Precarious Potions Post-Mortem

“Yesterday I released my first app to the App Store and Google Play.” What a phrase. As of today there are over a million apps in the App Store alone. I am still learning how to “make it” in this market and am beginning a new journey as I write. What an exciting week! For the sake a post-mortem, though, how about we rewind a bit?

Beginning

I started work on Precarious Potions the summer of 2012. I was working an awful job and discovered HTML5 as an alternative. I had been making games for the past 10 years, but never thought I could earn a living doing it. I started making Precarious Potions as a way to learn the platform. I put it to the side while working on other games, and established a sustainable business over the next year and a half. Whatever I was working on, I kept coming back to Precarious Potions. It reminded me of Cut the Rope and Jenga in all the best ways. It was just so compelling I had to finish it.

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Learning Experiences

So what have I learned during this time? I have grown immensely as a game designer. I refactored the game at least twice. The scope of the game has both exploded and shrunk and has settled somewhere much grander and yet simpler than I originally intended. I learned how to build atmosphere and adventure without an enormous amount of assets. I disposed of stereotypical tropes like the “level wall” nearly every puzzle game uses blindly. I questioned my reasons for making games and for following cookie-cutter models given me by the games I was emulating.

I learned how to design levels—and I’m not talking about using a level editor to place elements on a page. I’m talking about creating lists of lessons players should learn to play the game without instruction. I’m talking about deconstructing what male and female players from ages 5 to 99 do automatically when presented with a stack of books and a bottle on a touch screen. I’m talking about using zero tutorial text. What I learned the hard way is that creating good puzzles is about first knowing your player really well and then simplifying until the player has the knowledge and ability to make complicated decisions on their own. Of all the areas I grew while creating Precarious Potions, this was at once the most painful and the most rewarding. I still get a headache thinking about it, but am prouder of fewer things.

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What Now?

I also learned that HTML5 is powerful, useful, and mature. We are no longer in the era of cute web demos. “Write once; run everywhere” is no longer a buzz-phrase. You can do it today—I did it yesterday. If anything, Precarious Potions shows that there are options outside of proprietary languages and plugins (all of which are great in their own right) that are legitimate and robust. It’s not perfect. It’s got weird bits and awkward places, but I would recommend it and I intend to keep using it.

I love my game, and I hope you do to. I’ve released it for free with zero ads and in-app purchases. I am honored to have a partnership with the great guys at gamemix.com who have made that possible. If you’d like to give the game a spin, you can play it on iOS, Android, and/or the web via www.precariouspotions.com. If you like it, consider rating or sharing with a friend, your mother, or your favorite house pet. Tweets, posts, and +1’s are sweet, sweet gifts.

Have a wonderful day, and I hope you enjoy playing.

Ryan Davis, Creative Ink Games

 

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Precarious Potions Launch

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Today is finally here! After many months of tough love, Precarious Potions is ready for the world. What can I say? There really are no more words.

It’s free, it’s fun, and it won’t ask you to harass your Facebook friends. Play in an app or a browser through the power of HTML5.

http://www.precariouspotions.com

Have a wonderful, fantastic day.

Ryan

PolyPong

PolyPong

PolyPong is a game of skill that anyone can play. Based on classic games like Pong and Breakout, this game is about keeping balls from leaving the screen using four paddles…and lasers, black holes, time manipulation, glue, bombs, and more. PolyPong is extremely rewarding and easy to play–players receive achievements and new powerups for reaching higher scores. Each powerup dramatically alters gameplay, keeping it fresh and exciting for hours.

Ben Chong of MarketJS.com: “This developer gets powerups right!”

“I can’t stop playing this game…”

“This Is Addicting”

PolyPong was developed using Construct 2 and Inkscape, and is exported to HTML5 Javascript. It runs in most modern browsers (including mobile browsers). PolyPong was designed with mobile phones in mind. Try it on your mobile phone for an even better experience!

If you are a game publisher and would like to talk about licencing PolyPong, contact us for more info.

Play it here

Celesti

Celesti

Celesti is about defending a city. Draw lines through the sky with the mouse or touch controls to create barriers that block meteors, destroy spaceships, and collect health bonuses. The gameplay is reminiscent of Missile Command, but with unique mechanics, sleek, modern graphics, loads of content, and dynamic scenery.

Ben Chong of MarketJS.com: “Wow, this is a new game mechanic I’ve never seen before. Good job!”

Jamie Hoyle of TheCoolGamer.com: “We love this game because it has a fantastic style of gameplay – it is like nothing we’ve ever seen before!”

Celesti was developed using Construct 2 and Inkscape, and is exported to HTML5 Javascript. It runs in most modern browsers (including mobile browsers).

If you are a game publisher and would like to talk about licencing Celesti, contact us for more info.

Play it here