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Update: I think I’ve found a solution to my problem. With the help of HTMLLoader and LocalConnection, I can get Flashplayer running inside AIR, and I can get the best of both.


Hey guys, with Epic Battle Fantasy 4 being in a Humble Bundle and having a lot of new eyes on it, I once again had the horrifying realization that I’m still making games in Flash. I thought a bit about this when I started working on Epic Battle Fantasy 5 a year ago, but pushed those thoughts to the side and decided to wait and see how things might develop. Well, things haven’t gotten much better.

Here’s the problem: Adobe suck. 

Adobe AIR is their cross-platform solution for running Flash apps on Desktop, iOS and Android – and it would be perfect for my needs EXCEPT that the Desktop version doesn’t have the same performance optimizations that the mobile versions have. It doesn’t have the Stage Quality setting that Flashplayer has – this let’s you change the anti-aliasing of vector graphics and is a huge factor on performance. HUGE. My games always have this set to MEDIUM by default, with lots of users setting it to LOW. But in AIR, it’s permanently set to HIGH, making my games run 50 to 100% slower in AIR compared to the web Flashplayer! What the hell!

Another missing feature is GPU rendering for bitmaps. If I convert all of my vector graphics to bitmaps, they’ll run quite well on a phone! Not on my desktop computer though! Madness!

Word from Adobe is that they’ll consider features that are often requested, like these. But after waiting for a year (and hearing how other developers waited much longer than that), I think it’s time to assume it’s not a priority for Adobe at all.

I used Adobe AIR for my release of Epic Battle Fantasy 3 on Steam. And everything works very nicely, except that the performance is terrible! Many users pointed out that it ran noticeably worse than the web version, and that’s because it does.

My shooter game Bullet Heaven 2 worked well in AIR, but it didn’t use vector graphics very much, so this wasn’t an issue. It was made with Starling and Stage3D, which performs very well, but makes animation much harder than it is in regular Flash games, and there’s no way I could make an EBF game like that. There’s just too much complicated animation involved.

For Epic Battle Fantasy 4, which came out on Steam almost 3 years ago now, I used a Flash wrapper called MDM Zinc, which is similar to AIR but uses the standard Flashplayer, and therefore runs my games better. This worked well, but it had serious compatibility issues with a few users, and the company that made it is gone now, so I can’t use it anymore anyway. There’s a DRM-free build of it left over, but as far as I can tell there’s no way of getting rid of the “trial version” splash screen now.

Publishing on Steam using a simple Flashplayer Projector is an option too. The performance would be better, but I’d be restricted by not having common application features like being able to create save files wherever I wish, or controlling the size of the application window. Adding Steam features like cloud saving and achievements would require inconvenient work-arounds.

So what other options does that leave me with?

I could convert my animations to Unity files using something like GAF or UniSwf, and port all of my code over to Unity too. That could lead to great performance, and Unity is super popular and well supported now, unlike Flash. Downside is I’d have to learn Unity very well, port tons of work over, and overall I’d probably have a much slower workflow than I do in Flash. EBF5 was meant to be a 2-year project, if I switch to Unity I could easily see that being 3 years or more, with tons of unforeseen problems thanks to my lack of any experience with Unity. Not a risk I’d like to take with my biggest project ever.

Also the chances of releasing a web version of the game would go down drastically if it’s not made in Flash. Steam’s my main market now, but I still have tons of fans there who would lynch me if I didn’t release a web version. Sticking to Flash also makes any future mobile ports easy – Adobe AIR does work fine on mobile after all, it’s just the Desktop version that’s causing me grief.

Apparently Scaleform is a cool technology for running Flash content fast – it’s used for GUIs in AAA titles and also some mobile games. But it doesn’t look like they’re interested in the Desktop indie market, and I couldn’t even get permission to try it out.

OpenFl is another framework I considered, as its workflow is supposed to be similar to Flash. But it still feels like it’s in its infancy, not being fully implemented or documented yet, and would still require a lot of porting pains, much like a move to Unity would.

