Do people still enjoy playing games?

I had a really interesting thought about playing games in the modern age while watching a playthrough of Kingdom Hearts from Dan on PlayFrame. I enjoyed playing the original Kingdom Hearts so much on the PS2 but watching Dan’s playthrough of the game, I dare say I enjoyed that much more than my original playthrough of the game (even with the novelty of experiencing the story for the first time). The insight that his commentary as a professional animator provides adds so much enjoyment for me as a viewer, much more than I would have had just playing the game by myself.

Kingdom Hearts

This really led me to thinking, with Twitch being such a huge player in the community of game content and there being a play through for virtually every single new game a week from it’s release do people still want/need to play games? Doesn’t it make much more sense (in terms of time, money, or emotional investment) to watch someone else play the game?

Now, the main thing that i can think of against this is that in most games the designers intended the player to experience the game first hand, so when controlling the protagonist in the game, the feeling of direct control and feedback are huge selling points and could never be replicated by watching someone else play it (in this case Kingdom Hearts is an action game where fighting is an integral part of the game). This opens up another can of worms however, many viewers on Twitch watch streamers due to their high level of skill in games, skill that took years of practice in a specific game to achieve and that the average player would not be able to get to, but for the sake of argument i’ll just discount it as the games that we’re looking at are purely for the story and experience of the game.


There’s a million things I could say about if I’m actually enjoying the game itself or the personality of the person playing the game but to sum up my original thought in a nutshell and to draw my perspective on it, I think that in the modern age, half if not more than half of people do actually prefer to watch someone play a game instead of playing it themselves, whether that’s to the credit of the person doing the let’s play to be super funny, interesting, or just entertaining or that people would rather not have the time or money investment to play the game. Twitch has made it’s entire business around this, allowing people to pseudo-experience the game through their favorite streamers, personalities, and commentators.

There are a lot of games that I both enjoy playing and watching other people play (suspiciously most of which are multiplayer pvp based games) so it doesn’t necessarily have to be one or the other and is completely on a game to game basis, playing games and watching other people play games are both fun for their own reasons, just sometimes playing games is a little too much time investment for the enjoyment that it brings (I’m looking at you Dota 2).

So go out there and support your favorite streamers and play your favorite games (*´∀`)b!


Steam Summer Sale & Digital Distribution

It’s once again that time of year again, where steam becomes a deadly minefield for impulse buys on a daily basis. I would be lying if i said I’ve never purchased a 4 pack of a game I 100% knew I was never going to play just because it was 95% off but scrolling through the sea of really got me thinking about software distribution and digital copies in general.

So now by far the most popular distribution platform is the internet, whether it be Steam, the Playstation Store, XBOX Marketplace, Nintendo EShop, Android Playstore, or Apple App Store the convenience that digital copies offers over traditional physical copies is just too good to overlook. Gone are the days of driving out to the nearest EB Games, lining up behind a child getting their annoyed parent to buy them the newest Call of Duty, and then getting home just to download and apply a 700 mb day 1 patch. Now you just slip your favorite platform a cool 60 and you’re on your way to shootin squids in a mere half hour after the blazing fast game download and install.

Digital distribution allows publishers and developers to reach an unprecedented following and empowers indie studios to break the barrier of not having distribution channels to get their game to customers. However this comes at a cost, just as selling games at physical brick and mortar shops was a HUGE barrier of entry stopping indie developers or even small studios from distributing their work unless they were absolutely confident that their investment would pay off the flood gates have now opened, resulting in things like the steam new releases page becoming flooded with shovel-ware trash-fire games looking for a quick buck.

But regardless with all the drawbacks, digital distribution is a HUGE step forward and empowers small developers like us to actually get our games out into the hands of people who (hopefully) will enjoy them.

Sorry for the long post and thanks for reading! I wish everyone good luck hunting for s (*´∀`)



So, there’s been a bit of game design my brain’s been doing circles around for a while now and hopefully I can finally define it concretely here.

There’s a behavior that tap-based games I have really enjoyed lately end up making me do. Intentionally or unintentionally, they push me to achieve a tempo. And this design comes in 2 major parts.

