And the Man on the Hill said HTML5, build it and they will come…

This really is just a “state of the union” for 8bitrocket (8bitsteve and 8bitjeff) to go over some of the events that have transpired over the first 9 months of the year.     We like to keep these brief (this one is anything but), and put them in the “history” section of the blog so we can refer to them when we need them for various purposes.

The big success story of this year so far has been HTML5 and our  Canvas Book for O’Reilly‘. It has been selling very well and the Spanish language foreign rights alone almost covered our entire advance.   Even though the book was selling well, we had not really been doing too much Canvas project development work earlier in the year. Because of this, we both decided to take a break from our respective jobs in March and sign up with a big Facebook gaming company. The Canvas knowledge had been a big selling point for us, so we anticipated jumping full force into developing Facebook Canvas games that would work across the entire spectrum of devices (both browser and hand-held).

Unfortunately, things don’t always work out the way you plan them in your head, and no real Canvas work ever materialized at the company. Frustrated, we both have now parted ways with that company. I have taken up duties as the CTO and All Around Lead Developer at Producto Studios and Steve has taken on a project management and a sort of technology evangelist lead role at Electrotank.

It just so happens that NOW HTML5 and Canvas work has been the bulk of what we both have been asked to work on (with some Flash sprinkled here and there). In fact, right now 80% of my development time is spent on HTML5 and about 50% of my CTO time is spent discussing the merits of Flash v. Native v. HTML5 on the various platforms for RFPs and client information requests.

Steve is actually working on the Canvas almost full  time to help Electrotank flesh out  their JavaScript API and prepare to run some of their bigger projects.

Everyday I am getting more and more requests for HTML5 game development. So many in fact , that I have to turn some away.   I get to refer back to my Canvas game  chapters on a daily basis so the book has become a nice little reference manual as well as a source of small royalty income. If anyone out there has read our book, and can demonstrate a solid knowledge of game development on the Canvas, I can put you on our external developer role over at Producto and refer you the overflow clients that I assume will stream in even faster now.  Send email to info[at]8bitrocket[dot]com if you are interested or have something cool to share.

We have also had great success with the Flash CS5.5 –>Air–>iOS device pipeline. Games and apps have been working very well and we have a few new tricks up our respective sleeve to optimize them even more.

Back to HTML5, we are still not seeing great performance on the various hand-held devices, but if you choose your app wisely (not too much fast game play, etc) the Canvas seems to be a very viable platform to target mobile, especially the larger devices (iPads, etc).

One final note, even though we swore off writing anymore books after completing the last two, it looks like we have been enticed into not one, but three more that target various mobile platforms.  We’ll  information to share if and when the deal is finalized.

Until then, check out both Corona and AppMobi. These two companies are doing great things for Mobile game development and deserve all the support we can give them.

Also, a friend of ours, Raffaele Cecco,  (who was a great 16 bit game developer back in the 80’s) has just completed his own book called Super Charged Javavscript Graphics. It covers some of the same ground as our book, but integrates DHTML and jQuery also. It’s a must read.

With Adobe purchasing Phonegap and Microsoft putting their full weight behind the Canvas, it looks to us the HTML5 and the Canvas are not going to go away any time soon.  There is an entire chapter in our Canvas book about using Phonegap to turn and HTML5 app into a native iPhone app (I even added in a shake gesture to demonstrate how easy it is to pull off).  Microsoft also announced  that they are putting their full support behind HTML5 for all of their next operating systems (Mobile and Desktop).

Usually Steve and I have had a history of being either too early or too late to some of the things we get interested it. It looks like this time we might have arrived right on schedule.

-Jeff Fultn

Leave a Reply