Adobe Air

Before Unity, Fierce Fun used the Adobe Air platform extensively. It was a great piece of technology designed as a wrapper for Flash applications. It meant you could deploy Flash apps and games on PC and mobile devices – something Flash was never designed for. The original Macromedia Flash was developed as an animation tool for early Web browsers. Before Flash, the Web was a very static place. With the advent of the SWF format, Flash developers could quickly create and publish highly interactive animated content. It spawned a whole generation of Web animators and indie game developers. You could draw original vector art, animate it and add code – all within one tool. In our opinion, even with Flash's many flaws, nothing has come close to it since.

Then Apple came along with the iPhone which famously did not support Flash content. Steve Jobs was extremely critical of the Flash Player – though this had more to do with his ‘closed’ Apple economic ecosystem than any technical issues – a point that most observers missed. Also, Flash’s parent company Macromedia was bought by Adobe and they never quite understood what to do with Flash.

Adobe Air was developer as a cross platform software environment and it was used to package Flash content for PC and mobile devices. It meant that Web developers could finally design and develop content for both browser and PC/mobile platforms.

Over the years, Adobe reduced their support for Air. There were great add-ons such as the Starling library but gradually developers moved to more established development software such as Unity.

In 2019, Harman (a subsidiary of Samsung) took over the continued developed of the Air SDK. With an established backer, it looks like Air will continue to be an option for developers using the new version of Flash, Adobe Animate.

For anyone interested in using Air or Adobe Animate, we have released some of our Air developer documentation. Just to note - some of the older links may not work but you should find other sections useful.

Adobe Air

AIR SDK

AIR_Actionscript Development

Adobe_ Game_Animation Tutorials

AIR Starling

AIR Mobile App Setup_

AIR - SWC Asset Library

 

Game Rating for Parents

As the graphic quality and production values used in console games are on a par with movies, it is important for parents to consider which games are suitable for their children. Children can play games on a variety of devices from consoles to mobiles. Regardless of the device, the game’s rating should be checked to see if it suitable for young player.

There are various game rating systems used around the world. PEGI (Pan European Game Information) is the system used in Europe and Ireland. Essentially PEGI is an age rating system used to classify games. It is similar to the film rating system where you are tags such as PG (parental guidance) and R (restricted). Age ratings are a simple way to help parents decide if the content is appropriate for their children.

PEGI does not take into account the difficulty of the game – it only considers the age suitability of a game. So, if you buy a PEGI7, there is no guarantee that your 7-year-old will like it.

Game Rating

Here are the PEGI Ratings:

PEGI 3
FOR THE YOUNGEST – VERY MILD
The content of apps with this rating is considered suitable for all age groups. Some violence in a comical cartoon context is acceptable. A child should not be able to associate the character on the screen with real-life characters; they should be distinctly fantasy. The app should not contain anything that are likely to scare young children, including bad language.

PEGI 7
FOR DEVELOPING CHILDREN
This is similar to PEGI3 but may contain some content that could possibly be frightening for children. There can only be very mild violence in a PEGI 7 e.g. think falling into water, getting hit of the head – again, more cartoon like, nothing realistic

PEGI 12
MORE REALISTIC
With this rating, the games are becoming a bit more realistic. They may show violence of a slightly more graphic nature towards fantasy characters, or non-graphic violence towards human-looking characters or animals. The game character will look more lifelike. Their clothes and attire will be more typical of male and female game characters. Any bad language in this category must be mild and fall short of sexual expletives.

PEGI 16
REAL LIFE CONTENT
Once the depiction of violence or sexual activity reaches a stage that looks the same as would be expected in real life, this rating is applied. Stronger inappropriate language, encouraging the use of tobacco or drugs, and depicting criminal activities can be content of apps that are rated 16.

PEGI 18
ADULT ONLY
The adult classification is applied when the level of violence reaches a stage where it becomes a depiction of gross violence and/or includes elements of specific types of violence (motiveless killing, violence towards defenseless characters or sexual violence). It may also include graphic sexual content, discrimination or the glamorisation of illegal drug use.

Hopefully you find this these rating useful when considering game content for your children. Another tip would be look at the game trailer and screenshots before purchasing a game. The game trailer will give a quick overview of the gameplay and is useful in assessing its suitability.

Best practice for Cross-Platform Games – Facebook

We are truly in the era of cross-platform gaming. With the advent of mobile phones as gaming devices, playing games is not restricted to any place or time. Gaming has become THE ubiquitous entertainment activity – everyone (well almost) is a now a gamer.

Whereas before, game developer’s choice of platform was restricted to PC and consoles - now they must consider Web, mobile, VR and other dedicated devices. In addition, gamers tend to play the same title on many devices , depending on their location and environment. For many game developers and publishers, the only choice is to go cross-platform. Despite the extra development effort in doing this, it substancially increases the likelihood of reaching their target gaming audience.

Planning a cross-platform games project needs to start early. To ensure a smoother and consistent player experience across different platforms, we would recommend using the Facebook SDK for certain app features.

Facebook recommends the following:
- Handle notifications, requests and stories consistently
- Synchronize Game State across platforms
- Encourage people to play on other platforms

For more advice on your cross-platform game strategy, check out this Facebook post.

Cross platform games

The State of Computer Games – 2019

Fierce Fun game research

We recently came across an excellent piece of research from GlobalWebIndex on the current state of video gaming.  Some really interesting facts from this research include:

Demographics

  • Gamers are getting older - a quarter of all 45-54s also say they have an interest in gaming.
  • Older players are more likely to be female - more females cite gaming as aninterest (19%) than males (17%) for 55-64s.

Mobile

  • Not surprisingly smartphones are extending their lead as the most popular gaming device.
  • The East is where mobile gamers rule - .ore than 7 in 10 internet users inAPAC and the Middle East and Africa are gaming on their smartphone.

Console/PC

  • The decline is console game has stabilized. Consoles now serve as a household media hub, as well as a gaming device.
  • PC gaming is still very important - just under 1 in 2 internet users are gaming via PCs/laptops

Spectator Gaming

  • Spectator gaming continues to grow - with over a third having watched a live gaming stream in the past month, and over a quarter having watched an esports tournament.
  • A quarter of console gamers visited Twitch in the past month

VR

  • VR is still only for early adopters. Of those who play games on any other device, only 5% own a virtual reality headset

Mindframe Arena – A ‘Smart & Safe’ game for all the family

We have just published the full version of Mindframe Arena on Google Play. This version is compatible with most modern Android phones and tablets… and best of all, it is free to play. The game comes with the entry-level characters called Tecs. You can play the full game with these. If you want more powerful advanced Tecs, you can purchase them within the app.

Mindframe Arena - A family friendly game

Mindframe Arena is a digital board game when you control a group of characters called Tecs. The goal of the game is to get your Tecs to the end of the Alpha worlds. To do this, you battle other players on a V-shaped game board. Each Tec can move a certain distance and has a spell specific to them. They can cast both attack and health spells. As you progress in the game and collect more Tecs, you need to figure out the best set of Tecs for each battle.

So why do we call Mindframe a smart and safe game? After some initial playtesting, we found the game was very popular with 7 to 12-year-old children. We also noticed that many of the parents liked the game as well and could play with their children. This non-violent game was designed to stimulate a player’s mind and not just their hand-eye coordination. It is based on classic board games like chess and requires skill and strategy to play. Even though it is a strategic game, it is fun to play and the game’s colourful graphics make it appealing to younger players.

Research has shown that playing challenging board games helps in brain development. With these types of games, a player will only progress through skilful planning, mathematical reasoning and critical thinking…. all while having fun!

 From an online safety perspective, the game has the following features included

  • No in-game chat or messaging
    • No graphic violence
    • No analytics or tracking
    • Parental purchase locks
    • Parent ad/social media locks

Download it now for free here on your Android phone or tablet – or search for Mindframe Arena on your device.  Players can play on their own or they can play against another player on the same device. Try it and let us know how you get on !

