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Matt Roszak @matt-likes-swords

31, Male

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Glasgow University

Glasgow, UK

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matt-likes-swords's News

Posted by matt-likes-swords - 8 days ago


Epic Battle Fantasy 5 is up for Early Access on the Google/Android Play Store!


Languages are temporarily disabled while we finish translations, but otherwise the game is 99.9% finished – there should only be a few obscure bugs left, and most languages should be finished in a week or two.


In-app purchases already work correctly. Even the Game Services achievements work!


Save files should persist as long as you don’t uninstall the app – make sure to always update over the existing version. (The current version is 1.15)


You can also transfer your PC save file by copying the contents of a backup .meow file into the password text box. (you’ll probably need to email the text to your other device)


With some luck the remaining stuff will be done in a few weeks, and I can start work on the iOS version.


Please tell your friends about the game!


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31

Posted by matt-likes-swords - 1 month ago


As is my yearly tradition, here is a summary of important or interesting events in my life this year, including a bunch of news about my games that you might have missed.


• I refurbished my two NES consoles, which included deep cleaning and replacing the silicone springs in the controllers. I bought a couple more homebrew games that were released recently, and tried messing around in NES Maker. Here’s some mockup art and stages I made, that run in an emulator. I also bought an Everdrive, which allows me to put the entire NES library (and cool mods and homebrews too) on one cartridge – and it has save states too! Micro Mages and D-Pad Hero 2 are fantastic modern NES games to check out, to name just two.


• Early this year Flashplayer was finally killed off in browsers, with every website trying something different to keep Flash games running. Ruffle is a Flashplayer emulator that can run many Flash games in browsers without the need for any plugins, and I’ve started hosting a collection of Flash games on my website which show how well it works. It’s still a work-in-progress though, and mostly runs older ActionScript 2 games.


• Newgrounds.com hosted the Flash Forward Game Jam to encourage developers to make new Flash games for Ruffle. I made Bullet Heaven 3 [Prototype] to try out some new art and mechanics, but the reception was a bit mediocre as some features were missing and the controls were not as intuitive as those in the previous Bullet Heaven games.


• Until Ruffle is finished, the best way to play Flash games at the moment is BlueMaxima’s Flashpoint. I’ve been supporting the project with donations and by doing an interview with Blue. I will eventually publish my older games on Steam – that should have happened this year, but it didn’t.


• I’ve started buying high quality furniture that I expect to keep for a very long time, starting with a solid oak bed and sets of drawers. Previously I’ve been buying the cheapest furniture that gets the job done and looks passable. Luckily, our dog is small and isn’t capable of destroying furniture, and we also don’t have kids.


• I bought a few homebrew Game Boy games, and customized my Game Boy SP with a new SNES-style shell. Next year I plan to design and print my own Game Boy shell, and maybe try making a Game Boy game!


• I pushed out an important update to Epic Battle Fantasy 4, which fixed some serious issues such as memory leaks and poor balancing, and added some new quality-of-life features, and a new cheats and challenges menu. If you haven’t played EBF4 in a while, this is a very good reason to play it again. See the link for the full list of changes – there’s a lot! (You have to opt-into this version in the Steam betas tab)


• I’ve been learning a lot of DIY stuff, such as re-doing the silicone sealant in the bathrooms, installing shelves, and building simple garden furniture such as planters and a firewood rack. I’ve collected a lot of power tools, including some that scared me until recently (circular saws), and plan to put them to good use as soon as the sun comes back – I don’t have a garage, so I gotta work outside for now!


• My brother bought a house, so I’ve been helping him renovate it a bit. I helped install new laminate floors and Ronja helped with painting. Next year we’re also going to extend the garden fence – but timber prices are super high in the UK at the moment!


• I went kayaking for the first time! Good thing Beat Saber kept my arms in decent shape this year.


• Speaking of which, I still can’t beat Spin Eternally and Ghost on Expert+, but I’m slowly getting closer…


• A lot of effort this year went into training our new dog, Ethel. She knows a lot of tricks, and is very well behaved around guests. What she fails at is behaving around other dogs, and being walked in new areas – she gets nervous and starts making a scene. We tried to introduce her to my parent’s dog, and she seemed to be making progress until she flipped out and took a nice big bite out of the other dog. We got some personal training lessons for her, and while her temperament somewhat improved, she’s still not allowed near dogs.


