Show HN: The Curious Expedition – A Steam game in HTML5

(demo.curious-expedition.com)

458 points | by riadd 210 days ago

40 comments

  • danielbarla 210 days ago

    Congrats on the success! I stumbled across Curious Expedition a while back, bought it on Steam and had a few playthroughs (of varying success). It's a very cool game, and despite being a developer, I had no idea it was HTML5. If hiding that fact was a goal, then you've succeeded there too.

    Since you've already answered some of the technical questions, I have a random non-technical one. In some ways, Curious Expedition is extremely similar to Renowned Explorers (~ identical plot?). To be clear, I think there's plenty of room for both games - especially since the gameplay is nothing alike - and I'm glad both exist. But did this happen by accident? I'm curious because there seems to be a trend of various things emerging in pairs (good examples are Hollywood movies, e.g. the movies Armageddon and Deep Impact coming out with similar plots within months of each other).

    • riadd 210 days ago

      Thank you! We became aware of Renowned Explorers after we had been working on The Curious Expedition for about 2 years already and stumbled into them at Gamescom.

      I won't deny that it was initially a shock to see a game that superficially seemed so close to Curious Expedition, but as you said there is more than enough space for both games and playing them they are definetely quite different from each other.

      Over the years we met the folks from Abbey Games a couple of times and developed a friendship. Last year we decided to poke fun at the whole situation and did a joint bundle on Steam. The bundle has ended at the moment, but the page is still online:

          http://curiousvsrenowned.com
      
      To this day being able to collaborate with them and turning this potentially sour situation into something fun was one of the best experiences I had as an indie developer.
      • danielbarla 210 days ago

        That's awesome, I had no idea the situation had been so well explored! Glad both sides took it lightheartedly.

        I ended up with both games in my collection separately, and was pretty shocked at the plot. What are the chances of that happening randomly!? I thought there may be a common thread I missed, but this is far more hilarious.

        • INTPenis 210 days ago

          I must say, same story for me. I played your game on Steam a good while ago, maybe even a year ago? And could never have guessed at how it was made.

          I liked it because it doesn't try to hold your hand.

        • heckanoobs 210 days ago

          I've heard the movie plot twins phenomenon is because multiple studios will want a script and start assembling a team around it but one will outbid the other for the rights to the script. The losing studio will then pay a ghostwriter to create a similar script so they can continue with their plans.

          Another theory is a lower budget production produces a similar movie to kind of 'draft' the marketing success of the main movie. These are called mockbusters

          • logosmonkey 210 days ago

            In this case I think it's just closer to pure coincidence, or sharing the same zeitgeist. I was heavily involved in the indie comic community for a long while and we would see this all the time. You would write a script and start talking to other writer friends about it and they would mention another book that was nearly identical or also be working on a near identical script. It's weird but just happens in creative fields.

          • Xophmeister 210 days ago
            • baud147258 210 days ago

              For Armageddon and Deep Impact, I heard that it can be explained by scripts circulating around Hollywood before being put in production by a studio, so one idea can easily be copied

            • chmod775 210 days ago

              For those who are interested because of the tech, "CrossCode" is another Steam game that uses HTML5.

              It has a demo running in the browser as well. I thought it was quite impressive back then (it's been playable for a while now).

              https://store.steampowered.com/app/368340/CrossCode/

              http://www.cross-code.com/en/start

              Definitely cool to see "professional" HTML5 based games finally picking up, though it's been a few years at least since they were prophesied.

              Oh also of course there's RuneScape having had a WebGL version for ages now.

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2NVY2mFv_0

              Edit: For the sake of completeness, here's the Steam URL for OPs game - though you should consider buying it via GOG or directly from them instead.

              https://store.steampowered.com/app/358130/The_Curious_Expedi...

            • mrspeaker 210 days ago

              I really love Curious Expedition - and I am also a huge fan of making JavaScript/web games. My favorite aspect is that it's no longer even very notable when a game IS a HTML5 game. There are heaps of them on steam now, and usually the creators don't even mention HTML5: partly because it's seen as a terrible choice in the gamedev world, but mostly (I hope) because it doesn't matter any more. The games get to speak for themselves. A game like Game Dev Tycoon can be a great game about game making, and secretly written in JavaScript.

              I'm continually impressed with Rezoner's games like wilds.io and wanderers.io, Ansimuz's Elliot Quest was a great game, Play Keepout (http://www.playkeepout.com/) is a fun dungeon crawler from the team that make the multiplayer Browser Quest game for Mozilla, and Jandisoft's upcoming MMO https://www.madworldmmo.com/ looks pretty amazing (it's built on Pixi.js I believe)

              The technology is becoming less and less a factor, and the ideas and execution more and more so. Good times!

