Advergaming case study: Heroes of Java

One of our last published games is a great example of advergaming’s potential. We would like to take this opportunity to speak about our project and introduce a topic we’ll be glad to cover in the future.

Some people might consider this game as a plain example of advergaming. At first sight you could think that Adesso is looking for some visibility in the field of games by publishing this game. But it’s not just that. For Adesso it’s not simply a playable banner but a tool. In fact we may consider we are in front of a Serious Game.

If you haven’t read the entry of Heroes of Java in our portfolio here’s the story behind the game.

advergaming post heroes of java gorilla in the park

Damm! How good is the gorilla playing pinball. But he needs to improve his Java skills though…

Advergaming success case study

First things first: let’s introduce our client. Adesso is a german IT recruiting company. In other words, Adesso helps their clients to find the professional programmers they need.

Newcomer players are introduced to a regular pinball table. They play their first shot as they would normally do. And then an overlay new screen appears with a quiz about Java (the script language, not the island!). With every ball they lose in the game, they are asked a new question. If they answer correctly, they’ll be rewarded with an extra ball, and so, savvier players will be able to play more balls in the long run. As players lose their last ball, they are offered to register their details in exchange of participating in the raffle of a 3D printer.

advergaming post heroes of javaAs the programmer starts thinking about code, the whole world fades away. […] He will probably miss his stop.

Our game then sends the player’s info along with his answers, and they are registered in Adesso’s database. Instead of making the job candidates fill and send an old-fashioned CV, Adesso now has access to a qualitative register. They have tools to judge beforehand the knowledge of the candidates, which means having less filters in the candidate interview process. In the end, it’s all about improving efficiency.

We should make clear that it’s not like Adesso is fishing programmers in the open sea by releasing the game in the general market. The game will be distributed in the proper niche environment, but that’s just a complete different story.

An ideal scenario for HTML5 technology

We’ve mentioned about how Adesso improved their efficiency on the overall recruiting process, but there’s another aspect where efficiency shines. Instead of using a native platform to build the project, the choice of HTML5 allows to run the game on mobile devices but also on computer browsers. Although this is not the case, the game could even be wrapped to be uploaded as a native app in the Appstore or Google Play. So all in all, the choice of HTML5 was the perfect option to build the game and get the maximum ubiquity, with no need of external plug-ins. The game is accessible for a really wide audience and it’s been coded just once. No extra ports, no further development costs.

I hope you found interesting this post. Take care!

Guess which is our favourite Git client

We’ve been implementing Git for quite a while on our HTML5 games projects and we love its code management possibilities and its collaborative features.

Using Git with the command line is too hard for us, that’s why we need a client. Until recently we were using SourceTree. SourceTree is a great product and it’s free, however there were 2 things we don’t like. First, the theme is white as siberian snow, and our tired programmer eyes really favour a dark theme. Second, SourceTree seems to work better on Mac than Windows. That’s why we’ve decided to test the free version of GitKraken.

git clients compared

The team of programmers developing each of our game projects usually consists just on 1 or 2 guys, so  the free version is enough for our current needs.

GitKraken is based in Electron. It’s coded in javascript and uses html and css, which means it’s cross platform. Its GUI besides being nifty, is dark. Fonts are nice and the icons and its diagrams makes it easy and intuitive to use. Branching, stashing or checking out a branch just requires one click.

Do you already have your own favourite Git client? Have you also suffered from white backgrounds and bleeding eyes?

Jscrambler helps to protect our HTML5 games

jscrambler_protection

We love to code HTML5 games and JavaScript is a nice programing language but unfortunately everyone can access to the source code of our games. And that includes those cheeky guys who doesn’t want to respect existing license agreements or those just looking for “inspiration” for their next cloned game.

Luckily we have a powerful ally called Jscrambler.

Jscrambler is quite intuitive and it’s web based. There are some other javascript obfuscators but JScrambler offers the most complete and secure solution. Its version 4 has just been released. According to Pedro Fortuna, CTO of JScrambler:

“Version 4 brings the product from a code protection solution to a platform that provides a tamper-proof environment to the application, making sure it is executed without interferences and by legitimate users only.”

We’d like to show you an example of the level of protection that Jscrambler offers, we’ll take a function of our game “Alien Kindergarten” and obfuscate it.

We can see that even after using JSbeautifier the code is quite difficult to understand. Besides site-locking they offer some interesting transformations such as dead code insertion (that’s why the obfuscated code is longer) and member enumeration.

Mission accomplished…. it looks like that doing the whole thing from scratch is much easier than attempting a reverse engineering.

Ahhhh! forgot to say that Jscrambler is optimized for games and doesn’t affect performance.

New Foot Chinko game with new tricks

We are happy to announce we are working on a new Foot Chinko chapter.

 

new-footchinko-eurocup 

It’s been a long time since the original game was launched and we were excited about the possibility of developing a new Foot Chinko game. During this time it seems that our little creature has been growing in popularity. Although the game was released over a year ago, enthusiastic players keep on uploading videos: Foot Chinko on youtube

Is it our imagination or does it look like searches on google for the keyword “foot chinko” are growing? Results on google trends

We are going to release an HTML5 exclusive version of the game for Spil Games. This version will feature the Eurocup 2016 and will include a couple of new mechanics.

We are also considering a native version of the game for iOS, Android and Windows phone using Unity. By combining the old game levels with the new ones, we could have almost 150 different levels, but the truth is, in this time we’ve learned so much about level design that designing a complete new set of levels is an interesting challenge.

