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Jonathan_Kerr

Your game development/release experiences, mobile or otherwise

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I've worked in mobile development for a major publisher so see this from a different perspective but I've also seen a lot of indie friends and the struggles they face too.

 

I think the biggest issues for any game big or small is always on boarding. Take a game like Pokémon Go, how that makes any money at all I have no idea as they at least initially (I haven't touched it since a bit after launch) they didn't teach you anything about the shop, that it was even there let alone how to spend.

 

At the same time you really don't want to bombard the player up front with hints and tips but naturally over possibly hours introduce every detail that needs talking about. Probably even hiding stuff that's complicated at the start until the player is hooked. All to often games will drop the shop in instantly before you've even played the game.

 

In terms of advertising it's hard, you need to get your game in front of youtubers, make your own videos showing the fun parts and share share share. For you maybe introducing your game to Facebook sports/cricket groups than the traditional geek ones may work wonders. It really does come down to word of mouth.

 

No matter what though our journey is just beginning, as soon as it launched problems will be discovered, requests from users wanted and things you didn't think about are suddenly the most important thing. If you look at the best games like mine raft or angry birds those constant little tweaks and adjustments that happen very quickly are what keep people playing your game. Take too long to fix a bug and that's your game deleted. You are right, you don't need any lead in, you need to work hard after launch not before to get noticed now.

 

I wish you all the best and good luck oh and DO plug your game here with a link! You've been a long term member of the forum no one will think you're just trying to do a sneaky spam and even if you was people here will be interested in your story!

 

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This looks really nice. Certainly polished enough to get the stores interested. (You should be talking to them soon if you're not already.) Is it going to be free or paid? Both are viable options (don't believe the bolox on gi.biz) but need a different approach.

 

New Star Soccer got its major boost when The Sun (UK) reviewed it in their sports section iirc. (I mean, the game already had a core of fans from being on PC for years, but this is what sent it up the iOS charts.) But bear in mind this was a few years ago.

 

All the games I work on are at the casual end of F2P so we tend to focus on ads more than a website and trailers. (We do make trailers, but with an eye to recutting them as video ads.) But it's true for all types of games that most downloads come through the App Store itself. Featuring (and repeat featuring), charts, search and search ads are routes by which you can get noticed. Also if you've made it in Unity and you think your parents could play it, consider Amazon AppStore as well.

 

The only other thing I can suggest is be patient. It's rare to have a success first time or straight of the gate! Good luck.

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6 hours ago, Ketchup said:

I've worked in mobile development for a major publisher so see this from a different perspective but I've also seen a lot of indie friends and the struggles they face too.

 

I think the biggest issues for any game big or small is always on boarding. Take a game like Pokémon Go, how that makes any money at all I have no idea as they at least initially (I haven't touched it since a bit after launch) they didn't teach you anything about the shop, that it was even there let alone how to spend.

 

I think you're 100% right about the on-boarding. I've changed mine about 3 or 4 times so far, simplifying it more each time and trying to spread all the main gameplay concepts over two or three games. It's still not quite how I want it at the moment but I have it at a point that feedback from the upcoming beta should iron out most of the kinks. I considered doing a tutorial level, but I personally don't like them and the first five minutes of mobile gaming seem to decide whether a game gets deleted or not, so I'd rather have them play the first (almost un-failable) level.

 

6 hours ago, Ketchup said:

At the same time you really don't want to bombard the player up front with hints and tips but naturally over possibly hours introduce every detail that needs talking about. Probably even hiding stuff that's complicated at the start until the player is hooked. All to often games will drop the shop in instantly before you've even played the game.

 

T20CC has quite a bit more depth than it looks so I have a hint button on the start screen where the player can cycle through a range of hints and get more info if they choose. This is a bit like Clash Royale's hint system where you tap to cycle through hints on the loading screen (T20CC loads really quick, so I couldn't use this approach).

 

I'm glad I removed the shop until the player has earned their first special card (after about 2 or 3 games). This is good validation for me, thanks. Now I'm trying to work out the right number of games before prompting the player (once) about the shop or how to earn free power ups by watching opt-in video ads (there is a 'free card' button at the game over screen)

 

6 hours ago, Ketchup said:

In terms of advertising it's hard, you need to get your game in front of youtubers, make your own videos showing the fun parts and share share share. For you maybe introducing your game to Facebook sports/cricket groups than the traditional geek ones may work wonders. It really does come down to word of mouth.

 

This is the bit I'm really struggling with but I guess that's the issue with a niche title. I've done a lot of looking around online at cricket forums and the like and they seem a bit different from say, football forums. My theory is that football is a 90 minute game, so once the game is done, you have 6 and a half days to talk about what went right/wrong for your team. Cricket's shortest format is 3.5 hours, but also has a 5 day version, so I feel that it doesn't lend itself to as much discussion because the actual game takes so long. I might be wrong about that.

I definitely need to check out some more facebook groups, though.

 

6 hours ago, Ketchup said:

No matter what though our journey is just beginning, as soon as it launched problems will be discovered, requests from users wanted and things you didn't think about are suddenly the most important thing. If you look at the best games like mine raft or angry birds those constant little tweaks and adjustments that happen very quickly are what keep people playing your game. Take too long to fix a bug and that's your game deleted. You are right, you don't need any lead in, you need to work hard after launch not before to get noticed now.

 

This is where I wonder if I've ballsed up a bit. My original idea was just to have one simple mode and then build on it and add new features over time, but the basic form of the game got a bit boring after a week. I thought that players might ditch the game and even if I added new modes, they wouldn't be around to see them. 

 Instead, I swapped out the 'get the high score' approach to one with over 250 challenges where the player tries to achieve a different objective. The game is way better for it, as it has that 'one more go' feel to it now (ie 'what's the next challenge?') but in the back of my mind, I wonder if the MVP approach might have worked better.

It was actually @Nnooo's advice about not needing lead-in. He's been super-helpful in this journey.

 

6 hours ago, Ketchup said:

I wish you all the best and good luck oh and DO plug your game here with a link! You've been a long term member of the forum no one will think you're just trying to do a sneaky spam and even if you was people here will be interested in your story!

 


Thanks and thanks for the feedback/advice too. Especially the bit about work harder after launch than before. 
 

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1 hour ago, MK-1601 said:

This looks really nice. Certainly polished enough to get the stores interested. (You should be talking to them soon if you're not already.) Is it going to be free or paid? Both are viable options (don't believe the bolox on gi.biz) but need a different approach.


Thank you. I think it looks nice too and yeah, I need to be talking to the stores. What's the best way to do this? The guys at Stick Cricket gave me their point of contact, although as it's the off-season down here in Australia, so it'll be a hard sell to get feature.

My revenue approach is as follows:

1. iOS and Android: The game has been designed as Free to play with rewarded opt-in video ads. The player earns special cards (the same items in the shop) slowly as they level up through the game (like Pacman 256, every run contributes to your next power up), or they can watch a video advert and get a random special card quickly.
 

There is also one IAP which is kind of an anti-IAP. Basically, I'm not a big fan of tiered IAP (ie X items for £1, Y items for £3, Z items for £9 etc...) so I have a buffet approach where you can select any five special items for £1 (plus 1 free). So instead of earning cards slowly in-game, or possibly not getting the card you want from the video ad, you can purchase exactly what you want. Think of it as buying Sky for the football but not having to have the shit movie and daytime tv channels as well.

I'm not sure if it'll work, but I figured that doing IAP different is a good way to get noticed.


2. Android India specific version of the game where the player can only choose India as the player-character, but the game will be much smaller (under 40mb for fast download). This should work on a wider array of low-end devices.

 

1 hour ago, MK-1601 said:

New Star Soccer got its major boost when The Sun (UK) reviewed it in their sports section iirc. (I mean, the game already had a core of fans from being on PC for years, but this is what sent it up the iOS charts.) But bear in mind this was a few years ago.

 

Yeah, this is what I was thinking. But not really sure how to approach all the various sports writers I follow. "Hey - love your work, I made a cricket game that your followers might be interested in?' Pretty clueless about this bit.