• Ethel also had some mysterious health problems for a few months – sudden exercise or excitement would cause her to start breathing strangely and faint for a few seconds. One time she did this and had seizure symptoms, including paddling her feet. The vet couldn’t find anything wrong with her, and the symptoms gradually got milder, and now she seems totally fine.


• I finally started playing Smash Ultimate! I sat on this one for a long time because the lockdowns made it difficult to invite friends around. I’ve got a lot of complaints about the Switch hardware and Smash Ultimate user experience… but in the end it’s still darn fun to play. Another party game I’ve played a lot with friends is Overcooked 2.


• My dad’s car was totalled in an accident! Luckily no one was hurt, but him and his passengers (including my mum) were a bit shaken up. My dad went on to buy the exact same car again, a Seat Alhambra, his 4th one.


• I finished decorating my office, which involved getting an ergonomic office chair, framing some new posters, and building a 220cm desk out of a kitchen worktop. This does little for productivity, but it looks cool.


• I got an ultrawide monitor… and well, it’s great for first-person games, but for everything else it feels like a gimmick, and most people would probably be better off with two monitors instead, which are more versatile and easier to transport. The worst part for me is that it is not curved enough to see the edges comfortably. I might actually replace it sooner rather than later… but it does look beautiful on my new desk!


• I’ve been playing a lot of retro style first-person-shooters this year, including DUSK, HROT, Amid Evil, Dread Templar, and Ion Fury. I got into them thanks to the new Doom games.


• Age of Empires 2 is still taking up a lot of my gaming time. I’ve finished all of the campaigns on hard!


• Got all of my covid vaccines this year, and the booster. So far, only the second dose has had serious side effects, and I was totally out of action for a whole 24 hours, with bad headaches, nausea, and chills. I think we’re all gonna get some variant of covid sooner or later, so getting vaccinated is the best we can hope for when it comes to mitigating the damage.


• Our garden is more or less finished – we finished decorating with some outdoor art and more patio furniture. We bought a gazebo to sit under, and a large firepit, so even if the weather isn’t great, it’s still comfortable to sit out there. I’m still learning how to chop firewood correctly though.


• I spent a lot of this year working on the EBF5 mobile port, but got kind of burned out working on it, so it’s still not completely finished. The game runs quite smoothly now and in-app purchases finally work. I’ve learned a lot about mobile development with Flash/AIR, but Google’s developer console is a nightmare to use, and I hear Apple’s isn’t much better. It’s a shame that the mobile ecosystem is so terrible, because getting games running on mobile devices is very satisfying otherwise.


• I’ve been working with a Chinese mobile games publisher, which is one reason I’ve been focusing on mobile games. They offered me very good terms, and the deal doesn’t affect anything outside of China, so all you guys get out of this is that I’m porting my games to mobile. Working with a publisher has been a new experience for me – I’ve been doing a lot more documentation work than usual!


• I quickly ported and published Mecha Dress Up Game, Brawl Royale, Cat Cafe v2, and Epic Battle Fantasy 1 on Android! They work well but are very simple games compared to my new stuff, so didn’t make much of a splash when they landed. You can’t currently buy them because of some ID verification problems with my Google account – I’ll need to get that sorted ASAP!


• I’ve been going on short road trips with my dad. This year we’ve visited Dundee, Newcastle and Dunbarr. We’ve got to start planning things better so that all of the attractions aren’t closed by the time we arrive. Covid isn’t making it easy either. The most exciting destination so far was the Holy Island Lindisfarne, which is accessed by a causeway road. We went during a storm, and had an incredibly wet and windy time at the castle.


• My brother soon planned a slightly longer road trip – we stayed at The Park Ecovillage near the town of Findhorn, and visited some nearby attractions, including Bow Fiddle Rock (a large natural arch in the sea), the Captain’s Table (seaside bar and restaurant), and Findlater Castle (a cool ruin on a steep cliffside). We stopped for fish and chips in the town of Cullen, which also had some very quirky antique shops. The Ecovillage itself was some sort of spiritual/druid community, where driving was discouraged, waste was recycled, and many of the buildings were hobbit-style.


