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Showing posts from 2016

Our games on Itch.io

For a while we were publishing our HTML5 games in one tiny server delivering static content, and it was fine, but if something lacked hosting our own games is exposure.

Hosting your games is not just hosting them, is also having to actively linked them, mention them and share them or they are not going to be seen.

Then we discover Itch.oi, a very simple but amazing platform which is similar to Steam but much more open in the sense you don't have to pass any filter to publish your games (https://ponup.itch.io), and once uploaded them they can be seen and discovered by a ever growing number of gamers.

If your game is for desktops, you can also upload ZIP files with installer, and even set a price that Itch.io collects all the money of your sales and then is transferred to you.
If you are and indie looking for yet another sale channel, give Itch.io  a chance, it's definitely a great platform and completely free so don't wait to publish!

Best PC/Laptop for game development

What does it mean the best in the context? To me is about possibilities, and efficiency.
Possibilities are available when your hardware runs all possible operating systems you want to target. If you are targeting mobile phones, iOS is a huge market and one you don't want to be left out. This means you either own a Mac Book/iMac or your run a Hackintosh. Android is not an issue as it can be develop in all major OSes (Windows, Linux, MACOS. Windows Phone is of course a Windows thing and you will need it but that's not a problem because there is no much you need to do to install windows on a regular PC or laptop.
Efficiency is about opening IDEs, running games at a good resolution, opening audio tools, 3d modeling tools (such as Blender) and compiling without wasting an awful lot of time. This of course is determined by things like CPU (Cores and speed), RAM (Quantity and speed) and disk (SSD or not) among other factors (GPU is also very important).
Another thing to consider is …

What is an edugame?

In simple terms, edugames is the result of combining education and games, or put in another way, using games to educate about a subject. The subject can go from mathematics, to astronomy, to traffic lights, and languages, but of course is not limited only to these topics, just anything that is knowledge and can be learnt by playing.
Parents find edugames great because they are a good compromise of only fun or only studying, and of course children can see that as well as a way to escape from the traditional, non-interactive way of studying.

Ponup Games is committed to do games that are suitable for young people, and therefore is preparing a few games which are going to be as educative as fun to play.

Game design documents

Put it simple, game design documents are documentation about games that cover things like what is the game about, what is the target audience, what are the game mechanics and to some extent how the game is going to be developed.


Writing a game design document is useful to validate a game idea before starting its implementation and is also a valuable document to atract new team members and/or investors.

Here there is a list of some document design documents we've found and could serve you as a foundation for your game:

Organize your game devGame pitchesRunaway studios GDDAn Ant's lifeProject ScarabDeathwith 1931

Other game development blogs

Let us share with you some of the gamedev blogs we are following, which are a source of technical knowledge and inspiration.

HobbyGameDev
http://www.hobbygamedev.com/Wolfire
http://blog.wolfire.com/LostGarden
http://www.lostgarden.com/Games from within
http://gamesfromwithin.com/Beautiful Pixels
http://beautifulpixels.blogspot.co.uk/
In another opportunity we are going to share also some of the game development portals we visit in the seek of news, tutorials and other info.

Ways to earn money with your games

If you are like we are, you are making games at least for these two reasons: (1) to fulfill your creativity needs (2) and to make money. There are many other reasons of course, like enjoying seeing people using your creations, finding efficient ways to develop algorithms, etc.


This post is about mentioning the ways one can make money out of games.

The obvious option: Selling your game for a price. Just set how much it costs and let the users buy the game in order to play it. Users don't buy something unless it looks great and it has great reviews. If you are in the stage of producing games of this quality, this option might be for you.

Second option: Free to play, with in-app purchases. Users are not that picky when the game is free to play. You can reach lot of players offering the game for free, and once they are playing it, it's relatively easy to get them buy addons, powerups and other extras.

All the stores (Apple/Android) offer you ways to set prices for your app and oth…

Games in the backlog

If you are a curious about what are the games we are going to be developing next, then we have something for you, the name of the next 6 games in our backlog!

Week 4th: Tic Tac Toe. Aimed for kids, there will be no AI. The computer is going to select a place at random.

Week 5th: Colours. A basic painting app. Select the color from the buckets, select the area you want to fill in the image, and done.

Week 6th: Connect the dots. Click the dots in order (from 1 to N) to reveal the object.

Week 7th: Street/River crossing. Help a frog cross the street/river without being hit or eaten by cars and predators.

Week 8th: Whack a mole. Hit the mole as soon as you can once you see it appear.


Week 9th: Maze. Go from A to Z without touching the walls or you lose.

It's getting harder and harder to come up with new game ideas that are simple, but luckly our experience and processes are getting better and we can tackle bigger game projects now, so the next 6 are going to be much more awesome!

