What we need to make Pokitto a successful gaming platform?


#1

Hi,

There are a lot of games for retro-gaming devices like Arduboy and Gamebuino, and a fantasy console Piko-8. What do you think are the most important factors we should have in place to make Pokitto a successful gaming platform that attracts game developers?


#2

All great gaming consoles of the past had great games, which, in turn, caused game devs to be interested in making games, which in turn lead it to have more great games. Want to make a successful console? Don’t break that chain. Make it easy as heck to make games and get games.


#3

in a word, marketing
most of its development is pushed by hype from both devs and consumers

but we really need bigger games to show of the hardware


#4

Once I get settled in with the Pokkito simulator and create a couple small games, I have a plan to create a Zelda 1-style RPG…I think we also might want a kind of game series for the Pokkito (e.g. Mario and Zelda on the NES).


#5

Thanks @Hanski for an interesting topic. I really want to hear your opinions on this.

I want to say something, but I don’t want the discussion to stop. So just read it and take it as just another opinion.

I don’t believe there is a single “magic bullet” that makes a product like this succesful. Dedication of the community is important, but that alone is not enough, Ouya comes to mind as an example.

I have always admired Nintendo. They come up with strong original concepts (Mario, Smash Bros, Mario Kart, Zelda) and just keep continuing the story, delighting old and new fans with new content. Some think its repetitive and boring, I think its the only way to create a long-term sustainable company.

By contrast, think about the original Mini car. It was a huge success in its day. The design by Sir Alec Issigonis was sheer genius. But then what happened? It was produced almost identical from 1959 to 2000, and they never were able to come up with a real successor.

If there is one reason why I think Pokitto has a chance to become a success, it is that we carefully planned evolution beforehand. Pokitto was not designed as 1 product. It was designed to be built from modular components, both hardware and software. We (Daniel and I) know exactly how we can generate a chain of products from the groundwork we have laid down. Yes, its true we haven’t yet shipped even the Kickstarter units but the honest truth is the target for me has always been 3-4 years down the road. Financially we (Pokitto) are covered, we possess the necessary skillset (plastics & electronics) and as long as the community wants more, there is nothing that can stop us from executing our plans. I have no fear of ‘failure’. For me failure doesn’t even exist in the context of Pokitto. This started as something I put together at my kitchen table. I simply can’t see any other direction for this other than up.

The main thing limiting our progress at the moment is my lack of skills in web application development. I have many tools in mind that would make Pokitto ecosystem a much more pleasant work environment. If you all have ideas on what to do about that, I am all ears.


#6

Very true all of the above. I think one very important factor is making it very easy to develop games on Pokitto. Enablers for that are e.g.

  1. Easy to setup and use DevEnv & SDK
    Must be able to use different OSes for the Simulator, flashing, and debugging. Simple APIs. Pokitto has a good start with this.

  2. Other game development tools
    The game development should be as instant as possible. In Pico-8, there are build in pixel graphics editor, sound editor, and map editor, which are tightly integrated to the code editor. As Pokitto game development happens on PC, we should have a collection of tools there, with good integration to the simulator. For all main OSes.

  3. Enable “One man can do it all” game development
    I think most of the indie dev teams (or wannabes) are one-man teams. I also believe that something like 90% of indie game projects never get finished on PC or mobile platforms. The reason is that the game projects are too massive. Making a good game logic and mechanic is a complex and time consuming task in itself. Add mobile advertising SDKs, good quality graphics and sounds, great UIs, etc. make it nearly impossible for a one person, and can take years. You need specialized coders, graphics designers, sound designers, etc. In C64/Speccy era this was different because the HW was so limited. It was more common that I person could handle it all for a commercial game (exception is the theme song, if that was used). Pico-8 has understood this, and defined well thought limitations. Pokitto has it quite well too (I am not too fond of direct bitmap feature because of this). So we need to keep the constraints in the future too: small palette, low screen resolution, low memory.


#7

I do Angular2/Node development at my job and I have advanced knowledge of PHP other web technologies. What kind of stuff were you looking for?


#8

I have extensive knowledge with MySQL, PHP and HTML5 web development if you need assistance.


#9

I’m currently working on a Pokitto Wikia (it’s still incredibly WIP, but you can find it at http://pokitto.wikia.com/), and I’m planning to make a dedicated category for games. I might also make a “games” page to make a nice-looking hub.


#10

@epicdude312 please hold your horses for just a moment. I need to look at wikia limitations. I think its a good idea, but I need to see how it works first.


Pokitto cloud tools & wiki & website development
#11

@crait & @Shdwwzrd Jonathan and Michael thanks for offering your knowledge. I know we are all busy people, and I really appreciate your insight into how things should be done. I will open a new thread about this.


#12

I own a lot of handhelds/consoles (Sega/Nintendo/Dingoo/etc…) and these points came to mind :

  1. Easy to use, e.g. for the first N-gage you had to take out the battery to swap a game. So for the gamerPokkitos it needs to be simple to change/upload and find games.
  2. Support, software for game devs, which standard hardware will work with Pokkito,etc
  3. General Quality, having 1 bad switch can ruin the device (Dreamcast lid switch,Nes loading tray)
  4. next gen, not to fast! First get a base group that supports and likes the device that is willing to upgrade to the next

#13

Disclaimer: this post may be controversial since it lists flaws in a competing KS platform - although I tried to state facts and stay objective - @jonne feel free to edit/remove it if you think it’s best.

