GameSalad

GameSalad's Year in Review: 2011 (and a look ahead to 2012)

SFSF Posts: 35Executive Chef, Member GameSalad Employee
edited December 2011 in News from the Dev Team
Hi everyone,

As 2011 comes to a close, I ‘d like to take this opportunity to reflect on the past year, as well as discuss what’s on the horizon for the GameSalad community as we head into 2012.

But before I get into more detail about what we’ve been up to, let’s talk about you. Over the course of 2011, you guys blew us away with some amazing success stories. Nearly 60 GameSalad games have now reached the Top 100 in the US App Store, including 10 in the Top 20. We saw new global franchises emerge like ePig Games, which had multiple hits reach number one on App Stores around the world. Also this year, one of our top developers, Bored.com, released a string of hits with the “Escape 3D” series, which produced multiple hit games in the Top 10, including “Escape 3D: The Bathroom” – the first GameSalad game to reach number one in the US App Store. And developers such as Geek Mentors Studios proved that games like “Angry Anna” can be used to spark social change, garnering the attention of news outlets around the world, including The Wall Street Journal and CNN. These are just a few examples of the many success stories we saw over the past year. Our team is so proud of the work of this community. You are proving every day that GameSalad games can be wildly successful, can translate across cultures and languages and, most importantly, can effectively compete with the best titles out there. Keep it up!

For the GameSalad team, this year, it was all about reach, performance and monetization. As part of our community, you’ve helped us identify these key areas of focus, and your participation in surveys, comments on our forum and feedback at events have been invaluable. We’re thankful to have such engaged and insightful community members, so thanks to each of you! We can’t wait for you to see GameSalad realize its full potential in the months ahead.

So, what do I mean by reach? Simply put, we are committed to making sure your games can be played by the largest audience possible, regardless of platform or device. We took some big steps toward that vision with the addition of new publishing capabilities, including Mac, HTML5, and Android. While it’s clear that iOS will continue to generate a substantial portion of revenues for our community over the near-term, we believe it’s important to establish an early presence on these emerging, yet rapidly growing platforms in order to take advantage of the additional revenue and distribution opportunities they present. One of the big themes for GameSalad in 2012 and beyond is helping our developers with distribution. Both Android and HTML5 have more flexible business models, enabling us to partner with a variety of distributors to help ensure that the best games achieve increased visibility on high trafficked portals and app stores. We’ll have more to share on these distribution partnerships in the coming months, so keep an eye out for these announcements.

On the performance side, we made significant strides toward addressing the stability of our tool and fixing memory leaks. We’re also pleased to announce that we’re close to wrapping up a major architectural improvement that removes the Lua from our engine and compiles into native code. This means that your games will perform significantly better than any Lua-based engine and will be comparable to other static compiled platforms like Unity. So far, the benchmark tests we’ve run are producing astounding results – load times are nearly 10x faster and file sizes are approximately 10x smaller. This has been a huge undertaking for the team, but one that goes a long way toward our goal of building a professional platform that can go toe-to-toe with the best of them.

On the monetization front, part of our strategy is to work with partners that can generate the most revenue for your games in the least obtrusive way. Kiip is a great example of the type of partner we’re excited to work with and we’ll have several more to announce in the coming months. In addition to monetization partners, we’re also launching In-App Purchase as well as working on some cool new features designed to support the free-to-play model and social games.

So what’s on the horizon for GameSalad as we head into 2012? We’ll be rolling out our engine performance upgrades in the next few months once everything passes through QA. In the meantime, we’ll also be wrapping up the top feature requests from our most recent developer poll. We currently have a build out to the Sous Chefs that includes In-App Purchase and Tables – the top two requested features from the community. Provided everything checks out ok, you can expect that to be released in mid-January.

Over the next few months we plan on releasing the second set of priority feature requests, including Game Center Achievements, Facebook/Twitter integration, and the first batch of monetization partners. Following up on that, we’ll be unveiling a major facelift to the GameSalad UI this spring that will help streamline workflow and productivity. But what about the rest of the features you’ve been requesting? We’ll be sending out a new feature request survey and working closely with you all to update our roadmap, ensuring that we stay on top of the community’s top priorities.

If 2011 was all about building a strong foundation, 2012 is about putting all of these new capabilities to work. We’ll continue to add features and improve performance. We’ll help bring your games to new platforms and bigger audiences, and we’ll launch monetization opportunities that create the most value for your games, maximizing the success and the impact of your incredible creative efforts.