A jigsaw based on superboy and supergirl (3rd week)

This is the third week since we started the "one game a week" challenge and this time we came up with -again- a simple game which is essentially a jigsaw puzzle.


To simplify development and design the pieces don't have their characteristic form but a simple square shape instead.

Development as with the previous weeks/games was done with Cordova + RequireJS + and the simplest of all Javascript and DOM manipulation. Code is available on Github and this is the link to the Play Store.

One game, multiple platforms

One of the best and worst parts of developing games Today is the number of target platforms you could use to market your game.

There is a proliferation of game consoles (Xbox, PlayStation, Wii) and in addition to that there are many mobile devices (leaded by Android, iOS) and then you have good old desktop and the shiny new Web.


Each platform is appealing for their very own reasons, but they also bring different challenges. The decision of what platform your game is aiming for is based on things like team experience, budget (both time and money) and of course, also your target audience. (are they young? are they casual gamers?)

Here at Ponup Games we do Web and mobile games mostly because of the time and team size constraints. We would love to work on bigger projects eventually, but this is all we can do at the moment.

Finding free game assets

When you are an small team as we are there are certain roles such as the audio engineer/musician that are missing from your projects.


In these circumstances you either contract somebody to prepare your music or download existing music and sounds from Internet websites either paying for them or using free ones.

Creating your own music gives you a unique thing that can be the reason why players pick your games and not others, so that's what all game developers should aim for if they have the resources/budget. If you can buy existing audio assets great, because there is a implicit guarantee those assets are not going to be as common as the ones found in the last category: free game audio.

Of course free game audio like the ones found in freesound.org are great to work with your prototypes and launch until you prove the game worth investing more time and money, but until then, why not to use some freely available for download?

These are just some examples of places you can find free a…

How to become a game developer

There are hundreds of ways to become a game developer but Today I'll quickly touch on online resources to learn how to develop videogames.



Full courses: There are many platforms (such as Coursera) that offer videogame development courses and entire specializations related to the game industry.
Example: Game Design And Development

Short courses: Websites like Udacity have many small courses in video format you can join and follow for free with excellent material on how to create videogames.
Example: HTML5 Game Development

Tutorials: Internet is plenty of tutorials and the game industry is not short of them. Google the game dev tutorial terms and you will find everything you need from simple to complex gamedev tutorials for mutiple platforms, programming languages and level of experience.
Example: Tower Defense Tutorial

Common game screens

Games are made of lot of things. You have the main loop/levels which is the hearth of your project but there are also other things that exist around that for the convenience of the player.


Those very common elements of a game are the screens:

- Splash screen: It shows during the (pre)loading of assets when you first open the game
- Intro: After preloading, some games show animations that constitute the intro.
- Main menu: Links/Buttons to other scenes.
- Help: Instructions on how to use the game
- Leaderboards: A ranking of all players, including you
- And many others.

You can have a game that starts straightaway with your main loop, but that's like going to a restaurant where nobody asks you what to eat, the food is presented, you eat and leave without even asking you if you want a dessert :)

Open source for 1D, 2D and 3D game development in Javascript

Ok, 1D might not exists as such, but let's use it for the purpose of this blog post.

These are the frameworks and languages we use to develop games on the categories mentioned before.

1D: Just plain old Javascript. Add some images using the DOM, style with CSS and you are done.


2D: Phaser.IO This framework has all you want to create commercial quality games for the browser.

SpritesPhysicsParticlesInputSoundPreloadersAnd a long etc
3D: Three.JS An excellent framework for those looking to create more immersive experiences that span the three axis.

What do you use?

Second week, second game. Spot the differences.

The second week we decided to go with a simple spot the differences game. Again this is a game aimed for very youngc children as there are only 7 differences and those are very easy to find.



Code in github as usual. Again because its simplicity it was written in HTML/Javascript, and bundled using Cordova. It's only available on Android for now but we plan to upload to the Web and also iOS once we polish it and make it more nice for the Apple eyes.

Looking forward to write the next game. (we are already thinking about the dynamics and theme)

One game a week

Challenge accepted! After removing some things from our personal agendas, we took on the challenge of developing one game every single week starting from the previous one.

The games are going to be very simple, especially the first ones until we get used to the tools, processes and idea development.

Everything from the concept, interactive to the graphics is going to look poor, unfinished and boring, but we also committed to revisit previous week's games from time to time to improve them and make more fun. We are going to use analytics and download stats to drive our decisions so that we need where to focus on.

First game, a simple memory game for kids called Dinos (dinosaurs themed). Code is available on Github (https://github.com/Ponup/dinos) as everything else we do.


By the way, the game was written in JavaScript/HTML using the Cordova bundler.