★ TouchArcade needs your help. Click here to support us on Patreon.

Help! I Have Spinal Tap Syndrome

01-09-2012, 05:32 PM
Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Philadelphia, Pa
Posts: 124
Help! I Have Spinal Tap Syndrome

Hello all

Wondering if anyone could help or console me. I developed a game (iphone/ipad). I designed it to be a universally playable app by avoiding words, but now that is having a strange effect on where my app is selling.

Basically I think I may be being a hailed a genius in many Asian & European countries(that may be a slightly liberal usage of the term genius....), but virtually ignored in major English speaking countries(US, Canada, UK, Australia).

All reports I have read indicate there is virtually no difference in category/sub-category preferences at a country level(% of downloads in each category vary very slightly). Also it is actually more likely that locally developed apps would be more popular, particularly in Asia.
Hence I should see relatively equal levels of success, and if anything, see more success from English speaking markets.

Has anyone had a similar experience where international performance is massively better than local performance?

Could this be a function of there being significantly less apps in European and Asian app stores, such that you would see dramatic differences in app rankings and downloads(the app stands out more internationally)?

I will say the game has never been reviewed by any kind of app site that I know of (it does have app store reviews from random people). I suppose it is possible it got reviewed in a foreign language somewhere but I can't find any evidence of that.

It is more of an intellectual game so perhaps it appeals to certain segments of Europe and Asia as opposed to USA where kids just want to blow things up and walk around with their pants down.

Any similar experience or advice would be appreciated. If anyone wishes to pm me I will probably be on a Japan marketing tour where my programmer explodes so I will get back to you asap...

Thanks and best of luck with your apps!
01-10-2012, 11:56 AM
What's the app? That would be a good place to start.

01-10-2012, 06:01 PM
Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Philadelphia, Pa
Posts: 124
Hello Spider. Thank you for taking the time for responding to a Noob developer and poster.

Sorry this is only my second thread on here so I didn't want to appear to be a spammer only posting to get a game link on the forum. I already have that from my first post and I was hoping to hear experiences in general as opposed to why my particular app may be so hot in a country here or there.

My app is listed in Dice and Board Games. Perhaps the dice and/or board game are more germane to Asia and European cultures nowadays? Without trying to sound too racist, I do notice many of the table games in casinos that Asians prefer involve dice, while American seem to prefer cards. Not sure where Europeans fit on the scale of game preference but judging from my app's early performance I would say southern Europe is more dicey, while Northern Europe is less so.

The app is ROY G. BIV - The Dice Strategy Board Game if you wish to check it out.

It has only been live for a month and quite frankly we have screwed up every single release so far. Every time we fix one thing we break 2 others and only find one of them.

The latest fumble involved a sound bug that seemingly turns an ipad or iphone into a weapon capable of sound stunning due to the incredibly loud volume level which is of course is incapable of being turned down(this kind of bug requires pure unmitigated noob talent so I dont suggest trying it at home). I really think we have now spent more time fixing bugs than it took to conceive, design, & build it in the first place....

In any case if you or any other developers have insight on game type preferences based on geography I would be very interested to hear it. I post my country rankings on the game website under reviews if you would like to see the data I am seeing. If anyone else on here would be interested in studying/ investigate this I would be happy to contribute data (good) and opinions (dubious at best).
01-11-2012, 11:42 AM
You might have answered your question there. Indie developers depend largely on word of mouth. If you botched a few releases people won't share your game.

If you botch the release... it's nearly game over. Looking at your screenshots, something just doesn't jive. It feels flat... maybe the tan background gives it an unfinished feel, I'm not really sure.

I'll give it a try and see how it plays, but if the initial screens don't capture people, and it is buggy, people won't share it.
01-11-2012, 12:27 PM
Joined: Apr 2011
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 3,700
Just a few quick comments about your game, from an end-user perspective:

The text under "I have noticed bugs" in the About screen is identical to the text from the previous bullet and is obviously a mistake.

More importantly, the rules for the game are rather dense, at least at first blush, and should be accessible from within playing the game. Much better would be for the game to have an interactive tutorial. Almost anyone who plays IOS games, myself included unfortunately, is going to jump into "Play" immediately and then not have the patience to go back and wade through the instructions.

Good luck!