None of this really threatens EBF5′s development. I just think it’s likely that I’m going to have to make some compromises when it comes to Steam features or performance. Maybe I’ll make 2 launchers on Steam, Flashplayer and AIR, and users can decide which one works better for them.

Oh well.

Thanks, Adobe.
For not developing Desktop AIR, and for leading me on.

Hey guys, Epic Battle Fantasy 4 is in a Humble Bundle, so you can get it for super cheap. Or you can pay a bit more and get other good games with it, and also throw some money at charity.

You can choose which developers and charities the money goes to. I personally support Arthritis Research UK, so it would be cool if you sent some money their way.

Proxy by KupoGames

Hey guys, here’s a summary of my year. Most of it was taken up by Epic Battle Fantasy 5 and learning how to live away from my parents. A lot of people felt 2016 was a terrible year news-wise, but nothing in the news really affected me at all. Anyway, here’s a list of important stuff that happened:

• Me and Ronja moved into a flat together! Had to learn how to do house chores and boring stuff.

• Upgraded my battlestation with new monitors, graphics tablet, webcam, and mugs! Should last me many years.

• Played a lot of indie games this year, but I think my favourite by far will have to be Undertale.

• Ronja got Rheumatoid Arthritis and was totally incapacitated for a few weeks. After a few months and hundreds of pills, she’s almost normal again, but still a bit feeble. She’ll be on meds forever and we’ll just have to see how much of her strength she can get back. Lots of visits to the hospital this year!

• Went to the Play expo in Glasgow. First time at major-ish gaming event like this. Tried out a bunch of arcade machines, pinball, and old consoles like the Vectrex.

• My family dog, Maxi, died. Had her for 15 years.

• Found an old sketchbook of mine from when I was 8. It’s full of hundreds of monsters. I scanned it all and stuck it online, and have decided to continue drawing monsters in it.

• Took 3 or 4 days off to play with Lego for my birthday. Managed to build some sets from my childhood, as well as getting a bunch of new ones.

• Ronja’s birthday party was good too. We broke in the flat and brought our friends round. Got more novelty hats for my collection. Later went to the local pub and there was a crime scene outside!

• Me and Ronja went on a quick road trip to Ayr by the coast. Found a cool pub called the Smoking Goat.

• Went on a Road trip with Ronja, my brother, his girlfriend, and a friend from Poland. We aimed for the island of Arran but missed the ferry and went to Bute instead. Hiked a bit, saw some beaches, and there were seals! Seals are really funny.

• There was a big power cut in my area! Never seen a city so dark before. It was spooky.

• I talked to a bunch of developers and got some cameos lined up for EBF5, including Chibi Knight, Sushi Cat, and the guys from Sentry Knight. Matt and Natalie also appeared in the new Sentry Knight game as NPCs.

• Me and Ronja went to Birmingham for the EGX expo. We hung out with the Massive Monster devs who we’ve met before, and also made some new friends. Hype intensified for Yooka Laylee, Snake Pass, and other games. Also saw a bit of Birmingham, including the impressive library and some random film set.

• I think my favourite book this year was So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson. Very relevant in the age of outrage on the internet, and a fun read.

• Found more of my old sketchbooks, but they were all pretty lame. I had a habit of only filling the first page or two.

• The UK voted to leave the EU and no one expected it. Everyone lost their shit over this and I’m indifferent. A weak £ is even good for me since I get paid in $. Sucks for Europeans living in the UK and sending money back home though!

•  Started playing Dungeons and Dragons with my friends. It’s a lot of fun but also a huge time investment, so I don’t join in too often. I play as a racist druid named Salazar Ratkin. Ronja’s a bard.

• After a few visits to some dog shelters, my brother and his girlfriend got a dog! It’s a Staffy, so it’s very bulky for its size and tends to bruise people while trying to lick their faces.

• Not long after, my parents got a Labrador! She’s really dumb but also very young so maybe she’ll get smarter. She also wiggles a lot when she sees people.

