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Dear Developers - A Plea from your fans..

04-04-2010, 12:41 PM
#1
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 136
Dear Developers - A Plea from your fans..

Dear developers,

I am writing this on behalf of myself and the gaming community. I have been reviewing iPhone and now iPad apps for over 18 months on a commercial website. I say this so you understand I have played and reviewed over 300 games in the last 18 months. I think I have some credibility on the subject.

We have some ideas to help make your games play and sell better. The first thing I would like you to address is to take into thought who will be playing these apps.

While the iPhone is pretty much a personal device the iPad is going to become a communal device. I myself have 2 children and a wife. We run into a lot of fighting on the iTouch and iPad already over games. How hard is it to allow applications to have individual profiles with separate logins associated with them.

Every game needs to allow Profiles so my difficulty level / game progress / achievements and online content etc are not erased, or changed when my kids decide to play. - It's not that complicated and I purchase games that support this instantly.

Secondly every game that uses virtual joysticks MUST include the ability for me to move them to the location where MY fingers reach not yours! On the iPhone this was tolerable, but going forward all games need this. if you had an iPad and tried any of these you will see what I mean. Even zoomed in its extremely un-comfortable to play these games..

Third I would ask anyone creating upscaled versions of your applications to please make them universal. I understand that some of these games need extensive work and while I do not mind a small charge 7.99 for upscaled games isn't worth it regardless of what you think.. If your going to do that just make a new game iPad only..

and lastly I would ask you to stop rushing applications to the market hoping to hit a specific time of year or thinking you will put something out and fix or add new features later.

In willing to wait for a proper game. There are WAY to many craptastic games with spotty controls or very little content with the "We will add more later" banner attached to them..

Do it right, and ask for 2.99 with full levels, and proper controls and than keep the price at 2.99 we will buy it.. I tell my users to wait on alot of these titles simple because they just are not worth it. Even at impulse prices.. Crap for 2.99 is just as crappy at .99 so just wait for the prices to drop.

Now I do not want you take this wrong. I respect most of you and I understand you are not all doing this for the love of gaming but to make an income. We want and will support those developers who take time to think about these things.

I'm sure some of you will disagree and are happy with things as they are, but these are some of the things that would make gaming better on the iPhone and iPad going forward. Fell free to add your take as well.
04-04-2010, 01:08 PM
#2
It's not that complicated and I purchase games that support this instantly.

I stopped reading there. You aren't a developer, I would appreciate it if you didn't tell me what part of my job is or isn't complicated. Can you even BEGIN to tell me where you would start the process of providing different logins? Go ahead, guess.

While I think your intentions are good, I think you went about it very poorly. Sales are not dependent on whether a game does or does not support multiple logins. We have much larger problems to deal with, and if multiple logins happen to be a feature, well great.

So, since you told me what my job should entail, I'll tell you what yours should entail. You should have a SEPARATE DEVICE WHEN DOING A REVIEW. How is it even possible that you would not have a separate device for work? You let your family play on your work equipment? I don't even let family touch my work computer, much less my iPhone.

A ragdoll physics platformer:Flickitty
The artist: randall schleufer
Twitter: @FlickittyiPhone

04-04-2010, 01:15 PM
#3
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 241
Send a message via MSN to tukun
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flickitty View Post
It's not that complicated and I purchase games that support this instantly.

I stopped reading there. You aren't a developer, I would appreciate it if you didn't tell me what part of my job is or isn't complicated. Can you even BEGIN to tell me where you would start the process of providing different logins? Go ahead, guess.

While I think your intentions are good, I think you went about it very poorly. Sales are not dependent on whether a game does or does not support multiple logins. We have much larger problems to deal with, and if multiple logins happen to be a feature, well great.

So, since you told me what my job should entail, I'll tell you what yours should entail. You should have a SEPARATE DEVICE WHEN DOING A REVIEW. How is it even possible that you would not have a separate device for work? You let your family play on your work equipment? I don't even let family touch my work computer, much less my iPhone.

well i think he saying that from the pov of a customer not a reviewer. Sure it could b very complicated, but its also a very good point.
04-04-2010, 01:21 PM
#4
I'm sure he has some very valid points, and I am sure I agree with most of them. I tend to take issue with reviewers that act like game development is an easy process, even with the simplest of features.

A ragdoll physics platformer:Flickitty
The artist: randall schleufer
Twitter: @FlickittyiPhone
04-04-2010, 01:42 PM
#5
1) The benefits of adding profiles for apps is minimal. You are asking developers to prolong their development time for a feature that almost nobody would use. I don't know a single person that uses somebody else's iPhone enough to warrant multiple profiles.

iPad games, on the other hand, I could see profiles being necessary.

2) Very well. I think most developers do try to add flexibility in their control schemes. However, most also try to nail down a single control scheme until its perfect, not allow for many convoluted schemes.

3) If people will pay for 7.99 upscaled apps, then they will be priced that way. However the iPad just came out. In a couple of months when there is more iPad specific content and the iPad store matures, you won't be seeing overpriced versions that are simply upscaled ports. They'll have new features, new game modes, etc. to try making the heftier price tag worth it.