• Me and Ronja put a ton of effort into Halloween this year. I put up a terrifying scarecrow on the driveway, and bought a ridiculously creepy mask. We’re getting a reputation as having the scariest house in the area, and 100 kids showed up despite covid. Some kids even showed up in Friday Night Funkin’ costumes!


• I started transitioning into being a vegetarian. I started off by avoiding very unhealthy meat like bacon and sausages, eventually realizing that I can probably manage without meat in my diet, and it’s been fun trying new food at restaurants. I think I’ll keep eating fish and other meat on special occasions, but I’ll try to stick to the higher quality stuff.


• Me and Ronja went on a road trip to Glen Lyon, stopping by in Aberfeldy and Pitlochry along the way. We stayed two nights in a small wooden cabin on a farm, which had a very comfy log burner, and three dogs and a bunch of chickens roaming around outside. We did a little bit of hiking, stopped at a garden centre, saw some monuments, and drove on some very narrow and bendy roads. I also played Scrabble for the first time. I can now understand the appeal.


• Christmas decorating got interesting this year, as I tried making wreaths for the first time. My brother joined me. It’s actually not hard and you don’t need a lot of supplies – as long as you have access to a garden. I will definitely make a yearly activity out of this. Christmas Eve dinner with the family was pretty normal – eating fish while dogs made noise in the background. A covid scare stopped us from having more dinners over the next few days.


• This year’s Christmas Steam Key Giveaway was the most popular one ever! I will definitely keep doing these…. even though I skipped it last year. I’ll try to think of other seasonal events too, such as fanart competitions, etc.


And that’s all. Here’s some highlights in picture form…


Happy New Year, everybody!


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17

Posted by matt-likes-swords - December 17th, 2021


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Hey guys, as is the tradition, I’m giving out 20 Steam Keys for Epic Battle Fantasy 5 this Christmas.

I assume that many people following this news already own the game, but it could also make a good present for a friend of yours.


For a chance to win, leave a comment on my website about what you’ll be doing this Christmas, and make sure to fill in the email field, which will only be used for sending you a key if you win.

Here's the link: http://kupogames.com/2021/12/17/christmas-key-giveaway-2021/


I’ll be giving out the keys on the 23rd of December, so you have until then to enter.

If you would rather receive keys for Epic Battle Fantasy 4 or Bullet Heaven 2 instead of EBF5, please let me know in your comment.


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26

Posted by matt-likes-swords - October 22nd, 2021


Epic Battle Fantasy 1 is live on the Google Play Store!

This updated version has a new checkpoint system, a new soundtrack, some modified enemies, and a more user-friendly interface.


Please go buy it and leave a nice review.

If enough people do that, I'll port Epic Battle Fantasy 2, 3, and 4. (5 is almost done)


As usual, iOS versions are coming later - I'm still learning a lot about Android development.


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32

Posted by matt-likes-swords - September 27th, 2021


Hey guys, Brawl Royale is live on the Google Play Store!

Please buy it for $1 if you want me to port the rest of my old games – and please leave a nice review to get some marketing momentum going!


I do also plan on doing iOS versions, I just don’t have any Apple devices or experience with iOS yet, so that’ll have to wait a bit.


This is the updated version of Brawl Royale from the EBF Collection – so it has 4 difficulty settings, a new soundtrack by Phyrnna, reaction timers, and the copyrighted characters have been replaced.


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Anyway, I needed a break from EBF5 – the mobile version is finished and tested, but I need to implement ads and in-app purchases for the full version, and I’m a bit stuck on that. I’d love to just stick a $20 price tag on it and ship it, but I don’t think that approach would do well on mobile.


As for my old games, if they do well I could port all of my stuff to mobile. Mecha Dress Up is almost ready for an Android release, just needs some minor changes. EBF1 and EBF2 just need to be translated from AS2 to AS3, which shouldn’t be too difficult as they are fairly short. EBF3 would take a while longer to translate, but I’m sure it would work great once done. Cat Cafe needs some very minor changes to work on newer versions of Android, so that would probably be the next game to do. Bullet Heaven 1 and Adventure Story may or may not be tricky – I’d have to test them out and see if they run smoothly. EBF4 would be a lot of work, comparable to EBF5, so I’m not too keen to do that one any time soon. Bullet Heaven 2 should be fun to port – it runs pretty well without any changes, and I think the porting process will be quite quick for what is a fairly large game.


