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

New developer and new game

04-13-2010, 06:41 AM
#1
New developer and new game

Hi, I just wanted to introduce myself and get some feedback if possible. I come from a business software development background on the PC, but have been tinkering on and off with iPhone development on a Mac for some months now.

I've got to a stage now where I've started to put in some serious development time for an iPhone/iPod Touch game, and could possibly complete it in a relatively short timescale if I continue to put the hours in.

The game is (yet another) line drawing chaos management game but I have 2 new ideas for the genre which I'm hoping will make it stand out amongst the competition. Sorry I can't do into detail on these ideas yet, but I guess I'm asking do you think there is room in the App Store for another line drawing game with a different twist on it, or have gamers had their fill of this type of game?

Steve
04-13-2010, 07:53 AM
#2
hiya Steve

to be honest, it's very hard to stand out in this genre. People seem happy with Flight Control and Harbor Master.

although I guess it depends how good your twist is...

if you're going ahead with it, I'd suggest you think as much as about your business model as the game. Going out even at 99c is a no-go these days.

Think about freemium, ad-funded, free promotion sites - all of the above.

good luck

jon
pocketgamer

04-13-2010, 08:21 AM
#3
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 5,206
I'd have to agree: It had better be a pretty significant, exceptional twist if it's going to have any hope of standing out. The line drawing/chaos management genres are very much saturated as it is, and it has already been dominated by some heavy hitters, so it's going to take something pretty sensational and different -- and not just for the sake of being different -- if it's going to attract any sort of attention and renew interest in the line drawing genre.

I generally say, if you're going to follow in the footprints of the multitudes who came before, your shoes had better be big enough to obliterate them or nobody will ever know you were there. If you want to enter such a saturated market, you'll have to make something pretty epic, and not in a way that feels contrived, so I wish you luck on that.

[Relax with Galactic Chill] [Let me tell you a story.]
Currently working on: Music for Spirit Hunter Mineko
04-13-2010, 04:38 PM
#4
Thanks for the quick replies guys. I really appreciate what you've both said and I do agree with the saturation element of the market. I think this is true of most established game types whether they are first person shooters, line drawing, puzzle games, etc. The common key element to the success of any game or application seems to be exposure, exposure, exposure.

I've been reading the other thread in this forum "The wrong side of the app store" about the A side and the B side of the App Store. Although potentially discouraging on the first read, it bought home one of my original criteria for developing this game - spend no more than 6 weeks on it. This is born out of necessity because (like a lot of other indies) I have zero budget for the game other than the 'cost' of my time, and even 6 weeks is pushing it, as I have to continue to earn a living through my core PC development business.

I do believe I have a unique and potentially successful twist to the line drawing game genre. Perhaps I'm blinkered by the perceived quality of my own idea, perhaps not... Time will tell and I am happy for you guys to say we told you so, but I will be even happier if I can say I had reasonable success.

So on the whole I am willing to gamble 4-6 weeks of my life and livelihood to scratch an itch that just won't go away. That itch is to get a game finished and published on the App Store. Why? I really don't know.
04-13-2010, 05:10 PM
#5
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Hollywood, CA
Posts: 1,869
Yeah if you can keep your time/work investment minimal, then I say go for it. There's a lot you should be aware of however - if you truly intend to get your game seen, do your damnedest to make sure it looks nice, is casual player friendly, has a lite version released coincident with the pay version (and upsell properly - don't give away too much in your lite!)

Promote it here on TA as well as any other place you can think of, give people a reason to know who you are/what you're doing, et cetera. The days of just putting a game out on the app store and hoping "it will sell itself" are long gone for all but the most fortunate, at this point you need to cover your butt with a lot of other things to get some notice. At the very least, get yoirself some kinda blog/twitter/facebook etc so that when you do catch someone's eye, they have a place to hang out and "watch" otherwise you just drift off into the ether.