4) Sadly, the rush out and add features later method is a product of the way the app store operates. Developers can reduce production time, and if the game gets noticed (which is the hardest part) then add the updates. The serious developers, however, won't do this anyway.

Last edited by Eastbound; 04-04-2010 at 01:46 PM.
04-04-2010, 04:31 PM
#6
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: California, USA
Posts: 2,143
I don't see the point in getting mad at a user (potential customer) for stating his opinion. I appreciate hearing this type of thing. Some people take things too personally I suppose.

I'm not including profiles in my game because, as the OP mentioned, the iPhone is a personal device that most people don't share much. At least that is the main reason.

Adding profiles isn't that difficult in most situations I've come across. It is extra work but is relatively easy compared to many other taks in game development. Depends on the game though.

I agree that controls are going to be an issue with the iPad.

As a dev, I'm basically ignoring the iPad for now and just shooting for the smaller devices. That may change.
04-04-2010, 05:31 PM
#7
Opinions are fine, but hiding under a guise of 'reviewer' and pretending to know anything about game development is a joke. Suggestions are warranted and even needed, but oftentimes the problems are NOT resolved in a straightforward manner. Sometimes, the problem is not even what we think the problem is.

If we continue to read the OPs post, it is riddled with errors and misleading concepts. Instead of making 'customized dual stick layouts', how about abolishing that wonky scheme altogether? It is the single worst layout of any game mechanic I have ever seen.

New ideas are not accepted, so instead we see pathetic attempts in games like Earthworm Jim with the most horrendous and ugly onscreen controls ever. The problem isn't that the layout isn't customizable, the problem is that the control scheme sucks altogether.

There are a few platformers that have well-thought controls. But those games never get reviewed, nor do they garnish the attention they deserve. So developers are left in a circle jerk where they create onscreen controls that just perpetuate the problem without solving anything.

I would have allowed the OP a little more leeway if they had left out the whole 'reviewer' bit. But someone who has reviewed 300 apps in 18 months (almost 1 app every 2 days) is most likely getting paid to review.

A ragdoll physics platformer:Flickitty
The artist: randall schleufer
Twitter: @FlickittyiPhone

Last edited by Flickitty; 04-04-2010 at 05:38 PM.
04-04-2010, 07:02 PM
#8
Joined: Oct 2009
Location: UK
Posts: 303
I'm sure Dorfdad will correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe he has his own site (**********). Can't think why he spends so much time on TA but I don't doubt that he's reviewed enough games to have formed valid opinions, whether anyone agrees with them or not.

Fortunately, I don't have the headache of actually coding games but I do know that coming up with simple theoretical solutions is way easier than actually implementing them. Not to say that developers ought not to listen to feedback with a view to making improvements but I understand why some get frustrated by 'helpful' suggestions. (I would have been on the receiving end of a flying iPhone by now, if they weren't so expensive to replace).

04-04-2010, 08:31 PM
#9
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,006
While it's not uncommon for multiple people in a household to each own their own ipod/iphone, the ipad is going to be a shared device, and so I agree that support for separate profiles is a compelling feature. That being said, unless users are willing to password protect profiles, I think it's likely that their kids will trample all over stats/saved games.

Given the ipad's form factor, as other folk have stated, I think virtual joysticks are going to be even more passe. It's certainly possible to make touchscreen action games that don't use or need them, and I don't intend to use virtual joysticks in any future apps, ipod or ipad.

The jury is still out on whether to go with universal or separate ipad ports of existing ipod games. While a consumer that already has the ipod version is obviously going to be happy to get an ipad enhanced version for free, unless the developer is planning to make the extra resolution an in-app purchase, the established user base isn't going to earn the developer a single penny or even an upward push on rank.

And it's not like it's even a pure win for the consumer: adding tons of high resolution ipad graphics assets is going to bloat the download size of apps for people that could care less about ipad and just want to grab the ipod/iphone version.

I think it's totally reasonable to resell an HD version of a 99 cent app for another 99 cents. Many ipod games are ugly or barely playable on the ipad, and already I have some users sending me requests for ipad-friendly updates. But it's not like developers can push a magic button to spit out an HD version of a game. Given the time and expense needed to upgrade an app, and the fact that many (most?) ipod apps never even covered costs during their run, I'd be shocked if we saw the trend of HD versions of ipod games continue.

I think the bottom line that will drive developer behavior is the approach that gets more visibility. If an app is already ranked in the iphone appstore, it seems like a safe bet to put out a universal update. Those apps already have decent visibility, and being ipad-ready gives a nice competitive edge.

One final comment: anyone that suggests that developers should "do it right" and only make huge, super polished games loaded with tons of content is a bit daft. Most indie developers are lucky to break even on their projects. It's easy to speculate that if only they sunk more money/time into developing the title, that their apps would do better. The flip side is that spending more money in production introduces much bigger risks. A new or novel idea has a limited shelf life - it's almost inevitable that someone else will eventually try something similar, and so it's not surprising to see people push things out even if they're not 100% baked.
04-04-2010, 09:57 PM
#10
If the iPad does turn out to be frequently used as a shared device, then the support for individual user profiles would best be provided by the OS.