•  Mostly stopped pirating TV and migrated to Netflix and Amazon instead. Black Mirror, Mr Robot and Stranger Things were some great shows this year.

• I went on a road trip around Scotland with Ronja and some of her friends from Finland. We saw Glen Coe, Skye, Loch Ness and Cairn Gorm. Climbed some hills, saw some waterfalls, got stampeded by sheep, drove over a lot of cattle grids. It was good and I’ll have to do something similar again soon.

•  Got a huge pumpkin for Halloween and ended up making cake, salad and soup out of it. Took way too long.

• Stayed up all night with friends watching the American election results. What a rollercoaster of an election. Better entertainment than any work of fiction.

• Epic Battle Fantasy 4 is almost 3 years old on Steam and thousands of people are still buying it somehow.

• Made about 40% of EBF5 this year. Would have liked that to be closer to 50%, but not bad considering the circumstances.

• Celebrated Christmas with dogs and Lego. Ronja was away in Finland while I stayed with my family. It was nice.

2016 by KupoGames

Hey guys! Hope you’ve all had a good Christmas!
I spent 3 days playing with Lego and dogs. I can’t really ask for anything more than that.
My parents and my brother each got a puppy, and they’re all temporarily living together, so it’s crazy over there.

Our landlord gave me and Ronja a big box of snacks and wine, which was unexpected. I guess that’s a good way of getting us to stay around. Only got a Christmas card from one of the neighbours despite giving them out to everyone, so it looks like only our nextdoors are cool people. Everyone else is obviously a scumbag.

The Steam Winter sale has also been treating me well. EBF4 is 3 years old on Steam, and thousands of people are still buying it for some reason. Thanks everyone!

I’m gonna start reading all the comments on the Christmas giveaway, and emailing the winners. It might still take a few days, as there’s a LOT to read there.

Lego Ages by KupoGames

I’m doing another big Steam key giveaway this year, leave a comment on my site for a chance to win Epic Battle Fantasy 4 or Bullet Heaven 2!

(or you can also buy them discounted in the upcoming Steam Winter sale)

Merry Christmas  Happy Holidays  And All That  By  by KupoGames

Epic Battle Fantasy 4 and Bullet Heaven 2 are 67% off for the duration of the autumn sale!
From their store pages you can nominate them for awards! It would be cool if you nominated EBF4 for the “I Thought This Game Was Cool Before It Won An Award” Award.

Anyway, this is more or less the steepest discount I’m going to do for these games for a long time. The discount will be the same during the Steam Winter Sale later.

Steam-sale Copy by KupoGames

Hey guys, I just got back from a 4-day road trip around Scotland. Two of Ronja’s friends came over from Finland, and the four of us took off in my heavily-packed car.

We first visited the Isle of Skye where we stayed for two nights in a self-catering cottage in the middle of nowhere. It was a long day of driving to get there, and we spent a lot of it driving through hilly countryside at night, which was scary. My car is not amazing so it struggles a bit on hills when it’s full. And the countryside has all sorts of traps like sheep standing next to the road and cattle grids. So it was an interesting drive.

On the way to Skye we stopped at Luss, Glen Coe (pictured) and Eilean Donan Castle briefly. There was no shortage of cool stops.

Img 20161017 160201 by KupoGames

On Skye we hiked up The Storr hill to see the huge spiky rock formations on it (pictured). It’s quite a  steep hike but it’s not too long or challenging. It takes less than two hours to get to the rocks even if you’re not particularly fit for hiking. The weather was mostly good, but while I was at the top it rained heavily for ten minutes and that was me soaked for the day – I forgot to equip my waterproof trousers. Overall though I think this was one of my favourite hiking experiences ever. Very good views for relatively little work. (well except for all the driving to get there)

2016-10-18 13.45.28 by KupoGames

We stopped at the town of Portee and at the Sligachan Old Bridge (pictured) a few times, as these were nice places to take driving breaks.

