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After being an indie game developer I begin to doubt myself

09-23-2016, 04:42 AM
#1
Joined: Sep 2016
Posts: 5
After being an indie game developer I begin to doubt myself

Hi,everybody, I am an indie game developer from china. I build an indie game studio with my friend.I work as the only programmer and my friend works as game artist. We design the game ourself, there is no game design documents,when we need some feature we just discuss it and then work it out.We do this work as fulltime job,the game studio has been run about 6 months, but we only release a game : "Tap dragon".

We first release it to google play store, but we only get 10-30 installs per day. A week later we release the iOS version on appstore , the same situation appears. We earn no more than $500 per month. We don't known how to do the marketing, so the game keeps have very small installs. I have no idea what wrong with this game.
Is it a garbage game or we lose at the marketing? We need to earn money for life, raise kids, we began to doubt myself.I need your help, here is the link of my game, would you please try it and tell me whether the game is too awful or just the marketing problem. thank you very much.

Sorry , my english is not good, hope your guys can understand what I mean.

Google Play : https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...ou.game.dragon
AppStore: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dragon-gogo-tap-dragon-game/id1118834435?ls=1&mt=8
09-23-2016, 06:06 AM
#2
Joined: Jun 2016
Location: Norwich, UK
Posts: 40
Marketing, marketing, marketing!

The game is actually really fun, but just needs a tiny bit of polishing

I'm certainly no expert, but my thoughts are this:

Lets start with your description and video in the stores.

The Video:

The video is pretty cool, it's way longer than most games (30-60 seconds is the norm), but that's OK. I will say it makes the game look really repetitive and doesn't tell me what I need to do..

A simple animated finger tapping overlay onto the video, or even test "tap to shoot, activate abilities, swipe to move and move" would help a lot. Stating how many levels, etc etc would be cool too.

Description

This is pretty good actually... although it is broken English.

Suggested corrections:

Quote:
Tap Dragon is a pixel art game with a quest based story and arcade play style.

You play as our hero "Alweiss" and find yourself pitted against the evil lord "evil lord name", who has come to destroy your world with his army of monsters.

Fight off the evil lords invasion by tapping to attack the waves of monsters using magic and dragons.

Killing monsters gets you coins, which you can use to level up your own abilities or you can spend your coins collecting and evolving your pet dragons to fight at your side to aid in your quest to defeat the evil lord.

STRATEGIES: Different dragons can use and learn different skills, use these to your advantage.

BEAUTIFUL SKINS: You can use gold collected from monsters to buy and upgrade your hero's suit of armour.

EPIC ARTEFACTS: Epic Wands, Legend of Atlas, Hat of Domination... Mysterious artefacts unlock incredible unique abilities.

ORB SYSTEM: As you progress through levels, you earn orbs from defeating the evil lords 'Generals'. Find the Orb of Wood, Orb of Fire, and many more...

ORB SKILLS: Combine different orbs to absorb new orb skills, the skills make your hero stronger.

PRESTIGE & REINCARNATE: Levels of prestige and experience multiply your skills. Earn experience and reincarnate to level 1, but keep your learned skills and experience.

The Icon

I would do some A/B testing. With games we publish, we find we can significantly increase installs by simply changing the icon. Give it a try, it doesn't take long and google play offers an A/B testing system with easy to read results.

The Game

I would say your first load having to download extra assets etc is fine, but do say what it's doing on screen. If people think it's going to take 2 minutes to boot EVERY time they play, they might instantly uninstall.

The intro is nice, good job on that. I would take another look at the spelling and phrasing though.

"The story begins at a beautiful country! It has been very peaceful here , since the invasion of the dark force."

This doesn't make a lot of sense and has a few typos. I know your complaint is about not enough installs, but a lot of installs come from word of mouth, so this stuff is important too.

