First time publisher, long time player

I'm starting this blog to keep track of and share my experiences as a first time game publisher. I've been playing and trying to write computer games for more than 25 years, and I finally published a complete game last week.

In the beginning there was my dad's IBM PC 8088. There was no hard drive, just two 5-1/4" floppy drives. The monitor had one display colour and it was green. There was no mouse, no joystick, no sound card, and no internet access. It seemingly took forever to start up. There was a blinking cursor in the top left corner for at least a minute before anything else would happen. But eventually it would come to life and then there were games. And they were awesome.

IBM 8088

Good times

It was the 80s and I was a kid. I played Rocky's Boots and Digger, and later Space Quest and King's Quest. I was hooked. I started learning BASIC and trying to write adventure games. In the 90s in my teens I wrote a turn-based single-player precursor to FarmVille, where all you could do was buy land, cows, and chickens, sell milk and eggs, and have horrible things happen on any given day. Visionary, I know.

Computer games were what kept me relatively sane through high school, and encouraged me to study Computer Science in university. When I graduated one of the first companies I applied (unsuccessfully) was Electronic Arts. I never broke into the computer game industry. Instead I discovered a career in web programming. I'm a pretty good front end web programmer with pretty good experience. I spent two years working at, and several years at smaller companies. But I never lost the itch to develop computer games.

This month I finally realized one of my dreams, to actually publish a game that I developed. I built a prototype as a web page, because that's what I know how to program best. Then my neighbour and I used Apache Cordova to wrap the page in magical beans that allow it to run as a native app on mobile devices. There were a lot of bumps along the way, but eventually it worked. Five days ago, we published Holmes Cryptic Cipher for Android and iOS. I hope you'll check it out and tell me what you think.

Holmes gameplay screenshot

Actual simulated screenshot

This blog is intended going to describe some of the pitfalls and experiences we encountered along the way, some of the quirks of Cordova and mobile devices, and some fun with statistics.

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