Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
Interview with Everett Lee of OMGPOP:
The Science of Social Game Design—cont'd
made in Flash because that is where the lowest barriers to entry are for
reaching social gamers. Unity enables developers to create good look-
ing 3D games; however, we need to be mindful of the core audience for
social gaming. The large base of social gamers is not composed of hard-
core gamers with the best 3D graphics cards, so some programmers may
argue that Unity is overkill for most 2D games. From a business stand-
point, it is difficult to justify adding an extra plug-in installation step for
users before they even get into your splash screen.
Looking ahead towards the future, it looks like HTML5 may be able to
rival Flash, mostly because browser developers are on board and provid-
ing native support for HTML5. Native HTML5 support would mean that
developers could make the game once and it would almost immediately
support both desktop web gaming and mobile gaming. This time sav-
ings is quite attractive to developers and creates a foundation for support
there. I personally do not believe that HTML5 will take off until one of the
three leading HTML5 video codecs—H264, Theora, or WebM—becomes a
clear winner. In layman's terms, this is analogous to seeing if HD-DVD or
Blu-ray is going to take off, before distributors throw full support behind
releasing high-def movies en masse. Once one video codec has suffi-
cient support and the concerns about submarine patents are proven to be
immaterial in court, I believe HTML5 will take off.
Q: What do you see as the future of social gaming? Do you envision a con-
vergence between social and mobile gaming?
A: If we extrapolate from current market trends, we should see more
mobile games integrating social components, because most mobile
devices are smartphones and are almost guaranteed to have internet
access. For example, our latest game, Puppy World , is taking a step in
that direction, with social integration through the iOS Game Center and
streamlined Facebook wall posts for screenshots.
Approaching things from the other side of the equation, if we pick up a
web standard like HTML5, we should see more desktop social games mak-
ing their way over to mobile devices, because the underlying code is pretty
much already there. The biggest hurdle is making sure the UI will work
well on mobile devices, too, which is a very tractable problem. To the
backend servers, the platform the game client is on does not really matter,
except for financial transactions that must go through for each front end
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