Perhaps: "Welcome Alweiss, we're so glad you could come in our hour of need! Our beautiful, peaceful world is being destroyed by an invasion of a dark force. Our informants tell us of an evil lord arriving at our shores who is leading an army of monsters to destroy everything in his path!"

"Our bravest warrior has already fallen in battle, but before he died he instilled his power into his familial dragon, 'Billy'. Join with Billy to awaken his dragon ancestors and fight back against this scourge! First scout through the Green Forest, we haven't heard anything from their outpost in days and we fear the worst..."

From there, I think that's enough to make the description read more fluidly and perhaps increase your conversion rate of people who see your app... The only game play thing I'd note is that the game doesn't pause while a player is in the shop. This does deter people from making In App purchases. Just a thing to note


Feel free to chop and change anything I've written above, they're just my thoughts and observations

Enhance by FGL.

Automated SDK Integration with zero code.

09-23-2016, 07:00 AM
#3
Joined: Sep 2016
Posts: 5
I am really appreciate! Thank you for taking the time out to help me do so many things. I'll start to fix it, this gives me a lot of help. Thanks a lot.
09-23-2016, 07:08 AM
#4
Joined: Jun 2016
Location: Norwich, UK
Posts: 40
Also, are you making money purely from those in app purchases? You could add rewarded videos to "double coins earned on the next level", etc. Very popular approach, easy to implement and gives people a taste of why they should buy rewards. They can always choose no, if they don't want to!

Enhance by FGL.

Automated SDK Integration with zero code.
09-23-2016, 07:18 AM
#5
Joined: Sep 2016
Posts: 5
Good point , I'll consider your suggestion. The In App Purchases for almost half revenue.
09-23-2016, 07:43 AM
#6
Joined: Sep 2016
Posts: 5
Also, I know you installed the game. If you like it and want to continue play, here is a gift code : cywcs5 . Type the code in the feedback dialog and submit , you will get 1000 diamonds.
09-26-2016, 06:00 AM
#7
Joined: Jun 2016
Location: Norwich, UK
Posts: 40
thanks a lot!

In your description, be sure to use as much markup as you can. For headings, bold text, italics, colours etc. With the thousands of games we release we did a bit of an internal study and found using a variety of markup text can increase installs by a silly amount (as much as 50%!).

This SO has quite a lot of info regarding html you can use, etc:

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1...ion-formatting

Enhance by FGL.

Automated SDK Integration with zero code.
09-27-2016, 12:54 PM
#8
Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Singapore
Posts: 323
@Aqualien

I know that feel. Since 2010, I had been making and releasing my own games while working a full time job, earlier this year I had just gone full time indie for 8 months now and had put out 10 games by now. My first few games had 2 digits daily downloads as well, but I had always treated them as learning experiences. The blow came when a game (Causality) I was working on for almost a year still flopped as bad as the games I took a few months to develop, but I carried on making more games.

When I was going to release my next game (Run White Mouse Run), I took Causality off the store, and re-released it as Singularity, all the same content, but monetisation was changed as well as the title. And Guess what, Singularity got a front page feature in the US, and for some reason Apple took notice of White Mouse and got me a contact person. Since then, every game I release I would give this Apple personnel a heads up, and I had had better chances at getting my games featured, 4 games got front page featured so far, although not for all countries' stores.

Getting front page featured (especially in US or China's store), means a considerable download amount for your first week, your feature week, how your game perform download wise boils down to how much further marketing, media exposure and generally how good your game is. If it is going nowhere, or simply not a good game, after the feature ends, you will see download counts fall dead flat from the second week on.

So what I'm trying to say is, for us nobodies, our games success' depends on how good it is, whether it attracts any media attention pre-release, and then lots of luck getting noticed by Apple. I have seen and played many good games that never got featured and eventually I see the developer fade off somewhere. Indie survival is possible, but it's not easy.