              • riadd 210 days ago

                Agreed! Mentioning the HTML5 backend on Steam is actually a detriment, or completely unimportant at best.

                There are lots of interesting web games in the free-to-play market, but I'm excited to see which web game actually manages to really break out into the premium market. We're using a humble bundle widget to sell our web based version at the moment.

                    https://www.humblebundle.com/developer/widget
                
                It is very hard (or nearly impossible) to make up for the increased visibility that you get when you launch on Steam. Although that one is getting harder by the minute as well of course.

                Thanks for the mention in your book by the way!

              • AshleysBrain 210 days ago

                For those interested in HTML5 games on Steam, our HTML5 engine Construct has supported Steam publishing with NW.js for some years now - here's a selection, all built with HTML5 too:

                https://store.steampowered.com/app/332250/The_Next_Penelope/

                https://store.steampowered.com/app/317250/Airscape__The_Fall...

                https://store.steampowered.com/app/412660/Klang/

                https://store.steampowered.com/app/293240/Cosmochoria/

                If you thought there weren't HTML5 games on Steam, it's probably because they're so good nobody notices.

                • abetusk 210 days ago

                  A bit off topic, but the creator of Airscape had a blog a couple of years ago about the difficulty in making money from their indie game: ‘Good’ isn’t good enough - releasing an indie game in 2015 [1].

                  [1] http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/DanielWest/20150908/253040/Go...

                  • Ntrails 210 days ago

                    There is a super accurate statement in that article:

                    We made a game that nobody wanted to buy

                    Everything else is trying to convince the reader that the above wasn't a failure on their part. There is an ever growing saturation of games (and music and books and indeed all consumable entertainment) - and success is down to a combination of making something that people want to play and making sure that those people know about it. One of the two things alone is insufficient tbh.

                    • AshleysBrain 210 days ago

                      They did then go on to get nearly 2000 "very positive" reviews, which is indicative of many more sales. I think they did well in a sale later down the line.

                      • tprynn 210 days ago

                        Slightly directed at a sibling comment, but yes indie games (can) make a significant amount of revenue through non-release sales, even at heavy discounts. For example, Dustforce more than doubled its cumulative revenue through a 50% steam sale and inclusion in a Humble Bundle: http://hitboxteam.com/dustforce-sales-figures

                        • zajd 210 days ago

                          I'm pretty sure the way this works nowadays if that your launch bombs you throw your game into as many bundles/deals as possible so I'm guessing those sales are at 5-10% of the original MSRP at best.

                        • BoysenberryPi 210 days ago

                          I've never heard of this game. Indie game devs feel like marketing isn't something they need to do because their game is good enough on its on.

                          It's not.

                      • k__ 210 days ago

                        Nice!

                        How does it compare to Phaser?

                        I always had the feeling Construct was more of a full-fledged thing like Unity and Phaser was more of a framework, but on the parts they both try to solve, what do they do differently?

                        • AshleysBrain 210 days ago

                          That's about right. Phaser is a framework, and Construct is a full-fledged IDE. Its main feature is a drag-and-drop system for game logic rather than programming, so it's more designed for making game development accessible to a non-technical audience (so not sure how many HN folk will be in the market for that, although it's still great for rapid prototyping or fast development).

                          Construct 3 is browser-based so you can give it a spin here: https://editor.construct.net/

                      • RobertRoberts 210 days ago

                        This is a multi-player space battle game where you can construct your AI rules for the ships. It's very cool:

                        https://store.steampowered.com/app/449140/Istrolid/

                        Since it's HTML 5 based, you can play here as well:

                        http://www.istrolid.com/

                        • mrighele 210 days ago

                          The nice thing about HTML5 games based on NW.js is that in most (all?) cases you can start the game in developer mode and tinker around with chrome's developer tools.

                          • adventured 210 days ago

                            Count me as someone that was unaware that HTML5 games were of that quality now. Very cool. Do you happen to know of a comprehensive list of HTML5 games on steam?

                        • babuskov 210 days ago

                          The demo looks cool, but for I really expected to read which libraries were used, what IDE did you use for programming, how did you package it for Steam release, etc.

                          Could you at least give some of those details here in the comments?

                          • riadd 210 days ago

                            Yeah sure, I also want to do a blog post about it in the future, but I thought it would be nice to link to playable build for this submission directly.

                            It uses our own HTML5 engine. Rendering is based on a simple canvas tag and 2d context draw calls. The code is written in CoffeeScript. The server runs on node. I just used SublimeText as text editor. We ship the game on Steam via Electron and the greenworks Steam integration.

