7 HTML5 Game Design Mistakes to Avoid

By Nathan Segal


When designing any program, one inevitably runs into issues. A good way to stop them in their tracks is to work with experienced programmers and software developers who not only know what to do, but even more importantly, what to avoid. So let’s get started:

1.   Not Searching the App Store First: It’s easy to become excited with the thrill of creating a new game and this can quickly build into a creative flow. If you’re planning to build a game for either the App store or the Google Play Store, it’s important to see if someone already created it or something similar.

If not, it’s open season to build your game. If someone has beaten you to the punch, or has created something similar, you might want to consider forming a joint venture or strategic alliance, which will allow you to use their game as a framework to build your own. Another option is licensing. If none of those options work, you can use their game as a template to build your own.


2.   Not Working with Like-Minded People: When setting up to build a game, or any other project for that matter, it’s really important to work with like-minded people. If you’re people aren’t aligned with you, it makes for a difficult working environment. Likewise, it’s also important to have a clear leader and second in command to realize the company vision in case anything goes wrong.


3.    Re-inventing the Wheel: This is a common problem with many a technician/programmer, thinking that they have to build everything from scratch. Some even shun available tools and templates because they’re purists and want the satisfaction of creating it all. This is a lofty ideal but it’s unnecessary. Only if no tools exist should you build your own, but if there are resources available, use them. You’ll save time, money and aggravation.


4.    Trying to do Too Much: One of the great opportunities of HTML5 concerns the cross-platform applications, but if your goal is to match all the standards you could be setting yourself up for a technological nightmare. Instead of trying to please everyone, look for the platforms that most people use and/or most gamers use and target your development towards that.


5.    Not Asking for Feedback: One problem for designers is getting caught up in the excitement of development. That’s completely understandable but it can sometimes lead to working in isolation from the real world. In the coding environment all can seem rosy but unless you’re interacting with other users, you don’t really know how well your work will be received. Too often, those working on the inside develop a kind of blindness, where they’re unable to put things in perspective and can miss flaws in their design or, because they become so accustomed to a process, skip over steps or procedures an outsider might see. This is why it’s important to involve other users in your design process. Use NDA’s (non-disclosure agreements) if necessary and involve other users in your process, preferably from the beginning.


6.   Not Verifying Your Code: This problem happens all the time. Programmers, rushing to get the product finished, forget to check the code for flaws. Not doing so can cause a great deal of headaches (and expense), especially if your product has already shipped.


7.    Not Taking Legal Precautions: This tip ties into Tip 5, where non-disclosure agreements are mentioned. Whenever developing any kind of process, it’s of crucial importance to take legal precautions and have solid contracts in place between yourself, your vendors and your distribution network.


Agreements need to be clear and specific. Hiring a lawyer is a wise thing to do. Also, while it will be expensive, it’s a good idea to see at least two and preferably three lawyers who are familiar with this process. The reason is simple: The other lawyers might spot something that the other lawyers might have missed. One never knows, that missed item could cost you down the road, hence the need for another opinion.

If you work with joint ventures, a wise approach is to make use of a Memorandum of Understanding, which clearly spells out the duties and obligations of all parties.


By now you have a good idea of programming mistakes to avoid. Of these, the most important one to begin with is to see if someone has already created the app you have in mind or something similar to it. If they have, see if you can work with them or use the app as a template to build your own. This one strategy could save you a lot of money and time.


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