Developer interview with Piron Games.

Tell everyone a bit about yourself and team.

My name is Stefan Dicu, and I’ve been a game developer for the last 20 years. I’m currently solo developing browser games using (mostly) Cocos Creator, which I release regularly on my site, Piron Games (www.pirongames.com).

Tell us where you came up with the idea for this game. What were your inspirations?

We have written many games, but in particular:

Art Of Balance is the first of a series of 3 games (along with Purrtastic Four and Swooden) re-imagining old Flash classics series like Perfect Balance and Super Stacker. The main inspiration was the art of rock balancing and, in particular, how one can build, in a 2d game, using a touch screen or a mouse, a structure like this:

So this is how the “gimmicks” of delayed activation for stones and “touch all the red areas” to complete the level emerged. Later on, during level design phase, it turned out that simply trying to design using 2d shapes of natural stones would end up in levels that were too difficult, requiring pixel precision to complete. Therefore, some of the stones were “abstracted-out” into more geometric shapes, and fusing with a kind-of abstract art style resulted in the final look and feel of the game.

What version of Cocos did you use? Cocos2d-x or Cocos Creator?

I’m currently using Cocos Creator, version 2.0.10.

Do you use HTML5 or native?

I currently develop games for HTML5. It might be possible, in the future, to release some of the games to native as well, depending how they perform.

Do you use JavaScript or Typescript?

Typescript

When did you start using Cocos products?

About 2 years ago.

How did you decide to use Cocos products instead of Unity, Unreal Engine or SDL?

For me, the choice was between OpenFL/Haxe and Cocos Creator, both of which I had active experience at the time I re-started the indie game development. I wanted to make games fast – one every couple of weeks – and put more focus into game play programming rather than having to deal with engine/framework issues and at that time Cocos Creator seemed to have less problems than OpenFL.

What features did the engine offer you that made development easy? What do you wish the engine did better?

Being a visual tool, this is the most important aspect of Cocos Creator, as it cuts down time for developing UI and even helps with level design. Since I’m mostly doing physics-based games, the built-in physics engine is very important.
I would probably like to have better shader integration, but I suppose this is just the cherry on the cake 🙂

What tools did you use besides the engine?

I’m using IntelliJ IDEA for coding, ShoeBox for creating texture atlases and Audacity for editing audio files.

What 3rd party libraries did you need to use?

I’m using GSAP for animation, polyglot for localization, inversify for dependency injection and robotlegsjs/signals.

Did you create the art yourself? What tools?

I make the art myself using Inkscape and sometimes Gimp.

Did you create the music yourself? What tools?

No, I’m using readily available music.

Will you continue to make games in the future?

Hopefully so, unless I run out of ideas.

Any advice for those also making games on how to get to a release point?

It’s rather difficult to give generic advice. For me, as a solo developer, I approach a game not from a programmer, artist or game-designer perspective, but from that of a producer and project manager. This means that before I start to work on a game, I have a clear vision of its unique selling point (if any), general look-and-fell, most of its features, etc. Before I start with the active development, I usually layout a roadmap (broad tasks if you like) in an issue tracker/project management web app for the above features. Then, on a daily basis, I try to keep track of the development, add/remove tasks and detail these broad tasks as necessary and complete tasks from a programmer/artist/game designer perspective. For me, this approach is useful so that I don’t fall into the procrastination trap or wandering into the “feature creep” land.

Any advice or feedback for the Cocos development teams?

Please keep improving the docs. Keep up the good work building the community around Cocos Creator.

Do you have any friends using Cocos products?

I’ve worked for a company that developed games using Cocos Creator, so yeah 🙂

Do you know there are many famous and complex Chinese games powered by Cocos Creator?

I’m afraid I’m oblivious to the Chinese games market, not knowing the language being the main cause. But I’m not surprised that Cocos Creator is used for big projects, it is a solid piece of software.

Would you be willing to help promote Cocos Creator? Why or why not?

I do my best, in the press releases of each game, to credit the tools and technologies used and chiefly outline the experience I had working with them. Cocos Creator helped me reach the goals I set, so I have all the reasons to speak in a positive way about it.

If you are developing HTML5 games, where do you release your games and how is the income?

I release the games on my portfolio website, Piron Games. I make games for fun and for showcase purposes, so monetization doesn’t have priority at the moment.

Here’s a list of the games developed in Cocos Creator, with another 3 games to be released in the upcoming months: