Friday, July 31, 2009

I've decided to turn my site, Utterly Superb into a general flash games site. This is partly as an experiment to see if I can make some cash and partly as a project to help me learn some more about php, MySql and CSS.

The main impetus is that I made a new game, Bug Squad and put it on a site called flash game licensing to try to get some money to sponsor it. I got a decent offer. It wasn't huge, and it certainly wasn't enough to cover the time I spent making the game, but it got me thinking. I figured, that if they were prepared to pay me an amount just to have their logo on the game, then it must be worth more than that to them in anticipated revenue. So I wondered, what would it take for it to be worth that much to me?

I already have a game site, with only my games on it. At the moment the ad revenue more than covers the cost of a hugely excessive hosting package, so if I were to increase the usage by 100 time I would still be within the allowance. My traffic isn't great, but I'm not starting from nothing, and I have an advantage over most of the games portals in that I'm the only person involved. So no lawyers, accoutants, partners etc. I can make games myself so no need to have an initial fund for sponsorship, and work has been slow recently (damn recession). Why noy? I figured I have nothing to lose.

My first step has been to create the site. Flash game license do a great little product called 'Portal in a Box'. I was tempted to customise that, but it runs from a feed from their site and I wanted more control over the look, feel and content. It's been quite challenging building it, since I have no experience in CSS, PHP or MySql. Also Working out the structure has been a 'as you go along' process. The biggest challenges have been css and sourcing the games. Doing CSS feels like trying to nail jelly to a wall. I have a look which i'm OK with, but it's not what I would have wanted and it falls apart in IE5 and 6 (I don't care). Sourcing the games. Has taken ages. I want all the games on my site to be really good (ok, I'm being more forgiving with my own games...) and downloading and formating all the games has been taking ages. PHP hasn't been that bad - I know I'm not doing it that well, but it works. PHP actually makes sense as a programming language.

At the moment I have no internet, having moved house. Just a O2 mobile dongle. When the internet is up I'll put up the new site, even if I haven't fully finished it (no search page at the moment). My traffic is so low that I don't think it will matter if it's not %100 there, and it's already better than the existing site. It will probably be up middle of next week.

If I'm doing the site seriously I'll try (and I know I've said this before) to keep this blog more updated with the games I'm working on and other info.