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Archive for the ‘Gaming’ Category

We’ve all seen the explosion of Pokemon Go: the app hit number 1 in app stores pretty much immediately. Not only is it breaking records in terms of numbers of users, it’s boosted Nintendo’s market value and actually changed the behavior of thousands of users, who are frequently seen doing fairly ridiculous things.

PokemonGo

The media has tossed every angle at this new phenomena, trying to paint it as destructive or dangerous. That may or may not be true, but its popularity is undisputed: Pokemon Go has surpassed Tinder in downloads.

The popularity of Pokemon Go is due to a perfect storm of simple game theory and social conditions: brand affiliation, augmented reality, low barrier of entry, compulsion loops, etc.

1. History and Brand Affiliation
Pokemon creator Satoshi Tajiri’s work spawned a behemoth in gaming, and included card games and television shows – all starting from a simple game for Game Boy. Up until Pokemon, handheld experiences were isolated. Pokemon broke down those barriers by allowing players to face off against or trade with their friends. You could also fully customize the 151 characters, which was brand new at that time. The personal touch enhanced the connection to the brand and established the deep nostalgia we are seeing in millennials today.

Younger kids – true digital natives – are discovering the franchise for the first time on their medium of choice: smartphones. Parents who played the Game Boy version as kids are even playing the new app version with their kids. The summer release of Pokemon Go also means the weather is prime for getting out of the house and exploring on foot. In addition, school is out, giving younger kids plenty of free time.

2. AR and Viral
Snapchat has essentially paved the way for the augmented reality aspect of Pokemon Go. For years, we have been taking things from outside the computer and placing them inside the interface so that we can understand the function. We make a “trash can” look like a trash can in our digital interfaces because that is a metaphor that we can understand. As people spend more time in front of a computer, the reverse is happening. We are taking the functionality from computers and smartphones and placing it in the outside world. Fantasy, meet reality.

3. Low Barrier of Entry
This game is simple to play, learn and understand, meaning the audience can be wide and varied. Creating an effective game – one that brings in new players, keeps old ones, and makes money off of some of those who stay – is becoming more difficult. Games have become more complex as the technology of mobile devices increases, but Pokemon Go, while complex in terms of technology, is simple. It is also super accessible: partly because of the brand affiliation, and partly because it does not require a separate console.

4. Compulsion Loops
The Compulsion Loop is core to most games. The best ones have multiple compulsion loops and this game is no exception. The loop comprises three stages, each enhancing the next, so players keep improving.

Pokemon Go’s compulsion loop is simple:

1. Collect stuff to catch Pokemon
2. Collect Pokemon
3. Level Pokemon

Brands like Starbucks have used gamification tactics to drive customer loyalty. Users of Starbucks’ My Rewards accumulate points every time they purchase, but it does not stop there. The program also has 3 levels based on the degree of loyalty, with more personalized rewards the higher you go in order to keep customers engaged.

5. Neurological Reward Systems
Video games are known for producing mood-boosting chemicals (called endorphins) as a reward for a mainly motionless task. You sit down and complete a level, your brain recognizes your achievement, and you are hit with an endorphin rush. Pokemon Go does exactly this with every Pokemon catch. However, you know what else is good at producing endorphins? Exercise. In addition, when you get gamers off the couch and out chasing Pokemon, the brain gets a double hit of the good stuff.

There is one more addition to the brain chemical mix that plays into the popularity of Pokemon Go: social interaction. The social interactions from Pokemon Go produce a large rush of endorphins, creating a triple whammy of feel-good chemicals. Countless games and apps have the two previous reward systems but have not exploded in popularity as Pokemon Go has.

Key Takeaways for Retailers and Brands

  • Experience is holistic.
    It’s not just about what happens behind the screen. With mobile, the environment is tied to the experience. When someone goes to a bank machine they are not just interacting with the screen in front of them. They are influenced by the line behind them, time of day, whether they feel safe, and the time crunch they are feeling. This plays into the user experience of every interaction and with mobile devices this has to be taken into consideration.
  • AR is the future.
    With features like geolocation, image recognition, and object tracking, it makes sense that augmented reality, when combined with a mobile device, will make our world a better place. By combining our love for social media and need to understand our world around us with technology, AR bridges needs and motivations of a variety of users. Companies need to be aware of this and look for opportunities to develop more immersive and expansive mobile experiences.
  • Pay attention to neurological reward systems in all designs.
    Finding ways to simply reward users for rudimentary tasks goes a long way to the prolonged use of your product.

