March 26, 2012
The enchant.js team just returned to Japan after a rollicking overseas road trip that sent us to the opposite of the globe, and then criss-crossing the entire length of the United States. Words cannot describe the rolling waves of jet lag that ensued.
First up was a stop in Boston to present as part of the MIT Cool Japan lecture series. Professor Ian Condry graciously invited us to share our work with his undergraduate students, who peppered us with shrewd and insightful questions. Here we are, delighted to have survived their penetrating minds:
Then we hopped on a plane for the opposite side of the continent, trading snow for ocean foam in San Francisco. Our goals were twofold: to exhibit at the Game Developers Conference, and to host a memorable Silicon Valley tour for the three grand prize winners of the 9leap contest.
Of course these talented programmers enjoyed seeing Google, Apple, and other Silicon Valley staples, but of special note was a trip to the headquarters of Couchbase hosted by Chris Anderson. Chris candidly shared his experiences working to get a startup off the ground, and inspired us all with a real-time enchant.js hack.
GDC proved no less thrilling. We vowed to create a booth experience that was just a little bit different…and with that goal in mind, we proudly presented a series of 9 minutes coding battles!
3-5 times each day, we gathered attendees ’round to watch as our programmers…including the three 9leap winners…each attempted to create a complete game in just 9 minutes. Themes selected by the audience included “Bouncing Balls,” “Cheeseburger Boxing,” “Hell,” “Hot Date,” and “Four Legged Animals.”
Most audience members were content just to watch, but a few brave souls like Bocoup‘s Boaz Sender jumped into the ring to try and create their own games in 9 minutes or less. Needless to say, many gasps and giggles were shared by all.
But that wasn’t the end of our trip…the following Sunday we hopped on a plane and shot off to Austin, Texas where we exhibited at SXSW 2012. Jet lag had addled all of brains considerably by this point, but a generous dose of barbecue softened the blow.
And that’s it…until the next trip! Stay tuned…
February 22, 2012
On February 18, UEI was proud to sponsor the event “leapfest 2012″ in Akihabara, Tokyo, the culmination of the first 9leap contest!
The event included presentation of prizes for 9leap winners, speeches, lightning talks, and a “9 Minutes Coding Battle” to make a game in 540 seconds or less using enchant.js.
And what would such an event be without swag? In the middle is a t-shirt featuring the enchant.js source code.
We’re planning on selling these at many more events in the future, so be sure to get one for yourself!
Check out the wise9 report (in Japanese) for more!
December 15, 2011
Greetings! enchant.js Technical Evangelist Eric here.
Last week I made my way to Santa Clara, California, where I spread the enchant.js gospel at DevCon5 with my friend Hidemy. Our morning began bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 7:30 a.m. with setup of our booth at the Network Meeting Center.
Our booth featured the usual assortment of swag goodness.
Lo and behold, we found ourselves prominently advertised up on the main event screen. We had the last keynote of the event. No pressure, right?
On day one we enjoyed three keynotes. The first was “LinkedIn Mobile: HTML5 and Node.JS” from LinkedIn Directing of Mobile Engineering Kiran Prasad.
Kiran took us through the process by which the popular networking service has been built for various mobile platforms. His team of eight worked over four months to develop versions of LinkedIn for iOS, Android, and Mobile Web. The usage of HTML5 varies widely…as much as 70% for iOS, as little as 20% for Android, and of course 100% for Mobile Web. Kiran predicted that 3 years from now, 90% of this will be HTML5. He then shared some of the details of LinkedIn’s approach using Node.js. A key difference in HTML5 is all the work that takes place on the client side; Node.js aggregates this information into a single stream. The specifics vary from platform to platform, but the general trend is clearly towards HTML5 adoption.
Next came courtesy of Khronos Group president Neil Trevett, who spoke on “WebGL and the Visual Web Ecosystem.”
