Friday, July 22, 2011

Game Development Blog #56

Game Development Blog #56

"Train Kept-a-rollin'"

Hard to believe it's been a couple of weeks since I last wrote a development blog. Time is really flying (July's almost wrapped-up!)

180 - We had our Amazon promotion several days ago, and 180 Ultra was featured as the Free App of the Day. This was interesting, and it meant we lowered the full-price $1.99 app on their store to FREE for 24 hours. It went well: the promotion got our game a nice dose of new publicity, and very strong and numerous positive reviews on their store (LINK). It translated to some sales as well, but as one can tell, we haven't exactly maintained the chart stickiness I'd like.. for now. We decided to boost the promo by offering the original iPhone version for free as well, and it stretched into a 2-day promotion on that platform. We netted 15,000 downloads each day on iPhone with that promo, but as our game is a bit long in the tooth on iPhone, it didn't really get much big reception (unsurprising) - that means no notable coverage on bigger sites, no new iTunes reviews (kinda surprised, for so many DLs!) and of course no real sales on iOS following that. I maintain that if we overhaul the game on iOS to match the Android presentation, it might get a little traction, but the game is just really old now and hard to make press on that platform, no matter how you slice it. Still very fun to play, however!

There is still more excitement to come with 180 in it's various incarnations in the coming weeks and months, it's definitely become this beast which hasn't run it's course (in a good way) so I will do all that I can to shepherd it along so far as things will let me. Android is still growing and looking more promising, particularly with all that's been going on behind-the-scenes. Let's see what happens next! Unbelievably, we have over 300,000 downloads of our little game at this point, between iOS and Android platforms!

GunHead - our next high-priority title is nearing production (right now is still pre-production), and it's been very busy moving along. I've got a very early initial build on Android, and a new one is due to come down the pipe very soon. As far as that's concerned, we are early in the process of massaging the control scheme and figuring out what all we can pack into a game of this scope, between memory and manpower. I am hard at work devising an unusually interesting campaign for this one as well; I've learned that utilizing press connections is huge, so I am doing my best to get a very solid presentation together for when we start showing off the game for real. We are aiming to do some unorthodox things with the marketing of this game, and I believe it will be a much smoother operation than our previous title. As for a release date, it's too early to tell, but I am shooting for late Q3. Also of note, we are dual-developing for Android and iOS simultaneously, which should make for an interesting adventure!

Trapdoor, Hop Cop - it's a often bad sign when multiple projects are lumped together into a single bullet point! Sadly, these two games are sitting a little more comfortably nestled into the back shelf than I'd like them to be. It is still my aim to see both titles released by the year's end, but as development duties on GunHead ramp up (and further follow-though with 180, as well) I want to make sure I am not spreading too thin. This isn't to say they are being shuttered, and if I wanted to truly shift focus away from them I'd not even bring them up (I want the names to be out in the air!) One thing is for certain, they will be a but mothballed for the moment; but don't be surprised if I mention some locomotion in those departments at the next Status Update.

Biz Dev - this is a really busy area right now. Especially following the recent promotion, my phone has been ringing off the hook (err, whatever the email version of that would be). I have so many people contacting me right now about a ton of opportunities "we want to partner with you, to do this, that, or the other thing with your game." It's great news of course - but right now I have more people to talk to than I have time to handle, and I am still just trying to catch up in an orderly fashion. Of course you don't simply want to jump on everything that comes your way (some stuff is a bad match, or a waste of time, or simply requires a lot of research before I know what I am talking about, etc). This is one of the "good" downsides of tiny development I suppose, but you have to be careful to be timely, knowledgeable, and responsible because these can be some of the dealings which can truly make or break you. Also, you don't want that business to interfere too much with getting the other projects off the ground.

What Else is Going On - Not much to say, as usual we have hit the speed-bump of summer and all is quite in the gaming world. Things are out and being talked about, but there's no real hype right now and nothing too captivating with any real immediacy, other than "ohhh, I guess a new game or two is coming out." That's the scene on console and PC, and surprisingly it's matched pretty close on mobile as well. I swear, if I ever get to a proper size, I am going to take advantage of the summer doldrums of software releases and make it my holiday simply because there's never any newsworthy competition anyway!

Comic-Con is going on right now, and of course all the nerds flock thataway for a few days of escapism and celebration. I do wish I could be there promoting, but it's not to be. Likewise PAX Prime (Seattle) draws ever nearer, unfortunately I will not be in attendance for that even either. I suppose the biggest event on the horizon which is relevent is IndieCade in Culver City, and that's a good 3 months and change away. We'll see.

Overall, it's a very busy and hectic time. I am excited about what's next and more than anything I want to throw myself into GunHead development, but it's a step at a time. Otherwise, two things - 1. I am looking for the aid of of an Android coder for a quick gig, I need someone ASAP. Pass the word on if you aren't interested - drop me a line at and we can get into the details. 2. If you've grabbed 180 on any platform and you enjoy it, please rate and review it wherever you got it from. We are small enough that "every review counts."

Thanks again and see you soon!

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