10 Strategies to Ensure HTML5 Game Success
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HTML5 has quickly become the rage with game developers. Mobile phone and tablet use is exploding and many software manufacturers are rushing to capitalize on this new medium. The challenge is to get the best results from your resources, as well as the sales when you release the game to the public. We’ll cover some of those strategies here.
1. Determine your audience: This will influence which components to include in your game.
2. Consider your budget: This is one of the most important issues. It’s easy to get lost in a flood of creativity which can easily overwhelm the budget. The challenge is to find out what the key components of the game are and budget for those, first, with extra left over to deal with any glitches. If there’s money left over after the core components are built, you can use that for additional game components.
3. Determine the level of complexity: When working with mobile, every aspect of the game needs to be taken into consideration and one major reason for that is bandwidth issues. As an example, what would be the slowest speed that your game can run at without affecting user performance? And when you’re using graphics, whenever possible, use vector graphics instead of bitmaps, because they load faster.
4. Make use of a framework, templates and code snippets: While these options won’t work in all cases, where it does it will save you from the task of coding from scratch.
5. Use comments in your code: Another way of putting this is – document everything. This is a crucial step and should be integral to all parts of the design process. If you have plenty of comments in your code, when other programmers come on board; they won’t have to figure out your process, which could eat up a lot of valuable time.
It’s also wise to make a hard copy and backups of everything you’ve done as well. You never know when disaster could strike. Down the road, if you plan to sell your game, it will make it that much easier for the new owners to get up speed.
6. Maintain a tight design team: When building a game, go for the best talent your budget can afford and run a tight ship, meaning that you have a strong, core group of programmers. Don’t bring on someone just because they can do “cool stuff.” Bring them on only if they can offer valuable talent to your team. This will maximize your efficiency and help reduce costs.
If you choose to go offshore, be very careful and vet the programmers thoroughly. Offshore can save a lot of money but it can also create unnecessary delays (which, ironically, could cost you more than staying onshore). There can also be creativity issues, too, because they don’t think like we do, so it’s important to stay on top of the coding process.
7. Involve the users in the design process: Otherwise known as beta testing, this is where software companies offer users free (generally) access to their software in return for their feedback on bugs, performance issues and design suggestions.
8. Maintain a high frame rate in your game: this is the refresh rate of the game. In terms of video, the standard frame rate is 30 frames per second. One of the issues governing frame speed in games is that the browsers change all the time, which can make it tough to develop a consistent frame rate. Another reason for a high frame rate is flicker. If that begins to happen it can be hard on the eyes.
9. Which browsers you’ll target: There are many browsers available and it can be tempting to try to match all of them, but if you do so you’ll in for a cross-browser nightmare. It’s best to look at which browsers are the most popular with gamers and target those. Later, once your game has been deployed, you can look at a broader reach.
10. Promotion: Some strategies are to promote the game well in advance of the launch using forums, Facebook, Youtube, LinkedIn, etc. The idea is to create a lot of “buzz” before the game is actually released with a lot of anticipation so when the game actually goes live, it flies off the shelves (literally and virtually). Ideally, you’ll want to make use of the Christmas rush as part of your marketing strategies because the amount of sales could be astronomical. Christmas is a make it or break it time for many retailers and it would be wise for you to capitalize on this opportunity.
While this article doesn’t cover all of the issues you’ll run into with any given project, it does give you a starting point for creating a successful outcome. Of all the points presented, for the sake of longevity and clarity, I recommend that you document everything. This will stand you in good stead over time and will help you greatly if you ever sell your software/game to another business.