Best cross-platform strategy for next years to come!

Discussion in 'Game Development (Technical)' started by Jack Norton, Jul 31, 2011.

  1. Jack Norton

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    Was a long time since I started a good flamewar thread, so thought was about time to start another! :D
    Differently from 99% of indies who just give up even before trying, I have good direct sales, I rarely use portals (mostly because they ignore me though!) and I focus primarily on desktops (Pc, Mac, Linux).

    HOWEVER

    is quite clear to me that in a not so distant future things might change, and I realized the longer I wait, the worse it is. So, for my next year projects I'm seriously considering switching from Ren'Py to a more cross-platform system.

    My doubts are:
    1. learn HTML5, and use tools like http://www.appmobi.com/index.php?q=node/27 or Appcelerator. Result= web (HTML5), desktops and iOS/Android
    2. get back to the good old C/C++ and use a tool like Marmalade (http://www.madewithmarmalade.com/). I might also get Unity3d if wasn't so expensive at start-up... Result=lots of platforms except web (unless I go with Unity)

    I've discarded completely using Monkey because I don't want to learn yet another "middleware language" and I don't like the impossible debugging, and Flash because if I have to do web is probably better HTML5.

    For my kind of games, web is almost irrelevant, though would be cool in future for other kind of games.

    Was wondering what everyone is thinking to do? what would be the best choice in your opinion? I think C/C++ since I already know it and I'm familiar with the tools, with HTML5 I would really need to start from scratch... though maybe is easier to use, don't know :p
     
    #1 Jack Norton, Jul 31, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2011
  2. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    And cue up the usual suspects.... lol :)

    iOS/Android/Vita are all so similar you can either do it by hand (as we do) or find a middleware layer that does it for you.

    I think the only thing that might change in the future is HTML5 replacing flash, but I don't care either way tbh. Still the same old choices:

    1) Do PC download (and mac/linux maybe) if you don't like awkward development but can do some properly effective marketing yourself
    2) iOS/Android (and possibly vita) if you want access to a shop and a ready-to-go community to pitch at
    3) Flash/HTML5

    Things to avoid like the plague:

    1) "Backdoor" entrance (phnarr) to the main consoles. If you want to do XBLA, do XBLA.
    2) Antix Game Player!

    I think pricing is going to get harder and harder away from iOS/Android. Since getting deeply involved with the iOS gaming community, when I see PC games costing 20 bucks now I fall off my chair. My front brain knows I shouldn't, but I still do. And I can't be the only one.
     
  3. Jack Norton

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    Definitely I want to use a middleware... is already a lot of effort for me to get back to "real coding" after 3 years of python and Renpy :D
    (not that coding in python isn't real, but is a dream compared to C)
    My best selling games are the ones that are $25. Recently together with my publisher raised some of my iOS prices and (surprise!!!) we made more money. Don't get brainwashed by those people with "too much free time and to much less money" that posts 150000 messages a day on forums claiming game prices should go down. WTF, games are the ONLY Commodity / Entertainment sector where prices went down in last 10 years!!!!
     
  4. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    We've experimented with pricing on iOS to the point where it might be damaging our trust tbh. We have found that GLWG brings in about the same level of income at all prices, which is a really odd coincidence (or maybe not). The lower the price the better we did in the chart, which gives the game more credibility so we go with the lower end. Usually 2.99 with the occasional sale at 0.99 which means you get featured on AppShopper etc which gives decent spikes.

    When we roll our sequel out, I'm going to try the original at an "outrageous" price for a bit ($9.99), just to see if it sells. Of course we expect sales of the original to tail off dramatically anyway when the sequel ships, but it should still give some useful clues for the future, hopefully.
     
  5. Jack Norton

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    A bit OT from the general post, but Avadon (Spiderweb) game was in the top50 AND $9.99. I can only imagine the insane amount of money he has made :D
    I found out that having a game priced "high" and doing regular discounts in some occasions like Christmas, Summer, etc (basically what Steam does with some games) works very well when selling directly, though not sure if is the same with iOS.
     
  6. Applewood

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    Yeah, PvZ is 6.99 and firmly unshiftable from #1 strategy game. We sat directly below them for a good old run but only when we were a dollar. Those guys must be making pornographic money - hard not to get jealous.
     
  7. RichHW

    RichHW New Member

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    We are currently cross-platform over WiiWare, PSP Minis, PC & now iOS.

    We're adding Vita now - and I think we'll do another couple of Minis/WiiWare/iOS titles too while deciding on platforms going forward. We were going to leave WiiWare, but we've now decided to switch to Minis being lead platform as that generates revenue quicker, and WiiWare for (hopefully) a longer term revenue.