                            It has sold over 130,000 units so far. The regular price is around 15$ on Steam. Generally we're obviously very happy with the success considering that 95% of the content was created by two persons.

                            The project started as a hobby project in 2012, so there are some technical decisions which I would approach differently now: - Using modern JS instead of Coffeescript - Using WebGL instead of Canvas

                            For our next project we're considering switching to Unity since 90% of our distribution happens through Steam and 3d engines like Unity and Unreal are imho way more mature than HTML5 engines at the moment. The biggest obstacle for us in using HTML5 has been the player perception of web games being for free games that are built around grinding.

                            • guigui 210 days ago

                              Congratulations! From the few minutes that I've played, this looks really polished, especially for a web game.

                              I'm curious to know what kind of promotion efforts you had to do to reach 130k units? Was it just word-of-mouth and good reviews that took you there, or did you spend money on advertising, PR, etc.?

                              By the way, I completely agree with using WebGL instead of canvas. We created our first HTML5 game back in 2012 (called BrowserQuest), and achieving good performance with canvas was a big challenge at the time. We would definitely choose WebGL over canvas today even for a 2D game.

                              • riadd 210 days ago

                                Thanks! I think it helps that the game mechanics are somewhat unusual and quirky, which makes it easier to stand out. Instead of out-producing other games, we opted to make a game that feels like it is living in its own small niche.

                                I linked to it from another comment already, but we're also big believers in twitter and did a talk about it:

                                https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/153Rz_TPwZ36HVg9-Mhve...

                                • LoSboccacc 210 days ago

                                  webgl comes with it's own set of drawbacks depending on what your targets are. I was targeting mobile with my game and phaser/canvas had much more consistent performances than phaser/webgl across devices.

                                  • riadd 210 days ago

                                    Interesting! So far we're only targeting the desktop since putting the game on mobile would require a lot of UI rework. Might happen at a later point though.

                                    • LoSboccacc 210 days ago

                                      > Interesting

                                      long story short, webgl had memory issue on low end androids and was unplayable on chrome/iphone because it lacked acceleration. this was last year, thing might have changed now.

                                • giancarlostoro 210 days ago

                                  Curious to know if you've considered / looked into Godot at all?

                                  In case you have not: It lets you build games for all the major platforms and gives you access to the latest features of C# (if you're interested in using C# that is). Also the whole thing with IDE and all is under 30MB unless you download it off Steam (which includes examples) then it's about 200MB. Engine and tooling are fully open source (MIT) unlike Unity.

                                  Good to know your game has been so successful btw! I wish you and your team future success in your other games!

                                  • riadd 210 days ago

                                    Thank you! I'm aware of Godot and have looked a little bit into it. I'm excited for another major 3d engine establishing itself as alternative to Unreal and Unity.

                                    Having worked for some years now on a game that uses tech that relatively few people are using to create games like we do and knowing the pain of dealing with very specific issues that at times literally nobody else in the world is dealing with, I would probably prefer to stick with the huge developer/install base that Unity has to over at the moment though.

                                    Two years ago we started a indie developer co-working space here in Berlin and about 95% of the people here are using Unity (http://saftladen.berlin). That's a huge advantage that Godot (or any other new engine) will have to overcome.

                                    • giancarlostoro 209 days ago

                                      I advise you check out the Discord for Godot before you decide for your next game. Great community full of all types of rich (in creativity) game developers.

                                  • antonp 210 days ago

                                    Hey thanks for the details, riadd! I wrote a HTML5 browser game in coffeescript several years ago and I share your analysis: I would skip CS and use modern JS for a greenfield project today.

                                    Care to elaborate about the marketing side? How did you manage to get this amount of sales? Did you get any support from Steam on that front? Thanks!

                                    • riadd 210 days ago

                                      We used to work in AAA and after some mediocre experiences with publishers decided to handle marketing and distribution by ourselves this time.

                                      Steam helped us through their huge market share but the general concensus is that with the increased amount of games being released on Steam it is getting harder and harder to make a living there as an average game developer. When we pressed the big publish button on steam, we checked the new releases page immediately after and even in those 2-3 seconds there had passed enough time for our game only to be the second newest game.

                                      The thing that helped us the most was being early and continously on social media. Here's an presentation that we did on the topic. I think it still holds up.

                                      https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/153Rz_TPwZ36HVg9-Mhve...

                                      • z3t4 210 days ago

                                        Nice slides! The secret sauce is to start marketing on day one, even if you just have a concept, get it out there, and get people exited about it.