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20

Posted by matt-likes-swords - July 16th, 2021


Hey guys, I did an interview for BlueMaxima, the guy who runs the Flash game preservation project Flashpoint. He’s currently writing a book about Flash games, and wants to get lots of stories from game developers in there. Here’s some questions I answered for him – some of you may find the answers interesting.



  • Tell me about yourself. 
  • What Flash games did you make? 


Hi, I’m Matt Roszak, also known as Kupo Games, or Matt-Likes-Swords on Newgrounds. I live in the UK and started making silly Flash animations when I was 13, and moved on to making games when I was 18. I’m 31 now and still using Flash, so that’s 18 years of experience! My best known games are the Epic Battle Fantasy series (5 games), and related spinoffs, including Adventure Story and Bullet Heaven 1 & 2.


  • How else were you involved in the Flash community?


Not very involved actually! I wasn’t a very social person and didn’t talk to other developers.

I did some achievement-hunting on Newgrounds and was moderately involved in the forum threads about that. It was mainly after Flash’s decline started and I realised that I needed to adapt that I started reaching out to other Flash developers to see what everyone was doing. I went to the Mochi London conference in 2013 (the last one!) and met Chris Jeff, Jimp, Jay Armstrong, Antony Lavelle, Reece Millidge, the Super Flash Bros, and other devs. Since then I’ve befriended many other ex-Flash devs on social media, and a couple who are still using Flash today. A lot of devs are also using Flash in their animation/art pipeline, and then doing the code in a modern engine, so there’s a lot of projects to keep track of.


  • What was your first Flash game, and on what site?


“Mecha Dress Up Game” was the first noteworthy game I published on Newgrounds and DeviantArt. Dress up games were very popular on the internet at the time (especially on DA), and very easy to code. DA even had a lot of tutorials specifically about making dress up games. I thought I’d try something original, so the game is about building robots and not much to do with dressing up. It was well received, and there’s a Newgrounds forum thread dedicated to sharing screenshots of users’ creations: https://www.newgrounds.com/bbs/topic/924065/1


  • What do you remember about the community? How they interacted, voted, shared games with eachother?


They were very honest in their comments/reviews! The internet was not very personal at the time, and users were generally more rude than they are today (or at least that’s the case on the major Flash portals). Users had no problem leaving lazy reviews like “it sucks”, “no mute button = 0/5”, “I hate anime art”, etc. But for me it helped build thicker skin, and there was enough useful and encouraging feedback in there to make all of the comments worth reading. When there’s no barrier to entry, and literally anyone can play your game for free, there’s a good chance many of them won’t be into it, and that’s fine. But it’s also a good opportunity to learn how to make your next game appeal to more people.


  • What are your favorite Flash games? Both massive and obscure.


My favourite obscure games are “When Pigs Fly” by Anna Anthropy, and “Death vs Monstars” by GameReclaim. Both are short, quirky, action games that are fun to come back to and replay, and have aged well IMO. The “Frantic” series introduced me to the bullet hell genre. “VVVVVV”, “Machinarium” and “Binding of Isaac” showed me that even Flash games could be published on Steam/desktop and be seen as “real” games, so that was inspiring. Currently I’m playing “Run 3”, which I’m surprised supports my new ultra-wide monitor perfectly.


  • What was your favorite portal and why? Any runner-ups?


I liked Newgrounds for the freedom it gave creators, and the weird and edgy stuff that the staff would feature. But I also loved the careful curation on Kongregate – the badge system and game categories made it very easy to find stuff to play, and know roughly how hard and long the games were. The featured content was always polished and accessible. Newgrounds’ achievement system on the other hand was fun, but un-curated, and completely dependant on random developers being reasonable, and often they were not.


  • What would you consider your strongest memory of Flash gaming? It doesn’t have to be necessarily the best.


Dunno about gaming, but getting front-paged on Newgrounds was always exciting when I was a kid making Flash animations. Some of my animations even ranked #1 on the website briefly, which was very motivational.