Neil began by talking about the explosive growth of mobile devices, which are shipping at a rate exponentially higher than traditional computers. As a result the potential clearly exists for HTML5 to become a cross-platform application programming environment, but to do so it must be more than just “more HTML.” The good news is that silicon community is moving to make this new software standardized and as efficient as possible. Neil then cited 3D as an example, with WebGL as a case study. WebGL represents an historic opportunity: 3D on the web, not constrained to rectangular windows, with no plug-in. Neil described how his Khronos Group is working hard to synergize web and native APIs. Industry cooperation is essential for making HTML5 live up to its potential, he said, making it both a stressful and exciting time to develop.
Finally, we enjoyed “HTML5 and Blackberry” by Ken Wallis, Manager at BlackBerry WebWorks Research in Motion (RIM).
Ken shared the merits of BlackBerry’s WebWorks, a system whose merits have not been fully recognized. He began by discussing a phenomenon called NIBS: Native Is Better Syndrome. Developers should not fear developing for the web, Ken said, nor view their choice as a competition between native and web. He discussed the unique experience of mobile web developers, who must test on a desktop, a simulator, and finally an actual device. BlackBerry’s Ripple combines the first two steps, speeding up the process. Moreover, BlackBerry and WebWorks are fully committed to open-source. All WebWorks development occurs out in the open on GitHub, and BlackBerry is making an active effort to sponsor JS meetups. WebWorks is proud to note that 13% of its vendors make $100,000 or greater (more than Apple and Android), and Ken stressed that apps created on WebWorks will work on any and all future BlackBerry devices.
Through it all Hidemy and I fielded a steady stream of inquisitive developers at our booth.
We ended the day with a networking session hosted in the event center lobby. Pity that the munchies disappeared so quickly…
Day two began bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with more evangelizing in the lobby.
David Kaneda, Creative Web Technologist at Sencha, delivered the first keynote of the day.
David eschewed the format of most of the other presentations, electing to discuss not framework or devices, but rather people and the final user experience. Unlike developers or business guys, end users typically do not care about the web vs. native debate. Despite talks of change, David said, app stores are doing extremely well. With all this in mind, David gave three proposals for developers: 1) stop saying “One Web,” 2) Consider the web for what it is, and 3) Innovate! He stressed the importance of thinking outside the box, and how many of the best innovations come from simple design ideas. Embracing HTML5 will only help this process.
Next, Jonathan Stark, VP of Application Architecture at Mobiquity, regaled us with “Three Things First: Content and Experience in the Age of Ubiquitous Computing.”
Jonathan began by stressing a point: mobile is huge, and slated to increase tenfold over the next 5 years. In fact, there are slated to be some 5 billion mobile broadband subscribers by 2016. The phone is becoming more than just a phone: devices like Square demonstrate how it is turning into a hub for human lifestyle. We are entering an age when people will want to access their data anytime from anywhere, on any device. Further, innovations like Siri show that the line between human and machine is blurring. As a result, it behooves developers to focus on mobile, and to not get too hung up on platform but instead focus on ideal output. He reminded us that we have no idea where our content will end up, and as such we should focus on the content itself.
And a few hours later, lo and behold, it was us!
Shimizu-san and I took the stage to share the enchant.js and 9leap story with a crowd pleasantly chewing away on midday munchies. We dabbled in game demos, live coding, live shout-outs to the audience, and other merriment.
We’ll be on hand for a variety of events in the coming months. Stay tuned, and for DevCon5 attendees reading this, hope to see you again soon!
November 17, 2011
Hey! enchant.js Technology Evangelist Eric here.
Last night we (the “we” being Akihabara Research Center director Ryo Shimizu, fellow enchant.js-er Hidemy, and me) were in Boston to take part in the monthly Boston HTML5 Game Development Meetup!
Our presentation marked the one year anniversary of the meetup, which is co-organized by Pascal Rettig and Darius Kazemi (who also organized this month’s New Game Conference).The event was hosted by the lovely folks at MocoSpace in their gloriously creaky 100-year old office.
The event organizers were kind enough to grant us the first speaking slot of the evening. We started with some live coding from Mr. Shimizu:
After a discussion of enchant.js’ origins, development, and key features, I took the stage to present a more detailed look at what the engine has to offer.