Major Shootout

Fierce Fun recently developed a game for the online sports portal Pundit Arena. Pundit Arena has created one of Europe's fastest growing sports publishing platforms that allows the mass creation of quality content across all sports throughout the world.

They required an Irish sports themed game that would primarily work on mobile Web browsers. They also needed the ability for users to share the game via social networks such as Facebook. The game was launched on time for a promotional campaign undertaken by Pundit Arena and one of their clients.

Game Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Game screenshots

 

 

 

 

 

Mindframe Arena at Dublin Comic Con

We were delighted to be able to show Mindframe Arena at the recent Dublin Comic Con. As always it is a fantastic fun event - hot and hectic as it should be. Great crowds and energy make it a must-see event for all scifi, fantasy, comic, cosplay and game fans. The Comic Con brochure had a really nice tribute to the legend that was Stan Lee - such a positive creative role model for everyone in the comic and games world.

Stan Lee

As you can see below, we had a lot of interest in the game. We got great feedback over the 2 days so thanks to everyone for dropping by and saying hello.

Don't forget, you can now download the Android version of Mindframe Arena on Google Play

New Mindframe Arena promo video

As we are getting closer to launching the game (we think!), we have produced another Mindframe Arena promotional video showing off some of our cool Tec characters. We created this video as an animation in Adobe Animate, then exported it as an mp4. We were pretty impressed by the quality. Hopefully we should have a fully gameplay video soon showing all the fancy effects and animations. See you soon!

 

Loot Boxes & Game Developer Remuneration

In the free to play gaming market, loot boxes pose a real quandary for game developers. Using the Japanese gacha system they are a popular game mechanic for increasing player engagement. However, the recent controversy with a number of high profile paid games (using loot boxes) is a cause for concern. It appears that core game players don’t like loot boxes. They have already paid for the game and they don’t see the need to have to pay for new content.

With free to play games it is different. Casual game players are used to daily reward mechanisms. A number of countries are now looking at the legality of loot boxes as a form of gambling. Are they a form of gambling? As the in-game currency cannot be used outside of the game, in most cases they have been shown not to be a form of gambling. However, loot boxes in games have now grabbed the attention of legislators in a number of countries.

Game developers need to be very careful in their implementation of a gacha type loot box system. They need to ensure it is property designed to reward players for ongoing play and not give an unfair competitive advantage.

For us we see it as a systematic structural problem in the games market as a result of the prevalence of free to play games. Professional game developers need to be remunerated for creating quality games that provide hours of entertainment - even if they are free to play. Google and Apple are delighted with dominance of free to play games as it effectively gives their customers free content. Yes, there is the freemium business model but it only works for a tiny number of large publishers. Both Google and Apple have a big part to play in correcting the market to so that there is a balance between free content and content creators getting paid. Unless this occurs, the games market will stagnate with no innovation and everyone making the same type…. With lots of loot boxes!

 

Chinese Game Publishers visit Fierce Fun

Fierce Fun was recently visited by a number of Chinese game publishers, as part of a worldwide tour. During their visit, we presented an overview of the European game publishing market and some of the advantages to publishing games from Ireland. We also discussed publishing games in China and there was considerable interest in our new game Mindframe Arena.

The visiting attendees were:

Pictured:
Ms. Mavis Yao--- Vice secretary-general of China National Center for Developing Animation, Cartoon and Game Industry
General Manager of Tangxi Culture (executive company of Shanghai Online Game Association)
Ms. Guanhua JIAO---Co-founder of Uzone games
Ms. July LI --- Secretary-General Government Public Relationship of Uzone games
Ms. Sherry HU --- CFO of Lilith games
Mr. Crespo SUN --- Vice President of Europe and America Business of Gamemoon
Ms. Lauren LU --- Overseas Department Project Executive of Tangxi Culture
Peter Lynch – Fierce Fun
Mark Reid – Fierce Fun