    Not keen on 3DS as the tech and capabilities are so different to the other platforms.

    I think we'll also try a PS3 PSN title at some point, so we'll then have a PS3/Vita/PSP/PC/Wii/iOS cross-platform tool chain, which gives us plenty of options.
     
  8. Applewood

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    Sounds like a man after my own heart. :)

    I thought you were abandoning WiiWare because you weren't getting paid at all though?
     
  9. GolfHacker

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    I use SDL for all my desktop games, so once Dirk Dashing 2 is done early next year, I was planning to port my home-grown engine to SDL 1.3 to be able to pick up the Android and IOS platforms for some of my games. Admittedly, I haven't looked at the SDL 1.3 SDL yet, but I would imagine it shouldn't be too difficult to adapt my existing C/C++ SDL code to the new 1.3 interface.
     
  10. electronicStar

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    With java you can deploy to PC/Mac/Linux/browsers/Android/etc... rather easily, and your game will look much better than a HTML5 game.
    As far as middleware go, I think Unity is the most convenient these days.
     
  11. Jack Norton

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    With java you don't get iOS though, which is (for now?) the best mobile/tablet market by far compared to Android which is basically "adware only" ...
     
  12. lennard

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    I've been considering Unity, Javascript/HTML5 and Flash.

    1. I've decided against Unity for now because it looks like the 2d stuff is poorly supported in terms of implementation (everything I have seen looks like using a 3d editor to do simple 2d tasks) and documentation. If/when this changes I think I'll be learning C# and Unity bound.

    2. Javascript. I'm writing Endless Empires in Javascript and don't think I'll switch to Flash. It's a web only "freemium" game so my only concern is discovery - if it was Flash I could put out a demo into the Flash game eco-system. One thing I discovered with the Audio Lark "Head Over Heels" book demo is that I can't put out demo content and get it picked up by Newgrounds.

    3. Flash & Air. After EE I'm doing another financial strategy title and it will likely be Flash/Air so I can go browser & packaged executable for places like the app. store.
     
  13. RichHW

    RichHW New Member

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    Well we sat down and thought - really after a Minis version its only a couple of extra weeks work to get it up and running for WiiWare; so what the hell. Once we decided to lead on PSP, it makes WiiWare more palatable as we get money in sooner from Sony. Definately not doing any extra Wii specific stuff though.
     
  14. Applewood

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    Yeah, that sounds sensible to me. Hope next time you actually get the money you earned!
     
  15. Nexic

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    You can't get an audio book picked up on newgrounds, but you could easily get an actual game on there. Just have to brand it as a mini-game or spin-off rather than a demo.

    I'm currently most interested in learning Monkey for all of the above. I don't find learning new languages much of a chore and my current set of ideas are relatively simple so it seems like a perfect fit.
     
    #15 Nexic, Aug 1, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2011
  16. Bad Sector

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    I say go with C. You get desktop, mobile and web (via Flash + Alchemy or if you feel adventurous, HTML5 + LLVM + that LLVM-to-JS converter).

    A C compiler is available for basically every known, unknown, sane and insane platform out there.

    Also i say forget frameworks, write your own system abstraction layer and go with it. Don't depend on 3rd parties to be interested on what is the best for your games :).
     
  17. Jack Norton

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    Ah yes forgot about Alchemy, that looks interesting even if is still in "preview". I think will stick to C too indeed, but I'll use some good framework. I am too lazy and probably lack the skill to write everything from scratch :D
     
  18. princec

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    It may look a lot better than HTML5 but only if you're then prepared to put in the vast extra effort to make it so. If you're only going to try and get away with graphics that could be achieved in HTML5 or Flash then I wouldn't bother with Java at all. Besides, Java is really only any sense for PC, Mac and Linux. If you're developing games for any other platform at all... I'd advise using something else.

    Horribly, I see that C# is now available for iOS development.

    Well, sort of horribly, coz that's what we're porting our games to in order to get them to run on iOS. It does have a big advantage for us in that a Java->C# port is much less painful than a Java->Anything else port.

    Cas :)
     
  19. lennard

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I was on Kongregate a few months back and saw one of your mini-games. Any guidelines for the amount of content needed to release an accepted teaser game?
     
  20. Nexic

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    I'd say aim for about 30 minutes, althought length isn't really a huge issue. There are some games that last about 60 seconds which have done well, and others that are 10+ hours. The most important thing is making something funny, cool or original/quirky that will get the attention of 15-25 year old males. That, and not making it an obvious demo.
     

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