July 19, 2013

Developers to Hit DevCon 5, Discuss HTML5 in Social Gaming

The upcoming DevCon 5 conference, set for July 24 and 25 at the Kimmel Center at New York University, will offer up a wealth of content on HTML5 and how to put this new technology to work in a variety of new applications and the like. Indeed, a new addition to the lineup is set to bring HTML5 knowledge to an even more important potential application: social gaming.

Three companies will be hitting the DevCon 5 conference to talk about HTML5 in social gaming, specifically, Disruptor Beam’s Alex Engel and Vermont Digital Arts’ Elliot Mitchell will be offering some perspective and the whole package will be rounded out by Reactive Studios’ Jonathan Myers.

Each of the three has a significant stake in not only social gaming, but in HTML5’s applications in same. For instance, Disruptor Beam has been offering up a huge social gaming package in “Game of Thrones: Ascent,” using HTML5 to put the whole thing together and offering gamers the chance to start as a minor House of Westeros and ultimately become part of one of the Major Houses, including Lannister, Stark, Baratheon or the rest. Vermont Digital Arts recently came off the PAX East 2013 show, showing off developments like “Spin Spell” and similar mobile gaming that depended quite a bit on HTML5 in development. Lastly, Reactive Studios is currently in the midst of a Kickstarter project, out to raise $11,000 to develop “Codename Cygnus,” a game built around radio drama format that offers a very unusual experience, backed up once again by HTML5.

While at DevCon 5, the group will offer up a panel called “The Game Developers’ Dilemma” in which these experts will look at one of the biggest problems facing game developers: what tools to use to actually build a game in the first place? While HTML5 certainly has a lot going for it—the familiar refrain in HTML5 gaming is “write once, run anywhere”–it has competition waiting in the wings from platforms like Unity. Unity has serious potential to be the most common platform out there for multi-platform, especially in light of Nintendo’s use of Unity in development. But since Nintendo has also been seen with a backing in HTML5 as well as an increased priority in bringing in independent developers in general to shore up the total number of games available, the question of Unity over HTML5 is a difficult one to answer.

Crossfire Media CEO Carl Ford (NewsAlert) summed up the issues inherent here with his remarks, saying “HTML5 is constantly changing and the sessions at DevCon 5, like ‘The Developer’s Dilemma,’ are designed to provide the information and tools needed to fully utilize the capabilities of the technology.”

With the growth of the indie game developer clearly on the rise—it’s really not hard to see it, thanks to titles like “Minecraft” and “State of Decay”–making a key decision about what tools will be said developers’ ultimate weapon of choice should be a top priority. Picking the wrong one could have devastating consequences, but getting a handle on the right one could ultimately mean success. So keeping an eye out on the tools of the trade is likely to pay significant dividends for those who engage in game development.

Thus, developers all around may want to put DevCon 5 on the calendar. The future of gaming is rapidly progressing in the direction of the indies, and being ready for whatever the market can throw is just a smart idea.

Edited by Rich Steeves


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