So that’s the update on our end. We’re really excited to show you everything we’ve been working on over the past few months and can’t wait to see what success stories 2012 has in store for everyone. On behalf of the entire team, I’d like to thank you for being a part of the GameSalad community and wish you a very Happy New Year!

Cheers,

Steve
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Comments

  • LeonardDeveloperLeonardDeveloper Posts: 4,630Member
    edited December 2011
    happy new year @SF
    I can't wait for the new UI you should see our other thread on UI
    Excited for the upcoming features!! I knew i could count on GS! :),
    Happy new year to everyone!
    ---------------
    Posted by LeonardDeveloper, contact me on thermoapps@thermo-apps.com
    Be sure to visit my WEBSITE
    Have a look at my GS Tutorials
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic
    ----------------------------------------------------
    Yours Sincerely,
    Jack Leonard
  • osucowboy18osucowboy18 Posts: 1,307Member
    Sounds great Steve! GameSalad has made some remarkable strides in 2011 and I can't wait to see what you all come out with in 2012. Happy New Year!

    - Alex
  • gyroscopegyroscope I am here.Posts: 6,577Member, Sous Chef, PRO
    Hi Steve, truly excellent; exciting months ahead; extreme well done to you and all at GS HQ!

    Quote: @SF "that removes the Lua from our engine and compiles into native code. This means that your games will perform significantly better than any Lua-based engine and will be comparable to other static compiled platforms like Unity. So far, the benchmark tests we’ve run are producing astounding results – load times are nearly 10x faster and file sizes are approximately 10x smaller."

    Well, that just blows me away...

    Happy New Year to you too and the rest of the amazing team. :-)

    ----------------------------------------------
    http://davidgriffinapps.co.uk/

    ""You are in a maze of twisty passages, all alike." - Zork        temp domain http://spidergriffin.wix.com/alphaghostapps

  • jckmcgrawjckmcgraw Posts: 647Member
    Wow I can't wait!
  • mynameisacemynameisace Hull, UKPosts: 2,484Member
    edited December 2011
    Nice post, great read... I think a lot of people will be happy with what's in store for the next few months!

    The new build that the sous chef's have is awesome to say the least!

    Ace
  • The_Gamesalad_GuruThe_Gamesalad_Guru Posts: 9,899Member
    Can wait to see the UI! I have dreams of a fluid workflow.
  • ultimaultima Posts: 1,204Member, PRO
    edited December 2011
    now that's a great reason to become a sous where do i sign up lol

    or an unofficial one as a beta tester would work as well.

    (i'll surely give GS some "priority suggestion"(whatever that means) without even posting them on the forum , hint, hint, nudge) =)
  • hdeandahdeanda Posts: 55Member, PRO
    edited December 2011
    Are we getting joints?? It seems like this has been dropped from the roadmap. I would really love to have this feature.
  • mynameisacemynameisace Hull, UKPosts: 2,484Member
    Nope, it hasn't been dropped from the roadmap... The old roadmap is super sketchy, as the post said, we'll be getting a new roadmap soon, so largely ignore the old one :)

    Ace
  • StormyStudioStormyStudio United KingdomPosts: 3,986Member
    edited December 2011
    Thanks for the round up post SF... very cool... the removal of LUA and comparison to Unity really does make me proud to be using GameSalad and simply look forward to what the next year brings. Hopefully a hit game so I can take game development from Hobbiest to full time indie hopeful.

    Happy New Year..

    Jon aka stormy

    GameSalad Game Design Competiton
    I do hope everyone has checked out the 'Think Outside The Box 4' GameSalad Game Design Contest. Where GameSalad meets original thinking. As well as a mixed collection of great prizes we also have a GameSalad Pro membership up for grabs. The competition is starting on New Years Day (will last all of January). Game theme to be announced as new year strikes in the UK.

    http://www.stormystudio.com/totb4.html
  • PhoticsPhotics Posts: 4,172Member
    Interesting... dropping Lua... that is a significant change. It explains why development has seemed so slow and choppy lately.

    How does that effect HTML5... if at all?

    And actually... that's what I found disappointing about this announcement. It doesn't really mention the future of web development. Is HTML5 publishing going to become something that professionals can use? Additionally, I'm surprised at how long it's taking to get additional Game Center features.

    But overall, I like the more active role GameSalad has taken with community relations.
  • mynameisacemynameisace Hull, UKPosts: 2,484Member
    @Photics - "One of the big themes for GameSalad in 2012 and beyond is helping our developers with distribution. Both Android and HTML5 have more flexible business models, enabling us to partner with a variety of distributors to help ensure that the best games achieve increased visibility on high trafficked portals and app stores."