 

1 hour ago, MK-1601 said:

All the games I work on are at the casual end of F2P so we tend to focus on ads more than a website and trailers. (We do make trailers, but with an eye to recutting them as video ads.) But it's true for all types of games that most downloads come through the App Store itself. Featuring (and repeat featuring), charts, search and search ads are routes by which you can get noticed. Also if you've made it in Unity and you think your parents could play it, consider Amazon AppStore as well.

 

Is Amazon AppStore US focused?

Since I can export to HTML, is it worthwhile doing something for Itch.io?
 

1 hour ago, MK-1601 said:

The only other thing I can suggest is be patient. It's rare to have a success first time or straight of the gate! Good luck.

 

Indeed! :-) I kept my day job because I knew the chances of success are super-low. My aim is to get a fun cricket puzzle game that improves your concentration out into the Indian smartphone market where the number of devices is supposed to hit 300m. It might be far fetched, but 1% of 300m... That's the rationale anyway!

 

Appreciate

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Your model sounds sensible. I would try soft launching if you can to get an idea if it's working as intended. Players monetise differently in different countries, but you'll at least be able to spot if anything is broken.

 

I think you can set territory pricing for India on iOS, also.

 

Email the contact you've been given and point them at your website and give them the app ID, and let them know when you are planning to launch, they should let you know what to do next. Follow up if you don't hear anything back (but not, like, a dozen times).

 

Also try putting a thread on TouchArcade in the upcoming section.

 

I'm no PR expert, but the only advice I can give re your sports writer contacts is give them a story. It sounds like the game's development has been a bit unusual. And there aren't that many cricket-y games.

 

Amazon AppStore is very US/UK focused, yeah. I wouldn't bother with itch or other platforms until you've found your feet on iOS and/or Android.

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31 minutes ago, MK-1601 said:

Your model sounds sensible. I would try soft launching if you can to get an idea if it's working as intended. Players monetise differently in different countries, but you'll at least be able to spot if anything is broken.

 

I think you can set territory pricing for India on iOS, also.

 

Thanks for the input MK-1601, it's much appreciated. I was thinking of soft-launching in NZ, since I am a Kiwi and my friends back home would probably download the game and play it as part of the soft-launch. My concern is whether it makes sense to soft-launch a cricket themed game in the off season in a rugby mad country with the Lion's tour in full swing.

Or does that simply not matter? Is two weeks long enough to soft-launch in? What is considered 'standard'.

 

Does anyone know if it's possible to have the game free in one territory and paid in another? I'm unlikely to do this, but was curious about the rules surrounding pricing in different regions. For example, there is a minimum price for IAP. In Australia it's $1.29 and in the UK, I think it's £0.99 (which is about $1.67 AUD). I wondered about having a paid iPad version with higher-res graphics but not sure if I want to manage another SDK.

Also what is the opinion of games that cost say, $2.99 and then are free a couple of months later. Does that leave a dirty taste in consumers mouth or is the coffee-cost not given much thought?
 

31 minutes ago, MK-1601 said:

Email the contact you've been given and point them at your website and give them the app ID, and let them know when you are planning to launch, they should let you know what to do next. Follow up if you don't hear anything back (but not, like, a dozen times).

 

Also try putting a thread on TouchArcade in the upcoming section.

 

I hadn't thought to do the Touch Arcade thing. Cheers. Thanks re the store contact approach too...

 

31 minutes ago, MK-1601 said:

I'm no PR expert, but the only advice I can give re your sports writer contacts is give them a story. It sounds like the game's development has been a bit unusual. And there aren't that many cricket-y games.

 

Good advice re: story. Basically I got the idea for the game after watching NZ get thumped in a ODI match. I was accruing a lot of beer coasters and started doodling on them and voila...

 

31 minutes ago, MK-1601 said:

Amazon AppStore is very US/UK focused, yeah. I wouldn't bother with itch or other platforms until you've found your feet on iOS and/or Android.

 

Good point. Cheers.

