Monday, May 9, 2011

Game Development Blog #52

Game Development Blog #52


Greetings, faithful Head-heads! It is time for another installment with Yours Truly. Let's nosedive into the wonderful and weirdo world of app development and kick off with the typical State of the Union:

180 - alright now even I am tired of writing about it! But, I do still enjoy playing this game - I think after all of this time, the very game I made has gone onto become my most-played, ever - and if not, then damn near close to it. That is a little hard to believe. Anyway, here's the latest news on this project: we've finally got a brand-new website redesign to flaunt, which has been a long time in coming (and should really have been completed prior to the Android Launch, but what can you do). I was on the heels of doing some emergency-redesign work for my friend's videogame coverband website, and it helped me get a little kickstart; I am happy with the results. I still need to rework the general HcG and RetroGame websites, but those are fairly low-priority for now.

We've been promoting a YouTube video today, a friend shot some off-the-cuff footage of me talking about my recent release (as he was documenting me doing some deliveries for a document about Los Angeles Food Trucks!) I think the video came out well, it's funny and flows well (if a bit low-budget, which is fine). Please watch the video and share it with your friends if you enjoy it, if we can get some views than it will only lead to good things for 180 and for me.

Progress on further development of 180 is frozen for the moment, but the Android programmer and I have decided to proceed with investigating the aforementioned Casual Mode further. As previously mentioned in this column, the early prototype was quite fun and the mechanics lend themselves wonderfully to a modified experience (without just feeling like a "tweaked game mode"). I'd like to spend a little time to flush it out, so no one should expect it to show up for a little while (maybe a month?)

And now for the moment you are waiting for, what kind of numbers is 180 doing? I am happy and sad, at the same time, to report that while we've passed 10,000 downloads of (our ad-supported version of) 180 on the Android, the download rate has been dropping off considerably. About 50% of our installs are active and that number is slowly deteriorating. What this means is that we have a great starting base, but (as expected) the follow-through longevity is quite difficult. As we've still got very light visibility across the board, it's imperative to find a way to strengthen our brand. I need to do another "pass" at appealing to YouTube and website reviewers, but as mentioned before many of those guys are beyond slammed with requests these days that it becomes hard to get their attention "if they don't already know you" (and often times, even in such a case).

I have spent time familiarizing myself with the workings of AdMob, and surprised to see that we are pulling in a couple of bucks a day (literally) from our ad-support. This is going to be heavily reliant on building and maintaining our active installs, which would ideally be about 2-3X greater than it is right now (for starters). A couple of bucks a day is not bad, but it's tough to consider that a worthwhile profit in the longer term. I have no qualms putting out strictly "free-to-play" but if you have <10k minimum active players, that's really not worth having anything in release. I say all this with the caveat that yes, we are not even a full month into our release yet, and as this platform is still relatively new (and our brand is quite new) that I expect over time these numbers will grow into something more satisfactory. I have much more to say on the whole AdMob monetization system and will touch on it again in the future.

Trapdoor - "the next" title from Headcase Games, sadly, not much progress has transpired since last I have written. Although some solid work has been done, it's still at an early enough state where the project isn't self-motivating yet. Ideally I'd still like to release this game before July of this year, and if it happens during that month I will be fairly happy as well. Hopefully there will be some brighter news to report by the next update!

Biz Dev - I am always putting myself out there to some degree, and the attention that 180 (in its various forms) gets me makes it a little easier for opportunities to find me sometime, as well. As a result, good things pop up on the radar time and again. Sometimes they progress, other times they wind up a goose egg. I've got a couple great-sounding prospects lined up at the moment, but as it's still sitting at a cross-road, I'll keep mum until there is more to tell. This is one of the more exciting parts of doing this business, and even when such deals poof out, I do feel ecstatic to know that I made some really good headway under my own steam!

What Else is Going On - The calm before the storm once again, as the dark looking shadow of E3 slowly winds its way toward our timid little town. Inside of a month, things will be upside down once again. E3 last year was a crazy time, and I can't say I know what to expect this time around. I don't really expect to be out in force heavily promoting anything this time, and as time and money are very tight, I don't think I'll be going too crazy one way or the other. I will be out and try to make some connections though, as it is always good for that. Fans, fellow devs, potential business partners, feel free to drop me a line if you'd like to meet up.

Otherwise, things are quiet. I still would like to get my hands on Portal 2 at some point, and it's been fascinating (in an infuriating way) to watch the fallout from this PSN network outage. I am currently seeking employment in one way or another (to keep paying rent) so wish me luck on that in these dark and dry times!

No comments:

Post a Comment