enchant.js joins the fun at New Game Conference!

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!

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