  • Do you remember any portals, users or general stories that a casual community member might not know of? I’d love to get some more obscure stories into the book.


The time an Art Portal moderator on Newgrounds was hacked, and all of the images were replaced with dicks. I really loved some of the April Fool’s Jokes on Newgrounds. There was one year when the website “made some changes to get un-blocked in China”. The front page was covered in pro-China propaganda. The forums filtered many words – user became “worker”, BBS became “rice paddy”, Tom Fulp became “glorious leader”, etc. Usernames were replaced with random vaguely Asian names like “brucelee” and “Xi-Jinping”, and avatars were replaced with Mao Zedong’s face. A lot of users didn’t realise what date it was, thought the changes were permanent, and got mad. In retrospect it was pretty offensive, so I don’t think we’ll ever see anything like it again, but it was great fun.


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  • Overall, what is your favorite part of Flash games, major or minor?


At the time, Flash was simply the coolest thing on the web. Every computer could run it, social media wasn’t widely adopted yet, and internet video quality sucked. Exciting new games were being published every day – and for free – and you could play them during your lunch break at work! As a gamer, you had a basically endless amount of content to play, and as a developer, you had a potential audience of tens of millions of players. It was really groundbreaking stuff.



  • What made you consider developing a Flash game?


All the kids at my highschool knew about Newgrounds and how to pirate Flash, so the software was available and exciting. I started off making animations in Flash 4 or 5, and I loved the attention I got from it. But animation was too much work on its own. I eventually figured out that adding some simple interactivity to your 5 minute animation could turn it into a 30 minute game – your work produced so much more content and novelty with just a few lines of code added. I think I was always interested in game design (I drew a lot of game mockups when I was very young, basically copying the style of games like Zelda and Pokemon), but never knew how to get started until I saw how easy it was to add interactivity in Flash.


  • How difficult was it for you to get started?


Not very difficult at all. Even if you have no programming experience, you can still make games with simple commands like onPress gotoAndPlay(scene). That’s all you need to add some basic interactivity, and there’s already a lot you can do with that. My first 2 games, “Mecha Dress Up Game” and “Brawl Royale” were essentially glorified slideshows (with good animation though!). For my 3rd game, “The Kitten Game”, I learned to use variables to add a simple scoring system!


  • What drew you to making Flash games specifically? Did other platforms like Shockwave, Unity, Java or so on carry any appeal?


I just used what I was exposed to. I didn’t see a lot of games made in those other engines, so I never considered them. With Flash is was really easy to see what kinds of content could be made, and there was a lot of free tutorials for it too.


  • Did you work alone? If not, who did you work with, and how did you meet them?


When I got my first sponsorship offer from Armor Games (for Epic Battle Fantasy 2) in 2009, I realized that I needed to use original music in my games, as they probably wouldn’t be happy with all of the stolen music and Pokemon characters used in my games. I think I made a Newgrounds blog post about it, and soon Phyrnna (then known as HalcyonicFalconX) messaged me to say that I could use her existing music in my next game. We’ve been working together since, and she’s done the music for all of my games so far. I’ve also crowd-sourced translations for my bigger games, and occasionally commissioned cover artwork and trailer narration.


  • Can you give me just a quick, point-by-point overview of how you developed games? The technical side of things purely – how you program for Flash, how you create resources like graphics & sound (if applicable), how functionality improved & things changed in later versions of Flash, anything you can think of that might be noteworthy.


I generally start by making a small prototype to get a feel for the final game, and to make sure it’s something I’m actually capable of programming. Once the core mechanics work, I make all of the art and animations, and then program the levels and interface last. I guess it could be described as the waterfall model, as I don’t go back and forth between different tasks very much. All of my art is made in Flash with vectors, and sound effects are from free sources, or cheap general purpose sound packs. I tell Phyrnna vaguely what biomes/areas the game will eventually have, and ask her to make appropriate music from them. I would test my games on my DeviantArt page, so I could fix all of the bugs before publishing them on other portals. (funnily enough sponsors didn’t see DA as a competitor, so they had no problem with this)

As for changes with the Flash tech, ActionScript 3 added speed and a lot of new capabilities (much of which I never used), but also made programming a bit harder compared to AS2. I think the closest comparison is like going from JavaScript to Java. I think the most meaningful addition was Adobe AIR – an application wrapper that could be used to publish Flash content on desktop and mobile, which was sorely needed once the decline of web games started.