The game already has more users than Twitter, but regardless of whether Pokemon Go is here to stay or not, companies can learn a lot from a customer-first brand like this. Already Go-themed bar crawls are being planned, and there are multiple meetup groups across cities everywhere. There is even a Pokemon Go dating app in the works.

If a retail brand can get even a small percentage of the amount of traction that Pokemon Go has seen, they will be well on their way to success.

 

Ogneva Tatyana

Tatyana Ogneva

Business Development Manager | LI Profile

E-mail: tatyana.ogneva@altabel.com
Skype: ognewatatyana
www.altabel.com

Do you remember the first Pong arcades with unsophisticated graphics launched nearly 30 years ago? Since then video games have become an instant hit among youngsters. However the technology is improving at a rapid space and computer graphics are pushing the limits of photorealism. Today scientists and engineers are integrating the graphics from your television and computer screens into real-world environments. This advanced technology is called Augmented Reality or AR for short, which is about overlaying pieces of a virtual world over the real world (in contrast to Virtual Reality (VR) that is about replacing the real world with a virtual one). AR is a beautiful blend of digital and real images enhancing what we see, feel and smell or hear, e.g. you can point your camera at a movie poster and watch its trailer, or you look at the sky and ask for the weather and it gives you that information. So, basically AR comes down to the following three vital questions: where to display, what and how. Let’s find out.

Let me start with the last question: “How?” Below I’m going to itemize five of the numerous AR tools that exist at the moment and that can be used to develop apps for smart-phones, tablets or even smart-glasses.

  1. DroidAR is a free and commercial framework that gives location-based AR functionality to Android apps. For instance, gesture detection or support for static and animated 3-D objects that the user can interact with like clicking on them. Another vivid appliance is marker detection. It’s a part of the functionality offered by DroidAR, however the documentation that exists for the project is under fulfilled. Nevertheless there is a section on the project README file on GitHub that gives an overview of a closed-source version of DroidAR, DroidAR 2. Compared to its open-source fetch it has impressive improvements.
  2. Vuforia is available for Android, iOS and Unity. It has become the industry leading AR platform – with 10s of thousands of apps, and 100s of millions of app installs. The main Vuforia SDK features are multi-target detection and tracking (e.g. images, English text, objects), virtual buttons. There is also a version of the SDK for smart glasses (namely Epson Moverio BT-200, Samsung GearVR, and ODG R-6 and R-7). That is currently open for early access applications from experienced developers.
  3. Wikitude AR SDK is available for Android, iOS, Smartphone, Tablet, Smart Glasses, Cordova, Titanium, Xamarin. Wikitude’s all-in-one AR solution includes image recognition and tracking, 3D model rendering, video overlay, location based AR and so much more.
  4. With the help of AR Browser SDK you can add and remove POIs without refreshing the view, interact with them by touching them or pointing the camera to them and perform activity on them, for instance send SMS or share on Facebook. AR browser SDK is available for Android as well as for iOS. The mail features include 2D POIs, custom callback on clicked POI or on centered POI, video support, great performance and memory management, customized elements: pop up label, radar and radar dots, very simple interface API for developers, start and stop functions to prevent memory or battery starvation and finally check sample code.
  5. Metaio SDK is a perfect tool for developing AR apps on Windows PC, Mac OS and in Unity. You can deploy apps for iOS and Android. Metaio’s functionalities are 2-D image, location tracking, 3-D object, barcode and QR code scanning, continuous visual online and offline search and gesture detection. Moreover, Metaio has also created its own AR. It allows software engineers to develop AR apps using typical web technologies (HTML5, XML, Javascript) and deploy them passim.

Hope I gave a full answer to the question “How?” and now let’s move to the questions “Where? and What?”. The yesteryear AR usage was limited mostly to military applications, which were designed to give helicopter pilots and ship captains more definite methods of acquiring targets and tracking enemy movement. Nowadays, tech companies have an entirely new vision for the opportunities that augmented reality provides, hoping that with advances in computing power and miniaturization, soon the number of people wearing an AR-capable device will compete the same stats we see with smartphone ownership in 2015.

According to the prognosis by 2017 more than 3.5 billion AR applications will be downloaded, 600 billion dollars will be spent in AR technology revenues by 2016 and Compound Annual Growth Rate of global AR market will make up 132%. But if you still can’t figure out where you will be able to use this bleeding-edge technology, I will point out some real ways where people all over the world from different spheres such as medicine, public service and finances will benefit from AR adoption.

