How to make an animated GIF like a Boss


TLDR Version

Gifcam + Screen Recorder + = win

Creating Awesome Animated GIFs

If you’re plugging away at a game and want the world to know about it GIFs are your answer. I’m going to share with you today a couple of tips to get the most bang for your buck in terms of the final output and the workflow for creating the GIFs in the first place.


GifCam – I can’t rate this highly enough, it’s such an awesome tool for creating gifs. Not only does it compress the crap out of them so you can sneak in under Twitter’s 3 meg limit but it also gives you editing capabilities from within the tool itself. If you aren’t using this GRAB IT NOW! Ok…got it? Awesome.

I try to record my GIFs at 640×360 at 33fps, you can tweak the size and fps that you record from within the tool. Remember that you’re shooting for the magical 3 meg limit. If you’re not going to put this on twitter you don’t need to worry so much about the limit but be cognisant of the file size, you don’t want to be embedding 50meg GIFs in your site, that’s no fun for anyone.

The recording and editing process is fairly straight forward, setup your variables, line it up, hit record and then edit the required footage and save.

This is all well and good but capturing those ultra-rare kick ass moments in your game can be tricky as you need to continually stop, clear and restart the GIF recording so it doesn’t chew up all your memory.

Screen Recorders

What I’ve found incredibly helpful is to capture your gameplay footage using screen recording software such as Camtasia, ShadowPlay or Fraps these seem a lot more efficient are capturing a longer period of gameplay which increases the chances getting in that double jump to wall slide to triple flip ninja kick. Once you have this footage you can just overlay Gifcam to the footage, record, edit the GIF and you’ve just got an awesome GIF on your hands. In Gifcam you can set the frame delay to be all the same by shift clicking on the time delay in the edit window. This smooths it out a bit.


I generally capture and bunch of footage and then find the best bits and create a heap of GIFs at one time. Enough for a few weeks worth of #screenshotsaturday posts.


Once you have the GIF and you’re hosting it yourself or it’s slightly over twitters limit I recommend using:

This can bring down the size of an already compressed GIF to give you the quickest load speed or squeak it in under Twitter’s limit.

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Steam Widget

Steam has a handy little feature which creates a little widget to be able to embed a link to your game in things like a blog post for example :)

On your store page, click on the ‘Embed’ button edit the text and generate the HTML then just paste that bad boy in and it’s on like Donkey Kong.


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Choosing your Steam release date

I’m currently heads down, bums up in gearing up for a release of my game on steam. One of the many decisions that need to be made revolves around what date to to release on. There are a few factors to keep in mind when choosing a release date.

First things first you should obviously allow for anytime to complete all the remaining tasks in your checklist (I’m using Trello for this and it’s magic). Once you’ve come up with an approximate date check out the ‘Coming Soon’ section in Steam. This should give you the upcoming games for your chosen date, make sure there’s not any similar titles going live around this date as it may add unnecessary competition for press. Speaking of press, that should be another consideration, generally Saturday and Sunday are relatively quite days for game articles. So I’d recommended choosing a day early in the week (depending on your time zone you may have to adjust this a bit).

The other thing to avoid releasing in (unless you have a massive following) is the major sales. These change the layout of steam and the visibility of the game may be obscured.

I chose the 1st of September for the release of iZBOT which is a Tuesday. There wasn’t any other similar games around that time, although there is a major release happening at that time.

Good luck with your release!storyEnd_lg

EDIT: OK, so choosing to release on the same day as TWO AAA games in hindsight probably wasn’t the best strategy. I was thinking that the additional traffic would be a bonus and seeing iZBOT next to those titles might give it a bit of a boost, but this is offset by the fact that they are guaranteed to take up at least a couple of the popular new release slots which pushes you down the list.

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Game Art Commisions

I’ve recently commissioned some box art for my 2D platformer iZBOT. This was my first time commissioning art, I wish I’d done it sooner. I’m really happy with the result and the overall process has been very smooth. Below are the steps I went though and a couple of tips to get something you’re happy with.

Decide on a style

What sort of game do you have? This is going to drive the style question somewhat. This is something you have to come up with yourself and is a key decision as its going to drive artist selection and the end result somewhat. Check out what other people are doing in similar genres if you’re stuck.

Find your artist

This step is something that I struggled on for a while. I’d come across great artists or commission pages that hadn’t been updated since 2012. I ended up using a bit of GoogleFu to get the result I was after. If you search for the keyword ‘commisions’ and then only search specific sites like tumblr or deviantart using the syntax . One final thing is to go into the advanced search settings make sure that you’re only returning results that have been updated in the last month or so. Then select images and browse away.

Rough Draft

I was really lucky to have the artist who did my box art guide me through this one, but I sent over a heap of pixel art, gifs of the game fonts etc. Anything to give her more of a sense of the character that they are going to draw. She came back with really good ideas here and I ended up changing what I had in mind.


And below is the finished result, I’m really happy with the results. The overall process has been great and it makes iZBOT look like a proper game :) The artist who created these goes by Ruba and here is a link to her Tumblr. I can’t recomend her enough.


Awesome new box art from the awesome and very talented Rubalotl.izbot-commission

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iZBOT on Greenlight!

I’m very excited to officially announce that iZBOT is on Steam Greenlight!

iZBOT is a faced paced precision platformer that focuses on tight controls and small bite sized platformer levels.

You can vote for our speedy little robot over here:


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Analytics for Gamemaker

You’ve made an awesome game, sent it out to all your friends, posted it up on TIGSource and but you’ve only got a couple of people give you actual feedback.

Analytics to the rescue! Although analytics isn’t going to give you feedback game feel or art impressions. What it can really help with is level design, difficulty tweaking and marketing / promotional items.

My personal preference is Google Analytics, it is really easy to set up gives you a tonne of metrics both custom and built in ones. I use GameMaker to develop platform independent code and then publish it out to the various platforms I’m targeting. One of the main problems with this is that there isn’t a simple analytics solutions that covers the all the platforms that I publish to. This is the main reason why I created a Gamemaker marketplace asset to be able to quickly and easily send events out across any platform. You can check it out here.

Once you setup pageviews from within your game and the data starts rolling in you can get a really good idea of who’s actually playing your game. Apparently I’m big in Iran and China.

Analytics Geo

The real benefits of anaytics  really shine when you set up custom events to track key game elements. I set these up to track room by room / level by level. Things like deaths per room allows you to pin point levels where people are getting stuck on and quitting. Other things like level times, collectibles, baddies killed. Whatever makes sense to your game.

Analytics Room Events



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iZBOT – 2D Platformer – Gameplay Preview

Development has been trickling along, the first 20 levels are pretty much done. There’s a few new platformer mechanics in the preview video, portals, conveyors, spiny things.

I’m not 100% on the level ordering at this stage, there are a few tricky ones in there that could probably be moved to the later stages. The boss needs some better pixels as well.

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Reverse Concept Art


Well, the concept is already pretty much in place so its not concept art. Reverse concept art is all I could come up with :) This is a sketch done in using the Surface Pro 2 of iZBOT running about. As you can see from the squiggly lines I’m not much good at blocking things out in solids, That might be the next step.


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New Tileset

In between watching ‘Embarrassing Bodies’ and drinking copious amounts of tea, I’m making a bit of progress in my indie game dalliances. I’ve managed to update the 2nd world’s tileset (for the 2nd times), added about 15 new levels and some new baddies.

I found some old footage of an emu running and used that as a reference for this guy.


Still lots to do but the game is really taking shape.


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