Sunday, August 8, 2010

iPhone App Game Development Blog #36

iPhone App Game Development Blog #36

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180 for iPhone - Status quo for 180, but then you already knew that, right? Sales are crawling along, little bumps here and there - I am still hopeful that we can "have our day" with this one. I have some interesting plans (media-related) for the game coming up shortly, it will be interesting to see what the response is. I've noticed that we've got a steady stream of new users coming onboard, which I like, but I am sad to note that many of them are pirates (pirating a $1 game, really?) This has always been an issue so long as gaming has been mainstream, and it's almost not worth complaining about - but I feel ridiculous to not even air any thoughts on the matter, so there you go. I recently posted this message to software pirates, would-be and otherwise, not expecting it will have any result but at least it made me feel better.

No other real news on 180 other than that I am the reason for the big holdup right now. Hopefully there'll be some time this week to tend to the changes that I need to do for the game.

Bizdev - things are alright, I spend a lot of time hustling lately. This is what it is all about right here, folks - you can spend time making games, but you really need to spend as much (or more) time actually out in the field, talking to people, getting face-time as much as possible. Fortunately (well.. by design) I live in a geographical location where it's not unusual for game industry events, large/small/everywhere-in-between to be going down, and there's often lots of people connected on all sorts of different levels who attend these shindigs. I cannot stress it enough, it is so important to get out there, get your name heard and your face seen, hell in this case get your game played and your swag distributed. No one cares about your little game anymore, but they might actually care about you if you are a friendly, interesting person with something to say (and something to contribute). Coming from the deep dark dungeons of development, it is still a new world for me, but I am fast-learning that this is the route to the big-time.

What Else is Gong On - I want to reprint something I mentioned in a forum recently on the value of testing your game. This was written in response to "I have a fun game on my hands, but how do I know when development is finished?"

Hmm, interesting, Well, you are now at a stage where you have lots of thinking to do. Are you making a game for a hobby or because you wanna try and make some cash? If it's a hobby thing, then you might as well tool around with it until you get tired of it and enough's enough, at which point you wrap it up and call it a day and release.

On the other hand, if you want to have a chance to make some money with it, all other hurdles notwithstanding... you now need to start testing the crap out of your game. When you say "how do I know when my game is done" says to me that you've not sought out much feedback. That's the clearest way to know if your game is fun, if it's easily understood by your intended audience, 'cause if there is something missing you will get feedback on it real fast!

How to do this? It's pretty easy, your iPhone is your devkit, so it's in your pocket at all times. Go to a bar, go to a coffee shop, if you see someone texting away on their iPhone than you are staring at a potential customer. Kindly ask them if they wouldn't mind giving you a moment of their time, people generally light up when someone asks them to test a new game that's not out yet "oh cool!" Then pass it to them and try to zip your lip to see if they can figure out how to play it with minimal instruction from you. This is how it will be like when the game releases for real, and you obviously won't be there to coach people who've downloaded your game.

I say to approach strangers, which might sound a little awkward at first, but it's important to do this rather than people whom you know, as they will be biased (anything you show them will seem cool 'cause you made it - a stranger won't know you and therefore has less qualms about your feelings, not that they'll be rude but it will be much easier to gauge if they are satisfied or disinterested)

Failing this, the next best thing is to beta test as best you can (well, you should be doing that anyway!), or at least put up some YouTube vids and prod people for responses..

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