  • Digital Marketing. AR use in digital marketing is notably appealing. It’s recognized as an enhanced marketing application, as not only can additional content be put within 2D advertisement, but also can result as interactive, awesome and high viral potential eye-catching tool. Key digital aspects: advergaming, Augmented packaging, interactive consumer products, street marketing and geolocalized apps. As a rule consumers react very positively to amusing and ingenious marketing. Thus the brands become memorable.
  • Customer service. Nobody likes to call to a customer support and listen to the endless scripts recited by a rep. However in the future if you have any problems with setting up TV or the cables cut off, the customer support can come to you. Imagine having a service technician come to your house to fix your washing machine. He’ll point his head-up display at the washer. A camera will capture the model number and then upload it to the corporate cloud. That will prompt a download of schematics and instructions, along with an overlaid virtual-reality view of the machine’s components on his display. So instead of hearing generic instructions, like “Press the red button” and “recheck the port,” someone could walk you through the process and see the things you’re seeing, enabling the customer service rep to point things out in more detailed, visual way and helping problems get solved in a more efficient way.
  • E-commerce and M-commerce. AR can offer a virtual fitting room where clothes can be tried on live. It gives you a chance to browse a virtual catalog of clothes, shop directly within your favorite magazine, or go to a virtual store and avoid the queues. Rosenthal of Goldrun, the creator of an AR pop-up shop for Airwalk in a New York City park says:” Augmented reality is going to radically change the shape of commerce.”  AR can turn such public places as parks and airports into shopping centers. It’s a perfect way to kill time and a clever way for business owners to economize money on commercial real estate.) However even real shops could benefit from integrating AR into their design. They could display their items that will be on shelves soon, or items that aren’t sold at that location – and soon you’ll even be able to feel these items with the help of your phone. It’s obvious for everyone that augmented reality could juice up window displays and cut costs.
  • Urban Exploration. Are you in a new neighborhood or in an unknown city? You can throw away your guidebook and turn on AR-application with real time display of enhanced maps. Acting as a GPS, Augmented Reality provides classified and suggestive information that you are looking for whether it’s a restaurant, bar, grocery store or museum and library, etc. And another awesome way to explore your city – or any city -is to overlay 3D maps that show what the city looked like at any point in history. If you’re walking down Broadway, you would be able to “see” horse-drawn carriages parked on the street in front of old parlors. It’d be as if you were walking in a history book.
  • Educational resources. Seeing the potential for AG in educational sphere isn’t hard. Education will be emphasized by Augmented Reality systems and can be used to re-create historical events, activate regular books into 3D images, or even present structures of the galaxy; all superimposed in real-time. So when viewed through the lens of smartphones one can see the picture of an engine animated in an engineering textbook or a working 3D model of a beating heart that you can walk around of rotate by hand.
  • Rescue and Safety operations. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to avoid emergencies in our life. Rescuers, firefighters and policemen very often find themselves in a chaotic situation where they need to make sense of the environment and navigate a place they’ve never been. Wouldn’t it be great if they could see a virtual map of the site or have “X-ray vision” to see sewage or power lines?

While some years ago there was a vast debate about its foreseen impact on society, today AR applications are becoming mainstream. There are apps that allow a museum exhibit to tell its own story, that help you decide which furniture looks better in your bedroom, that bring a tiger you just drew on a piece of paper into life, or that warn you about all the signs you ignored while you were driving. These are examples of already available apps that provide some sort of AR functionality. The one thing is for sure is that smartphone population is rising, thus the level of processing power as well. As long as the resulting augmented content remains engaging and innovative, consumers will certainly adopt augmented reality as a new and fun twist to conventional marketing and services.

Besides I would like to notice that the new era of true digital immersion is waiting just over the next horizon and now is a perfect time to implement AR technologies into your business. It is now up to you – developers, designers, entrepreneurs, scientists, educators, investors, artists, marketers, hackers, journalists, and more – to bring the augmented reality experience to consumers in a fun, productive – and lucrative way. If you have already tried it, you are welcome to share your experience in comments. If not, it will be interesting to know what predictions you have re AR. What is your opinion? Please, feel free to share your thought below.

Thank you for your attention🙂

P.S. By the way, did u know that in 1901 author L.Frank Baum first mentioned electronic display spectacles overlaying data onto real life, in 1975 television weather reports were the 1st application of AR on TV, in 1989 the term “virtual reality” was coined by Jaron Laanier, today AR is already used by Boeing, BMW and Volkswagen on assembly lines and in the nearest future AR contact lenses will be implemented to the United States Military.

