Lessons Learnt from ISE HTML5

Ise

Happy new year everyone! I am glad to be back! On the 29th of December last year, I finished my first HTML5 game. You can find the details here. With this game, my departure from the App space is sealed. Until I redefine my business model, I am sticking with Web. In this post, I will talk about my experiences with rebuilding ISE in HTML5 but now to the headlines …

In deciding to build a gaming community in West Africa, it is easy to become discouraged. I was for a while until I saw this list. The list shows the progression from casual gaming to hardcore gaming. It reinterates what I have always stood by. That by starting, we put ourselves in a position to improve and master whatever skills we desire.

HTML5 didn’t go to sleep either! Computer Weekly has posted on the HTML5 specification being ready. So the remaining question is why have you not started HTML5? In 2012, HTML5 produced some great games. You can find the details of the top 10 games of 2012 here. The list is prepared by NetMagazine. If you are interested in the Web, this is one site you should bookmark.

For upcoming events the first West African Global Game Jam will be holding next year in Lagos. You can find all the details here. Also Mozilla Gameon has been launched. I have submitted Ise to the competition so what are you waiting for? Before you make a submission however, you must make a video of the gameplay.

Now to the main story …

HTML5 Canvas

Was first finished in June 2012. I must state that Foundation HTML5 Canvas by Rob Hawkes is simply the best HTML5 book out there for beginners. For me the use of jquery to teach HTML5 is what makes this book excellent. In the course of the book, the author develops 2 casual games, Space Bowling and Asteroid Avoidance. He does this using a simple jquery based framework. I publicly admit that I copied this framework and used it to build Ise.

Lessons Learnt

  1. Build on top of a framework :- It is much faster to develop a game using a framework. Frameworks force you to code in a certain way and think in a certain way. Once a product has been made with a framework, it then becomes easy to make other products. Think of it like the assembly line.
  2. Use comments judiciously :- In reviewing Ise, when I first wrote it I used a lot of comments in the code. Two years later, I had forgotten how most of the program worked but the comments saved me! My advice is to use as many comments that will make you come back years later and still understand your code.
  3. Variable names should be self documenting :- This is an important programming practice. In my time as a programmer, I have met other programmers who flout this rule. They claim that they want to make it harder for people to steal their source code. Danger comes in when a program must be rewritten.
  4. Keep it simple :- When I first built Ise, I developed my own custom data structure a Circular Linked List. Two year later using JavaScript, I found out that JavaScript did not have such a data structure. Could I write my own? Yes. Did I know how? No. Since I am new to JavaScript I only know the building blocks which are Variables, Functions, Objects and Arrays and that was what I used to write the code.
  5. Avoid magic numbers :- When writing a program, if it has a literal like 8. Define 8 in the declaration section and use it in the code. This above all. NO MAGIC NUMBERS. If it is not a variable, sooner or later, it will cause confusion.

Conclusion

Sometimes the best way to improve a product is to start all over again from scratch. Rebuilding an HTML5 version of Ise gave me a chance to rewrite the seed distribution in a way that was simple and intuitive. The data structures used were only Objects and Arrays which for me means that I can port the same code to any other language that is Object Oriented.

For me entering the new year as an HTML5 Game Developer was the greatest gain of all. As the year begins, I look forward to developing more HTML5 games and improving in my knowledge of HTML5. Do keep in mind that all the tools I have used are free and that the focus of my games is Mechanics not Aesthetics.

The year opens with the stage set for HTML5 to become the “One Ring” all the evidence on the table points to this development so what holds you back? What resources do you feel you need? How can I help?

Titi Tilapia

Titi Tilapia

This week I will be looking at Nigeria’s First Video Game: Titi Tilapia! I first saw the game earlier this year on a friend’s laptop when I was in Nigeria but did not pay much attention to it. In recent times, it has grown to become a phenomenon. The years to come will see where it heads!

Titi Tilapia is a fun adventure game where the player will play Titi, a bright purple and white-striped tilapia gathering eggs underwater  in order to save them from Okoro the Octopus who intends to control the entire ocean.

The Story

Okoro the Octopus has taken over the once peaceful waters off the shores of Nigeria, he now rules with an iron hand and intends that nobody will rise against him, to ensure that he is set to gather all the eggs of all the fish in the sea,

But not if Titi can help it.

titi_1280_800

Gameplay

You play Titi Tilapia trying to beat a time limit and collect all the eggs at a level. As you progress through game levels, your time becomes shorter. The game also becomes challenging as minions such as stingrays and electric eels are introduced later in the game.

In between levels, you can also play as Tonye the tortoise. These levels will essentially involve sliding down a slide (with his shell)  at high speeds (based on gravity) eggs will be randomly placed to the left and right of the slide (the player has to get the required number of eggs as he slides down or start the level again). These levels have no time limit.

Tonye the tortoise

Demo

You can get the demo version here. Come next year, the team has promised that the game will be launched. Can’t wait!

So there you have Nigeria’s first video game! Next week I will be rounding up for the year! As the year rounds up, I can only express my gratitude to everyone that gave feedback on this blog. Do join me next week.

Danfo Reloaded

Danfo Reloaded

When I posted the interview with Bayo Puddicombe of Pledge51 I remember stating that Nokia would have to form an alliance with the local company in order to strengthen its hold on the Nigerian market. The predictions made were based on the trends of Nokia in the global market. Recently, Nokia announced its partnership with the gaming company Zynga. You can check out more details here.

Boy was I right! I am not a Prophet just a good Project Manager who knows how to follow the money. The trail began like this: Nokia Create 4 Millions -> Nokia Growth Academy -> Danfo Reloaded -> ???

At the end, it was inevitable! My prediction came TRUE. Now I know you want me to predict what I feel could be next and I will. I think Pledge51 will win The Future Awards in their category this year. It will be exciting cheering this team in the months to come.

Social Gaming Giant Zynga has two great games in its stable Draw Something and Zynga Poker. I played Draw Something and I liked it. Basically you search for a player on a social network and wait for a response. When you find someone willing to play, you “Draw Something and ” and the other player tries to guess what you have drawn. This is one game that is simple, fun and engaging.

From all indications Nokia is willing to roll out its arsenal for the Nokia Asha. This is one phone they still have a hold on. My personal opinion of the Nokia Asha is that if not for Nokia committing themselves to Microsoft, they could leverage on the Nokia Asha going into the future. The Nokia Asha is as good as any smartphone out there. Did I mention that it is also touch screen? Find out details here

While I want to cheer Pledge51, for me there are lessons in the success of the team. Overnight success took 5 years to come. The more I live, the more I am convinced that you cannot separate success from steadfast consistency. The conviction, discipline and commitment required to succeed can only be tested by consistency. Maybe if I blog every weekend without fail up until 2016, this blog will….

That’s all for this week. Since success has many fathers… no wait! Bayo seniors me. So since success has many brothers Oga B! If Nokia wan carry you comot, abeg make I join for traveling bag. I never dey too big to enter 🙂