Friday, July 22, 2011

Know Success Even When it Slaps You in the Face!

AKA: Hyper WARP gce Development Report

Hyper WARP gce was developed because:
1: I love Space Trading games
2: I needed to get a handle on a full Game Center integration
3. I needed to get a handle on adding consumable IAP's in an app

While I did not write this down, (which I think all your goals should be written down) I loosely defined success for the project as 500 Game Center players within 30-days. Yeah I realize Tiny Tower has, what, 1.2 million! I like to keep my goals attainable and realistic! ;-) I also looked at a bunch of other indie Game Center games and was surprised by the low number of players.

Sorry, I digress. I kept track each day the number of Game Center players and we broke the 500 mark 20 days in and after 31 days we had 701 players. Now these weren't all active players, but they did play and report scores. For completeness it is day 34 and we have 742 total Game Center players (4200+ total downloads).

Just think if I had spent more than $0.00 on marketing... ;-)


In addition, we now have a "tiny", in relative App Store numbers, group of core players, that even while the current version of the app crashes, in multiple areas (yeah, epic failure on my part!), they LOVE PLAYING IT. They have also provided GREAT FEEDBACK (thanks guys and girls!)

Note: Some of the crashes only come after playing the game for like 90 minutes (to clarify that's 90 minutes without a pause!) <- pretty sure that's another type of success!

Take Aways:
1. Game Center support is an absolute MUST HAVE for your game
2. If YOU don't LOVE playing your game, why would anyone else?
3. Leverage the work done and shared by others (don't reinvent the button!)
4. If you give something away if you app crashes, plan on it crashing ;-)
5. Quick turn around (start then finish in a few turns) games are very popular. It was 5-days before submission before we added the 3 Jump Challenge (most popular, of course it's first game mode), prior the shortest game play was 5 Jumps.
6. You can have a successful app while NOT supporting older devices (um yeah, if your device doesn't multi-task, sorry, no WARP gce for you).

In the Credits we list all the shared code used but I'd be remiss in not thanking TWO projects that were critical in the development of WARP gce.
1. ASTStoreKit : by Anystone Technologies
2. GameKitHelper: by Steffen Itterheim

Don't be afraid to push the envelope; Hyper WARP gce has what I believe are some app store "firsts":
* In App Consumables can be transferred to any other iOS device (buy a 10-pack then send 5 to another device)
* An Achievements leaderboard. With 40 achievements we wanted to hook as many "types" of players and this way you can compete at the achievement level and see how well other players are doing.
* First "good" Space trader game in Game Center ;-)

WAIT - you don't know what Hyper WARP gce is? So you haven't played it yet? Come on, it's FREE, give it a try. App Store Link.

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