 

Anastasiya Zakharchuk

Anastasiya Zakharchuk
anastasiya.presnetsova@altabel.com
Skype ID: azakharchuk1
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

What is it?

Web Graphics Library (WebGL) is a JavaScript API for rendering interactive 3D computer graphics and 2D graphics within any compatible web browser without the use of plug-ins.

It is integrated completely into all the web standards of the browser allowing Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) accelerated usage of physics and image processing and effects as part of the web page canvas. Its elements can be mixed with other HTML elements and put together with other parts of the page or page background. WebGL programs consist of control code written in JavaScript and shader code that is executed on a computer’s GPU.

Developers often use it for games, but it is finally gaining visibility across the web. It is now being used for map visualizations, charting data and presentations.

Some history behind

WebGL emerged of the Canvas 3D experiments started by Vladimir Vukićević at Mozilla. He first demonstrated a Canvas 3D prototype in 2006. By the end of 2007, both Mozilla and Opera had made their own separate implementations. In early 2009, the non-profit technology consortium Khronos Group started the WebGL Working Group, with initial participation from Apple, Google, Mozilla, Opera, and others. Version 1.0 of the WebGL specification was released March 2011. Early applications of WebGL include Zygote Body. In November 2012 Autodesk announced that they ported most of their applications to the cloud running on local WebGL clients. These applications included Fusion 360 and AutoCAD 360. Development of the WebGL 2 specification started in 2013. This specification is based on OpenGL ES 3.0.

What is WebGL Doing?

WebGL has three distinct advantages over writing code that simply manipulates the DOM:

  • Tasks. Drawing reflective materials or complex lighting is rather tough. With JavaScript you could offload some of that to the GPU in your device and have that do the heavy lifting.
  • Performance. Using hardware acceleration (with GPU being built into your device), WebGL is a great fit for games as well as complex visualizations.
  • Shaders. Complex visual effects can be done with small programs – “shaders”. This may be very simple things (such as producing a sepia coloring effect), or more complex simulations (such as water or flames).

How to start?

Here are the essentials steps to create your first WebGL project:
1. Create “canvas” element
2. Obtain drawing context
3. Initialize viewport
4. Create buffers
5. Create matrices
6. Create shaders
7. Initialize shaders
8. Draw primitives

This could sound like a lot of work, so please have a look at some of the engines and frameworks that could be of help.

Engines and Frameworks

PlayCanvas
It is an open source engine which includes a number of options, along with an editor which helps visualize your changes as you make them. Some useful experiences they highlight include brand experiences for viewing high performance cars, as well as playable ads which you can insert into applications.

Turbulenz
It offers a 2D and 3D engine for developers to build, publish, and monetize games on their platform. Founded by former developers at Electronic Arts, this tool is also open source under the MIT License. You could download and build the latest Turbulenz Engine directly from the Github public repository. This includes everything from rendering effects and particles, to physics, animations, audio, inputs, and networking.

BabylonJS
Babylon is a complete JavaScript framework for building 3D games with HTML5, WebGL and Web Audio. It is an open source and free framework created by several people at Microsoft. It is updated on nearly a daily basis, and even offers a sandbox to play in and test out your code.

Pixi.js
It is a devoted rendering engine. There are a host of other engines covering game, sound and physics etc. and they all work beautifully with Pixi. It also has a number of added benefits including render auto-detect to fallback to Canvas when necessary, text support via bitmap (sprites) or webfont, as well as an asset loader.

Construct 2
It is a powerful ground breaking HTML5 game creator designed specifically for 2D games. It allows anyone to build games as no coding is required.

Phaser.io
It is also open source and besides, it offers TypeScript support, which is a strongly typed version of JavaScript. It also has some in-depth guides, and a showcase of Phaser made games.

Three.js
Three.js is a cross-browser JavaScript library/API used to create and display animated 3D computer graphics in a web browser. It is one of the more popular frameworks including everything you need to get running: renders, scenes, cameras, animations, lights. While this is fantastic for most things, it is lacking a physics engine, which will come in handy when creating a game. Three.js is made available under theMIT license. It even has an editor (beta) that you can play around in. The source code is hosted in a repository on GitHub.

PhiloGL
PhiloGL is a WebGL Framework for Data Visualization, Creative Coding and Game Development from Sencha Labs people. All lessons from Learning WebGL have been ported into the PhiloGL Framework. This is a great starting point for people wanting to learn PhiloGL and/or WebGL as well. This is also licensed under the MIT License.

