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Submission Don't Let Final Fantasy V Happen to You - Do HD Remakes the Right Way->

lars_doucet writes: Final Fantasy V just came out on Steam — a beloved classic game — only to showcase an art-style that fans and developers alike are criticizing for being rushed and sloppy.

It's not just a matter of questionable taste — the new game engine is a veritable laundry list of glaring technical flaws such as an awkward base resolution, tiling artifacts, and grossly mismatched art styles.

In response, game developer Lars Doucet lays out a lengthy and detailed list of best (and worst!) practices for "HD remakes":

Doing an HD Remake the Right Way

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Submission TypeScript vs Haxe->

lars_doucet writes: Released in 2012, Microsoft's TypeScript is perhaps the best-known "compile to JS" language, but it wasn't the first. One of the earliest was Haxe, whose JS target first appeared in 2006.

In his illuminating article, TypeScript vs Haxe, Andy Li gives an excellent rundown of the two languages' various merits, but the bottom line is:

"Existing JS developers will favor TypeScript as they are more similar in many ways. They can utilize their existing skills immediately. Non-JS developers with backgrounds like Java/C# or even from the functional programming world will appreciate Haxe more since it fixes a lot of weirdness of JS."

The full article includes an excellent rundown of the type systems, syntax, scope handling, compilers, and overall language design philosophy.

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Comment Re:So, not FOSS anymore? (Score 4, Interesting) 20

That's actually a concern of ours and we've designed the architecture around it to leave as much code as possible open source. To be clear we are NOT creating a new, non-open-source fork. We're using the existing public stack of OpenFL and Lime you can find today. However, as you can read in the article, we're building console-specific "batteries" that slot into the very last mile of the console stack as a separable library that can be safely distributed under the terms of console NDA's, without putting any burden on the existing public codebase.

Comment Re:Flash for consoles? (Score 2) 20

What you're basically asking for is the underlying Lime layer which is a part of this solution. The "OpenFL" part -- the Flash API implementation, is a convenience layer that would, yes, make it possible to port flash games to consoles, but the underlying Lime layer is pretty close to the metal and does as little as possible while unifying things like asset management and providing direct access to a consistent rendering API.

This compiles down to native C++ output making hardware calls and unlike Unity, does NOT rely on a virtual machine.

Submission Open Source Haxe/OpenFL platform will support home game consoles->

lars_doucet writes: At last week's World Wide Haxe conference, a coalition of game developers announced that the open source platform Haxe/OpenFL is coming soon to home game consoles. The first three games that will ship using the technology are Yummy Circus , Defender's Quest (HD edition) , and the award-winning Papers, Please.

Haxe is a programming language that compiles to other programming languages (everything from C++ to Javascript to Python), has been around for about 10 years and is quite powerful. OpenFL is a hardware-accelerated cross-platform reimplementation of the Flash API, built on top of Haxe (but does not have the Flash player's performance and security limitations and has nothing to do with Adobe), and is built on a low-level cross-platform layer called Lime, which can be used separately for those who have no need for a Flash-like API. This could eventually lead to console compatibility for engines that are built on top of Haxe/OpenFL, such as Away3D, Stencyl, HaxeFlixel, and HaxePunk.

Six console targets are planned: WiiU, PS4, XBox One, PSVita, 3DS, and PS3; footage of demos running on the WiiU was presented at the talk and are included in the linked article.

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Submission Small Developer sees surge in "organic" traffic after Steam's Discovery update ->

lars_doucet writes: What effect has the Steam Discovery Update had on small developers?

The recent Steam Autumn Sale was the first to take advantage of the new Steam Discovery features, with a custom Netflix-esque "recommended for you" section alongside the hand-picked features. Notably, games from player's wishlists were prominently featured.

We present detailed data from our own game's experience since the Discovery Update.

Interesting facts:
  • 50% of our game's sales in the Autumn Sale were wishlist fulfillments.
  • We fulfilled 3.5% of our game's wishlist stats during the Autumn Sale.
  • Valve tells us that customers' use of wishlists has doubled since the Discovery Queue was added.
  • Baseline revenue increased 4X immediately after the Discovery update.
  • We were featured in the Halloween Sale, a traditional "hand-picked" promotion with no custom recommendations.
  • We were NOT featured in the Autumn Sale, but still made 30% as much as Halloween, likely b/c of custom recommendations.
  • Game is ~3 years old, but every post-Discovery update period made more than last year.

Some limitations and caveats apply (this is only one data developer's experience, etc).
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Submission Flash IDE will integrate with open source, cross-platform Haxe/OpenFL platform

lars_doucet writes: Flash CC now has an SDK for creating custom project file formats; this lets you use the Flash IDE to prepare and publish content for (not-the-flash-player) compile targets.

Among these new platforms is OpenFL, a fully open-source re-implementation of the Flash API that exports to Javascript and C++ (no Flash Player!), among other targets:

When Adobe demoed the custom project feature at Adobe MAX the other night, they brought out Joshua Granick (lead maintainer of OpenFL) to show off a custom OpenFL project format that lets you make Flash Art in Flash CC, then compile it out to Flash, HTML5, and native C++ (desktop+mobile) targets.

Maybe Adobe heard us after all?

Submission Fixing Steam's User Rating Charts->

lars_doucet writes: Steam's new search page lets you sort by "user rating," but the algorithm they're using is broken.

For instance, a DLC pack with a single positive review appears above a major game with a 74% score and 15,000+ ratings.

The current "user rating" ranking system seems to divide everything into big semantic buckets ("Overwhelmingly Positive","Positive","Mixed",etc), stack those in order, then sort each bucket's contents by the total number of reviews per game. Given that Steam reviews skew massively positive, ( half are "very positive" or higher), this is virtually indistinguishable from a standard "most popular" chart.

Luckily, there's a known solution to this problem — use statistical sampling to account for disparate numbers of user reviews, which gives "hidden gems" with statistically significant high positive ratings, but less popularity, a fighting chance against games that are already dominating the charts.

More details: Fixing Steam's User Rating Charts

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Submission Follow Your Dreams, Or Maybe Don't.->

lars_doucet writes: I am filled with absolute terror whenever I get a message like this in my inbox:

"You inspired me to quit my job to make indie games!"

Following your dreams is crazy, scary, fraught with risk, and the kicker is ... you might not even want it as much as you think you do.
In this article, I discuss my mixed feelings on being a mid-level success in an industry where there are dark forces that prey on young Dreamers.

In short:
If you want to follow your dreams, first ask yourself what your dream really is and why you want to chase it. And if you decide to take the plunge, do it with your eyes open.

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Submission Will that crowdfunded game ever actually ship? (The "2 out of 3" test)->

lars_doucet writes: The failure of the Yogscast game is just the latest in a long string of high-profile kickstarter busts. Backers should do their due dilligence, but if we're honest, most of us don't have time to run the numbers and dig really deep. So here's a simple "rule of thumb" test for quickly assessing crowdfunding risk:

1. Is it a NEW TEAM?
2. Is it a NEW DESIGN?
3. Is it using NEW TECH?


0-1: Safe (but not guaranteed)
2: Risky
3: Expect Failure

Image: http://www.files.fortressofdoo...

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If it's worth hacking on well, it's worth hacking on for money.