                                    • dom96 210 days ago

                                      Firstly, what you've achieved is really impressive so props for that. But I'm curious about plans for your next project.

                                      This might not have been possible with CoffeeScript, but for your next project have you considered targeting both the web platform as well as native using a language that supports both? [1]

                                      As far as I can see the main benefit of targeting HTML5 is the accessibility, especially for this demo. It would however be nice to get a native version for Steam (and possibly mobile platforms if those are on the horizon too). I think using Unity will get rid of this benefit as it will require the Unity plugin to be installed to be playable.

                                      1 - A good example of a game that does this is Reel Valley, a game built to be played primarily on Facebook's game platform in the browser, but also targeting Android and iOS. Its code base is shared across all platforms with only small platform-specific bits needed for each. Definitely worth checking out: https://yglukhov.github.io/Making-ReelValley-Overview/.

                                      • riadd 210 days ago

                                        Thank you!

                                        As far as I'm aware the Unity plugin is dead and hasn't been pretty much disfunctional for over a year now. The new approach for Unity is to export directly to HTML5, which already works somewhat nicely. Of course you have to pay with big package sizes since you're bundling the engine with your game. That's the biggest advantage of using a custom HTML5 engine which is custom tailored for one game.

                                        We've been selling the web version before the steam version, but after putting it on steam our revenue exploded 50 times and we put the web build a bit on the back burner. We're coming back to it now and will experiment with some ideas benefiting of the immediacy of the web tech. Even thinking about doing a MMO-ish web-only spin off for it.

                                        Will check out the ReelVally blog post. Very interesting.

                                      • babuskov 210 days ago

                                        > The server runs on node

                                        That's interesting. The game looks like a straightforward single player game. Why did you need the server? Since it's a JavaScript game, couldn't you just simply provide an bunch of HTML and .js files?

                                        Thanks.

                                        • riadd 210 days ago

                                          Yes, for the Electron version we do that. But for the full web based version we need a user account management system to keep track of who bought the game and to store savegames in the cloud.

                                        • mkesper 210 days ago

                                          Not sure where to report: German translation is broken by always showing big umlaut letters ÄÖÜ instead of äöü.

                                          • riadd 210 days ago

                                            Thanks for the heads-up! That's a bit embarrassing considering we're Germans :>

                                            • riadd 201 days ago

                                              Could you let me know your browser and OS?

                                            • wuschel 210 days ago

                                              Congratulations for the release, and for all the hard work!

                                            • peterjonesio 210 days ago

                                              I would also love to get a detailed overview of the development of this game. I am currently at work but after a 5 minute muck around I have bookmarked it to take a better look when I get home.

                                              • riadd 210 days ago

                                                Wrote some more details in the other comment, but if you have more questions let me know.

                                            • masklinn 210 days ago

                                              Seems to "work" in safari/osx (if a bit slowly and the initial loading bar is as bad as can be), however none of the zoom hooks work (neither scrolling nor keyboard keys) and there is no UI element to zoom in/out so… can't pass the second step of the tutorial.

                                              The scroll hooks work in Firefox/osx, the keyboard zoom still does not, and it's also pretty slow there.

                                              • riffraff 210 days ago

                                                on chrome/osx/macbook pro I faced the same issue with scrolls, a UI element would be generally helpful.

                                                • riadd 210 days ago

                                                  Thanks for the heads-up! I'll try to upload a fix in the next hour or so.

                                                  • masklinn 210 days ago

                                                    I don't expect you can magic the performances but I'd suggest seeing if you can provide more feedback on the initial loading bar: in both Firefox and Safari it stops as the last or second-to-last step and looks to be stuck. I know progress bars are hell, but in Safari it stopped long enough that I actually opened the devtools (and saw messages printing in the console so knew it was fine, just slow).

                                                    It probably doesn't help that I'm on an 8 years old iGP, performances-wise, and I don't know that you have any ability to detect that sort of crap.

                                                • amelius 210 days ago

                                                  Datapoint: demo is VERY slow on Ubuntu 16.04 x86_64 + Chromium 66.0. Startup took more than a minute, and then it proceeds with what feels like 1-2 fps.

                                                  More info: 8GB of RAM, motherboard graphics (no GPU), Intel(R) Celeron(R) CPU G1610 @ 2.60GHz.

                                                  • ixtli 210 days ago

                                                    Yes, I'm running current chrome on current macOS with a GeForce GTX 980 Ti (6gb vram) and 16gb ddr3. CPU utilization is 75% on all four cores and when drag-scrolling around the map I don't get more than 10fps. EDIT: I measured it with the developer tools. The performance is not significantly different with them open. I have a feeling you'll never be able to solve this without going to webgl because canvas drawing is slow af. I highly recommend checking out Three.JS. I wouldn't be surprised if you could port the entire game to using it in a week or so.

