Game Jamming ‘Windows 8′ With Jesse Freeman

Jesse Freeman is an indie game designer and author. For Ludum Dare 25, his friend Sean McCracken and he developed Super Paper Monster Smasher for his company, Game Cookusing HTML5 on the brand new Windows 8 operating system. It’s free and available to play in your browser and on the Windows Store, with an iOS and Android version in the works.

When Freeman isn’t writing or designing games, he’s a Windows 8 game evangelist at Microsoft, focusing primarily on indie development. After his experience with the game jam, Freeman came to us at The Indie Game Magazine to share his experience working with HTML5 and how he sees this impacting the independent gaming scene.

What are some things that Windows 8 does better than other available resources for game development?

“I think the most important thing that Windows 8 does better than any other platform out there right now is HTML5. I love the power and instant gratification of programming in JavaScript. There is no other platform out there outside of a web browser that offers me a place to showcase my HTML5 games. And I do very little to get my web game running on Windows 8. Maybe less than 100 lines of code all in all so the ability to then distribute my game across a new and growing platform is a great opportunity.”

Why should this interest game developers that are starting up right now or developers that already have established design methods?

“One of the key things I stress about developing HTML5 games for Windows 8 is that you don’t have to change your workflow. Win8 is like PhoneGap on steroids. Since you are not running your game in a wrapper, it’s a native app on the computer. If you are designing a touch focused game using either the mouse or a finger you are good to go. If you want multi-touch you simply listen for a different event (that also handles mouse and pen). Just take your HTML5 game, dump it into Visual Studio and it will work. After that, you just need to make sure it scales correctly for multiple resolutions and that’s it. The best part is that you can take that game and publish it right back to the web or other mobile platforms using something like Ejecta (http://impactjs.com/ejecta) or CocoonJS (http://www.ludei.com/tech/cocoonjs).”

How does your experience developing for this game jam prove that Windows 8 and HTML5 deserve the attention of our readers?

“One of the most frustrating thing for me as a gamer going through Ludum Dare submissions are games that won’t run in my browser. I always get a little nervous just downloading random apps to run on my production computer or if it’s PC only and I’m on a mac or tablet it won’t even work. I think the power of HTML5 is that it works everywhere. And while it’s still evolving on mobile (still poor audio support) I was able to build a web friendly version of my game that ran in any modern web browser or mobile device without a plugin or need to install anything. Just like Flash revolutionized online casual gaming, HTML5 gaming will pick up where Flash left off and continue to offer that kind of experience to people moving forward.”

I also asked Jesse if he had any final comments and he replied,

“I really would love to highlight onegameamonth.com as a huge motivator for me to continue working on my Ludum Dare submission and I am almost done with my next game. I believe game development is like anything else, you need lots of practice. Going to game jams and taking part in year round events like One Game A Month really push you to complete what you start and over time making games becomes easier and easier.”

Windows 8 seems to hold a lot of promise for the indie gaming sphere when viewed from this standpoint. What do you think? You can learn more about Jesse Freeman by visiting his website and join us in the forums for our discussion on indie game development and Windows 8.