You may be looking at the photos and thinking, “this meetup looks kinda small.” If so, you’re correct: just over 20 people were in attendance. But conversely, this intimate setting proved a boon. Nearly everyone present asked at least one question, and the resulting discussion felt like just that: a conversation with real back and forth.
After our talk we enjoyed a presentation from Microsoft’s Chris Bowen about IE9’s use of HTML5…as well as some tantalizing glimpses of still-secret Windows releases.
And what would an event be without swag? We’re pleased to report that all but two of the enchant.js t-shirts we brought went home with attendees.
We’ll be on hand next month at DevCon5 in Santa Clara. Hope to see you there!
November 8, 2011
Greetings! enchant.js evangelist Eric here!
As you can see in the pic above, last week I was at New Game Conference, where enchant.js appeared as a Gold Sponsor! Fellow enchant.js-er Hidemy fought the good fight beside me.
Day 1 started at sunup, a grueling situation made less so by the free breakfast.
We were greeted by our own swag upon walking in the door.
Not to mention our logo lurking in the corner of the official game slides, right next to IE, the other gold sponsor…
Day 1 began on a high note courtesy of Richard Hilleman, creative director at EA, and his keynote “Finding the Missing Pieces: Completing the HTML5 Gaming Platform Picture.”
A running theme throughout the conference was the ongoing challenges of HTML5 gaming. Richard postulated that a Killer App is necessary for users to embrace the new system. Richard pondered whether or not the hugely popular “Angry Birds” might be that killer app. The potential is there, but in his view, the real game-changing works are still to come. HTML5’s potential lies in time…the ultimate asset for a user.
Another highlight was Bocoup programmer and evangelist Darius Kazemi’s “Fieldrunners HTML5: Bringing a Hit iOS Game to the Web.”
Darius explored the myriad challenges in porting an iOS hit into HTML5, a process that was projected to take 8 weeks but ended up requiring 12. After rewriting some 24,596 lines of code, Darius reminded us of a tradeoff: highest quality, or widest audience?
Day two highlights included the keynote from Paul Bakaus, CTO of Zynga Germany.
Paul took us through his own experiences attempting to develop an HTML5 game engine, beginning at a time when no such thing existed. The lack of competition made his work that much more difficult. Vast strides have been made in Canvas, WebGL, and more, but there’s still considerable room for improvement. Paul discussed how web developers rarely make good game developers (and vice versa) and speculated on some of the reasons why HTML5 has not been more widely adopted (his theories: Devs don’t want to learn it, and companies don’t want to ditch versions of IE below 9). HTML5 wasn’t created with games in mind, and as a result the HTML5 game developer’s situation is an exciting, fun, but painful one.
Of particular interest to our Tokyo-based company was “The State of HTML5 Games in Asia” by Robbert Van Os and Chen Qi of spilgames.
The pair discussed their experiences marketing games internationally and the pitfalls involved in localizing. They boasted the first HTML5 game portal in China, a hugely difficult task given that Facebook is banned outright, the “Great Firewall” makes local hosting a necessity, and fragmented nature of the market.
Through it all, we were busy evangelisin’ away on enchant.js, before, during, and after the sessions. Look how serious we were! Ahem.
We also enjoyed booze galore at the official conference party, including a blue cocktail in honor of sponsor Microsoft. Hmm…where’s our enchant.js bubbly?
A splendid two days, indeed!
For those of you in the Boston area, please come check out our presentation at the monthly Boston HTML5 Game Development Meetup on November 16!
September 27, 2011
Last week saw the arrival of world’s first HTML5 game conference: onGameStart, held in Warsaw, Poland!
The picturesque streets were soon overflowing with game developers from all over the world:
Naturally, enchant.js was there in full force. In fact, we were one of just five “Awesome Sponsors,” which included such luminaries as BlackBerry and Microsoft Internet Explorer. From the moment they entered the event hall, guests couldn’t miss our presences on banners, fliers, and stickers:
When I say “game developers from all over the world,” however, I’m referring almost exclusively to Europe and America. The enchant.js team, in fact, were the only Asian attendees. As such, the Ubiquitous Entertainment Inc. CEO Ryo Shimizu’s presentation was a highly anticipated event for all the participants.
