Since most of you guys will probably be back from your summer holidays, we opted for a soft return: today we are interviewing Richard Davey, creator of Phaser – one of the best HTML5 game engines out there!
After the huge success of our BIG lists of 2D & 3D HTML5 games engines posts, we decided to start interviewing the creators of these amazing engines. Why? Because they know better!
At GamePix we deeply believe in game developers and in their creativity at all levels, our community of HTML5 Rockstars is growing day after day and we are here to support their hard work any way we can.
In particular Phaser is one of our favorite engines and many game devs of our community made use of this tool it to create some very successful HTML5 games like Bananamania and Foot Chinko by the Ravalmatic guys. Let’s see what Richard (follow him on Twitter), creator of this pretty cool engine, has to say!
Hi Richard, we’re excited to talk with you! How did Phaser came to your mind? Where did it all start?
I guess like a lot of projects it was born out of a combination of need, frustration and opportunity. I desperately needed it in order to carry out my client work. I was frustrated at the alternatives that existed at the time, and I had the opportunity to put it together when I did. Since then though it has become a vessel into which I pour all of those things I’ve always wanted from a game framework. I guess it’s the framework a much younger me would have loved to have had years ago.
What are your future plans with Phaser? Do you have any new feature in mind, that you can share with us?
There’s lots going on! I summed up quite a lot of it in my recent patreon post “What’s on the Phaser horizon” – We’re getting ready to release Interphase 1, which is a digital Phaser magazine packed with exclusive content. We’ve got new plugins coming (Particle Storm I’m especially pleased with and can’t wait to release later in September) and of course development continues at a rapid pace on both Phaser 3 and Phaser 2.
You have a great community following you and they prefer using your engine, for this reason you have a very privileged view of the market. Do you see any particular trend? Where do you think the HTML5 game market is going? What are the game devs out there saying?
I think that HTML5 is now the standard way of building games for the web. This is evident in the sheer volume of games being made in Phaser. However the web is still an extremely unstable environment to work in. Browsers are still shifting all over the place – with new features dropping, new devices appearing and APIs being deprecated. It’s a full-time job just keeping on-top of this to be honest. In a way it’s a little worrying that games made today are highly likely to throw errors (or not even run) in future web browsers. But at the same time they need to keep innovating and pushing forwards.
In terms of where I see the game market going that’s a tough one. It was assumed that the Flash portals of old would simply become HTML5 portals, but actually I don’t see that trend at all. While most of those portals readily accept HTML5 games it’s the whole concept of a “portal” that has changed rather than the technology driving the games. I think it’s fair to say that mobile games have eaten a massive percentage of the traffic they once enjoyed. Some are changing with the times. Some are becoming much more community focused, such as the excellent GameJolt or Itch.io, but I think all are having to diversify in more ways.
What I’m seeing lots of is Phaser developers creating native mobile games, wrapping them in the likes of Cordova. And I’m seeing Phaser used loads of Game Jam entries and competitions like Ludum Dare. I absolutely love this fact.
Before starting GamePix, we were game developers and this helped us a lot in making a product that will meet game developers needs. You are a game developer too, right? Was this useful also to you to make Phaser this great?
Of course! It’s that old adage about ‘eating your own dog food’ – you cannot seriously create a game framework if you don’t make games yourself. I’ve used Phaser in all of my client games for years now. If I hadn’t done so it would never have grown and evolved in the way it has. It’s a constant self feedback loop. But it’s not just about my experience – to create something that others really like you have to listen to them, pick-up on their feedback and change with it too. It doesn’t mean you have to act upon every single request, but always keep an open mind. What might be obvious to you may not to them.
In the latest years we’ve seen lots of innovations in the gaming market: werables, smart tvs, VR, Hololens. In your opinion, what will the future of HTML5 games be? We’re all ears!
The future of HTML5 games is of course bound to the web. So the real question is what will the future of the web be? There are some interesting innovations coming like Web Assembly, proper Music Notation and updates to WebGL. Yet we’re still fighting with age old issues like browser compatibility, legacy audio and iOS moving at a snail’s pace in terms of updates (full screen mode one day Apple, please!).
There used to be the argument of ‘mobile killing the web’, but this is patently not happening. Mobile has absolutely tilted the casual gaming market on its axis, but these things happen all the time.
Maybe VR or Wearables will do something similar, it’s hard to predict – but the web is ubiquitous and persists across all of these changes. It will continue to adapt and survive. Will we be having to make Phaser work on VR headsets soon? Possibly, if the demand arises.
Personally I think the real future of HTML5 games lays with the thousands of kids out there learning to code in schools and Coder Dojo’s around the world. As important as it is to keep on innovating and ensuring Phaser adapts to ever changing standards, if we ignore supporting those who are coming to us for the first time then it will all be for nothing.
Thanks a lot for your time Richard, we can’t wait to see some new HTML5 games made with Phaser published on GamePix and of course we wish you the best luck for the future!