                                                    • brendanr 210 days ago

                                                      Canvas drawing is fast on platforms where it's hardware accelerated, which has been the case on things like iOS Safari for years now. At least in the past it was also beneficial to make a few optimisations such as drawing to integer pixel coordinates, avoiding special paths for subpixel rendering.

                                                      • ballenf 210 days ago

                                                        How does Safari compare? For me it's butter smooth and no fan whir on a 3+ year old mbp.

                                                        • ixtli 210 days ago

                                                          Holy shit Safari is a smooth 60fps with around 5% cpu load. The differences are really shocking.

                                                          • ixtli 210 days ago

                                                            Ill test this soon.

                                                        • riadd 210 days ago

                                                          Thanks for the heads-up! We'll look into that configuration

                                                          • ohf 210 days ago

                                                            High CPU overhead seems reasonable for HTML5-based games. Introducing a DOM can only make things slower relative to a leaner (native) engine.

                                                            For reference, I'm on a late-2015 laptop (XPS 13 9350) with integrated graphics, but the newer i3 gives me perfectly fine performance.

                                                            • brendanr 210 days ago

                                                              Canvas doesn't have a DOM, for what it's worth.

                                                              • ohf 210 days ago

                                                                Oh, duh.

                                                                Still, javascript.

                                                          • dom96 210 days ago

                                                            This is great, but my first experience with it so far makes me wonder whether you wouldn't have been better off just creating a traditional game instead of using HTML5.

                                                            I really liked the aesthetic of the game, so I took a screenshot and wanted to share it with my SO over Messenger. When I opened messenger.com the game made the rest of my system start to lag significantly as Firefox started to peg my CPU. I guess handling this game and messenger.com at the same time is too much even for a fairly new MacBook Pro. It's a bit ridiculous that this is the case.

                                                            Perhaps the benefit of making the demo as accessible as possible outweighs this downside.

                                                            • Jare 210 days ago

                                                              My impression here from testing (in Chrome) is that when the tab for the game is not visible, the game stops its update and consumes ~0 CPU. That should be the normal behaviour when running on requestAnimationFrame() and it should work on Firefox as well. Of course if you opened messenger.com in a separate browser / window then the above does not apply.

                                                              • maaaats 210 days ago

                                                                To be fair, even a AAA game lags less than Messenger/Facebook in the browser.

                                                                • riadd 210 days ago

                                                                  Thanks for the feedback. I'll do another test on Firefox. To be honest perfomance is best on Chrome at the moment.

                                                                  • rootlocus 210 days ago

                                                                    > I guess handling this game and messenger.com at the same time is too much even for a fairly new MacBook Pro

                                                                    I don't know if it's the MacBook Pro hardware, or the HTML5 bloat, but this shouldn't happen in 2018.

                                                                    • GyYZTfWBfQw 210 days ago

                                                                      If you mean that writing bloatware on top of many layers of bloatware, then I agree, it shouldn't happen. Too bad it's happening.

                                                                  • rcruzeiro 210 days ago

                                                                    FYI:

                                                                    This site is blocked due to a security threat.

                                                                    demo.curious-expedition.com This site is blocked due to a security threat that was discovered by the Cisco Umbrella security researchers.

                                                                    • riadd 210 days ago

                                                                      Do you have any more info about this? I don't have Ciscro Umbrella installed, I could not reproduce any issues using other anti virus services.

                                                                      • rcruzeiro 210 days ago

                                                                        Unfortunately no. It was installed on the wifi netork i was using. Interestingly enough, the error seems to be related only to the demo subdomain based on what i observed.

                                                                        • riadd 210 days ago

                                                                          The demo is hosted on http://layershift.co.uk whereas the rest of the website is hosted on our regular simple web server. It is probably related to that.

                                                                    • adamjc 210 days ago

                                                                      Fun game, had it in Early Access. My biggest beef is it feels like it has too much RNG. I'm a big fan of roguelikes/lites, but you shouldn't be placed in unwinnable situations. It Curious Expedition it feels like you are (fairly often!).

                                                                      • riadd 210 days ago

                                                                        I agree somewhat, but we've made huge updates since early access and even since launching the 1.0 version. I feel like the current version works much better in that aspect. Check it out if you haven't played since then maybe.

                                                                        * Here's a list of updates as well: http://curious-expedition.com/updates

                                                                      • nrjames 210 days ago

                                                                        I love The Curious Expedition; did a presentation on it at work recently.

