Developing Indie Games in HTML5 and JavaScript

It was never easier to start.

Full disclaimer: I didn’t finish an Indie Game myself (yet), so one might argue that I don’t know what I am talking about. This is especially true for the marketing side of the game.

What I did do though: I created various products for clients in the companies I worked for, so I have some credibility in getting things done and especially in the fine arts of selling and finishing a project. I also created a couple of prototypes to get a grip.

But an Indie Game is something that you can do as a single person (or in a small team) without the help of big companies and shelling out piles of money.

The only thing that stands between the idea and a finished game is you — and maybe the lack of knowledge on how to do it. Several people around the web try to change this and spread the knowledge, and I became one of them now. I am in the process of creating a series of YouTube tutorials aimed at the very beginner, which you can find here. They should walk you through the steps of creating a web application — in this case a game - with not much more than a text editor and a browser.

If you are already sold, then stop reading and start creating!

If not - let me make a statement and give you some examples. This is not so much about my tutorial series, but rather about an exciting opportunity.

So, first …

… the statement:

The phenomenon of Indie Games creates the fertile soil for a new art form and as such will breed the next generation of story telling.

It is also a market that AAA game studios start to fear.

This eye-opening article ‘Designing game narrative’ from the Hitboxteam (creators of Dustforce) explains this in greater detail:

In books, depth comes from the words you read; in film, additional nuances emerge from hearing and seeing a scene. In games, you can discover further depth from doing the scene.
Taken from this awesome article

There are several examples of games proving this, the most prominent being Kentucky Route Zero (and The Entertainment, also from the Cardboard Computer) and The Stanley Parable from Galactic Cafe.

Just to drop a few more names:
The Journey


Mirror Moon

Outer Wilds

FEZ (especially for the brilliant soundtrack of Disasterpeace)

I probably forgot a couple of games and I know that there are games out there that I am not aware of. Note: these are not made in HTML5/JS (at least not to my knowing) but HTML5/JS is up to the task to be used for game development.

But whatever you want your game to be, it is important to notice that you can start with not much more than a text editor and a browser. This is also true if you want to create ‘classic’ stand-alone executables for desktop computers (keyword: node-webkit) or for mobile devices (keyword: phonegap). Of course you will need more assets the more sophisticated your game will be.

So — let me finish this off with this list of 10 HTML5/JS games from 2013 and Mozilla’s Getting Started With HTML5 Game Development.

Thanks for reading.