My new Medieval combat game is in development

As I mentioned in the article written about me in the Sydney Morning Herald, I am working on a new medieval combat game. We started work on the proof of concept late last year and have been steadily progressing work on it for the past couple of weeks.

 

For me, the proof of concept stage is critical because we are moving to a new game engine. For Animals Ahoy, we developed the game engine from scratch. I estimate it took at least 50% of the development time just on the engine. The rest (concept, design, assets, game logic, testing, balancing etc.) essentially ‘plugged in’ to the game engine, but to me and to most players out there, these are the parts of the game they can actually ‘see’. For these reasons (development time and cost, availability of engines, no value-add to players) I’ve basically decided to never write a game engine again. I’m here to make great games, not to make great technology. I’ll leave that to the experts and use their work to make my games.

 

I went through a long and painful due diligence exercise examining every single game engine out there to determine which one would be best for this type of game. My requirements were:

 

  1. HTML5 presentation using the Canvas tag and/or DOM
  2. JavaScript code
  3. Well documented
  4. Supports PhoneGap
  5. Can produce games for ios, android and Windows 8
  6. Supports in-app advertising
  7. Supports IndexedDB databases (later dropped as a requirement)
  8. Good support and/or active developer community
  9. Decent number of ‘finished’ games (not just demos)
  10. Value for money

Much to my surprise, there are over 100 JavaScript game engines out there (and counting)! What’s more surprising is that most of them are free. After examining every single engine and contacting the developers of the top 10 on my list, we decided on the engine we are going to use.

 

The engine we have chosen is called Crafty, developed by Louis Stowasser. This (free!) game engine looks like it will save us a crapload of time. Why waste time writing code to handle basic technical aspects like touch events, audio etc. when there are perfectly good engines out there that can do it for you? I just want to spend time writing rules, logic and stories, designing great game screens, generating gorgeous art and sound and adding content to the game and making it as much fun as possible.

 

For the current proof of concept stage we are mainly testing the Crafty game engine to see if it is capable of handling all the game events we think we want to throw at it. We have successfully compiled the proof of concept test on android, ios and win8 and it works flawlessly on all platforms. Here is a screen shot:

Screenshot1

Right now, you can only move the character around the screen, but we are currently testing other aspects such as screen layout/scaling, custom JavaScript code interaction with the engine, character combat, movement and animation.

 

I’ll post again when we have finished testing most of the above functionality, hopefully in a few weeks.

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