  • Were there any interesting technical challenges you had to face while making a game in Flash?   


Mostly being aware of hardware limitations. Internet was slow, so your game filesize had to be reasonably small, and Flash content was completely powered by the CPU, so you shouldn’t overdo it with the complexity of graphics. I think the most complex thing I actually coded was the path-finding function in my RPGs, and even that was based on existing algorithms, so I can’t take credit for any groundbreaking technical accomplishments. There was always a forum thread somewhere where someone programmed the same thing before me.


  • What was the development community like? Any forums or boards or other sites that are worthy of mention?


Wish I had used them more when they were still active! I think the Starling forums are currently the best place to go to chat about Flash dev, and it’s mostly related to mobile now.


  • Did you make games as a hobby, on the side, or a full time job? Did it ever get ‘serious’, and if so, when?


I made animations and games for a few years just for fun, and for the fame I got on Newgrounds. I didn’t even know that one could make decent money off Flash games until Armor Games contacted me about EBF2. Their offer was generous enough that I immediately realised I could make a career out of it. For EBF3 I gambled and went with a performance-based deal from Kongregate, which paid off (EBF3 got 1 million play on Kongregate in the first week!). I continued to work with Kongregate until they stopped doing sponsorships (Bullet Heaven 2 was one of the last games they ever sponsored). Today my Flash games are making more money than ever on Steam, even though my audience is much smaller than it once was. Flash games have been consistently profitable for me since EBF2, so I’ve luckily never had a day-job. Always been self-employed, working from home.


  • What was your first “viral game”, what were the circumstances around it, and what was it like inside your head and on your site/portal entry when it did go viral?


I was actually on holiday just after EBF3 launched, so I don’t remember following it that closely, other than being exciting about the play count on Kongregate. It’s still my most played game ever, and it’s got somewhere around 20-25 million plays across the whole internet.


  • Did you ever have a strategy when making games, marketing or business wise? Or did you just work on what was fun?


I tried to make sure that my art style and characters were always recognizable, and it worked. People today still find my new games on Steam, and recognize my art style from 10+ years ago.

Other than that, I always make sure to manage my risks and expectations – I won’t put in more than a couple of months of work into a new type of game. If the game is successful, then I can work on a bigger, better, sequel. And if not, I can just move onto something else without wasting a lot of time. I won’t work on a big project that I don’t think will pay off. For example, EBF1 and 2 took around 4 to 6 weeks each to make. EBF3 took around 4 or 5 months. EBF4 took around 15 to 18 months. EBF5 took almost 4 years, and was published on the web just before Flash stopped working – like EBF4, it was a huge success on Steam though.

I do miss working on smaller projects just for fun, but I think working on what the people demand is more satisfying in the end, and it’s hard to go back to a lower quality of work once you’ve raised the bar for yourself.


  • What was it like working with Flash portals like Kongregate? What sort of deals would you make, if any? Did you ever use something like Flash Game License, and if so, can you tell me about your experience with it?


I didn’t use FGL and just contacted Kongregate and Armor Games directly for bidding. With Kongregate I was always paid based on how many users I sent to their website (usually linking to my previous games worked best). I preferred this sort of deal as there was almost no upper limit on how much money I could make, and I still lived with my parents so didn’t need any sort of safety net. EBF4 was the first time I offered an in-game DLC purchase, and that did pretty well on Kongregate too. The contracts were very friendly, and the sponsors never owned any of my IP or the rights to any sequels, which was not the case for everyone. In many cases we didn’t even bother with contracts, everyone in the industry trusted each other enough for that. EBF4 was also the first game I published on Steam, around 7 or 8 months after the web release – I added a lot of new content to make sure people would pay up for it.


  • How much did the community support you, and how did they contribute to your success?


They clicked the links and bought the games! But also they were very happy to test buggy, beta versions of the games, which helped make sure there wouldn’t be any major surprises on launch day. There’s also a ton of fanart of my characters, which I always feature on my website and also in the games themselves!


