Zen Pond Now on Facebook Instant Games!!

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  • So last month I wrote a quick game in 8 days which allows you to fly around a virtual pond breathing life as you fly from lilypad to lilypad. No challenge, just a relaxing game that uses a lot of neat webgl effects to make it look polished.

    Thanks to Ashley and Tom for the Facebook Instant Games plugin it meant I was able to upload the game in two hours and have it approved in only another two!

    Following approval I then soft launched Zen Pond to Australia, Canada and Hong Kong (localised the language to Chinese also)....

    In just 3 hours it's had ~500 unique plays.

    This project is not suited to ad monetisation and so is me actually just testing the water, so to speak, (excuse the pun).

    However, I'm so, so, so tempted to push the big red button again and just launch it global!

    Plan: to localise the app page to all major languages, and then once its ready I'll push it!

    I also submitted another app which they didn't approve, and made suggestions about spinning graphics, adding leader board and more social elements, so it shows they wont just accept anything as it wasn't a generic response either.

    NB: you need an Apple Team ID to be able to submit a game for review! Which will set you back $99 per year as an individual.

  • Congratulations!!

    would it be much to ask you to post a little guide about the process, since this instant game plugin is in beta for now, is really hard to get it working for people like me (More designer than programmer).

    Best luck with your instant games!

  • It would be very interesting to hear about your experiences with the platform - you said the game isn't competitive, so I assume it doesn't have leader-boards? How did you deliver a social gaming experience without competition?

    I will definitely be looking at this when it's available! (I'm in the UK)

  • You have been fast Liam Twose Congrats!

    I hope to upload my game soon

  • Update: So I decided to hit the Launch Global button and it's upto 6.11k plays in the 6 hours since!

    For Zen Pond I didn't really do anything with the plugin at all. I pretty much just added it as an object. I think they more than likely approved it for its graphical / zen appeal and ease of use more than anything.

    The next game I launch, I will definitely be aiming for it to:

    a) look good

    b) have social functionality, leader board etc

    c) maybe even something with turn-based multiplayer.

    d) support Audience Network

  • i was able to find the game, open it and start it within messenger on my Samsung 6.0.

    Though it was terribly slow when flying around..? almost unplayable. Is that just me?

  • Ah good point, I need to do some more optimisation, will see if I can do some cool screen res changes etc to make it more mobile / tablet friendly.

  • Well done for getting it out there!

    I'm pretty sure the water effect will be causing problems on many devices! maybe detect hardware and switch it off on low end graphics...

    It ran really well on my Mac... but failed to load several times on my iphone 6 .. then eventually ran fine, the loading time was huge.

    I'm failing miserably on a test project. Keep getting "failed to upload" messages on the Hosted Assets page when trying to upload my test to the faceBook servers..

    onwards and upwards.

    hmmm.. I got my test project to work. When I try to play it in messenger app on my iphone it keeps failing to load around the same time every time - at about 70-75% of the way through.. same as yours did.

  • Thank you, good point re water effect, so I'm currently trying to figure out how to detect the hardware and switch it off, is on mobile device doesn't seem to work, neither does trying an OR statement including all the typical mobile / tablet platforms. hmmm..

    [EDIT] WHOOPS! I was targeting the wrong layer number! WHOOPS! [EDIT]

    Took me ages to realise to be able to test, you create a test app, but the important part is you need to ADD the instant games and basic details to get the test app to appear in your dev list on fb.

    I also noticed it still says 5mb upload max for zips. Mines 13.6mb so I'm guessing at some point they moved the goal posts, but forgot to update the UI!

    13.5k plays now. Crazy cool!

  • Awesome got it working! Thank you for the suggestion! It now disables water effect on mobile / tablet.

    Probably not the best way as some mobiles would run it but at least it should be more playable on smaller devices now. And will play in full hd mode with effects on pcs / mac.

    I wanted to steer away from menus etc so as not to lose the immersion factor, otherwise I would have made it a toggle option.

    In hindsight I should have done this from the start, but at least I know for next time

  • You might be able to detect if the game is running on webGL if so it should handle the water.. so you wouldn't have to disable it for all mobile users..

    I've got my stuff working now, just can't seem to get my pixel style low rest viewport to scale up and fill facebook's window... fun!

  • Congrats on the launch! I, too, would love to know more about the publishing process, if you would be willing to share.

    One note. I tried the game at home on my gaming laptop and it was very slow with NO water effects. I just tried it again on my work computer and it's smooth as butter WITH webGL effects. Not sure what the difference is... both computers have dedicated gaming cards and similar setups.

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  • I've just tried to plat it - is it supposed to force horizontal orientation?

    On my iPhone SE it displayed on its side, showing a vertical viewport displayed horizontally

    Also, does Instant Games feature no search function? I had to scroll through a seemingly randomly ordered list to find it

  • Ah ok not sure about why it would run slow on a gaming laptop. Why does it even class that as a mobile device??

    Good point re orientation, will have to consider orientation.. hmm.

    I will look at publishing a getting started tutorial when I get a spare minute.

  • Here is a basic setup guide: https://www.scirra.com/tutorials/9659/h ... 3-game-app

    Let me know if there is anything missing and I'll do my best to update it <img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile"> had a spare 5 minutes that was all and tried to cover some of the more important stuff!

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