                                                                        What can you tell us about The Curious Case?

                                                                        http://curious-case.com/

                                                                        • riadd 210 days ago

                                                                          It will be quite different from our first game. Here are some things which we don't like about current detective games.

                                                                          - They have very carefully hand-crafted scenarios which are very expensive to create and therefore rarely allows the player to go off the tracks or to completely fail. Some of them don't even allow you to leave a crime scene until you've literally found all the relevant evidence. These games do a lot of hand-holding and player direction and rarely feel satisfying when you find the killer.

                                                                          - You're forced to try to mind read the game designers intention and world view instead of really taking in the game scenario itself since the game world is primarily explained qualitatively instead of quantitively. For example in LA Noir I'm asked to judge whether a person is lying or not, but what I'm actually doing is judging a actors interpretation of somebody lying or speaking the truth.

                                                                          - They rarely explore strategic gameplay / resource management aspects or if they do they go so far in that direction that they don't feel like a detective game anymore.

                                                                          I'm not saying that we'll be able to fix all these problems, but these problems are at least what drove us to think that there would be some interesting game design work in this space. It turns out to be quite hard, but I'm excited about our current prototype. Will take some more time before you'll be able to play it though unfortunately.

                                                                          Oh.. and it is set in Berlin of the 1920s, which is really a quite fascinating and relatively unexplored setting.

                                                                          • Marazan 210 days ago

                                                                            Some of them don't even allow you to leave a crime scene until you've literally found all the relevant evidence.

                                                                            The GUMESHOE Rpg System would says this was a feature not a bug.

                                                                            Failing to solve a case because I couldn't piece all the evidence together is an acceptable fail. Failing to solve a case because I couldn't even find the evidence is infuriating.

                                                                            • riadd 210 days ago

                                                                              Agreed, you should be able to find all the evidence. Curious Case will feature redundant evidence, so that you will not be reliant on finding that one specific trail in the corner of some screen and it will allow you to explore the scenes in your own order freely.

                                                                              Personally I dislike detective games forcing me through a linear sequence of rooms and not letting me continue until I've done everything that the game wants me to do. That's not what the fantasy of being a detective is about for me.

                                                                              Thanks for pointing out the Gumshoe System. I read about it before, but I'll make sure to check it out again. I'm a big fan of Robin Laws previous works Feng Shui and Over The Edge.

                                                                              • vlaaad 210 days ago

                                                                                I think you will find interesting Three Clue Rule of rpg mysteries: http://thealexandrian.net/wordpress/1118/roleplaying-games/t...

                                                                                Justin Alexander also has nice set of articles about node based (role playing) game design, which is like an extended version of Three Clue Rule.

                                                                                • Marazan 209 days ago

                                                                                  In my not very humble at all opinion I find the 3 clue rule is just an attempt to apply a band aid over the problem that GUMSHOE eliminates entirely.

                                                                                  The problem is that PCs can miss clues through not fault of their own. The three clue rule simply throws in enough clues that the PCs would have to be very unlucky to miss them all. Gumshoe ensures that the PCs never miss vital clues because Gumshoe contends that finding clues isn't the fun part of an investigation - interpreting them is the fun bit.

                                                                                • Marazan 210 days ago

                                                                                  I cannot recommend GUMSHOE enough as an investigative system.

                                                                                  As a GM it's whole approach to how to structure RPG investigations was like a hammer blow of clarity. As I read it I was mentally going "Of Course, it's so obvious" pretty much every other sentence.

                                                                          • indescions_2018 210 days ago

                                                                            Congrats! Any game you can play as Darwin or Lovelace is already a winner in my book ;)

                                                                            Anyone searching for startup ideas, packaging HTML5 as native binary apps remains a pain point. Mostly in making sure things like full screen layout, mouse pointer lock, networking, etc all work as intended on hosts. Apart from simultaneous testing on multiple machines, emulating via virtual box isn't sufficient for game performance. Electron and NW could vastly be simplified for humans ;)

                                                                            https://electronjs.org/docs/tutorial/application-distributio...

                                                                            http://docs.nwjs.io/en/latest/For%20Users/Package%20and%20Di...

                                                                            • Tepix 210 days ago

                                                                              I saw this game at the Indie booth at gamescom; i love the graphics style and the setting! I missed the Humble Bundle "Very positive" bundle last May. But it's currently on sale for less than 10€ on the Humble Bundle store.

                                                                              • seba_dos1 210 days ago

                                                                                Another HTML5 game on Steam that I know of: https://store.steampowered.com/app/399820/Kopanito_AllStars_...