Q: What we need to make Pokitto a successful gaming platform?

A: To avoid making false promises, and to have a good proactive communication (so mostly marketing/CM. I join @adekto here) .

I know it’s not the case for Pokitto, but I’m refering mainly to the Arduboy. If possible we should not fall in the same pitfalls. Below are three typical examples:

  1. During the Arduboy KS campaign there was a Pokemon-like game called “Ardumon” that focused a LOT of backer’s hopes. 2 years later it’s still not released, people regret it but there was no real explanation other than the team is working on a new (better) RPG game.
    Moral of the story: if ever there were complications in releasing code of Pixonia on the real HW (or any other game advertized during the campaign), state it clearly and as soon as you can, to not let the situation deteriorate. If you don’t have time/priorities anymore to work on a project, release it unfinished for the community to work on, rather than working on it “internally” for more than a year, it loses sense.

  2. Their second RPG game, “Arduventure”, is not free of problems either: after a year of advertizing progress on the game but keeping it private, Arduboy’s team very recently opened a poll asking for interest in a new hardware “Special Edition Arduventure”. But when the poll showed that ppl are mostly interested in playing the game rather than buying new HW, we got a couple of very defensive posts stating the team needed to sell new HW to keep the business alive (which I understand, just the communication was not great to say the least).
    Moral of the story: clear communication is hard. First be transparent about your business. As it grows, you may want to hire a Community Manager, someone whose job is to be good at communicating.

  3. Final example of what not to do (and the one that disappointed me most personally): the Tetris Microcard was supposed to be a special Arduboy with 2 chips, the usual one to upload your sketches, and a read-only one with a (protected) licensed copy of Tetris. The R/W chip was removed at the last minute before shipping, without a proper proactive communication, making it a Tetris-only HW. It was only logical that some customers felt cheated. The explanation why the second chip couldn’t make it came only after customers expressed their displeasure.
    Moral of the story: warn customers of a change in your plans early enough. Else it’s very easy for them to feel cheated, even if you have the best intentions. Same conclusion as point #2 I guess: you need good CM.


#14

Really good opinions. Thank you and keep them coming


#15

In my opinion, accessibility is the key. I think it was the key to Pico-8 success.

Make games playable to people even without pokitto. Maybe a download thru simulator, or even better, in browser. This will make more and more people aware of pokitto and some of them will buy one because of that.

Secondly, let’s try to make games for pokitto easier. What made me jump into gamedev? A zine that showed me how to build a simple breakout in pico8. Super newbie friendly with plenty of overexplenation of why this works like this. I know that we have some tutorials on the forum, but they don’t take you through a project, just explain stuff. Giving new people a project they can complete with step by step instructions would greatly lower the barrier of entry.

…and I talked about it before, but an easier language than c would help here as well.

The more accessible pokitto is, the easier it will be to attract new people to our community. If we get a decent community going, good games will show up, which will hopefully have a snowball effect :slight_smile:


#16

If the question is: “how to attract game developer” the answer is probably to find in the developer tools:

  • Clean library, well structured and linear
  • Good documentation, method description and examples
  • Easy debug
  • Fast deploy, both on device and showcase (web or native app)

With good instruments it will be a pleasure to develop and make good games, and so more people come here.
Right now the tools are still quite immature, the docs are incomplete and library has some inconsistencies (video modes, sounds and so on) but anyway people are trying to make games because they like the feeling of this small and awesome device.

You could say that great games were made with less powerful instruments (programming nes game in assembly?) but people was paid to do that. Here people want also have fun making games, that’s part of the fun. It’s the evolution from simply gamers to people who play making games. So let’s try to make this thing really fun!


#17

I totally agree that full tutorial of making a simple game would be essential.

Jonne has made web playing possible via Emscripten. The process must just be automated. Here: [Updated] How should we host the Pokitto games?


#18

I am very grateful for all the good feedback and will begin to act immediately on many of the things mentioned here. I am very good in taking critique - comes with my profession. The main thing is to listen and get cracking.

So:

Lesson #1 is that we need a static wiki (not Discourse based) ASAP. I have been looking for “an ideal solution” for the wiki with regards to ease of user authentication/authoring/styling. This is not a simple thing because involves SSO (single sign-on) etc. and I haven’t found anyone to help directly with that stuff yet.

But I see that was a mistake, I should focus on getting the wiki / tutorial up no matter how. @epicdude312 : I really appreciate your Wikia idea but for me the ads and the off-site wiki are a problem.

Summary:

Expect to see either a Wiki running on the Pokitto site or Wiki linked to the github repository within 2-3 days.


#19

Great Jonne!

I upvote for github wiki. Already used for some projects and I’ve found a lot of skilled people attracted by that portal.


#20

critique ? Nono it is no critique, the forum topic/question was how do we make Pokkito a succesful gaming platform?

But i do like the idea about a download through a browser or the simulator. When i look at the Pebble watch any app on it can be installed through the mobile, using a simple type of store. Using the mobile phone to put apps/games on Pokitto would be really cool, and if Mbed can do that from within a browser i have the suspicious it is already possible.