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7. July 2015


Humble Bundles generally consist of a number of indie games sold together at a low price in support of charity.  This time however it’s a bit different, as this one is composed almost entirely of game development tools and asset packs.  The bundle currently includes:



  • Axis Game Factory Starter PackHumble
  • Stencyl Indie Edition 1 year License
  • RPG Maker 90% off coupon
  • Humble Bundle Starter DLC ( sprite tiles and music tracks )
  • Indie Game Maker 2014 Finalist Pack ( more assets )
  • Labyrinth Dreams ( a game )
  • RPG Maker VX Ace Delux
  • Game Character Hub
  • Humble Bundle SciFi Pack
  • Humble Bundle New DLC Pack 
  • Aveyond:Lord of Twilight ( a game ) 
  • Crimson Clover WORLD IGNITION ( a game )
  • App Game Kit 2
  • Spriter Pro
  • Sprite Lamp
  • Humble Bundle Fantasy DLC Pack
  • Goats on a Bridge ( a game )


The above list is the complete purchase list however, and requires an investment of at least 12$.  That said, Spriter alone usually has a 50$ price tag and Stencyl Indie is 99$, thats an extremely reasonable price tag.


More details about the Humble Game Making Bundle are available right here.

7. July 2015


One of the biggest challenges that indie game developers face is exposure.  Unless you have a publisher, getting your game in front of people is often a matter of luck.  Without massive advertising budgets, ads are very often outside of our reach.  With all this in mind, when I received yet another spend $25 get $100 promotional offer from Google, I decided to give Adwords a shot.  Granted, I was promoting a website instead of a game, but ultimately that just means I have a bit more data available.  Another aspect is the money I spent.  I set my CPC (cost per click) extremely low.  Under 5 cents in fact.  This is farrrrrrrrrr below what Google recommends as you will see shortly.


One piece of advise right up front, if you are being a spend thrift like me, the very first thing you want to do is target your traffic and turn off mobile results.  My first days of action almost 100% of my traffic was nearly useless, feature phones from non-English speaking countries.


If you are unaware of Adwords, they come in two forms, in search results on Google, and on partner sites.  Basically you write a simple text based ad and pick the keywords you want to target.  Key phrases is actually a more accurate description, but once you’ve specified a couple Google does a good job of giving you additional suggestions.  Your ad either runs on Google search results, or in ads on “partner” sites.  The second greatly increases the liklihood of your ad being shown, but as you will see in a moment, seems rife with fraud.


I personally decided to set up two different ads, one targeting my Unreal Engine tutorial series, and the other targeting my tutorials in general.  My ultimate and ideal goal would be for traffic acquisition costs to be lower than ads clicked by acquired traffic.  If you were publishing a game, obviously you would use a much different metric…  game installs, or game sales.  Fortunately using a combination of Google Analytics and Adwords, you can track this all fairly well.  Unfortunately, the results suck.


Here is an example of the ad I created:



You set your daily budget, your maximum click amount and all your details.  I also highly recommend you geo target your ad to target only regions you are interested in.  Simply targeting en-US seems to be completely ineffective.

Myself, being both cheap and broke, set a daily budget of $5 and a CPC maximum of $0.05.  You can have Google automatically set the price for you, if you fancy going completely broke.  Here is the performance of that ad, at those values today:



My ad was shown to 21,750 people with about a 1% click through rate.  Frankly getting 200 clicks for under $5 is an absolute bargain, almost impossible to replicate.  So, how effective are those clicks?  Well… that’s where it gets bad.




This is my most recent paid traffic, as shown by Stat tracker ( not a Google product ).  This represents about the last hour of paid traffic and the results.  Notice a few things here?


Right off the hop, the first one, 9 clicks, 9 views, no time on site?  Most definitely fraud.  Google has algorithms to detect and compensate you for fraudulent clicks in theory.  In reality, you probably just wasted about 18 cents on that traffic.  In fact, look down the right hand side in generate…  “No Visit Time”.  That is not encouraging.  Basically of all those visits only one might be legit and even then they spent less than a second on the site.


In fact, the same can be said for the entire campaign so far.  Here are results from Google Analytics and they aren’t good:



When clicks exceeds sessions, something is seriously broken.  A 90% bounces rate and a 1.17 pages viewed is appallingly bad.  In all honesty, it feels like the vast majority of traffic is in fact fraudulent.