                                                                                Also, I have a standalone build prepared for https://holypangolin.itch.io/karambola - waiting for some spare time in-between working on our bigger project to put some finishing touches to it before uploading to Steam.

                                                                                • riadd 210 days ago

                                                                                  Oh I didn't know that Kopanito game. Looks cool. I think I'll compile a list of all the games mentioned here and will put it up on github as resource.

                                                                                • lewisj489 210 days ago

                                                                                  The performance on my PC isn't the best, regular spikes in FPS

                                                                                  • riadd 210 days ago

                                                                                    Which browser are you using?

                                                                                  • GyYZTfWBfQw 210 days ago

                                                                                    Because it's a HTML5 game! No surprise it's a resource hog.

                                                                                  • james33 210 days ago

                                                                                    Exciting to see so many HTML5 games popping up on Steam and elsewhere the last few years. Here's another one that was built using Isogenic Engine/Electron and is also playable on the web, iOS, Android and Windows Store.

                                                                                    https://store.steampowered.com/app/658970/CasinoRPG/

                                                                                    • RobertRoberts 210 days ago

                                                                                      I found this game endearing, and I wish I was a kid again with lots of time to play. I would have gotten immersed in this.

                                                                                      The game play is pretty smooth, and I am impressed with the performance and interaction.

                                                                                      The sound work is great, and is a large part of what makes this game feel engaging. I played some of the tutorial, but the chewing smacking sound when eating food was a deal breaker for me, had to shut it off.

                                                                                      • JimWestergren 210 days ago

                                                                                        K9 Web Protection Alert

                                                                                        curious.j.layershift.co.uk/demo is blocked because it is currently categorized as: Suspicious

                                                                                        • riadd 210 days ago

                                                                                          Thanks! Will investigate

                                                                                        • techsin101 209 days ago

                                                                                          Can I see code. I want to see code of professionally written stuff that is big but not too big

                                                                                          • billfruit 210 days ago

                                                                                            Well having played for a short while, my only significant point to complain is that the music is too short and repetitive, especially the combat music I found annoying, if not for that I would have played longer; I feel.

                                                                                            • heretoo 209 days ago

                                                                                              Hi, looks great.

                                                                                              I'm trying the tutorial, but the mousewheel doesn't zoom, but scrolls up and down on the map.

                                                                                              The +/- keys also don't zoom.

                                                                                              I'm running on a macbook pro, in chrome.

                                                                                              UPDATE: +/- keys working now.

                                                                                              • squidbot 209 days ago

                                                                                                How did you get it working? I'm also playing on MBP and I can't zoom with mouse or with +/-. I'm stuck on the second step of the tutorial because of this :(

                                                                                              • itajooba02 210 days ago

                                                                                                Congrates .. But it seems to be slow .. or its my browser ?

                                                                                                • riadd 210 days ago

                                                                                                  Not sure, which browser are you using?

                                                                                                • keithnz 210 days ago

                                                                                                  is there a write up about how you approached doing it?

                                                                                                  • franciscop 210 days ago

                                                                                                    Is this related to Gods Will Be Watching in any way? Has a similar survival vibe and character description though this one is quite exploratory.

                                                                                                    • riadd 210 days ago

                                                                                                      I've never played Gods Will Be Watching so I can't say anything about gameplay being similar or not. There was no creative connection though.

                                                                                                    • drwicked 210 days ago

                                                                                                      The first screen has a bit of a typo, it says "beaconed" when it should say "beckoned". Looks like a fun game!

                                                                                                      • saagarjha 210 days ago

                                                                                                        I love the fact that you say that this is only supported on desktop, but allow me to try it out on mobile anyways.

                                                                                                        • shawndrost 210 days ago

                                                                                                          Bug report: can't zoom in. No scroll wheel, '+' doesn't work. Macbook pro/Chrome

                                                                                                          • memco 210 days ago

                                                                                                            Yeah, I had that issue. Couldn't progress past the second text box of the tutorial because of it. I'm using Safari on an MBP.

                                                                                                            • dmuth 206 days ago

                                                                                                              I too have that issue, I can't figure out how to zoom and get past that pint in the tutorial.

                                                                                                            • fileeditview 209 days ago

                                                                                                              I cannot find Alexander von Humboldt. Is it really possible he is not a character in your game?

                                                                                                              • riadd 209 days ago

                                                                                                                Yes, he's not a character because we leaned more towards figures from the late 19th century and Humboldt was born mid 18th century. Maybe something for a later update or a mod though.