Img 20161018 110017 by KupoGames

We stopped briefly for hotdogs at The Quiraing (pictured), which was a nice view point on a high mountain road. We visited the The Fairy Glen, which is a small area of strange looking hills that looks like The Shire from Lord of the Rings, or something similar. The Mealt Falls was another viewing area we stopped at for a good view of the seaside cliffs.

Img 20161018 160244 by KupoGames

While driving past the town of Uig, the highlight of the whole trip happened. We stopped the car as a stampede of sheep was herded around us. It was wonderful. (pictured)

Img 20161018 164003 by KupoGames

The next day we went on a tour of the Talisker distillery. I was the only one in the group that wasn’t interested in whisky, but I found the machines, giant barrels, and smells in the place interesting. It’s also the first time I’ve heard the word “hopper” used outside of Minecraft! We also visited the Fairy Pools in Glen Brittle (pictured), which is a long stream with many varied waterfalls and makes for a great walking area.

2016-10-19 13.06.32 by KupoGames

After that it was another long drive until we got to Loch Ness. We stayed in a small rural hotel in Foyers, where we got a good view of the lake. Foyers also has a nice little forest path  (pictured) and an impressive waterfall with a few viewing areas. The change of scenery was nice compared to Skye’s rockiness and lack of trees.

Img 20161020 105320 by KupoGames

From here we started driving back home, but on the way we visited Cairn Gorm, which is a popular skiing mountain in the Cairngorms national park. They’ve got a cool railway service that takes you to the top for a nice view. It looked like there was a lot to do in the area, but that’s all we had time for.

Then we went home. The end.

(credit to Ronja for most of these photos)

Oh yeah, I should also mention that now’s a really good time to visit the UK! Brexit has caused our currency to become much weaker, so your holiday will be much cheaper than normal!

Img 20161019 134930 by KupoGames

Epic Battle Fantasy 5 is around 30% done!

That’s less than I would have liked, but I think it’s for good reasons:
• I spent a lot longer on battle animations than in previous games, and IMO it looks much better.
• Took some time off to re-release EBF3.
• Ronja’s health issues. (she’s a LOT better now)

I think progress will speed up once I start programming things – a lot of the code will be recycled from EBF4. Also the world map graphics will be in the same style as EBF4, so I’ll be recycling a lot of those too.

I updated Epic Battle Fantasy 3 with some major usability features for 2016!

The Kongregate version is now almost the same as the Steam version.
(Pros: Quality setting means it runs better.  Cons: Browsers might delete your saves.)

Anyway, here’s the changes:
• There’s a little options menu which includes sound, frame-skip, and quality.
• There’s a wave counter in battle now!
• Scanned foes’ information can now be viewed at any time during your turn.
• Minigame achievements are noticeably easier.
• Text pops up when a status effect is inflicted.
• The party heals faster when walking around later in the game.
• There’s more useful tips scattered around the menus.
• Bitmaps are higher resolution and the game should look better in cinematic mode.
• There’s more fanart in the gallery now.
• Some links and credits have been updated.
• Little interface improvements here and there
• Lance’s general defence buffed by 10%!

So now’s a good chance to replay the game if you’ve been wanting to.

An idea I’ve got for increasing replay value in Epic Battle Fantasy 5 is hiding equipment and maybe some other stuff in semi-random locations.

For example, when approaching a boss that’s weak against fire, you’ll find a treasure chest with a randomized fire weapon inside. You don’t know which player the weapon will be for, so in each playthrough you may need to use a different player as your main attacker for the boss fight. This seems like a good way of making players use weapons they might never otherwise use.

I think in Newgame+ I’ll have to take all of your equips away and reshuffle them to take full advantage of this (though they will keep their levels).

I might do something similar with enemies – where the weaker enemies in battles are swapped with similar enemies on some playthroughs.