Re: Indian pricing. It's a strange one as I've heard a lot of contradictory things but I'm hoping I'm hitting the market at the right time. Here's what I've heard from Indian friends and colleagues of mine and other devs:

1. Don't bother localising the language. Something like 22 official languages with Hindi the main one but also Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati and many others with over 25m speakers. The level of English proficiency is high and there isn't much text in the game (a bit in the onboarding tho)

2. Apparently wi-fi is everywhere in the country, except in people's home, so often locals use the coffee house wi-fi. So, T20CC needs to be downloaded in the time it takes to get a coffee and leave the building. This 

3. The guys at Stick Cricket (nearly 1 million likes on FB) told me from their analytics indicated the Indian market was very reluctant to spend a cent on a game, but they'll watch a disproportionate amount of ads if it gets them free stuff. I may ditch the IAP and have a 'free card' button (video reward) where the shop button would go. Can't take credit for this tho'. It was @Nnooo's idea. 

 

4. My former boss Dipra (owner of several start ups) suggested pitching it as a game that makes kids smart (numbers, memory, concentration) etc... I hadn't thought of that. 

Thanks for the input, MK.

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I released an iOS game waaaay back in 2010 and, rather than repeating the post mortem here I'll simply link it. For context, I was (and remain) a one man band when it comes to game dev, which I've always done outside of my day job.

 

BlastOff! was designed within the parameters of what I could afford to develop and release. As sensible as that may sound, I think in retrospect it was probably backwards to pick a project on that basis and then hope it would click with people once it had debuted on the App Store. I've had a fair bit of time "resting" since then (effecting a career change in actual fact, but it has meant releasing nothing game-wise save a Ludum Dare entry :D) but I have a number of projects inching forward at the moment, and should one of them catch on (by which I largely mean provoke a positive reaction amongst communities like this one) then I'd take that as the impetus to see it to fruition. Without the budget to convince people of what they want via marketing, I've come round to the idea that you have to be consumer-led.

 

I also find myself far more attracted to the open PC than any of the walled gardens that abound nowadays. The opportunity to release stuff DRM free, to have decent standardised controller support for just about any manner of game imaginable, to know that anything of the scope I can reasonably create will be handled effortlessly by the hardware, to not have to worry about the platform holder throwing me under a bus... there would have to be an army of people demanding I release a project on a particular family of devices for me to ever consider a closed platform. But, like I mentioned, I have the luxury of game dev not being my day job so I can be as laissez-faire as I like -- for those who have to have something profitable out the door by next quarter, the situation is incomparable.

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Soft launch: Yeah, NZ is a good place to try it. I've no idea how much the seasonality of cricket would affect it. Maybe worth taking that into account for the full launch.

 

I would say you need *at least* two weeks to get useable data. We've not done one for a few years, but what we used to do is run some cheap ads to get a few hundred installs quickly, this could be quite costly to do now though.

 

You can't mix and match paid and free in different territories. And people don't really do separate iPad SKUs of things any more - it's not banned but Apple have dissuaded people from doing it (there's seldom a good reason to do so these days).

 

Covering all your questions about pricing: the main thing to be aware of is that F2P and premium are very different entities. You can't design a game for one and later retool it for the other. (Well, 99% of the time - Threes and Jetpack Joyride managed it. But srsly, no)

 

Will be interesting to see how it goes in India. The rewarded vids idea sounds good.

 

There really aren't that many good quality cricket/cricket-themed games on the store so you might have a good chance of getting noticed. Certainly better than the millionth match 3 / endless runner etc.

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Rewarded video ads isn't a bad way to go if you can get a userbase going, from what I know, so you comprehend your spherical garlic and leek like vegetables as the saying goes. Best of luck.

 

Don't be too disheartened if it doesn't immediately blow up, try to play the long game with an update plan and have follow ups in the wings. Licensing might become a good opportunity in the future, especially with specific licenced content added in since the licensor may do their own promotion.

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To the OP, to answer your questions about the soft launch you need to ask yourself a pretty important question: what is the purpose of your soft launch.

 

Are using it to make sure everything works technically? To do a dry-run of the store certification/submission procedures? To find out what sort of people like your game? To test the in-game behaviour of your players? To test advertising/marketing channels? Or all of these. 

 

The duration, location and methodology will vary for all of the above. 