1. Reaching a constant tempo is when the game just begins to be fun.

      1. In one of my recent favourites, Hoppenhelm by BUN GUN, you move by tapping a button, causing  a distinctly angular knight to hop to the next tile. There is a minimum time before a tap is detected after a previous tap, which mean you have to keep up a controlled tempo to move efficiently and quickly.

        Even in less strict games I found this playstyle surfacing. In the OG game, Stack by Ketchapp, although it didn’t prioritize speed, I always found myself attempting to perfectly line up as many stacks as possible on each of the stacks’ first pass over the tower, attempting to maintain a constant tempo as long as I could.

2. What’s interesting for the player is when the game actively tries to disrupt your tempo. When you successfully maintain or return to your tempo by whatever means, this is the point where you reach the peaks of enjoyment.

      1. In Hoppenhelm, there are monsters that require a quick tap of the attack button that swing  your sword at the neighbouring block, this ultimately pushes you to weave in a quick off tempo attacking tap as you are ending a hop to clear the path for your unfettered tempo. This is where the magic is.

The inherent fun factor in keeping a tempo probably stems from the act being one of the simplest form/lowest level of a skill check that anyone can understand and can easily attempt, you only need to tap a finger after all.

And speaking of tapping, this design also has great synergy with the simplest and most accessible control style that a mobile game can offer, and that’s powerful.

I’ll definitely be obsessed with this style of design for a while, so I hope you get to see some of my exploration with this concept in our future games!

SGDQ is almost here

Hey guys, it’s around that time of year again, a magical time where it just feels like one long hazy week filled with 5:00 AM “What am i doing with my life” viewings of 100% master blaster zero runs. Not only as a avid follower of TAS videos and speedruns in general but also now as a co-owner of a game company i’m super excited for SGDQ and all the interviews with indie developer it brings.

For those of you who don’t know or haven’t heard, is an incredible organization that does speedrunning events multiple times a year taking donations that entirely go to charities. The events are incredibly entertaining to watch and does a great deal of good for charities, just last year they raised 2.2 million dollars for the Prevent Cancer Foundation.

It’s really incredible to see so many people come together for such a great cause, and whether you’re a viewer, runner, volunteer, or staff member for this short time of one week time everyone is united through the medium of games. It really just goes to show how much video games have grown, from something viewed as a pastime for kids in the past to a major factor bringing together millions of people worldwide to do good for charity.

To my fellow stream monsters earnestly waiting to raise your 4Head s I can’t wait to fight alongside you all.

See you guys there (ง ͠° ͟ل͜ ͡°)ง


SkyCanvas Games awarded $3,000 of Firefly funding!!

As participants of the UOIT Brilliant incubator we were fortunate to have the opportunity to apply for the Firefly funding grant to help reach our Start-up goals. We worked hard and bootstrapped on how we could stretch funding to grow our business and ensure the long-term stability of our studio.

We are absolutely elated to be granted the maximum firefly funding amount of $3,000 dollars! 🙂
Here are the major expenditures for our firefly grant and the goals they help reach,

  • Marketing muscle for Slash Dash Samurai on Google Play store and Apple store
  • Improving production quality of Slash Dash Samurai (Better software tools)
  • Conducting validation research on our advertisement pricing mode
  • Pursuing future funding, grants and investor opportunities
  • Incorporate SkyCanvas Games
  • Support for minimal operating upkeep

We are so thankful for the Brilliant organizers and Firefly fund donors for this grant. This will kick start and advance us greatly in our early development and initial trails. Donor-supported awards like this are very important to students and young entrepreneurs like us in support and attain our educational and career goals. With a core team of 5 game development graduates from UOIT working at SkyCanvas games, every dollar will be fully contributed in making a difference.

Thanks for reading,
Prudhvi Penumetcha  


Us at SkyCanvas Games recently competed in, “the rap-battle of entrepreneurship”, an awesome casual pitching competition called HustleMe, held at the Moustache Club in Durham.

It’s a competition made up of 3 rounds of 1 minute pitches, presented to the critical eyes of 3 professional judges, all for $1,000.

Each round has 1 topic to pitch, no slides, no props, no backup. The topics start with pitching yourself, then your business, and culminating with Round 3 where it gets real fun, you have to pitch… whatever they give you! A round of pure pitching skill!

Our very own Prudhvi Penumetcha took the stage along with 12 other people.