That being said, if you have a really good twist to show off, do your best to play it up leading up to release (don't want it to get stolen/upstaged either!) and maybe you could get a break, who knows! I for one am interested to see what is in store..! Just starting a thread like this is a good way to begin.
04-13-2010, 06:21 PM
#6
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 5,206
Quote:
Originally Posted by StevePerks View Post
Thanks for the quick replies guys. I really appreciate what you've both said and I do agree with the saturation element of the market. I think this is true of most established game types whether they are first person shooters, line drawing, puzzle games, etc. The common key element to the success of any game or application seems to be exposure, exposure, exposure.
That may be oversimplifying things. Clearly, exposure is great and necessary for success, but you're not going to get that exposure if you don't have a product that inspires it. (You don't get written about because you're just like everyone else after all.) By and large, the games that got exposure even in a saturated market typically deserved it because they did something different, better, and/or simply more engaging.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StevePerks View Post
I do believe I have a unique and potentially successful twist to the line drawing game genre. Perhaps I'm blinkered by the perceived quality of my own idea, perhaps not... Time will tell and I am happy for you guys to say we told you so, but I will be even happier if I can say I had reasonable success.

So on the whole I am willing to gamble 4-6 weeks of my life and livelihood to scratch an itch that just won't go away. That itch is to get a game finished and published on the App Store. Why? I really don't know.
Oh, absolutely go for it! You'll never know if you don't try, and you may just have something fit to print on your hands. Just hold no expectations when it's released and don't get discouraged if it doesn't do well. (And of course, celebrate well if it does. ) You've chosen to enter a packed and competitive genre, so the bar is already set pretty high. You just have to make sure you can either set it higher, or distract people with a nicer one.

[Relax with Galactic Chill] [Let me tell you a story.]
Currently working on: Music for Spirit Hunter Mineko
04-13-2010, 07:27 PM
#7
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Hollywood, CA
Posts: 1,869
One other thing which should be mentioned, and it really is never said enough - 1st order of business is to get a proof-of-concept, where you can see if what worked in your head conceptually translates well into actual software.

From that point, get it presentable to the point where it can be shown to random people to test. You don't need fancy menus, features, etc, just have the gameplay working and graphics that are at the very least not offensive. Then show this around, hopefully to people you don't know - if you see some people txting on their iPhone in a bar, more often than not strangers are usually pretty happy to donate a minute to look at your game if you give them a line like "I am making an iPhone game and need to get some feedback, do you have a minute?" This way you can tell if it is just in your head that the game is cool, or if people generally can enjoy it. A few samples like that will tell you all you need to know, for every major build you've got.

(be sure to try to observe them with your lips sealed, rather than showing them how to play. Even an early build should incorporate some sort of "how to play" which is compelling enough not to be skipped past, or overloaded with details)

Our first game we didn't really test at ALL in the field and we paid for it Our new game we tested extensively, and I think we have a decent chance of getting some nice sales numbers when it launches soon
04-14-2010, 03:47 AM
#8
Thanks again for these snippets of advice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by headcaseGames View Post
Our first game we didn't really test at ALL in the field and we paid for it Our new game we tested extensively, and I think we have a decent chance of getting some nice sales numbers when it launches soon
Good luck with the new game, what's it called so I can look out for it.
04-14-2010, 04:53 AM
#9
Firstly, good luck Steve

My experience with Alien Swing has not been entirely positive: I loved making it, and I'm proud of what I think is a great game (and it's reviewed pretty well too) but total sales so far have numbered only just over 200 - not enough to pay for the kit, or the art - and while I still hope to turn that around in the future I encourage you not to bet the house on your game.

I have two pieces of advice based on what I percieve to have gone wrong:

1. Invest heavily, and early, in marketting. I now think something like a 25-33% of your time, effort and money needs to go into that side of things.

2. Make sure you slot in below the 20Mb 3G download limit.

Alien Swing is available from the App Store now!
Follow my development blog at Mr Jack Games
04-14-2010, 05:19 AM
#10
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Posts: 515
I would suggest 1 free app, with ads and 1 piece of DLC.

The DLC would add whatever extra features, and also remove the ads.

It is important to just have 1 version, because then all the downloads go towards helping it climb the ranks.

It is important to have the ads and DLC in the game from day one, because otherwise whiners will see it as a bait and switch, and some sort of betrayal of their love.

Good forms of DLC are extra level, graphic reskins or new game modes. People get angry if DLC is used to help out in the non-DLC game modes, since it lets people "buy their way onto the top of the leaderboards"

If you go with an online leaderboard option that lets you give out achievements, I suggest you use up most or all of the points. It will help with downloads as people like to boost their total scores.

If it is going to take a while to finish the game, consider going OS 4.0 so you can use iAds and Game Center