Where else is WebGL used?

WebGL has not only been used in 3D web design and gaming, but also by some researchers for scientific purposes. For example, in a book named “Cellular Automata” the authors have used this technology to simulate Debris flow for the article “Visualization of molecular structures using state-of-the-art techniques in WebGL” tried to simulate molecules with it. More basic examples like simulation of the solar system are made many times by developers.

NASA developed an interactive web application called Experience Curiosity to celebrate the 3rd anniversary of the Curiosity rover landing on Mars. This Blend4Web-based app makes it possible to operate the rover, control its cameras and the robotic arm and reproduces some of the prominent events of the Mars Science Laboratory mission. The application was presented at the beginning of the WebGL section at SIGGRAPH 2015.

Hope the information about WebGL was useful for you  Have you ever used it? If yes, how was your experience? Please feel free to share your comments and thoughts in the comments below.

 

Yuliya Tolkach

Yuliya Tolkach
Yulia.Tolkach@altabel.com
Skype ID: yuliya_tolkach
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

We are often asked about which iOS game engine to use. It is believed that most companies are looking for a free game engine so here is a comparison of the different open source iPhone game engines that actually have apps out there.  Also these game engines now support the iPad.

Sparrow Framework

The Sparrow Framework is a very lightweight 2D game engine created in Objective-C.

It was built from ground up for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. You can easily integrate it with your existing UIKit apps, access all iOS APIs directly and benefit from native performance.

If you have already worked with Adobe Flash or Starling, you will feel right at home: Sparrow uses the same concepts and naming schemes. Even if you’re coming from a different background, you’ll get the hang of it quickly, because everything is designed to be as intuitive and easy to use as possible.

The game framework includes all the necessary features you’d require for creating a basic 2D game such as easy animation, and a sound engine.

Cocos2D IPhone

The Cocos2D iPhone game engine is a port of a game engine originally created in Python and converted to iPhone Objective-C.  As you can tell from the name, Cocos2D is designed for 2D games, that being said, although the engine is in a 2D world, the engine includes a growing collection of high quality 3D special effects.  Cocos2D has also been released on the Mac so you can ease the release on 2 platforms.

Cocos2D is the first engine to check out, while many may be turned off by the engine not supporting a 3d world, if you look at most of the top iPhone games the gameplay is 2D, in fact the iPhone’s touch screen controls can make it difficult to operate in a 3D world.

The engine provides more examples than any of the other engines out there because of the large community.

iSGL3D

iSGL3D (iOS Scene Graph Library) is a 3D framework for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch written in Objective-C, enabling the creativity of developers to flourish in a 3D world without the complexities of OpenGL.

With its rich set of features, iSGL3D provides the necessary tools to develop 3D applications in an incredibly short time frame, even with a minimum of experience in 3D graphics. The principal behind iSGL3D is to make construction and manipulation of 3D scenes as simple as possible for a developer.

With a single line of code you can add a 3D object whether it is a simple primitive, a sprite (or particle) or your own imported asset. Properties on these objects allow you to modify their appearance, position, rotation and more very simply. You can add containers too to group objects and manipulate them together. In a short period of time you can build up a complex 3D scene.

Moai SDK

The Moai SDK is an open source 2D game engine. It designed more for people who know what they’re doing. While it includes the ability to start developing a game immediately from a downloadable binary, it only supports using the FreeGLUT library on the desktop. It is designed in such a way that it expects the developer to be able to create the windowing system themselves.

The main language used with Moai is Lua. Most of the time you shouldn’t need to use C++ to extend the base engine, but the capability to do so is there. The documentation for the Lua codebase is kind of weak however, so you should be ready to do some searching to find out how to use various capabilities. You can create your games with Moai on both Windows (Visual Studio) and Mac (Xcode).  In order to
submit your games to the iOS app store you will need to do so with a Mac.

Oolong Engine

The Oolong Engine is written in C++ with some help from Objective-C. It will help you to create new games and port existing games to the iPhone, the iPod touch and the iPad.

Oolong provides support for a wide variety of features and provides excellent performance.

Haxe

Haxe is a multi-platform language that most notably compiles to SWF and has been used in many Flash games.

Galaxy Game Engine

The Galaxy Game Engine is a very promising engine with an extensive feature set. This is a BSD licensed 3D engine that includes some very useful tools such as a level editor, terrain editor, model viewer, particle editor, and shader IDE.