I’m not working on this yet, but something I have in mind for Epic Battle Fantasy 5 is dungeons that are seperate areas from the main world map, and contain optional content. (much like Battle Mountain in EBF4)

Dungeons could be caves, buildings, and other hidden areas. Foes in them would always be at the same level as your party, and they would not give any experience, but you could keep loot as normal.

This format is convenient because:

  • It’s a good way of locking away premium content. The free version is still a complete game, but there’s extra dungeons for the full version.
  • Dungeons can be played at any time. You can try to beat them as soon as you find them, or come back to them later. Either works.
  • I can later make more dungeons or add rooms to them easily. I can’t really do this with the normal world map since it’s stuck to a fixed size and layout.
  • Dungeons can be very hard. You don’t have to beat them all.
  • It’s a tidy way of doing achievements/progress reports. For example, you can get a little notification when you collect all of the treasure chests in a dungeon.
  • Towns will feel less cluttered because the interiors of houses are seperate maps.

But yeah, it’s basically Battle Mountain but split into tiny little parts, hidden all over the place. I’m looking forward to hiding some really bizarre dungeons for people to find.

Hey guys, me and Ronja spent the last 5 days in Birmingham for the EGX expo, which is a huge games marketing event thing. It was our first time in the city, and we really liked it – it feels like a cheaper version of London I guess.

While there we spent a lot of time with Jimp and Jay from Massive Monster/Armor Games. They were showing off their games and made this video which I guess sums up the experience:

Massive Monster are working on The Adventure Pals and Never Give Up, both games that I’m personally interested in playing later on Steam – the earlier Flash versions were already a lot of fun.

Yooka-Laylee was a big thing there, but we didn’t want to wait an hour to play it, so we only watched others. It really does look like a modern Banjo Kazooie, which is all I want from it. <3

Snake Pass was another major indie game, and one that we got a chance to play. It’s a platformer with bizarre snake physics, and looks very similar to Yooka-Laylee visually. Very interested in this one.

Other interesting indie games we saw included BrawlOut, ForgottOn Anne, Dead-Cells, Overcooked, Y2K: A Postmodern RPG, She Remembered Caterpillars, VA-11 HALL-A and Black and White Bushido. All of these will be going on my “play later” list.

We weren’t very interested in the AAA stuff, especially since the queues were huge. There was also a retro-game section, some talks, cosplay shows, merch sales and gaming competitions. Tons of stuff to do, but we spent most of it in the indie games section, chatting to devs as well as looking for obscure games.

Besides EGX, we also saw a bit of Birmingham: The library is super impressive. We saw a bit of Kaleidoscope Man being filmed (crowds were running while tanks “fired”). We got tasty Indian Burritos from a place called Wrapchic.

And we had an awesome night out with a big group of the indie devs! I felt like a bit of an imposter since I wasn’t showing my games at EGX though, and Ronja’s… not really in the industry at all. Maybe someday.

A few days ago I was interviewed live by Simon from Berzerk Studios.
The full video is up on YouTube now: It’s 100 minutes of us talking about Flash game development.
Watch it (or just listen to it) if you want wisdom.

Bullet Heaven 2 is 67% off in the Steam shoot-em-up sale! 
The sale lasts until Monday.

Ss Ccc7e9463cb275f93cc56e5b6730edccdd418e16.1920x1 by KupoGames

Epic Battle Fantasy 3 is live on Steam, and it’s free!
Tell all of your friends, leave a review and take some screenshots!

The soundtrack will be up as free DLC in a few days – I messed up and it’s not been approved by Valve yet.

Screen5 by KupoGames

Hey guys, I thought I’d make a detailed list of the changes in the Steam version of EBF3.
Se here it goes:

New Options:
• There’s a new options menu which includes sound, game speed, fullscreen, and window size/resolution.
• The new resolutions are a bit higher than the original one, but they’re not quite HD.
• Game speed let’s you play at double speed if your computer is fast enough – useful for backtracking or grinding.
• There’s also a “Frameskip” setting for slow computers – this will always run the game at normal speed, and skip a lot of frames if it has to.

