This year I decided to work on my portfolio, as I nearly had none, so I made a list of games I’d like to develop and, well, started developing them.
The basic idea is that I can’t develop all of those ideas and have a finished product, as I don’t have neither the powerhouse nor the time to develop a full-fledged product. So, the smart thing was to work on smaller projects and focus only in the core elements.
I started working on the first idea for a month now, using Unity, but more on that in the future. I developed part of the core; unfortunately, the other part is boring, so I started to advance slower and slower.
Coupled with that, a co-worker recently bought a Google Chromecast and we started to discuss the possibility to work with HTML5.
I liked the idea, as I’ve been wanting to work with tools other than Unity, so this was like heaven-dropped. The decisive trigger was the release of Phaser 2.0, an open-source framework to develop HTML5 games.
Besides the portfolio, I also wanted to learn something else than Unity to be able to choose correct tools for future projects. There’s this quote by a former professor of mine, he says that even worse than a bad programmer is a programmer that only knows one language, and it’s certainly true. While Unity has been wonderful (Unity 5 was announced :D *Handel’s Messiah starts playing*), the switch of going from a using such a powerful engine with support for IDEs, that simplified my life, to working with basically a notepad (I’m trying Sublime) has been a great shock. I feel disorganized and unfocused.
One of the most important things anyone must learn is that there’s a tool for everything. Your duty is to choose the one best suited for the work. Unity is a great engine, but for some games it’s just overkill.
Having decided to work with Phaser, I started checking out its tutorials. It is wonderful: it has support for a great deal of features, it’s well documented, there’s plenty of examples and it seems to have an overall good performance. At its side, Enchant.js (at least the version I tried 8 months ago) seems like a pre-alpha version of Phaser; it lacked good documentation, mainly in the Physics area, and its performance was deplorable.
So yes, you could say it was love at first sight.
However, I stumbled upon with some walls while starting to work with it. See, even with all its features, Phaser is still somewhat unstable, and that’s kind of a break-dealer. The official examples work great, but I try to replicate some of them and I get stuck. For example, I was trying to check this one on Tilemaps, but my version of keep throwing an undefined variable error (I think it was missing a this. in Phaser) even though we both used the same version of Phaser (2.0.1).
But, hopefully, the framework is under constant revisions, which means it’s active.
To get used to the framework, I decided to make a simple game. Some months ago, I gave Game Maker a try and saw this example for a shoot ’em up featuring WorldWar-ish aircrafts. It reminded me of Porco Rosso, so I wanted to do something similar in honour of that great Studio Ghibli movie.
I started yesterday, so there’s nothing much I could show. And again, it’s just a simple game to try out the Phaser. Maybe if everything goes fine and I feel comfortable with it, I could start developing more interesting games. More on my adventures with HTML5 and Phaser in future posts.