Friday, 27 January 2012

Why apple could directly compete with XBOX in the next console generation

I own an XBOX and I love it. I made an XBOX 360 game and I had fun making it. The XBOX 360 is a great console and with the news of a newer better console it has people like me very excited about the release. While I love the console as a developer there are a few things that I really dislike and if these don't change Apple could come in and sweep the console market away from Microsoft.

You are probably thinking that Apple would never produce a console to directly compete with the XBOX  or Sony and you are correct. Apple did produce a console in the 90s and it bombed. However, they could produce a product that interacts more with TVs and has the ability to play games on it. This could be devastating for Microsoft.

As a developer the costs of producing an XBOX game are simply way too high. There are 3 tiers in which you could develop for: XBOX 360, XBLA, XBLIG. XBOX 360 costs the most money(millions of dollars), XBLA is the next expensive(~750k), and XBLIG (~$100 and a whole lot of heart).

This setup is more the old style of producing games. The style where you had to ask for a whole bunch of money and then produce your game. However, times have changed. People now want to be able to make games for less than 100k. You think you could do this on XBLIG but you can't use good engines like Unreal or Unity. So essentially you have to code a game from scratch which takes way too long and the quality is nowhere near as good. This is my biggest gripe with developing for XBOX. Please let us use Unity or unreal to make games for XBOX 360.

Now where does Apple fit in. If I were to make a guess I would say that Apple might make something similar to Apple TV but have an app store on it. The app store would be tailored so you could play games on your TV and use your iPhone or iPad as a controller. If Apple does this they will seriously give a blow to the console market. On the app store you can create games with unity or unreal and a myriad of other great engines. So instantly there will be more games on the TV app store and then more people will play that versus the XBOX. As a developer I have to go to the places that have the best engine support. You can't compete by coding game from scratch in native code. It is just too much work.

News of the 720 has sparked the next console cycle. If Apple decides to enter it could be problematic for Sony and Microsoft.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

XBOX 720 to reject used games

It seems like XBOX might reject used games. This means once you buy a game you have to keep it and you can't get it for a cheaper price. We all know that used games cuts into developer's pockets and now there seems to be a solution. Microsoft better watch what they do for the XBOX 720. It could be this amazing system but I have a feeling Apple might be cooking up their competition.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

I wish apple would implement timed demos for their games

Apple is amazing, the app store is amazing but I really wish they would allow timed demos for their games. This is one thing that I really think would help sales. Giving people a free sample is a old and effective business practice. Simply you give the person a chance to try what you are offering and they can choose to buy it or not.

On the app store developer's usually release a lite version and then offer a chance to buy the real one. This does work but you have to release two apps and it's a littler more hassle than it is worth. It can be problematic to just re-release a demo app. You have to test it and it takes time. Personally, the way Microsoft runs XBLIG is the best. You get 8 minutes to see if you like and then you can buy it. You also submit only one package. I know that XBLA has demos but in the app store's case it might be easier if there was just one app.

Well the solution is already here and the answer is to design your game so that it is unplayable after a certain amount of time. So here a few tricks that you can do to sell a free game

1. After 8 minutes make the points and the game play less fun. For example you can make the speed of the player and the weapons less effective. If the player then wants those abilities back then they have to pay for the game.

2. Make the points and currency scarce. You can make your game less rewarding if you haven't bought the modifier. This way the player can actually get all of the upgrades in the store.

3. This is kind of a cheap move but you can make a necessary object only purchasable. This way the person has to buy your game if they want to move on.

There are many more ways to get around the time demo. These are just a few ways that you can do it.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Stencyl and Game Salad both have in game purchases

I know this post is a little late but both stencyl and game salad have in game purchases. This is simply amazing. Technically stencyl had them first so I am giving them the gold medal and game salad the silver medal. Either way this is a big change for non programming languages. 

Stencyl not only has in game purchases for their flash export but for iOS as well. The the tutorial on the subject is very nice and I am glad that they have done this. So if you are looking to make flash games and iOS games then head over to stencyl's website and start making your game. 

Game salad had their first pro user web seminar and it was awesome. I understand how hard it is to make something like these engines and last year game salad got a lot of flack from the community for not delivering. But it looks like they listened and they have made the outreach to their customers a priority and it shows. So I am going to renew my membership and if you are not a pro user then you should become one if you want to make games for iOS. It is a very well built engine. Later game salad is going to native code which should make the performance 10 times better according to game salad.

Either way I am very happy with both of these two engines implementing in game purchases. Personally, adding in game purchases is essential as adding a boolean function to your game. You have to have it to experiment and use it and the process has to be easy. 

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Families added to construct 2

Today families were added to construct 2. This will save lots of time with developing a game. Go and read the article it is a good read.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

How to publish your construct 2 game

Scirra has just put out a very comprehensive tutorial on how to publish your construct 2 game. Read the article and visit the links.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Udemy featured on Fox News

I am happy to announce that Udemy is featured on Fox News. I started teaching when I was 17 and I always tried to be on the cutting edge of education. Udemy is amazing. The cost is low and it's convenient. I am glad to have my course on Udemy and I can't wait to make more.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Construct 2 to end early adopter price: price will double

If you haven't bout Construct 2 yet you better hurry. The price will double on January 17th.

Why mountains are the best background objects for games

I grew up near mountains and when I saw mountains in games I just assumed that it was normal. But not everybody lives near mountains so why are they usually in games? Well one answer is that most of the NES games I played are set in Japan or possibly Los Angeles. But when you think about it mountains are actually really good background objects. Mountains soar high in the skyline, are usually detailed and are not everywhere on the planet. They make the perfect background object.