So, I decided to make it! I thought I could learn my way through HTML5 with it, then refine it later in
the year ready for a Christmas release.
At the end of January I also participated in my first Game Jam. This has been an interesting experience, but as the whole
voting part of it carries on until mid Feb, I think I’ll leave it to February’s blog to discuss in detail my thoughts!