 

For example, if you are trying to test in-game behaviour of players you will need to do a test somewhere that allows you to gather players who will be similar to the sort of players who will likely make make up a core part of your eventual player base; you will probably need to run some paid advertising to target those users; you will need to have a clear idea of what tests you want to run (eg. how often are they playing? when do they stop playing? etc.), and you will need to run the soft launch for long enough to gather enough data to be useful. If you're doing a test like this then New Zealand has some advantages - the audience is familiar with cricket, and you can get cricket fans to play your game by using targeted ads. But it also some disadvantages - a lot of people do soft launches in New Zealand so ads tend to be expensive. 

 

etc.

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16 hours ago, Sledge said:

I released an iOS game waaaay back in 2010 and, rather than repeating the post mortem here I'll simply link it. For context, I was (and remain) a one man band when it comes to game dev, which I've always done outside of my day job.

 

I tried to download it but it wasn't available on the Australian store. 

(BTW - anyone who posts their game in here, I'll download it).

 

16 hours ago, Sledge said:

BlastOff! was designed within the parameters of what I could afford to develop and release. As sensible as that may sound, I think in retrospect it was probably backwards to pick a project on that basis and then hope it would click with people once it had debuted on the App Store. I've had a fair bit of time "resting" since then (effecting a career change in actual fact, but it has meant releasing nothing game-wise save a Ludum Dare entry :D) but I have a number of projects inching forward at the moment, and should one of them catch on (by which I largely mean provoke a positive reaction amongst communities like this one) then I'd take that as the impetus to see it to fruition. Without the budget to convince people of what they want via marketing, I've come round to the idea that you have to be consumer-led.

 

I don't think that's a bad idea, at all. There's a lot of Indie games that are 'inspired' by stuff that is out already out there and hard to beat. So designing within the parameters makes a lot of sense, rather than 3-5 years of hard slog on a budget.

I used the same rationale. At it's core, T20CC is still a memory game, it just has a target market and I've tried to solve design problems that I saw in other games and other sports titles.

I agree it's a good idea to see which of your ideas garners a following and use that as a guide for which project to work on. 

 

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9 hours ago, Spacehost said:

Rewarded video ads isn't a bad way to go if you can get a userbase going, from what I know, so you comprehend your spherical garlic and leek like vegetables as the saying goes. Best of luck.

 

Don't be too disheartened if it doesn't immediately blow up, try to play the long game with an update plan and have follow ups in the wings. Licensing might become a good opportunity in the future, especially with specific licenced content added in since the licensor may do their own promotion.

 

Yeah, I'm hoping video ads proves to fruitful, but on Android, where many users have adblockers, it might not work. Hard to tell.

I've spent a bit over $20k (maybe a little more) on this game all up over 2.5 years. About 70% of that is outsourcing wages, and about 10% is software cost. The other 20% is misc and conferences, that sort of thing. I haven't really spent anything I'm not prepared to lose and although it's been stressful at times, I've never felt more creatively rewarded. I really love making games and wish I was able to do it more often. I've heard horror stories of devs who've spent loads of money and got really mediocre sales that didn't justify the effort put in, so I was quite wary of hoping that this could be a financial silver bullet.

I'm not expecting it to blow up at all. But by releasing on two or three platforms and because the global cricket season runs all year round, I'm hoping that I might build a slow following, especially if I can deliver on some of the follow up content I have planned.

As for licensing, I'm definitely open to that. I had a deal almost signed with a trading card manufacturer here in Australia that had a lot of rights to many cricketing nations and the Big Bash. I can't get into specifics at the moment, but it caused me a great deal of stress but I went with what was best for the IP. It might very much turn out to be the wrong decision but time will tell.

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9 hours ago, Tourist said:

To the OP, to answer your questions about the soft launch you need to ask yourself a pretty important question: what is the purpose of your soft launch.

 

Are using it to make sure everything works technically? To do a dry-run of the store certification/submission procedures? To find out what sort of people like your game? To test the in-game behaviour of your players? To test advertising/marketing channels? Or all of these. 

 

Wow. Awesome post. It's given me a lot to think about.

The purpose of my soft launch would be 1) making sure everything works technically before launching in more populous territories. 2) To see what percentage of players (I hate calling them 'users') are clicking on the free video IAP and what % are going to the shop. 3) And I guess I really should look at retention too to see what percentage of players are returning and how often.

My marketing/advertising channels are pretty weak. I'll admit that.

