Sneak preview of upcoming 3D blast-em-up (video)

COOL

@yojimbo2000 Really impressive stuff! Looking forward to seeing where you take it. Really like the arcade feel.

@yojimbo2000, very impressive! Gotta get it finished now :slight_smile: May i suggest adding a subtle background music track with a space theme? Other than that it’s pretty much ready for AppStore

Thanks again guys.

One other thing I wanted to ask about was pricing models (this isn’t Codea specific of course, but it’s something that forum members have experience of).

On the gamer sites recently there’s been a couple of trends regarding criticism of pricing models that are quite interesting I think. One is “free to play done right”, ie something like Crossy Road, where the IAP don’t affect the gameplay in any way, they’re just for cosmetic reskinnings, or to cut ads (the developer Mediocre has an interesting model on their last two games Does not commute is the most recent, where a single IAP unlocks the ability to restart from one of your checkpoints).

The other trend is the old fashioned “pay once only, NO IAP” line. Actually Apple had a recent section in the app store just for no-IAP games.

On the one hand, this game is procedurally generated (but will have checkpoints). It will need to have integration with Game Center, achievements etc for people to keep playing. So that kind of “endless flyer” aspect seems to suggest a Crossy Road style model.

On the other hand, IAP could be tricky to implement, and this is a one-person, indy, (ahem) hand-crafted title, so maybe a “pay once, no IAP” model is better (probably at the lowest possible price point)

Any pointers from people who have experience of this would be incredibly helpful.

I’m not expecting to be minting it or anything like that. I just wouldn’t mind trying to get back my Apple dev fee (is even that too ambitious??

@yojimbo2000 pricing is one thing, but marketing is also incredibly important to get the downloads (even if it is free) - this means website, press kit, reviews (if you can get them) from the popular gaming sites, videos of gameplay and a social media presence (twitter, Facebook, etc)

Here are the details of both my releases to the App store.

Pachinkoos was my first game developed from the first codea cook off (https://itunes.apple.com/vg/app/pachinkoos/id840433563?mt=8). Free with no ads. I released it more to see the whole process through, rather than anything else. Little advertising and has been downloaded a handful of times.

Anagramal (https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/anagramal/id863498155?mt=8) is a word game loosely based on a TV show in the UK called Countdown. Pay once, no IAP, lowest price point. About 30 downloads. Though I put a website together I didn’t advertise beyond this forum and my friends. I’ve also an updated version in the pipeline, but haven’t got round to releasing it. I also made a mess of my first update - introducing a critical bug which caused an immediate crash - big lesson learnt!

It sounds like you’ve done your research - the pay once, no ads seems like the best option, but then the biggest hurdle is getting people to part with the cash in the first place. The honesty box type approach/cosmetic reskinning approach is a good alternative, where there is less reliance on the customer taking a punt, but the risk lies in them stumping up the cash once they’ve played the game.

Also, here are a few older threads discussing app release which you may not have seen:

http://codea.io/talk/discussion/5009/marketing-codea-apps

http://codea.io/talk/discussion/5423/for-those-developing-apps-experience-of-a-successful-indie-developer-spoiler-not-great

http://codea.io/talk/discussion/4398/best-way-to-market-my-app

Good set of threads there @West. The bottom line is that without a decent social media presence to drum up interest from customers, some exposure from review sites/blogs and a bit of luck it doesn’t matter how you price it - your App will probably sink in the depths of the App-Store within weeks.

Theres a few interesting articles (I’ll try and dig them out) about app-store optimisation tricks which are pretty much to do with selecting appropriate keywords in your description when you submit it to Apple. Theres a whole science behind this apparently and can make a large difference to the sort of exposure you get and the number of downloads.

Interestingly, do not underestimate the importance of a good well designed icon. A lot of app-store marketing articles reference the fact that this can often be a huge driver in getting noticed - especially as its the first thing a potential customer will see when they are browsing the app-store, irrespective of whether the app is any good or not. Sad but true.

