Six Years in the Making

June 3, 2019

Back in 2013, I started working on a game – by accident. Yes, this game. And yes I know, it should be done by now. I'm here to explain why it isn't and why it will be soon.

Gameplay screenshot from 2013
Gameplay screenshot from 2013

The history of Platform Pixels can be broken down into three development stages. (1) The initial HTML5 game launch in 2013, (2) a beta relaunch in 2015, and (3) the beginnings of the current rewrite.

Stage 1 – Fun Demo

Platform Pixels was originally written as a learning experiment to help build an understanding of how 2D physics engines worked. The first version was an extremely bare-bones demo; Just a small square moving around on some rectangles (sound familiar?).

First version of Platform Pixels, way back in 2013
First version of Platform Pixels, way back in 2013

By a stroke of luck, a collision detection bug caused the player to stick to walls. This single mechanic is what turned things around for me. Shortly after, I shared the game with a few close friends and it was a hit.

And that's how it all began. I spent a couple weeks making some levels and launched it on Reddit (I think?). A couple hundred people ended up trying it out, which was more than I had expected. A few weeks later, traffic died down and I forgot about it.

Stage 2 – libGDX Rewrite

I don't remember how it happened, but a couple years later I got the urge write a mobile version using libGDX. The feel of the game on a touchscreen was awesome, but I just didn't have the energy to finish it.

Mobile gameplay showcasing ghosts

One of the major hurdles was implementing cloud saves and in-app purchases. These things aren't easy to do in libGDX and learning how was extremely draining, eventually leading to the project being shelved. Again.

Stage 3 – Unity Rewrite

So here I am today, rewriting the game again, this time in Unity, likely the most popular game development tool of all time.

Game development in Unity
Game development in Unity

Unity makes everything easy. It supports hot code reloading, provides easy packages for cloud saves and in-app purchases, and has a huge amount of resources due to it's massive community. Basically, I decided that using Unity would provide the best chance of me finishing the game. Now, about a month into development, I still strongly agree.

Moving Forward

So what's left?

  • Re-implement game mechanics and visuals
  • Launch a new website and blog
  • Create demo levels
  • Launch a beta on iOS and Android
  • Build an audience 🔥
  • Finish the game
  • Launch

At this point, I'm confident on finishing development with no problems. The only part I'm worried about is attracting an audience, which is always the most difficult part. While I don't have experience launching indie games, I do have experience launching apps and I've discovered the best way to attract attention is to be relatable and open, sharing everything and anything along the way.

So look forward to more posts on this blog or follow @PlatformPixels on Twitter or Instagram. See you next time! 👋