Sure, we may make this list longer, but let me stop here. The most important thing, which I’d like to notice, is that you should select the engine which fits your project needs and suits your purposes in the best way.

And what do you think? To what engine would you give your preference?

Feel free to share with us your thoughts!

mk

Marina Karabanova
Marina.Karabanova@altabel.com
Skype ID: m.karabanova
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

TO

Today the first events within GamesCom 2015 are kicking off. The main European game show will perform almost finished image of the game industry of 2015.

What should we expect from the nearest days? Let us have a look.

Gamescom 2015 obviously passes up in comparison with E3 in terms of number of the renowned companies, but Gamescom has hosted plenty of big announcements and reveals in its time – and 2015 will give us plenty to talk about.

Microsoft

Microsoft is going to make a huge impress during its conference that will take place on Tuesday, August 4, 7am PT / 10am ET / 3pm UK time.

One of the headliners will be Halo 5 for Xbox One, with an ESL invitational tournament happening on the Friday to get the pros into the game. However, Quantum Break, Scalebound and Crackdown will all be getting some exclusive coverage – and we might even see some more Fallout 4 footage during the conference. However, Sea of Thieves and Recore will be missing the show.
Microsoft is also preparing some surprising announcements. Whatever could they be?

Sony

Sony is skipping Gamescom this year; they plan to arrange their own presentation on October 27 during Paris Games Week.

It could be a risky strategy, but if it has nothing new to show moving on from its big E3 presence then showing up with nothing could have done more damage than good.

Bethesda

After its phenomenal E3 showcase, Bethesda will be hitting Gamescom to show us more of Fallout 4. Unfortunately, it will not be offering up a playable trailer, but Bethesda will be showing off more gameplay at a presentation. Do not expect footage of any of the other Bethesda titles – Gamescom will be dedicated to the nuclear wasteland.

Electronic Arts

EA will be hosting a press conference at this year’s Gamescom, and it will be taking place on August 5 at 1am PT / 4am ET / 9am UK time.

Being showcased at the EA event will be FIFA 16, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, Need for Speed, Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Unravel and more.

DICE though has also been possibly teasing a reveal of another ‘hero’ character for Star Wars Battlefront via the EA Star Wars Facebook page.

Or it could turn out to be a one-hour gameplay demo of Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2.

Konami

The relationship between Konami and Hideo Kojima may have ended, but before the ties are severed, they have an unfinished business: Metal Gear Business.

Konami has confirmed that Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain will be playable at Gamescom 2015.

2K

2K Games will be showing off the ‘worldwide reveal’ of the third instalment in its open-world, Mario Puzo homage, Mafia III. It teaed the announcement via Twitter with the reveal – read teaser trailer – showing up on August 5 5am PT / 8am ET / 1pm UK time.

Blizzard

Also holding its own invite-only press conference will be Blizzard. It is being a little secretive about what exactly will be shown, but we do now know that we will get our first glimpse of the new World of Warcraft expansion.

Now that Warlords of Draenor has reached content complete status, it is time for Blizzard to tell us what is next. VG247 is reporting a new trademark from Blizzard for Council of Glades, which could end up being the name of the new WoW update.

There will surely be more info coming about the already known Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void expansion. Might we also see Hearthstone moving from PC to console too?

The press conference is taking place on August 5 3am PT / 6am ET / 11am UK time so we will know more as it happens.

For the public though the new WoW expansion will be shown on the evening of August 6, after a live concert by Songhammer, playing Blizzard inspired ROCK.

Tatyana Ogneva

Tatyana Ogneva
tatyana.ogneva@altabel.com
Skype ID: ognewatatyana
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

 

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Since the “flash crisis” (starting from the summer of 2013) a lot of game developers have collided with an issue of being crammed with outdated flash games with copyrights sold to various sponsors and game portals.

For the majority of the developers porting their old games to the new platforms could be an ideal option.

That is why I decided to write an article on how they could re-monetize old games with no great effort.

I suggest using HTML5 as this particular game platform allows making the porting without huge investments.

The article reveals the following questions:

  • What games are suitable for the porting to the HTML5?
  • How to make the porting qualitatively?
  • How to sell the renewed game wisely?

Briefly about HTML5:

Firstly a few words, why I suggest using HTML5 for porting flash games: HTML5 is a widely known technology that has such syntactic features as , and elements, as well as the integration of scalable vector graphics (SVG) content (replacing generic tags), and MathML for mathematical formulas. These features allow to make it easy to include and handle multimedia and graphical content on the web without having to resort to proprietary plugins and APIs.