 

 

9 hours ago, Tourist said:

The duration, location and methodology will vary for all of the above. 

 

For example, if you are trying to test in-game behaviour of players you will need to do a test somewhere that allows you to gather players who will be similar to the sort of players who will likely make make up a core part of your eventual player base; you will probably need to run some paid advertising to target those users; you will need to have a clear idea of what tests you want to run (eg. how often are they playing? when do they stop playing? etc.), and you will need to run the soft launch for long enough to gather enough data to be useful. If you're doing a test like this then New Zealand has some advantages - the audience is familiar with cricket, and you can get cricket fans to play your game by using targeted ads. But it also some disadvantages - a lot of people do soft launches in New Zealand so ads tend to be expensive. 

 

etc.


I'm quite confident I can use my NZ network to drum up some downloads, but no idea how successful it'll be, esp with rugby season in full swing.

 

This post has definitely highlighted some weaknesses in my soft launch approach. 
 

I'm thinking that the game will be more fully featured a few months after launch, which should coincide with the southern hemisphere summer, so the NZ, Australian and South African markets should come into play. Also, I think the Ashes are being played in Jan 2018, so might get a bump there. I was wondering if maybe that would be a better time to approach the Aus iTunes contact I have (when it can be promoted locally).

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JK if you're targetting India that's a great idea. Really push on that - it's about the biggest market out there atm.

 

I'd love to give feedback and advice based on my experiences; however I'm busy as hell. Send me a PM and I'll see if I get some time this weekend :)

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15 hours ago, MK-1601 said:

Soft launch: Yeah, NZ is a good place to try it. I've no idea how much the seasonality of cricket would affect it. Maybe worth taking that into account for the full launch.

 

Might have to just do it and learn the hard way. Hahaha. 

 

Quote

I would say you need *at least* two weeks to get useable data. We've not done one for a few years, but what we used to do is run some cheap ads to get a few hundred installs quickly, this could be quite costly to do now though.

 

If all I need is a few hundred installs, I think I could get that through my NZ networks. It is a small place and word of mouth can spread quite quickly. 

 

Quote

You can't mix and match paid and free in different territories. And people don't really do separate iPad SKUs of things any more - it's not banned but Apple have dissuaded people from doing it (there's seldom a good reason to do so these days).

 

This is good to know. @Phelan made a good point about perhaps having iOS as $1 and Android for free, but there are downsides to this as well.
 

Quote

Covering all your questions about pricing: the main thing to be aware of is that F2P and premium are very different entities. You can't design a game for one and later retool it for the other. (Well, 99% of the time - Threes and Jetpack Joyride managed it. But srsly, no)

 

Yeah, I heard this. I was pretty much set on free with video ad IAPs until the guys at Stick Cricket said the alpha was good enough to charge as a premium title. That kinda got me thinking about break even points. 10,000 downloads at $2 would pretty much break me even. Surely 10k downloads isnt' that hard?

 

I'm likely to stick with free tho.
 

Quote

Will be interesting to see how it goes in India. The rewarded vids idea sounds good.

 

There really aren't that many good quality cricket/cricket-themed games on the store so you might have a good chance of getting noticed. Certainly better than the millionth match 3 / endless runner etc.

 

Yeah, pretty much Stick Cricket and New Star Cricket (and Big Cup cricket from a few years back) are the ones worth paying attention to. The others all try to replicate cricket as accurately as possible which I think is the wrong approach. By nature, cricket is a slow game which doesn't lend itself to the 3 minute bursts that mobile phone games encourage to be a success.

(There was another one called 'One More Run' which was quite a clever take on running singles but I'm not sure how successful it was) 

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Currently working on a game for VR.  I'm a one-man-band and only working evenings and weekends, here are some shots:

 

Mixture of my models and some which I've purchased.

 

Big 'thank you' to @Dinobot who has been a great help.

 

Edit:- There are some related videos in my signature if anyone is interested.

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Thanks man, however I didn't do much at all - the project is super impressive and it's all your hard work. I just said some things = no effort! What you've achieved thus far is amazing! Keep up the good work :)

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I just saw this and was gonna post, but you beat me to it.

