On the Brink: A Feature on Brinkbit Games

The switch from Flash to HTML5 is not an easy one.

After HTML5’s initial release in 2014, Baltimore-based independent game company Brinkbit welcomed a switch to the latest version of Hypertext Markup Language with open arms.  Flash had proven to be problematic for them, leaving Brinkbit founders Bryan Bamford, Evan Fuller, and Justin Livi to navigate sluggishness and stability issues as they created computer and smartphone games like Playing Favorites.

HTML5 promised to help streamline the game creation process by combining three kinds of code in one: HTML; Cascading Style Sheets (CSS); and JavaScript.

However, when Brinkbit started researching the language further, they realized that there was one major problem with using HTML5 – there were no decent unified development tools.

I wanted to log in, and have my homework right there.  I wanted to be able to create and ship from one interface
So, Bamford, Fuller, and Livi decided to put games like Playing Favorites behind them, and looked toward creating an HTML5 tool that could develop, distribute, and even provide game analytics for its users.  Essentially, the trio planned to make Brinkbit the complete HTML5 game platform.

One of Brinkbit’s components is a tutorial interface to introduce users to HTML5 or basic coding in general.  The idea is to create simple games by breaking them down into easy-to-follow tutorials, but with a twist: the tutorials will have their own narratives, making people feel like they are playing an ongoing game as they learn to code games of their own.

We wanted to build a bunch of components and have them all ready to use instead of building one simple thing and getting that ready for market 

According to Evan Fuller, “shortening the distance between the visual and emotional results of achieving something will help get people over the learning give. If the process of making a game doesn’t have any of the elements that they loved about playing games, then they are going to fall off at some point. We want to give that excited feeling of attachment with our tutorials.”  By gamifying game development itself, it will help make the process more accessible to a wider range of people.

So far, the idea has been fire.  In 2015, Brinkbit received a $25,000 grant to develop the software as part of the Accelerate Baltimore program, as well as a $100,000 award from TEDCO’s Technology Commercialization Fund.  Now, a few dozen people are testing out Brinkbit’s closed beta, and nearly 1,000 more people are on a waitlist for Brinkbit’s open Beta, reaching out to the company daily about when the tool will be ready to use.

And it will be ready – soon.  “Hopefully before Half-Life 3,” Fuller says with a laugh.  After all, it takes time to build the complete HTML5 gaming platform.

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