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A Message for Inert Soap (Developers of Fingerzilla)

03-18-2010, 11:27 PM
#1
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Indiana, USA
Posts: 7,797
A Message for Inert Soap (Developers of Fingerzilla)

First off, some people probably won't care or even see my point here. That's fine, if you feel unaffected by the issue: please have a nice day

Now, for starters I only recall giving negative feedback or leaving a "bad" iTunes review twice. One of those cases the developer actually extended his personal cell phone # to me and he rectified the issue in a timely manner. The other was issues with SimCity and while I never lowered my initial 5 star iTunes review, I did kind of talk trash about EA Mobile for awhile. Out of an estimated 300+ game downloads since getting my first iPhone, I'd say that makes me a mostly pacifistic "game critic".

My point in all that rambling? I don't want Inert Soap or any of the chance trolls/flamers who view this thread to think I'm just a whiny iPhone owner that thinks I'm "entitled"to something.


OK, my issues with Fingerzilla:

I bought this game for a mere $.99 the day it was released to the store. I had never heard of the dev nor the game. I played it liked it alot and saw tons of potential. One nice thing I'll note at that point is the dev, whether advertantly or inadvertantly awarded me, in the long term, as an early adopter.

This was very soon nullified by one of the "give our app away for free" promotions. And yes, I know full well that this has happened to us all, but it still "cheapens" the game to me.

So during this free period I started to experience severe framerate issues with the game on my iPhone 3G. The developers replied to my frustrations right here on TA's forums and eventually updated to remedy these issues.(I've since upgraded to a 3Gs and the framerate etc. Is flawless and enjoyable)

So, at this point I was still satisfied with my purchase.

Enter stage right; tonights update for Fingerzilla. I feel it has broken the game and even though I bought the game for only $.99, I didn't buy the game because of the price. I bought the game based on the premise of the gameplay etc.

The first thing I noticed is that where I had some nice high-scores before, within a matter of a few hours my scores became virtually bottom of the rung due to one element of introduced DLC- the ability to buy extra time, per round, to rack up extra points this element alone has "broken" the structure of the game for those of us who originally bought Fingerzilla, and spent countless gaming sessions with not an inkling of a clue that down the road the base structure of this score-based, arcade game would be utterly disregarded and changed forcing one like myself to now continuously pay to compete or just give up and delete the game

Please, Inert Soap, consider removing this element of your DLC. It has made the games scoring mechanism unbalanced and severly, thoughtlessly "pay to rank" no skill necassary.

To top this off, now there is also the addition of in-game advertising for Google and other unrelated spam Now that just sucks!!

While I'm sure untold numbers d/l Fingerzilla during the Freeturnyourappintocrap promotion, and maybe that has influenced what appears to me to be sheer greed tactics, by this once respected (by me) indie developer, but what about those of us who bought what was presented to us as one product and now has changed into some sort of mutated, Freemium, money-grab game?

What's next, you have to get five friends to use your code for "respect"?

Please, Inert Soap; address and rectify what seems to be turning into some seriously shady tactics

Richard

GameCenter: rich_952000
I'm generally active on Twitter concerning all things iOS, PS and Nintendo; Hit me up
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03-18-2010, 11:45 PM
#2
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Colorado
Posts: 5,245
I think you have some valid points Richard. You always show a lot of respect towards Devs when posting about a game you are playing. I hope something gets worked out here.

I got this game free but deleted it after the update.

03-18-2010, 11:50 PM
#3
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: /dev/null
Posts: 71
I haven't even gotten the game yet, regardless of the price (I stay away from mainstream apps, normally, and go for the less visible, yet often better, ones that hide in the shadows).

This only solidifies it; I won't be getting this anytime soon.

However, I must say that this kind of stuff happens; a bad update gets through. It causes problems. It will probably be fixed pretty quickly. Yet you are right; your reasoning is sound. This update shouldn't have made it in the first place.

Touchaholics News Reporter/ Reviewer
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03-19-2010, 12:04 AM
#4
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: SG
Posts: 3,549
Wow. I didnt know the update did that to the game. That sucks. I know its hard to satisfy all customers, but I would think the devs would prioritize satisfying loyal customers / early adopters over other issues.

Crystal, OpenFeint, Plus+, Disc Drivin: Prab | Game Center: PrabSG
03-19-2010, 12:06 AM
#5
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Indiana, USA
Posts: 7,797
Thanks for the responses, sometimes when things don't go our way we tend to go headlong into pursuits to make them go the way we want, and I've been guilty before of doing such, only to find out later maybe our view was self-driven to the point that we/I finally realized that things weren't actually as warped as we first thought. At least I know there is a shred of validity and cause for the noveletta I wrote above

GameCenter: rich_952000
I'm generally active on Twitter concerning all things iOS, PS and Nintendo; Hit me up
@dick_952000 Love TouchArcade? Hit up their Patreon
03-19-2010, 12:41 AM
#6
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 5,146
Unfortunately, this is exactly where things are going to be heading (and are bound to only get worse) so long as the "freemium" model continues to prove successful.

From what you've described the move of making the game free was almost certainly a planned one with the view to selling DLC.

Expect more developers to jump onto the bandwagon. Ngmoco aren't the only ones who like money - or only ones who'll sell their souls for it.