Now of course, I am also setting a comedically low bit at 5 cents per click.  Thing is though, I am spending peanuts and don’t really care how many impressions I get ( as long as it’s > 0 ), so I can go cheap.  Google will however show you how much it recommends for you to make a “front page” result.  That is, the suggested cost to have your ad shown on page 1 of Google search results for the targeted key word, and the results can be shocking…




Yeah… $6.22 for “open source game engine”.  Ouch.


So, how has my experiment worked thus far?  Well, not worth a damn actually.  Here is a report showing the Adsense revenue on those 3,319 clicks…



So, $63 spent to $1.03 made.


… yeah, no.  Not effective at all.


So should you consider Adwords to advertise your game?  It may be worth trying, especially with a $100 free promotion, but I’ll certainly not be using it again.  To me frankly, the entire thing feels like a scam.

Totally Off Topic

2. July 2015


Sometimes when you are working with Blender you want to render a beauty shot, but want to also show the wireframe of the model you are working on.  This video shows that process.  (As an added bonus, it also shows how to enable wireframe display while in Object mode in case you were wondering how ).



The Process


Select the Object you wish to render with a wireframe overlay:



Hit Shift + D to duplicate it.



Select the material on the wireframe and make it unique.



Select a diffuse color for your wireframe.  Optionally enable emit if you want the wireframe to glow slightly.



Add a Wireframe modifier to the copy



Now render:


Art ,

2. July 2015

Torque 3D is a now open source engine with a long and storied history. Today they just released version 3.7. Hands down the biggest new feature is the release or an OpenGL renderer, making a Linux beta client available, with other platforms down the road.


Other highlights of this release include:

  • We finally updated to PhysX 3. And Bullet 2.8!
  • We've integrated two former commercial addons, both of which were open-sourced: Sahara and Walkabout. The former allows you to easily add snow, dust, moss and similar effects to your environments using a technique the author calls 'material accumulation', and the latter provides an editor/tweaker on top of recast/detour autogenerated navmeshes, as well as integration with the exiting AIPlayer class.
  • We've had community contributions that add ribbon trails you can attach to almost anything, and a nice vignette PostFX shader.
  • Performance improvements to the scripting engine, as well as anonymous functions.
  • So many bugfixes.


Full release notes are available here.


1. July 2015

Today the Blender foundation announced the release of Blender 2.75. Not really a ton there from game developers specifically but a solid release all the same.


Image by Cosmos Laundromat -

Blender Foundation and the developer community are proud to present the official Blender 2.75 release. The main highlights of this release are:

  • Blender now supports a fully integrated Multi-View and Stereo 3D pipeline
  • Cycles has much awaited initial support for AMD GPUs, and a new Light Portals feature.
  • UI now allows font previews in the file browser.
  • High quality options for viewport depth of field were added
  • Modeling has a new Corrective Smooth modifier.
  • The Decimate modifier was improved significantly.
  • 3D viewport painting now supports symmetry and the distribution of Dynamic Topology was improved
  • Video Sequence Editor: Placeholders can now replace missing frames of image sequences
  • Game Engine now allows smoother LOD transitions, and supports mist attributes animation
  • And: 100s of bug fixes and smaller feature improvements.
Released: July 1, 2015.

Complete release notes are available here.


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15. June 2012


I have recently become more and more interesting in HTML5 game development.  However,HTML5_Logo_256 upon initial investigation I realized there are an absolute ton of libraries and tools out there.  Some of them are amazing, others… not so much.  During my research I put together notes on the key libraries, tools, books, frameworks and IDEs used for HTML5 development.  This is the results of that research.


So, if you are looking to get into HTML5 game development, this page could be a very good place to start.


This list is by no means complete, it just represents the best of what I have found so far.  If you have recommendations for inclusion ( especially for the links section! ), please let me have them!  There are links as well to non-game related frameworks like Backbone.js, YUI, Mustache, etc. I am intending to do some game tool development in JavaScript for an upcoming RPG project, so those are there as much for my use as anything.


I hope you find it handy.


Links of interest for HTML5 game developers.

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