Pattern Generator

So I was just messing about in Flash the other day and ended up making this little toy. It’s just a blank screen at first but if you click it it will come to life. Keep clicking and you will see that it is capable of throwing up a fairly diverse range of interesting patterns just by feeding in randomised inputs. It probably doesn’t have any practical application but sometimes it’s fun just to play.

Often the patterns resemble trees or bushes, other times they can make nice hexagonal structures and sometimes they just look like a scribbled mess.

Click here for a fullscreen version.

In other news the reason I haven’t posted a new game in a long time is because we’re currently working on our biggest and most ambitious project to date and it’s taking a bit longer than anticipated. Hopefully we’ll be in a position to post something new soon though!

Play this game…

January 10th, 2013 Other Tags: , , , , 3 Comments

Mochi London 2012

This September I’m going to be speaking at Mochi London 2012. It promises to be a great event with some interesting talks lined up and a great way to meet up with some fellow developers. My own talk will be with my brother, John, about our multiplayer game Bad Eggs Online, focusing on our experiences with microtransactions in a multiplayer game.

So whether you’re a developer, an artist, a site owner, or just anyone even slightly interested in flash games you should come along and say hi. Registration for the event is free and open here: http://mochilondon2012-estw.eventbrite.com/

June 19th, 2012 Articles Tags: , , , , 2 Comments

My Thoughts on Micro-Transactions

Planet Basher 2 was my first foray into the world of micro-transactions. For the uninitiated micro-transactions means selling in game content to the players, usually for a low price. This is a concept that is becoming more and more commonplace in the world of video games with even major titles jumping on the bandwagon. It’s the same idea as buying a downloadable map pack for Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, just on a slightly smaller scale (in general).

In Flash games the one problem for developers such as myself who are trying to make a living from it is that the content is free for anyone to play. I think it’s absolutely fantastic that we have all these great games that we can play for free and we take it for granted that we can. I wouldn’t ever want to change that (besides, I couldn’t even if I wanted to) but I do think that there is something in this micro-transaction idea.

In theory what it means is that as developers we can spend longer and put more effort into adding features to our games that we think our fans would like to see. Under normal circumstances this content wouldn’t exist but by charging a small amount to players it makes it more worth our while to spend the extra time developing.

So the end user gets bonus content (if they want it) and we get a bit of profit. A win win situation. Of course not everyone sees it that way and there is plenty of opposition to the concept. A lot of people are very against paying for content in Flash games and I can certainly sympathise with that view, but what they don’t seem to realise is that we are not trying to charge them to play the game, we’re offering additional content for those that are willing to pay for it. The game is still free and it’s not just a demo.

Of course, in Planet Basher 2 I made just about every mistake I could have in trying to implement micro-transactions. I tried to add them into a game that hadn’t been designed for them from the start (not a good idea) and I also made the decision to publish the game before I had been given clearance to go ahead with micro-transactions (as I recall it was just before going on holiday and I was in a hurry to publish). As a result the micro-transactions only got added to the game once it had been released by which time the non-micro-transaction version was already widely distributed.

In spite of these errors, it enabled me to see the potential for success using the micro-transactions model and I took away some valuable lessons from the experience. I look forward to trialling micro-transactions properly in the future.

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