I guess it does not require a lot introduction, still for more information feel free to visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTML5

Below I would like to point out the main benefits and some shortcomings of using HTML5 for porting a flash game.

Pluses:

  1. Cross-platform (the ability to launch a game on any platform);
  2. The development of HTML5 apps takes relatively little time;
  3. Saves resources (writing of the universal code for all platforms is less costly in comparison with developing native apps for each platform);
  4. Easy bug-fixing.

Minuses:

  1. Security;
  2. Possible productions issues;
  3. Some limitations of the mobile devices;
  4. Lack of the common standard for the browsers and devices (bug-fix could be quite time-consuming).

So, if you are concerned in porting you game to the web we could proceed to the first question:

What games are suitable for being ported to HTML5?

Not any game is suitable for being ported to HTML5. There are a few limitations that should be taken into account, for instance:

  • While porting your game under mobile HTML5 the attention should be paid to the control. If the control is managed through the keyboard it means that apparently you will have to port the control as well in order to gain the desired game experience. It is possible to develop tab sensor, still it is not often useful because the player’s fingers hedge the majority of the display what leads to the gameplay/ levels reconstruction or even to rejecting the idea of porting the game.
  • 3D games are not suitable for porting under the mobile web (WebGL technology is not supported by the majority of the mobile browsers).

The porting process is greatly depends on the HTML5 app building approach.

How to make the porting qualitatively?

While speaking about the games with Canvas rendering there would be a three- step approach:

  • Porting the graphics

Art is almost the only thing that we would take from the old game, as the code will be written from a scratch. Porting of the graphics is a complex procedure. Its complexity depends on the initial game format. In the end we should get the raster version of every element of the game starting from the background up to effect animation.

  • Porting the logics on JavaScript

This is the most significant and time-consuming process. It could take from 2 weeks to а couple of months depending on the particular game. Normally a game is developed with using a framework. The choice of the frame is not a simple question and deserves a separate article.

  • Testing and bug-fixing

Worth mentioning that to make the testing of the mobile- web app as effective as possible you should use a number of mobile devices, at least the most popular. Otherwise it is possible to refer to the company that provides QA and testing services.

When the testing is finished the question regarding the distribution arises as well as regarding licensing and it’s specific.

Despite the fact that lately the positive tendency of the HTML5 games is observed, for many developers the monetizing issue is on the agenda. Still in case of applying the wise business model your HTML5 game could become quite beneficial.

How to monetize your game?

  • Selling of the exclusive license

Basically the portal SpilGames bought the exclusive licenses and was a price leader for the developers. Still, recently a number of changes have been noticed in the company and it is quite unclear yet whether they will continue purchasing the content. In other cases, in order to sale an exclusive license you will have to make a good scouting.

  • Selling the site-locks

It is one of the most prevalent ways to monetize the game. In average you could get the profit of about 200-600 USD per game. Just find active customers. Actually there are plenty of portals. First of all this is in interest to the flash games portals owners to keep the constant user base. Generally the users get their mobile devices and returning to the favorite flash game portals and are not able to launch any flash game. The owner of the portal whether loses this user or suggests the alternative- a game that could be launched on the mobile device browser. Another variant is to sell the unexclusive license through auction-portals like FGL.

  • Revenue share scheme

In this case you give your game to be placed in a portal or a portal network and get a part of the revenue form the commercials that were shown in the game. The revenue is mostly depends on the customer, still do not expect huge profit. When it is about a good traffic and the customer is convinced in the profitability of the game, he usually will buy the site-locks.

  • Self-promotion and commercials revenue

The developer integrates the commercials right in the game and gives it free on the partner-site. The revenue is counted on the basis of the commercials shown directly in the game. Thought in comparison with the flash market prime-time, nowadays there are no automated channels of distribution in HTM5 game dev. So it is manual work so far.

It is also worth mentioning that the Google AdWords (the most effective advertisement) will not suit for distribution of such game as Google requires direct linking to the domains where the game will be shown. 

Some useful advice:

  • Obfuscate you HTML 5 games in order to secure them from piracy. Sure, it won’t provide a perfect security, still will become an obstacle to steal the game and will filter out a number of pirates.
  • Sell the game for a particular platform/ market. Reserve the title rights. HTM5 is a universal technology so you are able to convert your game to any platform market (HTML5, web, iOS, Android- these are three different licenses.)
  • While selling the site-locks assure that the name of the portal as well as its mirrors are stated in the contract.
  • Using the revenue share scheme request the access to the statistics.