So, what kind of publisher do you think would be a good partner for this adventure? We would love to hear your thoughts…

Help phaser development

 phaser_logo

We’ve been using an html5 game engine called Phaser for over a year. It’s open source and was created by a photon storm.Our experiences with Phaser have been fantastic. We’ve tried several frameworks but found Phaser the best game engine to develop our games from the usability and performance points of view.Now Richard Davey, the man behind Phaser, has started a campaign to collect money to be able to dedicate more time enhancing his incredible framework.Please check this out:

>> Phaser on Patreon

RavalMatic defies the USA

RavalMatic has broken the embargo imposed to Russia by the USA and sold its most strategic game to Comon Games, a courageous Russian company.
The negotiations were conducted with maximum secrecy in Viena by one of our agents and high level officials of Comon Games. Once the deal was completed, we inserted an usb memory in a banana. That usb contained all the project files. The banana was part of a bananas cargo that left the harbour of Barcelona 3 weeks ago with direction to Istanbul.
Nobody of the crew was aware that among the thousands of bananas they that transported there was such a dangerous game!
The third of June, two members of the Russian embassy in Istanbul got the banana, carefully extracted the usb key, ate the banana to destroy all evidence and flew to Moscow to deliver the app-files to top executives of Comon Games.
 
 

 

bananamania – breaking the rules

bananamania_carrousel_02

Our latest game is here. After the success of FootChinko any other studio would have done a sequel, but we decided to produce bananamania, surrealism in its pure state.

Hopefully players like it. We don’t know if it’s a good game, as players have to decide on that. But one thing is for sure: it’s a game that goes round and round in circles.

Its peculiarities start at the preload scene, as it lacks of the typical preload bar or a number measuring the loaded percentage. Progress is just a collection of unconnected dots that grow to conform a big pixel banana.

It’s original! We’ve taken the risk of not producing a match 3 or the clone of a successful mobile game, which is exactly what publishers love and finance.

Opposite to the html5 casual games currently published, it doesn’t target a particular kind of player. Everyone who is bored of playing clones of clones is welcomed to bananamania.

Its title is too long. Many publishers misspell the name when answering our emails.

The home scene is too elaborated and detailed, sometimes we think that we’ve invested more time on that scene than in the whole game.

No tutorial.

It lacks a story and its setting is unrelated to the game play.

The score text, which on any other game would be just readable and noticeable, gains prominence and spins, hurting even the game play itself by doing that.

3 of its 6 levels are hidden to the player, he/she doesn’t even know that they exist! and a semitransparent and disabled arrow button leads nowhere.

Its high graphic weight doesn’t correspond to its simple game play. Graphic assets and game play are quite unbalanced. The simplicity of the game mechanic rests value to the amount of work put on the pixel art, visual and audio effects instead of praising them (as a couple of publishers think).

The basis of the game mechanic is breaking the player’s flow continuously. Opposite of what game design books recommend, bananamania is ridiculously difficult and keeps on offering frustration without any rewards to the player (as real life sometimes).

The player can’t control the game characters, which is uncommon, just throw them bananas.

The player encounters hazards without previous warning.

And last but not least, maybe just one person in the world will be able to finish the game. So much effort on a single player in the era of the online masses, doesn’t make any sense from a materialistic point of view.

Too many contradictions in your head? Don’t go bananas and play bananamania. Here is the link:

bananamania

Ура! Ура! Social Foot Chinko has been launched!

footchinko_social_features

We are proud to announce that a social version of Foot Chinko has been released this week on Vk, the Russian equivalent of Facebook.

It’s our first game with social features and we’ve developed it for a cool Russian company called ComonGames.

We’ve gathered valuable experiences with the server side of the game. Social Foot Chinko represents a technical quantum leap for us, considering that not very long ago, we were wasting our time with hopeless dress up games…

Stepping up performance with TexturePacker

Companies are always thriving in order to step up their performance, and every little bit helps. In fact, we are no different. Thus, we like to pick up proper tools, matching to our needs. And our last decision was to implement TexturePacker.
texturepacker sprite sheet
TexturePacker is a spritesheet building software. And the best at it, if you ask us. Why? May you ask. Well, there’s a lot say then. We’ve tested pretty much all other options, both browser based or native software, and we came to feel what makes it different.
First of all it’s fast. Ridiculously fast. It takes less than half a minute to just take all your sprites and convert them into a functional spritesheet. Moreover, it’s also easy. Default settings fit in most scenarios, which really helps with newcomer fellows. And this can be extrapolated to anyone who wants to start building spritesheets as well.
Then, it is a powerful tool too. It lets you save your spritesheets in a wide pool of over 40 supported data formats. We mainly use JSON files, as we work with HTML5, but it also supports the most popular frameworks, like Corona, Unity or Cocos2D. It really has a lot of options to toy with in search of the blending or look you’re after, be it with preloaded settings, or adjusting values one-by-one. Special mention to the “Reduce border artifacts” option that prevents halos from appearing in OpenGL, which we found utterly helpful.
To sum up, it’s continuously being updated, keeping up with all the frameworks it works with, preventing those pesky incompatibilities that happen from time to time and mess up your day.
And last but not least, it’s low priced. We like to see it this way: A lifetime license that includes one year of updates costs around 30€. Then you can add up more years of updates for the same price.
Summarizing, we invested in TexturePacker because it  offers us ease of use and performance, at an affordable price for an indie studio.

TexturePacker is available on www.codeandweb.com.