A short clip of his run:

With a great showing, we made it all the way to the final round with the final 5 people, where we ended up pitching HustleMe itself!

After a quick info swap with William Biggar, the founder of HustleMe, Prudhvi pitched a heartfelt need for support. A push on the back for people who are struggling, people who need a flashlight in a dark place. These public pitches under stage light were meant to inspire, inspire one to improve and inspire one to fight through the darkness.

Unfortunately, we didn’t win. I also didn’t manage to get any footage of our losing pitch so there’s no proof we ever lost right?

^ Here’s what we definitely did with our winnings, and yes, perspective does wonders to $1k.

It was a great experience to learn from and I’d recommend going to events like this if you’re a start-up looking for practice in selling/pitching, along with a small opportunity for networking!

Keep following us for more fun from other events!

– Joshua Liew

Acceptance into UOIT Brilliant Incubator program!

SkyCanvas Games had been accepted into this year’s summer cohort at UOIT’s Brilliant Program Incubator!

Brilliant Entrepreneurship is a non-academic incubator that surrounds incubates like ourselves with professional entrepreneurial advisors. Throughout the 4-month summer cohort, Brilliant organizes a variety of guest speakers and networking opportunities to foster and sharpen our entrepreneurial skillsets. The Cohort began with an incredible 2-week opening entrepreneurial crash course which was jam packed with industry speakers and comprehensive workshops. In addition, brilliant provides incubates with a shared workspace located on UOIT, funding opportunities, expert mentorship, and networking opportunities. 

Personally, my experience thus far has been very insightful and extremely encouraging. The advice and connections I’ve made have been catered specifically to the ambitions I have for our studio SkyCanvas Games and our first game Slash Dash Samurai. It’s made the experience that much more valuable.

As a startup developing on our first title SkyCanvas games and no real precious titles to vouch for our team as a reputable studio, I was under the impression that working in the games industry would be difficult since we only our words to convey our games, our team, and our vision. To my wonderful surprise I have found that there are so many opportunities for a studio at your stage of development. With many people such as the brilliant faculty who are extremely positive in propelling our efforts, It has very encouraging and makes us that much more excited for the future.

I will be sure to blog about our milestones and keep you guys updated on our experience as mentees at Brilliant, stay tuned!

Thanks for reading,

Prudhvi Penumetcha

The shelf life of a game on a phone?

A couple days ago while on an excruciatingly painful internet-less commute I resorted to purging my phone of unused and old apps to keep myself entertained. It was a nostalgic trip for sure going through old and forgotten games played just once once or twice since being on my phone for what was probably months (I’m looking at you Color Switch) but it really got me thinking, What is the average shelf life of a game in terms of downloaded to uninstalled?

For most people like me I would imagine that until going on a massive game purge or running out of memory the downloaded games just sit collecting dust until eventually one day the latter happens. Assuming that on average games are 100 mb and you’ve got a nice big 32 gb model phone downloading at a rate of 2 games a week. In about a little over 3 years you’ll run out of room for the first time and do a mandatory purge, so the first game that you downloaded would technically live on your phone for over 3 years without having any attention paid to it.

On the off-case you’re the type of person that uninstalls a game as soon as they don’t play it anymore I would give the game a generous estimate of a week until it’s sent off into the abyss.

Averaging these two for a general estimate (that’s heavily skewed) for roughly a year and a half is a pretty good number to arrive to. So with this I guess the best takeaway for an app developer is within that year and a half (a week to 3 years) after your first impression find opportunities to get players interested again.

That’s it for this time, go out and give some of your old games some attention! m(_ _)m


Improving yourself, one step at a time.

It’s been a while since we started working together at SkyCanvas Games and although the results we have achieved aren’t very notable I’ve felt myself grow a lot from this experience of working on a team and doing stuff that’s way out of my comfort zone.

It’s an incredible feeling to be able to do something that was previously out of reach and one that i happen to have the joy of feeling almost every week while working on both our games and the SkyCanvas Games Company in general. I would have never thought of myself able to do a lot of the things i do on a daily basis for the production of the game, as cliche as it sounds working toward a goal with vigilance and dedication does really show results.

I look forward to what we as a company can achieve (*´∀`)!

– Kelvin