And here's a good read by the dev of Dark Room. Ignore their ranking or the revenue they are making, but read the Do's and don'ts list, many useful takeaways.

https://www.reddit.com/r/startups/co...t_an_ios_game/

And on a more realistic and personal note, I am a Chinese in Singapore (and I'm assuming you are a Chinese as well), I understand there are traditions and culture for us to meet many financial commitments, unless you have a wealthy family or strong financial backings, you may still want to consider have some kind of income from side jobs. The stress over money on daily basis can have a strong negative impact on your game design and your overall mental and emotional welfare, I know, because I have reached that stage. 努力不敌富老爸,天资难胜好运气
09-27-2016, 08:38 PM
#9
Joined: Aug 2015
Posts: 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by unexpect3rd View Post
@Aqualien

I know that feel. Since 2010, I had been making and releasing my own games while working a full time job, earlier this year I had just gone full time indie for 8 months now and had put out 10 games by now. My first few games had 2 digits daily downloads as well, but I had always treated them as learning experiences. The blow came when a game (Causality) I was working on for almost a year still flopped as bad as the games I took a few months to develop, but I carried on making more games.

When I was going to release my next game (Run White Mouse Run), I took Causality off the store, and re-released it as Singularity, all the same content, but monetisation was changed as well as the title. And Guess what, Singularity got a front page feature in the US, and for some reason Apple took notice of White Mouse and got me a contact person. Since then, every game I release I would give this Apple personnel a heads up, and I had had better chances at getting my games featured, 4 games got front page featured so far, although not for all countries' stores.

Getting front page featured (especially in US or China's store), means a considerable download amount for your first week, your feature week, how your game perform download wise boils down to how much further marketing, media exposure and generally how good your game is. If it is going nowhere, or simply not a good game, after the feature ends, you will see download counts fall dead flat from the second week on.

So what I'm trying to say is, for us nobodies, our games success' depends on how good it is, whether it attracts any media attention pre-release, and then lots of luck getting noticed by Apple. I have seen and played many good games that never got featured and eventually I see the developer fade off somewhere. Indie survival is possible, but it's not easy.

And here's a good read by the dev of Dark Room. Ignore their ranking or the revenue they are making, but read the Do's and don'ts list, many useful takeaways.

https://www.reddit.com/r/startups/co...t_an_ios_game/

And on a more realistic and personal note, I am a Chinese in Singapore (and I'm assuming you are a Chinese as well), I understand there are traditions and culture for us to meet many financial commitments, unless you have a wealthy family or strong financial backings, you may still want to consider have some kind of income from side jobs. The stress over money on daily basis can have a strong negative impact on your game design and your overall mental and emotional welfare, I know, because I have reached that stage. 努力不敌富老爸,天资难胜好运气
That's cheering unexpect3rd! Looking for ways as an indie and seeing this post of yours is really inspiring. And I have to say, here's my respect to you and aqualien, and to all those on the forums who went full-time indie and is still going on. Is passion that make you this far? Really impressive.

btw, I was pretty obsessed with ThinkShift that time, didn't think would be hearing the story behind it now ;p
09-27-2016, 09:03 PM
#10
Joined: Aug 2015
Posts: 203
Hey Aqualien, I checked your game on both stores. Don't know when you released the first version, but getting nearly 100 reviews on PlayStore is not bad, actually not bad at all as an indie studio! But the situation you mentioned about raising a family and other life stuff, that is not easy indeed. I'm in an indie studio as well, the games we make are not like yours, they're more light & casual and like what unexpect3rd style. I'm not very sure how the situation are with those heavy games with IAPs, but guess the patterns must not be with huge difference.

The two games of ours reviewed the most by Chinese medias are 10Solo and 44Chairs, that gives out the credits to us. Although they were featured by those sites way out of the first feature month, but still, it's a huge step for us. Now I'm learning all those stuff about pre-launching, and other marketing stuff like Sam said. To me, helping each others out and try every possible ways out are the lease we can do, and are what we should do as indies. And add on what unexpect3rd mentioned, luck is the one of the keys as well.