It’s been almost a year since our Web Monetized HTML5 Game Development grant project was announced in July 2020, and even though we had quite significant delay of four extra months on top of original six, I’m really happy with how the project went for us.
Progress on objectives and key activities
We had six smaller projects making it into a big Web Monetized HTML5 Game Development one, that’s why the name is somewhat generic. Those were:
- Web Mometization category in js13kGames 2020
- Gamedev.js Survey 2021
- eBook about Web Monetization in HTML5 games
- NSHex Roulette expansion
- Body Guard game
- Forest Cuties game
Web Mometization category in js13kGames 2020 was a success - we’ve received 36 Web Monetized entries out of 227 submitted games total. It was great to see developers offering more creative ways of rewarding Coil monetized users than a year before, and I hope the trend will continue.
Gamedev.js Survey 2021 was a success as well, where we asked the community questions about various aspects of their development: from where they live, their work experience, what tools they use, to earning money, publishing, and even the overall happiness - a total of 26 questions.
I was hoping to get 100 such surveys answered, but decided that even 20 or so will be ok. Turned out we got replies from 437 people, which was amazing! The question about the source of income got 37 answers on Web Monetization out of 398 total (all were optional) making this the 5th most popular choice already, bigger than licensing fees or in-app purchases.
An eBook about Web Monetization in HTML5 games was replaced with Web Monetization category in Gamedev.js Jam 2021. The eBook was going to be based on the games we were going to build, which were being delayed by a few factors explained in the first Grant report: mainly waiting for Phaser 4, trying to plan all games before doing any development, but also more work needed around js13kGames 2020. After getting no-cost extensions (twice, two months each) it was clear the plan has changed, and the games will take time to complete.
Since we planned to have the new Web Monetization category in Gamedev.js Jam 2021 after the first edition of the competition in 2020 anyway, now that the new project deadline was past the time when the Gamedev.js Jam usually happens (April 13th-26th), we decided to replace the eBook with the Jam as one of our grant projects. The number of entries doubled compared to 2020, and it ended up with 17 monetized games out of 88 total, with many creative experiences utilizing Web Monetization API features in a unique way.
NSHex Roulette app is a free digital expansion to the physical board game Neuroshima Hex. As the first out of the three experiences experimenting with Web Monetization, we decided to start simple and offer unlocking the detailed usage statistics for Coil monetized users.
Body Guard game goes further with exploring Web Monetization and implements probabilistic revenue sharing, where we decided to split the earnings between Artist Rescue Trust (since the game itself is about fighting with viruses, including Covid), Phaser (in which this game, and all the others are written), and us (Enclave Games). We also allowed the monetized players to decide and be able to switch who they want to support throughout their gaming session.
Forest Cuties game is using the receipt verifier service, so developers can see how exclusive content (in our case: three unique cards) can be secured and only unlocked after the actual verification if the player is actually monetized. This can be done entirely on the front-end side of things as the content can be encrypted and embedded in the index file, and the needed verifier to access can be a public one hosted at WebMonetization.org.
Summary: all six projects completed, with one replacement; from an eBook to a category in the game jam.
Communications and marketing
We continued our practice of publishing Monthly Reports (check them all out if you’re curious about the details), and were publishing blog posts about particular projects being completed, all on our blog, with cross-posting on Medium (#1, #2), DevTo (#1, #2), Web Monetization Community (#1, #2), and Coil Blogs (now Write.as, #1, #2) as well to increase reach:
- [July 6th 2020] Enclave Games awarded with the Grant for the Web!
- [October 29th 2020] Summarizing Web Monetization category in js13kGames 2020
- [December 21st 2020] Web Monetized HTML5 Game Development — Grant Report #1
- [March 25th 2021] Gamedev.js Survey 2021: current state of the HTML5 game development report
- [May 10th 2021] NSHex Roulette — mixing physical with digital
- [May 12th 2021] Gamedev.js Jam 2021 post mortem
- [May 24th 2021] Body Guard — fighting viruses and supporting Artist Rescue Trust
- [June 12th 2021] Forest Cuties — from a poster on the wall to a mobile game utilizing Web Monetization and NFTs
What went good and what could’ve been improved
The good part is actually finishing all the projects, given all the issues we had along the way. Bad is definitely getting the delay and doing a two-month extension, twice!
Going all-in and assuming we will have no distractions, no other work needed, no private problems or health issues, and will be able to focus 120% of our time and energy on the grant. Turns out there are so many things that can get in the way, you have to somehow plan them and give yourself some extra time just in case. Imagine our first proposal had five new games instead of three, and the grant committee themselves said it’s a little bit too much…
Try not to wait for anyone else, don’t tie your milestones with someone else’s. If you’re getting delays, so can other people. Don’t bite more than you can chew. Of course our plan was too ambitious with many optimistic assumptions - this should’ve been planned for a year and it would still be tight. We wanted to pack as much as possible, since we have so many more ideas that would take another couple of grants easily.
Oh, A LOT! The js13kGames 2021 starts in two months and we want to have the Web Monetization category again. There’s an ongoing work on the entirely new js13kGames backend that’s hopefully going to be completed soon, with accounts and teams, and much more, where offering extra content could be tied to Coil monetized users.
We’d love to continue our efforts in exploring an intersection between Web Monetization API and HTML5 games: create a free video tutorial for Cinnamon and freeCodeCamp, write the eBook using Little Webby Press, organize an online meetup/conference on the Waasabi platform, build new games with Phaser 4 using the Game Web Monetization plugin, and much more.
What community support would benefit your project?
Joining forces with other fellow grantees. I mentioned a few projects in the previous paragraph already where one dev could benefit from the work done already by the other. We could collaborate and improve each other’s projects: give use cases, test new tools in real life situations, and help make them better.
Additional comments and closing remarks
I’d like to thank Dees, Chris, Erika, Uchi, and the rest of the Grant for the Web team for the opportunity - it was the most important and challenging project for Enclave Games so far, and even though a little bumpy, it was also the most enjoyable. I’m so grateful we could focus on the things we wouldn’t have time to complete otherwise. I do hope we’ll have more such opportunities in the future!
Also, If you’re curious about how the process went for us, have any questions about the game development and Web Monetization API, the grant program itself, or anything else really, we’d be more than happy to share our experiences - please get in touch!