  • Were you around pre-and-post Macromedia era Flash? Are you able to draw a comparison between the two companies’ handling of the technology?
  • Do you think Adobe buying Flash at the end of the day caused more damage than it would have if Macromedia hadn’t been bought out?


I think Adobe just never figured out how to make money from the Flash/AIR tech. They developed ActionScript 3 and Stage3D, made Flash run efficiently on mobile, tried to charge money for some of those extra features, but gave up on that plan when developers got mad about it. I think after that, momentum started to fizzle out and they just continued to do the bare minimum to keep the tech alive. The new subscription model of Creative Cloud removed any incentive for Adobe to add new features to their software – devs were simply forced to keep paying for Animate/Flash whether they liked the service or not. Most of the cool features and frameworks since then, like Starling, DragonBones, Spine, and AIR Native Extensions, had to be developed by 3rd parties. I think if Adobe kept actively working on Flash/AIR, it could still be a competitive 2D game engine today, and many devs agree with this view. Instead, only a small niche of veterans are still using it. AIR has been handed over to HARMAN, who seem to be maintaining it for now, but who knows how long that will last. Windows is very backwards compatible, so Flash/AIR should run on it for many years to come, even without maintenance, but that’s not true for mobile or Mac.



  • At what point did Flash go into “freefall” in the public consciousness, in your point of view?


Fake news had a lot of fun painting the tech as being unsafe, slow and old-fashioned. The problems they talked about weren’t unique to Flash, and often they only acknowledged some use-cases. (such as talking about Flash being used to make malicious ads, but not talking about it being used for animation on YouTube, etc) I think a lot of big companies like Apple and Google felt threatened by Flash and planned those attacks.


  • Have you ever met anyone blatantly anti-Flash or anti-Flash games specifically? Did you try to change their mind? Were you successful?


Just morons on Twitter. I just tell them that Flash still works outside of browsers and don’t bother arguing with them beyond that. Most gamers don’t care what game engine you use.


  • What didn’t you like about Flash as a platform, either during its peak or fall? Anything specifically egregious worth mentioning?


Mainly just Adobe’s lack of communication and outreach. They seemed very clueless about what developers actually wanted, and didn’t fix a lot of bugs that had been around for years. Also the Creative Cloud subscription sucks ass. I wish I could permanently buy my favourite version of Flash, and then never give them money again. It’s ransomware.


  • How many people were still playing your games at the end? Did you ever find out overall total player numbers? Any thoughts on those numbers?


EBF5 got around 2 million plays on the web in 2018-2020, mainly on my website, and on Kongregate. Not a lot compared to EBF3’s 20 million, but there’s still enough people playing web games for devs to get some feedback and experience there, before moving onto other platforms. That’s not really a fault with Flash specifically, web gaming in general has become unpopular since mobile took off, and HTML5 games aren’t doing any better.


  • Any opinions on the state of the indie gamedev industry, and what it was like compared to Flash at its rise & peak?


It seems incredibly cluttered and competitive now. It’s possible that this was always true, and devs are just more vocal about their problems on social media now. But either way, the bar for making a successful indie game is so much higher now. There’s not many examples of small indie games like Friday Night Funkin suddenly getting 10s of millions of plays, where as at the peak of the Flash days, it seemed to happen all the time. (I think you should contact or follow Lars Doucet (Defenders Quest) about this – he has a lot to say about the indie games scene)


  • What do you think of efforts like AwayFL and Ruffle? Do you think they might recapture the magic of Flash if ever completed?


Ruffle seems very promising – it can already play a lot of my old games, and with better performance than on Flashplayer. But without all of that portal sponsorship money, I don’t think there’s gonna be any incentive for web games to come back. Instead, I hope that Ruffle can help improve the performance of my Flash games on desktop and mobile, or on whatever platform is popular in a few years. But even if Ruffle worked perfectly, I would still find Flash hard to recommend due to the problems with getting a Flash/Animate license from Adobe.


  • Speaking of recapturing the magic, how do you feel about HTML5 games today?


I haven’t seen HTML5 do anything that Flash couldn’t already do 10 years ago.


  • How can we play your games now that Flash has been exorcised from most browsers?