Fight against it. I will as I have to this point, by speaking out each chance I get. Unfortunately the "masses" are too short-sighted to care. As is the way of the world. It is a losing battle you only keep fighting for principle alone.
03-19-2010, 11:24 AM
#7
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Saratoga, CA, USA
Posts: 11,781
At its purest form, the free game with a DLC upgrade to full or even extra DLC content is cool enough in my book BUT what IGNITES MY IRE is when Ngmoco and FDG pull stuff that essentially boils down to being able to "buy your online highscore"! If the developers had any integrity the developers would track the basic and enhanced versions of the game on separate scoreboards but, of course, this will never happen as THIS IS THE VERY THING THEY'RE SELLING (just like the old CCG scam of needing to buy into the latest expansions if you want to remain competitive).

Tim "Lord Gek" Jordan, Game Consultant
Twitter: LordGek
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My iTunes Reviews
03-21-2010, 04:47 AM
#8
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 287
Hi, Richard and others!

First off, Richard, even if you're pissed at us, thanks for taking the time to write out all your thoughts in such a coherent way. I'll try to respond in kind.

I'll do the simplest part first. The "free" promotion. When we released Fingerzilla, it showed up on the New Releases for about two days. During that time we had about a thousand downloads. It then fell off the radar, going to a dozen or so per day. After Apple took its cut and the various country currencies were factored in, that left us with about $700 profit for the game. We knew there were some performance issues, so we spent another week or so creating the 1.1 patch, which helped customers but didn't generate any new money.

At that point we had two options: we could drop the game entirely, and pretty much start looking for real work (there were two of us working on the game full-time, so we each had $350 out of it), or we could try to find some way to advertise the game and get it noticed. We spent the couple hundred on various advertising campaigns, which did nothing. We spent the final cash we had trying the "Free for a day" concept, knowing that we'd be losing any other possible downloads, in addition to all of the money we had made (and not even received from Apple yet). And it turned out way beyond our expectations: we had over 2 million free downloads that week. It was great advertising, and because the 1.1 version had the Mutation Pack in, enough people downloaded it to at least cover those costs.

At that stage, we started getting lots of requests for features, but couldn't afford to put them in unless we either (a) raised the game to something like $4.99, while still not freaking people out, or (b) put the features in, but break them up into packs so that people could choose which to buy and which to skip.

At this point, I still think we made the right choice overall. But I'd like to ask you (Richard) along with anyone else out there: what else can we do? I'm not being sarcastic; we're really looking for ways to make fun games while still being able to pay our rent and buy food. I know a bunch of you are saying that "Freemium" games are just developers being greedy... but please, if you have other ideas, tell us!

On to some other topics: one that I definitely feel bad about is the advertising, not because it hit any of the 2 million free downloads -- anyone who gets a game for free should expect to see advertising -- but for when it hits anyone who paid for the game originally. At the time we put it in, we couldn't think of any way to identify users who had purchased the game for a price, versus those who had paid for it. I think I have an idea of a way to make that work now, and if I can get it to work right, I can make it so that paying customers wouldn't see ads, while free customers would. Does that sound reasonable to people?

Final note is about the high score stuff. You're totally right, and we didn't think of that at all when we put some of the content in. We saw it from the reverse direction: we wanted to give people who were really into the OpenFeint leaderboards a way to compete above and beyond the original maximums for the levels; we thought it would give those players something more they could achieve, while "ordinary" players could just ignore it. But you're totally right -- if you want to get a high score for level X now, and some other player pays 99 cents and slams past you ... well, that can really suck.

Ideas to fix that... (1) have a premium paid version of the app (not necessarily more expensive, just different) that doesn't have the boosts, and has its own leaderboards. It wouldn't help those of you who have the current version; we'd have to try to find a way to give you credit for the new app, and I'm not sure how to do that. (2) Double the leaderboards so that there would be "Level 1 - no boosts" and "Level 1 - boosts enabled." Main problem there is the legacy values: I know I'd be pissed if I were a player and my scores got wiped. I guess all the existing boards would transition to the "Boosts Enabled" version; the new ones would start up, and you'd only post to them if you never used a boost during gameplay. Now, that would make a kind of silly number of boards (about 25 now), but it would let you jump into the competition again. Or, perhaps a (3) that we haven't thought of?

Okay, I've rambled enough. I'm sad when I see some of you think that we're just in this for the money, rather than the, "we need to make money or can't eat," which is how it feels from our side. But please, whether it's on any of the above issues, or new questions / comments, do post here and give us your thoughts.

Thanks,
Tom
03-21-2010, 06:31 AM
#9
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Indiana, USA
Posts: 7,797
I thank you Tom for taking the time here and on the openfeint forums to respond to my questions.

I have alot better understanding now of what your intentions and situation are and so as to be just as thoughtful I'm going to take some time and really think about my responses/feedback to your post, I'll either send you a private message or contact you through Open Feint.

My bottom line is, for me, Fingerzilla is a fantastic game. If I didn't absolutely like the game I'd never have taken the time to write about what's bothering me about it after the update.

Fingerzilla remains on my iPhone and i'm going to go ahead and buy the in-app levels because they look too awesome to pass up just because of a scoring issue.

I hope ultimately Inert Soap succeeds as this game has shown me that you have talent in the field. I think it will now just be a "feeling out" process to strike a happy medium between keeping your customers happy and earning the maximum potential while doing so. Regards and good luck,

Richard

GameCenter: rich_952000
I'm generally active on Twitter concerning all things iOS, PS and Nintendo; Hit me up
@dick_952000 Love TouchArcade? Hit up their Patreon