                                                                                                                • fileeditview 209 days ago

                                                                                                                  Ah that makes sense. I was just thinking: how can they not add Humboldt they are even from Berlin! :)

                                                                                                                  Seems like a cool game. I will try it as soon as I find some time! Good Luck

                                                                                                              • davidjhall 210 days ago

                                                                                                                Game mechanics remind me of Seven Cities of Gold, back in the day. Was it an inspiration?

                                                                                                                • tobyhinloopen 210 days ago

                                                                                                                  The unexpected sound is quite obnoxious. There is no obvious way to shut it up.

                                                                                                                  • e_proxus 210 days ago

                                                                                                                    Yeah, have the same problem on Safari 11.1, a looping sloshing water sound.

                                                                                                                    On Chrome 66.0 the zooming doesn't work so the tutorial is blocked.

                                                                                                                    • riadd 209 days ago

                                                                                                                      Sorry about that. The sound issue is a bug. We'll fix that.

                                                                                                                    • imode 210 days ago

                                                                                                                      just a note to the devs, if you're watching:

                                                                                                                      I ended up refunding your game because it just failed to launch on my particular (bare-bones) configuration. shame, I would've loved to play it!

                                                                                                                      • riadd 210 days ago

                                                                                                                        Too bad :( Did you try the web version already?

                                                                                                                      • kizer 210 days ago

                                                                                                                        I'm getting like 3 fps over here. But the graphics are neat!

                                                                                                                        • LoSboccacc 210 days ago

                                                                                                                          congrats! played the demo a little, it's very well polished and quite interesting as a concept.

                                                                                                                          • riadd 210 days ago

                                                                                                                            Thanks!

                                                                                                                          • myf01d 210 days ago

                                                                                                                            Also https://airma.sh , one of the most upvoted show HN posts of all time is a multiplayer HTML5 game

                                                                                                                          • gaytards 210 days ago

                                                                                                                            looks pretty stupid and gay

                                                                                                                            • lcfcjs 210 days ago

                                                                                                                              This is very cool! Can't people mess with the source code if its an HTML 5 steam game?

                                                                                                                              • GyYZTfWBfQw 210 days ago

                                                                                                                                https://i.imgur.com/x8cbvef.jpg

                                                                                                                                Yep, this is the direction we are heading people! Buckle your seat belts!

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                                                                                                                                  • vmateixeira 210 days ago

                                                                                                                                    I hate having my scroll hijacked

                                                                                                                                    • kowdermeister 210 days ago

                                                                                                                                      There is no scrolling on the page :)

                                                                                                                                      • Narishma 210 days ago

                                                                                                                                        And that's a problem on low resolutions like the very popular 1366x768 where part of the play area is cut off on the bottom.

                                                                                                                                        Another issue is that the game is hogging the CPU at all times, which is terrible for battery life.

                                                                                                                                        • kowdermeister 210 days ago

                                                                                                                                          That would have been a better error report, scroll hijacking is a totally different thing.

                                                                                                                                        • vmateixeira 210 days ago

                                                                                                                                          That's my point ;)

                                                                                                                                          Edit: To clarify, on a 16:9 the playable area is far from being vertically centered.

                                                                                                                                          • riadd 210 days ago

                                                                                                                                            Oh you mean the game is cut off at the bottom or top for you?

                                                                                                                                            • vmateixeira 210 days ago

                                                                                                                                              Yes. 1366x768 and 1920x1080.

                                                                                                                                              • riadd 210 days ago

                                                                                                                                                Thanks for the heads-up! Working on a fix now

                                                                                                                                      • nullifidian 210 days ago

                                                                                                                                        Game looks really nice, but the HTML5 aspect of it is nothing to be proud of. Game looks as if it could work on someting like a 386 from the 80ies, but I seriously doubt it will work smoothly on anything older than 8 year old hardware.

                                                                                                                                        • AnIdiotOnTheNet 210 days ago

                                                                                                                                          They produced a competently executed product, which is enough to be proud of. You are right though, there's a lot of horsepower going in to what is effectively a VGA-era game. Part of me is annoyed by the over-engineering of the whole thing, if only because this trend of adding needless layers of abstraction has lead to the hell that is my every day life of dealing with unresponsive and fragile systems, but I can hardly place the blame for that on them. I honestly had no idea it was HTML5 when I played it a while back.

                                                                                                                                          • riadd 210 days ago

                                                                                                                                            I guess that argument goes against a lot of JS stuff. Running on very old hardware was not our top priority for this game.

                                                                                                                                            • andrewmcwatters 210 days ago

                                                                                                                                              Yeah yeah, it's not about running on very old hardware. The point is it runs terribly on modern hardware.