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Features ever game needs

01-27-2009, 01:19 PM
Junior Member [Original Poster]
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 12
Features ever game needs

I am a member of the military stationed in Iraq and a very avid iPod Touch gamer. I've lost count, but I know I've spent a couple hundred dollars or more on games since I've been here (and have downloaded countless free games as well). I usually focus mainly on the lower priced games ($2.99 and below), but will occasionally spend more if I think the game is worth it.

The purpose of this post is to hopefully give some feedback to current and future developers as to what features an average customer thinks will help a game be more enjoyable and more playable.

1. Reduce initial load times. I shouldn't have to stare at a splash screen for more than five seconds before I'm able to enter the game. Break the load times in sections if necessary. Maybe load the menu first, then load the tutorial, then the first level, etc.

2. Always, ALWAYS, have an option to turn off in-game music and allow me to listen to my own. This seems like such a basic request, but I can't count the number of times I've had to mention it in a review on the App store before that feature is added in an update. In-game music gets real repetitive after a while, and even if I don't have the option to listening to my own music, I'll still turn the in-game music off.

3. Have an option to turn off in-game music and game sounds separately. I like listening to my own music, but also like to hear the occasional bells and whistles of a game. Sound is very important to the experience of the game, but in most cases, the music is not. Separate controls would allow me to select whether I want sound and/or music, or neither.

4. If I leave a game, by hitting the home button or otherwise, I expect to return to the exact same place I was at when I left. This doesn't mean at the start of the current level, or worse, back at the beginning of the game. Sometimes, life interrupts when playing a game. I shouldn't be punished by having to accomplish what I've already accomplished.

5. If the game is more than $2.99, offer a free version the same day the full version is released. The App store is getting crowded. It is definitely a buyer's market. Spending more than $3.00 on a game based on an often vague description and screenshots is risky when there are so many games to choose from. If a game looks interesting, I will always download the free version and give it a try before making the commitment to buy the full version.

6. Don't abandon the game once it is released. I have downloaded a few games that were just on the edge of being great, but for one reason or another, the developer never updated the game or fixed any bugs. I'm sure that most of you are aware, but when you update a game, it shows up as a recent addition when sorted by date added. It does this for each subsequent release, which means that your game gets moved to the top of the list every time. If I miss a potentially fun game, and it never gets updated, I'll more than likely never know the game exists since I rarely go past the first page (I had already seen the ones the day before so no reason to look at them again).

7. Finally, don't give your game away. Sell it for at least $0.99. I know that designing a game, doing the art work, programming it, and testing it is time consuming. You should be paid for your hard work and creativity. Ad supported games only show ads on the iPhone, not the iPod Touch, which means you are missing out on a big portion of revenue. I know this is a tough call to make, but when I see a free game that isn't a lite version, I automatically think it isn't going to be worth my time to download and install.

I hope this feedback has been helpful. I am glad that there are so many armchair developers out there making games for the iPhone and iPod Touch. It truly is a remarkable device and I believe the future of mobile gaming.

01-27-2009, 01:26 PM
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Rapture. It sucks.
Posts: 414
Sounds pretty good to me.

01-27-2009, 01:37 PM
As far as listening to your own music is concerned, that's a nice option where possible, but a lot of games are right on the edge of the memory and CPU limits, so running the iPod in the background is a great way to ruin the game either by slowing it down or forcing it to run out of memory.
01-27-2009, 02:54 PM
Amen. I would also throw in that more of these games really really need to consider leader boards, online play and at least some level of competition that can be achieved through the game.

There are some amazing games out there.... but too often they're ones that you pick up and play for a week before you wind up kicking them to the curb for another newer shinier game. Focus on making a game highly replayable with different twists, turns surprises and hell maybe even an Easter Egg or two to stumble upon.
01-27-2009, 02:54 PM
Mostly reasonable requests ...

One thing that you have to understand is that the Splash Screens might be displayed for more than 5 seconds just for the most basic operations. It doesn't mean the game is loading all of its data at once. Engine initialization alone can take that long.

As far as music goes, after learning that Field Runners had no sound at all I almost didn't include any audio but decided to go for basic sound effects. Additionally, I figured most people would want to listen to their own music considering that these devices were initially music players. As such I decided to never clog up the auido channel (there's a hardware limit of 1 compressed audio track) so users can always access their own tunes.
01-29-2009, 03:33 PM
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,083
Great list, and well written.

Favorites: Siralim 1&2 | Cavern | Rogue Wizards | Solomon's Keep | Endless Depths | Tallowmere | Wayward Souls
01-29-2009, 03:56 PM
And if the developers deliver the features requested here, adding weeks to development time and testing, will everyone be willing to accept that the software actually costs more?

What is the value of each feature to you as a customer?

Screen orientation support, $0.50?
Smart saving and perfect resume functionality, $1?
Support for user's own audio, $0.20?

The features you are asking for are examples of what separates quality software from a hobbyist production. How much do you expect quality to affect price?
01-29-2009, 04:47 PM
Joined: Oct 2008
Location: In My Head
Posts: 3,358
Must be nice dude, Wi-fi in Iraq? When I was there we had 3 computers to share between some 3000 people... I'm sure it has changed a lot since I been there... Well good luck, we pray for you everyday your not back in the states...
USMC - 0311 (2nd Tank BN, Scout Platoon)