Seems like useful advice, probably aimed slightly more at indie studios, but still useful stuff for the solo devs too.

@dr_manhattan - the lighting in your game looks great BTW

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@Jonathan_Kerr

 

I'm really glad this was posted here, I don't often frequent the quieter parts of the forum. Interesting insight into the indie development process, quite different from bespoke corporate stuff.

 

I was about to say I'll buy it when it's up, as I really like to support home grown stuff, but it's F2P. Shout if you do an open beta in the US market. I'm sure there's at least 3 of us in this country that like cricket enough to provide feedback :)

 

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7 hours ago, Jonathan_Kerr said:

I just saw this and was gonna post, but you beat me to it.

Seems like useful advice, probably aimed slightly more at indie studios, but still useful stuff for the solo devs too.

@dr_manhattan - the lighting in your game looks great BTW

 

Thanks!  I spent a bit of time on that.

 

It could look better but VR limits you quite a bit.  I've had volumetic lighting in but it just does not look good in VR.

 

Currently thinking about AI again, my current AI is functional but I know it could be better.

 

I think my next step is to use a GA to optimise the route the AI is following as well as the breaking areas and such.

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6 hours ago, sir stiff_one said:

Am I right in thinking that you chose not to have a more expensive purchase than 99c in your store?

 

The rewarded video advert is what I think will be my main revenue stream (ha!). The single IAP idea is an experiment because I believe that there needs to be more innovation in IAP delivery. I'm happy to fail fast with this one.

Short version: pick any 5 special cards +1 free for $1.29 (Australian or eqv.). It would take approx 20-25 games to earn this equivalent number of items, or you'd have to watch six video adverts (time cost, data cost) but you might not get the items you want (rewarded item is random). 

Rationale:

  • 1. I'm personally not a fan of massively tiered IAPs designed to get whales to subsidise everyone else. I cringe when I see $149 tiers, especially in games kids can access. 
     
  • 2. My game doesn't really have an in-game economy per se. Every run you score counts as XP and when your XP levels up, you earn special cards (that you can also purchase as IAP) so it's more of a psuedo-economy. It's similar to PacMan256 where each dot you munch contributes to your XP and eventually gives you a new power up.
     
  • 3. I see a lot of games still hide behind paywalls or timers and I think many players tend to lose interest rather than want to speed up the process. T20CC allows the player to earn some free items quickly. I'm hoping that once they're invested in their character's progress they'll either watch a rewarded video ad or purchase an IAP (although only 2% of people do this). If they're not invested, then it doesn't matter if I have different tiers of priced IAP, they'll move onto another game.
     
  • 4. Unless your game is of Clash Royale quality (which mine is not), I think many gamers are skeptical of paying too much for IAP. I'm hoping a low price might encourage players to try it once.

I totally accept that my IAP idea might fail, in which case, I can re-work it and try the tiered special item approach in an update.  

I've noticed that in the two years I've been working on this part time, approaches to IAP and in-game economies have changed. What Clash Royale does is brilliant and there does seem to be more premium titles around now. 

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Yeah, that's very true as far as the IAP is concerned. 

I'm in two minds about data driving design. I think top-level design needs to come from a creative place ( Crossy Road = frogger meets voxels) and then you use test or A/B data to validate those assumptions (retention is dropping off here, people don't like this idea we thought was cool) and tweak the gameplay that way. When data drives design from the top, you get a lot of me too titles ie 'Something of something' games.

We've got analytics being put in, so I'll be able to track if the shop gets much traction at all, and which items are being selected. I've researched and listened to talks stating that video ads make up about 60% of mobile revenue for some titles. As with any new IP, the biggest issue will be getting noticed, so I'm trying to solve that issue first. 

I seem to remember reading your stuff on PocketGamer. I know you've done a bit on F2P so always interested in your POV.

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Did anyone release their game knowing that there were some quite nasty bugs but intended to fix them post-launch? Did you get any backlash about it? Or get negative reviews?

We've been fixing the bad ones as we go along, but can't shake the feeling that I'm gonna have some noticeable bugs at launch. I won't have anything that crashes, but I can see my game releasing with some noticeable bugs here and there.

(So much for the 'big polish phase...')

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