    It's something that's obviously a focal point, just something they're keeping details back about at the moment.

    Ace
  • SAZ_1SAZ_1 Posts: 397Member
    The load times thing is massive in my opinion... 10x faster loads ... seriously for my games thats the difference between instant and a 3-5 seconds... also please if there is anyway to change the icon of the load sign that would be great... for some strange reason people take that icon as such a negative thing.. weird?!.. anyways sounds promising so heres to the new year!
  • PhoticsPhotics Posts: 4,172Member
    edited December 2011
    mynameisace
    It's something that's obviously a focal point, just something they're keeping details back about at the moment.
    Actually, I see that quote from Steve as a concern. Is GameSalad trying to leverage our games to make money? In the Kiip thread, it seems unclear if GameSalad will also be taking a percentage of advertisement revenue. Special arrangements with third-parties could actually be something of a negative —— if developers essentially have to pay GameSalad twice... once for the software and then again for advertisement commissions.


    If I could simply export my games to the web, like I could with Macromedia/Adobe Flash, then I could make my own opportunities with advertisers, distributors and customers. If HTML5 publishing means games that are tied to the GameSalad.com servers, then that's not really a professional level feature. That's a big problem with GameSalad in general. Is it a toy for hobbyists or is it professional grade development software? Because the code cannot be customized, and because of the limitations on HTML5 exporting, it feels more like the former.

    With the slow death of Flash, I see a demand for an easy to use HTML5 authoring software. From what I've seen of what's out there, GameSalad is more powerful. But unfortunately, because of the limitations, I can't consider GameSalad as a web development tool. And while $499 a year might be a lot for hobbyist game developers, it's not really a big expense to professional web developers and designers.

    That's why I'm somewhat disappointed with this post. GameSalad is going the route of Kongregate... when I think it could be more like a better version of Hype or the next generation of Flash. Additionally, I don't think it has to be one or the other. GameSalad can be a multi-tool.

    ...and there's a stigma that I've tried to fight most my life. Games are looked down upon. And lately, I'm tired of fighting it. True... games are important in society, as people do need to relax have fun. But ultimately, will you be remembered because you made a neat little time waster for the iPhone? I doubt it. The world has much bigger problems... like energy, health care, food shortages, inflation, war, etc.

    Do people most remember Steve Jobs as the guy who helped make Breakout... or as the guy that changed a computer industry?
  • LeonardDeveloperLeonardDeveloper Posts: 4,630Member
    edited December 2011
    @photics
    Wow!, what you wrote is truly enlightening, I couldnt agree with you more... Andwuth GS not addressing this stuff istencyl could be a major threat......I will always be a gs user, but this makes me wonder whether GS is gonna go uphill or downhill from here? Perhaps when it gets a GUI redesign and some bug fixes and more features it might pick up!, we need to be able to edit html5 at least for pro members.....
    ----

    Posted by Jack
    For free GS support email me on thermoapps@gmail.com
    For free tutorials log on to http://www.thermo-apps.com
  • The_Gamesalad_GuruThe_Gamesalad_Guru Posts: 9,899Member
    Could someone explain what tables are used for?
  • YodapolloYodapollo Posts: 447Inactive
    Tables are super efficient ways to access large amounts of data. Currently, the most efficient way to do this in GameSalad is to use long lists of actor-specific, scene-specific, and game wide custom attributes. With tables, many of these values could be accessible in a single spreadsheet or table and thus greatly reduce the size of logic stacks.
  • hdeandahdeanda Posts: 55Member, PRO
    Please kill the spinning wheel in the corner and give us a few centered ones to choose from.
  • ultimaultima Posts: 1,204Member, PRO
    edited December 2011
    NO BODY MAKES $$ FROM MY GAME.......................... EXCEPT FOR APPLE, AMAZON, B&N, ANDROID AND GS?

    j/k i don't mind GS taking a cut in Kiip because i won't be using it anyway. even if i'm as long as my pie is not smaller than if i were to sign up for kiip myself..

    i think it's a better business than putting watermark on html5 publish and or what they've attempted to do before...

    had no idea it was running lua, and spilling the beans didn't help either... as long as it's faster, smaller, more powerful and makes us more money. users simply won't care what you do or how you do it=)
  • beefy_clyrobeefy_clyro Posts: 5,390Member
    "the benchmark tests we’ve run are producing astounding results – load times are nearly 10x faster and file sizes are approximately 10x smaller" .... this is awesome

    Desperately waiting for Joints though, that'll open up so many gaming options :) Please include this soon!