New Features:
• There’s a foe wave counter in battle now!
• Scanned foes’ information can now be viewed at any time during your turn – like in EBF4.
• Minigame achievements are noticeably easier.
• Text pops up when a status effect is inflicted – like in EBF4.
• The party heals faster when walking around later in the game.
• There’s more useful tips scattered around the menus and tutorial.
• Jpgs and music are uncompressed now, and the battle backgrounds have a higher resolution – so some things should look a bit better.
• There’s more fanart in the gallery now.
• There’s no ads or links during gameplay.
• Tiny interface improvements here and there.
• Lance’s general defence buffed by 10% – he died too much and I don’t think this was intentional.

New Content:
• None.

Misc stuff:
• The links and credits on the main menu and ending and have been updated – EBF3 is just a big ad for EBF4!
• The old graphics quality option is gone, because Adobe are stupid – I’ll add this back later if they make it possible.
• The game is Windows only for now – but I’m considering Mac support (and for my other games too). I’ll just need to get a Mac first, and I really don’t want one.

Had a lazy week last week while waiting on the whole Greenlight thing. Went on two road trips to the seaside.

First one me and Ronja drove to the beach in the seaside towns of Troon and Ayr. I’ve been driving a few years now but haven’t really went far from home yet, so I’m starting to explore more. Most of Scotland’s population is concentrated around Glasgow and Edinburgh and sometimes I forget that there’s a lot more to Scotland than those cities, so there’s a lot for me to see still.

We got to Ayr a bit late and the beaches were crazy crowded, so we retreated to a cool underground pub called the Smoking Goat and had the whole place to ourselves. The basements of old buildings look very dungeon-like. <3

Island by KupoGames

A few days later we headed out to the the island of Arran with my brother, his girlfriend, and a family friend from Poland. We didn’t plan things too well and the ferry to the island was all booked up for cars. We drove a little bit further and took a ferry to the island of Bute instead. The weather changed a lot through the day, from rainy to super sunny to rainy again. As it does in Scotland.

We stopped at a few beaches for picnics, and hiked along the seaside a bit and saw some cool cliffs. There was this fancy mansion with huge gardens that was a popular tourist destination – but entry was too expensive for the group’s tastes. I kind of want to go back there someday though.

The final and ultimate attraction was the seals! There was a rocky beach where about 12 seals were chilling out. The way seals move is hilarious – they just bounce around. Unfortunately Ronja didn’t get to see them cause she couldn’t make the steep climb down to the beach. ):

Seal by KupoGames

Also last night there was a power cut in our town. Looks like almost the whole town was out for an hour. I’ve never seen such a big power cut before – In my previous home it was usually only one street that got affected by these things. It was really spooky!

Me and Ronja went out onto a bridge over the motorway to see how far the darkness stretched. It was a lot of fun – seeing real darkness is rare in urban life.

Lights by KupoGames

While getting Epic Battle Fantasy 3 ready for its Steam release, I’ve been looking at other free single-player indie games. 
So here’s a list of my favourite free games I’ve found on Steam so far.

Also feel free to suggest other free games on Steam. I might do another list like this in the future.

06 36 by KupoGames

I'm doing a Livestream talk thing with Simon from Berzerk Studio on Twitch, at 3pm EST (in 90 minutes). You can watch us talk about game dev stuff and ask questions in the chat. We will also give away a few Steam keys for my games.

If you miss it, it's gonna be recorded anyway so you can see it later.

Hey guys, Epic Battle Fantasy 3 has been Greenlit on Steam!
This means I just have to add the Steam achievements, quickly fill in the store page,  test it a little more and it should be good to go.

Thanks for voting and sharing!

I didn’t realize this earlier, but September 1st will be EBF3′s 6th birthday!
So that’s when I’m going to publish the game on Steam – 9 days from now.

Here’s my Greenlight stats for anyone who might be interested. I didn’t do any promotion except for some blog posts on the first day.

Greenlight by KupoGames