I would recommend Flashpoint to most people – all of my stuff is there. My biggest games (EBF3, EBF4, EBF5, and BH2) can be purchased on Steam with more content, and my older games will also be released there, eventually. My mobile port of EBF5 is also almost ready, and after that, I’ll likely port a few more of my games. (I say port, but it’s still running on Flash, I’m just optimizing the performance and changing the UI)


  • Anything else you want to say?


I keep needing to repeat this, but Flash is more than just the browser plugin. People are still using the software to animate cartoons, and Flash games are still being published on desktop and mobile. And all of those old web games are still playable, and probably always will be as long as someone remembers to back them up.


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Posted by matt-likes-swords - June 5th, 2021


Hey guys, Bullet Heaven 2 is part of the Indie bundle for Palestinian Aid on Itch.io.

For $5 you get hundreds of games, and while not everything in there is a masterpiece, there’s definitely a bunch of great indie games worth picking up. Minit, GNOG, VVVVVV, Nuclear Throne, and Anodyne are some good games that I recognized in there. And well, it’s for charity, so the games aren’t the point.


I’m gonna dig into it today and see if I find any hidden gems.


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Posted by matt-likes-swords - May 11th, 2021


Hey guys, I wanted to see if a mobile port of Bullet Heaven 2 was feasible, so I spent some time today fiddling with the game.

In just 3 hours I got the game to a playable state on my Galaxy Note 8. It works great with a stylus, and even detects my Xbox controller. The framerate is pretty high with the graphics settings turned down, even on Heavenly difficulty.


That's the fun stuff done, the other 99% would be just polishing off the rough edges. The controls would need to be simplified for touch controls, the memory management would need to be improved to stop the occasional garbage-collector stutters, and I would have to consider adding a vertical aspect ratio as that may make more sense on mobile. Overall, it looks like less work than porting the EBF games.


Anyway, that's not gonna happen until I finish the EBF5 port and the EBF Collection.


Also, don't let anyone tell you Flash doesn't run on mobile. Flash with Starling has incredibly fast performance!


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Posted by matt-likes-swords - April 1st, 2021


Hey guys, as you know, I’ve been working on the mobile version of Epic Battle Fantasy 5, and this version will be getting some new and exclusive content – an extra 5 weapons for each player, which is 25 in total!


They’re all iconic weapons from big franchises – you’ll surely recognize most of them. I spoke with a copyright lawyer, and it turns out companies can only trademark characters – they can’t trademark the likeness of a basic object such as a weapon. Therefore it’s totally fine for me to use weapons like the Master Sword or Portal Gun in my games.


I’ve always been a big mobile gamer, so I figured that my favourite gaming platform should have the best and most complete version of EBF5. Not everyone has a PC, but you all have phones, right?


Anyway, these powerful weapons will be $11.99 each, and will only be available on April 1st every year. For the rest of the year, they will vanish from your inventory.


I hope you’re as excited about this scam as I am.


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Posted by matt-likes-swords - January 13th, 2021


Flashplayer is kill – Flash games will (in most cases) no longer run in browsers starting yesterday. In case you haven’t heard yet, some alternatives include BlueMaxima’s Flashpoint Infinity app (I’ve tested it, my games work on there), the Supernova plugin for Chrome, or the Pale Moon browser. I do think Flashpoint Infinity is the simplest solution though – once you set it up it’s really easy to use. I think it’s Windows-only though.


Ruffle can already play a lot of ActionScript 2 games in browsers, including Epic Battle Fantasy 1, The Kitten Game, and Mecha Dress Up Game. The games actually run much smoother than they did in Flash! Newgrounds has Ruffle enabled for games that work with it. I’m excited to see the day when Ruffle can run ActionScript 3 games – a lot more people could potentially play Epic Battle Fantasy 5 in HD without lag! If you have any spare money lying around and want to preserve Flash games, I really encourage you to donate to the project. (you can also donate your time by reporting bugs and stuff)


You’ve also got the option to buy my latest games on Steam and Itch.io, which include a lot more content than the free versions. And in a few months, the Epic Battle Fantasy Collection will be available to purchase too, which will include ALL of my older games with slight updates.


Anyway, here’s some EBF5 art that Ronja made. Very cool.


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