    Overall great post and i simply can't wait to get that performance improvement! Does it just improve load times and decrease size or is it likely to improve FPS etc?

    I think 2012 will be a great year for you guys if you can deliver whats promised, I'm very excited ... and my excitement wained for a bit and was making me look elsewhere but I'm loving this! Well done :D
  • calvin9403calvin9403 Posts: 3,190Member
    sounds great gamesalad, iap and tables are awesome!


    Calvin
  • SlickZeroSlickZero Houston, TexasPosts: 2,870Member, Sous Chef
    Sounds great. Yet another step in the right direction.

    @Photics - It was Steve Wozniak that made the Breakout prototype :)

    I have no friends. I'm a loser that makes video games all day. Will you be my friend?

  • PhoticsPhotics Posts: 4,172Member
    edited December 2011
    SlickZero:
    It was Steve Wozniak that made the Breakout prototype :)
    I think it's fair to say Steve helped in the creation of Breakout...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breakout_(video_game)
    ...as Jobs got Woz involved in the project.

    I think that shows another side of the story. Would Jobs and Woz been so successful if they had not been making a video game in their early days? Video games are a good driver of new computer technology. Yet, is GameSalad really heading in a good direction?

    I don't have to use Kiip, so that's not the deciding factor for me. Yet, my subscription is up next month and I haven't been planning to renew. I don't see the professional value to pro. I think improving HTML5 exporting is a way to make GameSalad more professional.
    ultima:
    NO BODY MAKES $$ FROM MY GAME.......................... EXCEPT FOR APPLE, AMAZON, B&N, ANDROID AND GS?
    Ha, that's funny! Although, with true HTML5 exporting, you could eliminate a lot of the middle-men. The iTunes App Store seems quite saturated. I think freelancing/consulting is a better way to go. Do most GameSalad games make more than $1000? I don't think so... and that's after weeks/months of work. Yet, as a freelance web developer, it's a lot easier to beat $1000. Even if not freelance, there are lots of ways to monetize a web game.


    Basically, I think GameSalad should focus on building quality software. Right now, they're too spread out in projects that are not finished... forums, marketplace, tutorials, HTML5, Android, Game Center, etc.
  • ultimaultima Posts: 1,204Member, PRO
    edited December 2011
    @Photics ... u def have a point, i think it's more of an obsession, i find myself doing things that defies logic, like turning down consulting projects every once a while that pays what i make with app for few weeks in a day just so i can work on little game.. that makes peanuts.. crazy? yes.

    I like how they spread the net wide and far.. but I wish that it's a bit more focused.. too... ie.. making sure that all mobile and iOS platform is top notch before worrying about HTML, marketplace, kiip etc..(at least worry about making money when version 1.0 comes out) ... it takes hard work and dedication before the money start rolling in guys.. that's why some of us does crazy things like purchasing PRO package, and the ones of us that makes any money at all pro or not.. works day and night none stop... i mean literally non-stop... eat/sleep/GS/eat/sleep/GS.. whatever it takes...
  • dmilinovichiiidmilinovichiii Posts: 620Member
    I'm personally very disappointed that joints weren't mentioned at all, but dropping Lau really does seem great. I did have a question about how this will affect displaying decimals in GS though. For example, if I have a real attribute storing the number Pi and I use a display text attribute to display this number, only the first 5 numbers after the decimal point are shown Example: 3.14159 When I sent a support email to GameSalad, they said this was a limitation of Lau. Will this be fixed when GameSalad drops Lau?
  • tenrdrmertenrdrmer Posts: 9,934Member, Sous Chef, Senior Sous-Chef
    Absolutely Loving the Idea of loading times being 10 times faster than now. Thats Crazy Awesome.

    It's not my fault I never learned to take responsibility for anything. ;)

  • cptongsgcptongsg Posts: 70Member
    Looking forward, hopefully your will not over promise & under deliver... As fast as unity will wait and see. HTML , kiip, android are just side dish not really interested. Money are still in IOS if you are good... make it robust, shower us with your enthusiastic & I will definitely throw in the money again.
  • marcgreiffmarcgreiff Posts: 243Member
    Wow, very excited about potential performance gains.
  • Cee3pee0Cee3pee0 Posts: 184Member, PRO
    So Awesome! Really good news on all fronts, Can't wait for it all! Thanks for posting this i was beginning to wonder what the 2012 road map was going to look like. This makes me happy!
    Happy New Year GS!
  • greenrhynogreenrhyno Posts: 152Member, PRO
    Excited for all of the new features! Thanks GS team.
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