Finally, the reason why ‘free’ apps became popular in the first place is that a lot of people (especially kids!) dont have a credit-card - hence the popularity of downloading things for free. You instantly cut off potentially a large number of customers if you make them pay - hence their popularity. Just a thought. :smiley:

@West thanks for those links and suggestions, and for giving us the break down of your experiences so far. There’s lots there that I need to dig in to.

It looks like I won’t be giving up the day job just yet! I think even making back the dev fee is probably over-ambitious.

I should probably also do a dry run with something I’m not so invested in, before I release the main project…

@andymac3d thanks for the tip about optimization. That was something I was only vaguely aware of, but googling it I see that it’s a huge industry. If there are any articles in particular that you recommend that would be really helpful. (EDIT: I just saw the ASO beginner’s guide link that you posted on the page that @West links to above)

Is anyone close personal friends with Pew-die Pie or whatever that dude’s name is??

@yojimbo2000, pay once probably your best bet.

For example, a breakdown of my released apps:

  1. Free with in-app purchases - Mediocre downloads - $1.40

  2. Free with ads - Pretty good downloads (a couple thousand) - $3.97

  3. Pay once no gimmicks ($0.99) - Mediocre downloads - $145.58

My next game will definitely be taking the pay once approach, likely at the second price tier ($1.99)

With regards to marketing… I’ve no luck so far. I’ve made websites, press kits, contacted sites for reviews, etc. No one has ever responded to my review requests outside of an automated response… Though I did get AppAdvice to host a giveaway for me. YMMV here.

Most of my games in the future will be pay once. iAds takes a stupid amount of downloads to earn $. The only games I will use iAds for are games/utilities that I can put the advert on screen 100% of the time, especially during gameplay. The problem is when ads refresh there is a slight hiccup in the gameplay, which can cause players to die and get upset, so I always just put them on the main menu and try again screen.

For keywords you just want to think of words that relate to your game, then search for that word in the app store and see how many results you get. I like to choose words with less that 100 results if possible. Have to get creative because all the popular words have thousands of results. You get 100? characters, separated by commas with no spaces between.

I really need to start marketing my apps when I release them… a lot of random blogs post quick reviews of new apps, just have to send them all a press release. Easier said than done.

@Crumble - I think the trick is to market your app ‘before’ you release them. Most successful indie gamedevs have their marketing strategy in place way before things go into beta. I also wouldn’t underestimate how useful a game trailer is in getting noticed pre-launch. There are many social media outlets and YouTube channels that simply promote game trailers and have a wide reach.

I don’t know how the keywords optimization is supposed to work. I got a free App Annie account, but I don’t know how I’m supposed to use the keywords section. Initially I thought the idea was to try to cynically work as many of the trending keywords into your description as possible regardless of how tenuous the connection :wink: But I guess that if you end up mis-describing the app (or using a trademarked term), that doesn’t get you anywhere. So @Crumble you’re suggesting the opposite, try to find underused keywords?

@andymac3d Yeah that is also something I need to work on. Marketing in general I pretty much don’t do…

@yojimbo2000 Well the way keywords work, if you use something like Flappy (tried it) and there are 5,000 results with yours ranking 4,000… the person searching for the word flappy would have to scroll down through 4,000 games until they finally see yours.

I like to do a little research and find keywords that I can rank higher, like at least in the top 50, or even better in the top 10. A thesaurus will be your best friend for this.

Wow, that’s something special there.

Very, very nice.

You need to be able to land and check out downed craft for those of us old enough to remember Rescue on Fractalus (a Lucasfilm Games, flyer from 1984 that was the first game I saw to employ a procedurally-generated landscape).

Thanks! This has been on the back-burner for a bit unfortunately. I wasn’t happy with the 2.5D nature of it - it just seemed weird that you couldn’t fly over mountains, and getting the AI to fly around mountains is really hard. So I changed it to a full 3D environment, which involved rebuilding it from the ground up, essentially. I’ve got the auto-generating terrain back up and running, which is the hard part, and the player’s craft and bullets. I have to say, full 3D flight does feel amazing. I need to add the enemy AI back. But then I got distracted by another project. I need a longer attention span.

Finishing games is the boring part…

Wow! Thats an amazing project! I wish I could do anything close to that.