iPhone App Game Development Blog #47
*knock knoock* anyone out there?
180 - yep, still talking about this game :) Hi-resolution renders for the coins are being generated as I type this. As the Android version is nearing completion on the coding end of things, I am finally making an effort to rebuild the assets at a higher-res to take advantage of the sharper android screen. These assets could conceivably be re-output for a new iPhone build as well (Retina Display, as the kids like to call it) but I've no idea if that will happen - different codebase, different programmer. I'll ask and see if he is interested, and if so, maybe we could get GameCenter implemented as well. Don't count on either of those things happening anytime soon, although if we get any momentum from the Android release that would certainly be a good impetus.
The in-game characters remain in the new version, they've been completely overhauled (re-designed and re-animated) by a longtime buddy of mine, who's been toiling for years in television animation - he's got credits on Family Guy, American Dad, King of the Hill, as well as plenty of other things - so you know this stuff will look good (you can find an animation still on our twitter and Facebook pages). The avatars still work the same way (merely aesthetic), hopefully in a future game we can involve them more in the gameplay. I am just fine with keeping the current version of 180 with the established gameplay.
A huge thing we are trying to correct with this version of the game is the very beginning - the crucial first-play a new gamer will experience when they fire up the game. In iOS we showed 3 static "how-to" screens which explained gameplay in a simplified fashion, but it's been a harsh lesson that mobile gamers seldom read anything when starting with a game like this; they simply begin laying and if they cannot grasp the mechanics straight-off, they get frustrated and that's the end of it. I am pushing hard to get an animated "how-to" implented in there instead, I think in our case it will show the rules in a way that will be much easier to understand.
Otherwise, a big UI redesign is in the cards. That's next on my agenda following the coin re-renders. The ingame looks good, but the menu screen needs to go! It looks gaudy and amateurish at best, I think a cleaner and slicker presentation will do wonders for us.
That's about all to say for now. I have other ideas about what I'd like to do with 180 for Android, but as we speed to release I am just excited to get it wrapped and shipped, so to speak. We'll follow it up appropriately if necessary ;)
BizDev - I've met with another programmer and stated planning for some further (non-180) development as well. This has been an on-and-off process for me for a very long time, and believe you me it's never an easy proposition when one is in this situation. Programmers usually like to be paid lotsa money up front, and you can't blame them - but having a couple decent games under your belt helps to get their attention and consideration a little easier. Anyway, as 180 Android wraps up I am dusting off some other docs which have been mothballed and seeing what makes sense ot pursue with for development. I have a very simple game which looks like it will be a good contender to start with, and from there some other very solid ideas worth exploring. If all goes smoothly the first of these games might be turned around in as soon as a couple of months (it's fairly simple) I never wanna make promises about this stuff, but suddenly I find myself with a fair amount of time on my hands so I intend to create a lot of assets and design ideas.
It looks like I will be moving away from iPhone for the time being, and concentrating on Android development for these short-term ventures. I still think iPhone has a wonderful scene, and I want to try to steer my efforts back toward it, but it's a fairly difficult arena for a tiny guy like me to exist within at this time. I'm not leaving, just testing the waters elsewhere.
Otherwise, I am spending a lot of time and energy trying to build up and maintain the social networking side of things. I feel like my twitter presence has become rather stagnant (though still looking nice with a fair follower count, although rather small in the large scheme of things). I've been concentrating particularly on growing the Facebook presence for 180, it's been growing slowly but steadily. I have honestly poured serious hours and even some hundreds of dollars into trying to figure out how to best utilize Facebook, I feel that it is one of the best tools for a guy like me trying to spread the word about a product just like this. I am homing in on 500 fans for 180, which still is very small (I think I'd need an extra zero after that for people to even begin to take such a thing seriously), but with a lot of time and energy invested I've started to figure out how to grow it somewhat exponentially. Maybe too early to say that, but I am happy to see it's at least got some momentum and it definitely is getting a relatively large number of views.
What Else is Going On - I have been extremely busy with freelance (non-gaming) work since just before the New Year, and it's been captivating all of my free time up until right now. I am still seeking more work in order to keep the lights on (it's pretty close, uncomfortably so). It's a little wild to think I am at about 2 years into operating in this fashion (independent in many senses of the term!) and it's been a rough, aggravating road, but there's been some good spots along the way. Hopefully all the hard work and investment will pay off with some good news son. Watch this space - and thanks for reading!
Support Us - especially in light of the coming activities, I will really depend on the kindness of others to help get us where we need to be. I have lots of contacts and ideas about what to do to spread the word, but honestly it is never enough. I can never stress this too much - if someone out there follows Headcase and appreciates what we do, if you have any real contacts (media, etc) that can help us to get some spotlight - particularly for our impending Android release - that will be a huge help. Any coverage we can get, the higher profile the better, that's absolutely gold. I know our game is more than good enough to break through to the mainstream and stick around for awhile, considering how it looks and plays. You've seen it by now, either you like it or you don't :) Anyway if you can help in anyway, don't hesitate to drop me a line. Thanks again!