Game Center: MarinasideSteve
01-11-2012, 04:42 PM
Joined: Oct 2008
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Posts: 548
I stumbled upon this thread and picked up the game because I like dice games. First off, I'd say that this really isn't a "dice game". Of course anyone reading the "7-sided dice" part would know that, but it the game really doesn't have anything to do with dice play.

I guess you're saying that the numbers you have to play with are rolled for randomness, but since there is no sort of animation or even a "roll for more numbers" type of mechanic to it, it never feels like I'm doing anything. I just get my numbers and do what I can with it.

So you might want to push this more for what it is... a very good strategy game. I really like the way the game works and I think it would stand better on that merit.

A little more polish on the game would help as well. I'm thinking that the American side of things would be better if there was something more going on in the representation. Is there different difficulty levels? If so give them each a character and that way we can feel like we're playing someone.

Give a little more clarity that the opponent has taken a move. I usually play the games silent so I don't know if there is an audio cue, but sometimes I miss the fact that they've moved and my time is running out.

The basic game is very good and I've bought the extra version. I'd love to see you do well with it, but it's going to need a little more polish to get mass appeal.

Agent of TOFTT
Gamecenter Tag: QuickWit5
01-11-2012, 05:27 PM
Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Philadelphia, Pa
Posts: 124
QuickWit and SLewis thanks for the advice. I have found one of the hardest thing to get is simply feedback on what people like, hate, and what is broken. Even with the bug/email link on opening screen I rarely get feedback like this so that is invaluable and appreciated.

Let me start by saying, You can download the game free but..

We are releasing a completely free version with ads next week so you can play it all for free in a few days. Sorry for not putting this in the OP Quickwit! I owe you a buck!

The game is a strategy board game played with dice originally.
The dice thing is because when I "invented" it back in 2005/6 I needed a way to play test it before having to build it with Java or flash. I went to a store that sold polyhedral dice and bought 50 8-sided dice, blacked on the 8 sides, and then painted 7 1-sides red, 7 2-sides orange to indicate which side had to be played etc...Trying to play mechanically(actually turning the dice/numbers on a checkerboard) was some form of punishment in hell I would wish on no one, but it worked to make sure it was balanced and not overly influenced by complete luck. So while I will always associate it with dice, no one else needs to or will so you have a good point on its genre locale right now.

The "Polish" is coming as fast as the bugs allow. When you do 2 incredibly dumb things for one smart thing you end up chasing bugs more than polishing. But in actuality the free version should come out next week where everything will be unlocked but you will see ads. The in-app purchase will simply turn off the ads. Anyone who bought will be shown no ads(thats' the plan which I am quite certain will blow up upon release and it doesn't work for someone who bought). I will probably offer refunds to those who paid to unlock and wouldnt mind watching ads if they could have their money back. I'd rather give back all the money than have anyone upset over a $1 game.

The game is meant to be played human vs human. To developed multiple levels of AI that played well may be a very time consuming and expensive task. The game required purchase to unlock 2 player simply to limit the amount of bugs we anticipate rising from it when played on any scale. Fixing just one player issues have been non stop since release a month ago so we wanted to fix all of them and then we could concentrate on the 2 player fiasco we are about to unleash on ourselves.

The your turn text message is at the top of the screen. It is being moved to the dice-in-hand area where players eyes will be looking in the next update.

p.s. if you unlocked the game, VIBGYOR is the best variation imo. It is played like hearts in that you try to score as few points as possible. Trying to teach people a new game and then tell them, btw you try to score no points I thought may be a bit too much, so I made it a variation even though its my favorite. Hope you like it.


The tutorial is on the way. We may have to slap in a non interactive tutorial for the next release while we work on something that would be an abbreviated but "fixed" game tutorial. I thought the game was simple enough to figure out by reading a few paragraphs and playing which was silly. Not showing people how to play immediately was just an oversight and a lesson learned.

The about and help buttons are being switched in the next update. Hopefully this will let people find the rules and help easily and quickly. Will also reorder the help slides to put the "tutorial" ones first so you get to them immediately upon hitting the help button.

Moral: A game with only one rule has one too many rules for people to read.

Thanks again for the feedback fellas. Your two posts are worth more than 1000 in-app purchases.

Back to polishing!