Hope this tips would be useful. Also if you have any suggestions and better solutions, feel free to share in the comments!

Tatyana Ogneva

Tatyana Ogneva
tatyana.ogneva@altabel.com
Skype ID: ognewatatyana
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

 

Before starting development of the game the 1st thing one should decide is: “What engine should I use?”

In this article I would like to present a brief overview of the 3 the most powerful engines, in order to clarify their key differences, advantages and disadvantages.

Nowadays Unreal Engine 4, Unity and Cry ENGINE are rightfully considered to be the most popular and powerful among game engines.

Unreal Engine 4:                 

Unreal Engine 4 (UE4) is the brand new engine developed by Epic Games (its predecessor is Unreal Development Kit, or UDK the free edition of the Unreal Engine3. It was used in a huge amount of AAA games including Gears of War).

UE4 possesses amazing graphical capabilities including:

  • photorealistic graphics;
  • advanced dynamic lighting;
  • innovative particle system (handles up to a million particles in a scene at ones).

The Unreal Engine 4 got some changes and differs from UDK, so you will have to get used to them if you have had an experience in UDK. Still the ease of the UE4 makes it quite appealing for the new game developers who will do justice to such notable changes as:

  • UnrealScript is completely replaced by C++;
  • Kismet is replaced by the more intuitive Blueprint.

Unreal engine 4 could be used for development games for PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Nevertheless, it is impossible to make a previous generation consolee game on UE4.  

UE4 is available for the developers at $19 per with a 5% royalty. Furthermore Epic Games gave free access to the engine for schools and universities as well as to the source code.

Unity:

Unity is the game engine with an extensive range of features, comfortable and user-friendly interface. Its cross-platform integration makes it prior while choosing software for mobile games development. Unity allows to port games quickly and easily onto iOS, Android, Win Phone, Blackberry. In addition the engine could be used for PS3, Xbox360, and Nintendo Wii U games development.

This engine could be easily integrated with any 3D-editor (like 3ds Max, Maya, Softimage, CINEMA 4D, Blender, etc.). It also has capabilities for the 2D game development, supporting sprites and 2D physics.  That makes Unity great for development of both 3D and 2D games.

Still, its own inside editor can perform a limited set of operations.  It has no modeling or building features outside of a few primitive shapes, so everything has to be created in a third party 3D application.  Nevertheless it has a huge asset library, which could be either downloaded or purchased.

For the developers 2 versions of Unity are available: free and Pro. Annually Pro version costs $1,500 or $75 for monthly subscription, also it is possible to download 30-days trial.

Pro version greatly differs from the free:

  • global lightning;
  • render-to-texture;
  • custom splash screen;
  • IK Rigs, etc.

Also, the developers at Unity are preparing to enter the new generation with the release of their Unity 5 and continue the race with UE4 and CryEngine.

CryEngine:

CryEngine is an extremely powerful tool, developed by Crythek Company. Firstly it was presented in the 1st Far Cry game. This engine allows creating games for PC, PS4 and Xbox One. It obviously surpasses Unity in graphical capabilities:

  • state-of-the-art lightning;
  • realistic physics;
  • advanced animation, etc.

CryEngine is quite intuitive and possesses powerful level design features and could be put on the same level with UE4.

Still, it could be quite challenging and take a while to get used to it and start using the engine efficiently in case you’ve never dealt with game engines before. So, if you do not require your game graphics to compete with games like Crysis 3 you’d better choose a more user-friendly engine.

For developers CryEngine is available at $9,90 per month with no royalty commitments. Also it offers commercial developers full source licensing for larger and longer term projects that benefit from a real partnership with Crythek. Platinum support is also available, with dedicated support staff, increased on-site presence and even co-development of features.

Thus, Unreal Engine 4 is a good match for games with photorealistic graphics, Unity is better for development of 2D, 3D games and CryEngine has amazing graphics capabilities along with the most appealing pricing. Still, I suppose that one should try each engine in order to define, which one suits his purposes in the best way.

To sum it all up I would like to notice that all these 3 engines are extremely powerful tools for the game development. Still, I suppose that one should try each engine in order to define, which one suits your purposes in the best way.

And what do you think? To what engine would you give your preference?

Look forward to your comments!

Tatyana Ogneva

Tatyana Ogneva
tatyana.ogneva@altabel.com
Skype ID: ognewatatyana
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development


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