This got a great laugh from everyone. Rather than focusing on the technical details of enchant.js, Mr. Shimizu discussed the goals of the project: to provide children and young adults with the tools necessary to create the next generation of games. Programming isn’t a technical task for experts; it’s a tool for building the future.
We’re happy to report that enchant.js’ global debut was a huge success. Keep your eyes peeled for more appearances very soon!
September 22, 2011
UEI and the 9leap program were out in full force at the 2011 Tokyo Game Show. We were proud to use the event to unveil an AR demo of our new Enchant.js PRO, co-developed with Koozyt, Inc:
But what would an event like this be without something a little…bigger?
Yes, Tokyo Game Show 2011 saw the live action debut of 9leap’s bear mascot! Previously our furry hero was limited to a pixel-encrusted digital incarnation:
But this time, he was here in the flesh! He lost no time in hobnobbing with our CEO, Mr. Shimizu:
And presently, the eager crowds were flocking for a chance to meet the fuzzy one:
He held particular appeal for the ladies. Must be the red pants.
The 9leap bear will be making more public appearances in the near future. One day soon, a fluffy hug may be yours…
September 1, 2011
UEI was proud to sponsor Fukushima Game Jam, and two-day event that took place simultaneously in Fukushima, Tokyo, and Fukuoka. The participants? High school and college-age game creators. Their mission? To split into teams of two and create a complete game in 30 hours. The goal? To promote a theme of “connection” with victims of the tragedy in Fukushima.
But why tell you when I can show you? Here’s a video of the event as it unfolded at the NII satellite campus in Tokyo:
Be sure to play the finished games at http://9leap.net/!
The next Game Jam is in January…mark your calendars for another marathon of little sleep and lots of creativity!
August 19, 2011
UEI is proud to unveil a new home screen application for Android co-developed with cell phone giant Softbank!
Softbank is known for its iPhone success, but its Android offerings have also enjoyed excellent reception. Unlike the largely rigid iPhone interface, Android allows users to tweak and personalize the home screen to their heart’s content. With this in mind, UEI designed “Himasele,” the ultimate interface for geeks who love to personalize their smartphones.
“Hima” is the Japanese word for “free” or “unoccupied,” and “sele” is short for “Select.” Hence, “Himasele” is the ultimate tool for making free time productive!
A simple flick allows users to easily toggle between RSS feeds and thumbnail-sized images.
What’s more, this interface even enjoys touch-screen functionality on the flip phone 007SH:
We can credit much of this unique, cyber punk-inspired interface to UEI’s own Sho Yamazaki. “Himasele” was developed over a comparatively short period of time, Sho reveals, and as a result programmers had to work particularly hard to refine the product. The application delivers on all fronts, particularly with its easy access to Twitter-enabled 9leap games. Sho is also proud to point out the unique red-toned interface, a fresh look for such a home screen. Users can choose green as well, but red “isn’t used often in cyber punk” and thus presented a fresh challenge. The goal was to create the impression of “something familiar, but at the same time unlike anything you’d seen before.”
Sho promises many more features (especially new 9leap features!) to be added in the near future. Stay tuned!
June 28, 2011
UEI and NTT Docomo, Japan’s premier mobile phone operator, are pleased to present the jointly developed Android home application “docomo Palette UI.” The new application is designed to provide an intuitive interface solution for Android, with a fully customizable design. Users can cut through the clutter of multiple applications by grouping their favorites into groups such as “Recent,” “Entertainment,” and more. Colors and naming for group bars are also fully customizable.
Docomo Palette UI will come loaded onto NTT Docomo’s most popular devices, including the “MEDIA WP N-06C,” “GALAXY S II SC-02C,” and the “AQUOS PHONE f SH-13C,” to be released in July or August.
Docomo Palette UI utilizes UEI’s microZEKE middleware, which makes interactions between various Android applications possible.
For the original Japanese press release on docomo Palette UI, please see: http://www.atpress.ne.jp/view/21185