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Super Markup World
 
 
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Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Languages: English
Players: Single-player
Posted
Updated
Nov 23, 2016 @ 8:31am
Nov 23, 2016 @ 4:45pm

Would you buy this game if it were available in Steam?

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Technical info in the description
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Description
Use HTML and CSS to solve puzzles in this educational platformer.

In the land of markup you must use knowledge and creativity to navigate the land and save your friend. By using HTML elements and CSS styles you can build platforms to find your way home. As you gain experience and knowledge you can use clever tricks and scripts to make your journey easier.

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Please keep in mind when assessing the game and casting your vote that the game is intended for young children from grade 1 to grade 4. Our play testing has shown that kids, with a bit of help from adults, enjoy playing the game and actually do very well.

Initially we were surprised how well kids did. We feared that exposing them to literal markup would be too confusing. They are learning something, really. And learning something, even if it's a very small subset of web design, is good. Honestly what they're really learning is a type of math and reading, initially.

We've also found adults get a kick out of trying to cheat the game using their web knowledge.

I really cherish a few key educational games that I played in schools and at home as a kid. Three that come to mind are Cross Country, Think Quick and Super Gizmos and Gadgets. They have a place in my heart and I'd love to have that kind of impact on kids today.

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The entire game is written in pure javscript and HTML. The includes the collision library, gravity library and the text input box/parser. All of the elements you see on screen, the player, the platforms, the goal, the world are native HTML elements. This is not a canvas or some other visual representation. For example all of the grass lands are actual DIVs that the player element can collide with.

In other words this isn't just a visual representation of web languages, it's literally a rendering of the code and markup provided to the engine.

We override native elements in this game to make them relevant to a game world. For example spawning an A tag on the page will place a portal at the position you specify. The portal will transport the player to a relative anchor elsewhere on the page. Some portals don't allow players, just objects. A portal, plus a box, plus a switch, plus gravity can make for an interesting and familiar puzzle... keep in mind the game has gravity.

This game uses a full javascript interpreter. The input box in the game can accept HTML, CSS and JAVASCRIPT natively. So you can use your imagination to do all sorts of things as your skill set grows. We encourage intermediate to advanced players to modify the source code of the game live to discover and exploit new ways to finish the levels.

In our web version of the game, we have received images and videos from players all over the world (35,000+ players to-date) showing off their crafty skills to exploit the game world. Turning platforms into elevators, making the player follow the mouse, shrinking the world so the goal and the player collide, etc. It actually makes us happy to see people try hard to 'cheat' the system and show us how they did it.

***Early Access***

I want everyone to be aware that our intent is to publish this game under early access so that we can keep building on the curriculum that's offered in the game. We would ask anyone who's familiar with web design and interested in education to join the community, beta test, and contribute to discussion around building this out.

The game engine itself is a good platform which we can expand coding examples upon pretty easily. Also our game engine is open source. So for the audience this game was intended, the beginner can learn some very basic markup and scripting. Having it on Steam widens this audience.

For the intermediate users, they can take the source code and build their own web-based platform games. This intermediate portion would be outside of the scope of steam. They would fork the engine on Github.

The reason I suggest intermediate users can make their own platform web games with our engine is we tried all of the existing open source collision libraries for HTML and found them to fall short in functionality or performance. We ended up writing our own collision library from scratch. So, to the audience that might use our collision library, they can consider this game to be a working tech demo of the complete engine.

You can play an earlier version of the game right now in your browser at http://supermarkupworld.com/. The intent of rolling this into a stand alone package is to increase discovery of the game and to allow ease of distribution.

The packaged version is going to contain new content based on existing feedback from school boards and from community feedback that I hope you will provide.

We have put many hours into this game for free, as all indie devs do of course. If we can make a couple bucks in the steam market to help pay for our time improving the game in the future that would be great. Our team did this all in our spare time and it's time for the market to decide if we should continue to expand the feature set of the game, and the engine.
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31 Comments
daggasoft  [author] Feb 7 @ 4:25pm 
If I could part with a statement, I learned from this process that a subset of the people commenting have been harsh with their disapproval. I would urge you to show the developers some empathy.

We are taking a chance, making our best effort and hoping to produce something that people will enjoy.

Indie developers are sinking hundreds if not thousands of hours into these games. And not every game they make ends up having legs at the end of the day.

Just because one of their games is perceived as a flop doesn't mean they are incapable of making good games. Even big budget AAA games can end up being a complete disaster.

I've created 10 games over the past 5 years, only 2 so far saw success. It's a long, grueling road full of trial and error.

It's easy to be mean on the internet, just try to keep in mind there's a person on the other end of the wire. And that person worked hard. I guess I'm saying, be constructive, be critical, but also be respectful of their time invested.
daggasoft  [author] Feb 7 @ 4:18pm 
Thanks everyone for their comments. Some good feedback and good criticism. It's a silly game, with a small scope, and if released it would have been priced low.

However, the community has swayed me not to release this game since it doesn't appear to be appropriate for the steam platform and its customers.

I am already a published steam developer so it wasn't a requirement for me to put this game through greenlight. But this was a good vetting process to see if I should even release it at all. Releasing a poorly received game would tarnish my brand as a whole so I'm glad I threw it up here.
GuidoDeVille Feb 7 @ 5:59am 
this is cool.
Uruyal Jan 3 @ 3:11pm 
It is a very good and original idea, but I feel the game fails as a game (doesn't seem to be very fun) and also fails as an educational tool (no one would seriously try to learn HTML/CSS with a game like this). I'd suggest you try to improve the game in one of these two directions.
Valkeala Software Dec 31, 2016 @ 2:15am 
No thanks
Bleepmap Nov 27, 2016 @ 11:29pm 
We have come to the point in Greenlight, where the player has to make the game themself in order to play it.
Venomkajo Nov 25, 2016 @ 5:12am 
1+
dinosaurpixie Nov 24, 2016 @ 10:41pm 
This looks great! At first, I thought it might be a little bit too difficult for that age set, but if you have tested it and it worked, that's all that matters. On the screenshot that says "Supermarkup World" with the info on the game, I do think that that text could be broken up so it isn't a big wall of text, especially to keep player's attention for longer. Maybe a short few introductory sentences on that first page, and then each of the sections like "On a beautiful sunny day..." could all be integrated into the actual game's introduction? My other question, is if the player accidentally messes up on the coding box, is there a way to reset it to the original text so they can start over?

This game looks fun and the educational aspect makes it even better! The pixelation gives it a great old school classic quality, too. Good music. Fantastic idea.
henriquedematos Nov 24, 2016 @ 4:47pm 
Honestly, I don't think that the execution to this is bad at all. Perhaps people want slightly less generic graphics? Because other than that, the coding-based gameplay alone looks brilliant. You got my vote!
carrieualex Nov 24, 2016 @ 3:27am 
Exe. fails