Run Forrest, Run!

15 03 2008

Yesterday I had to run to my post office to pickup a parcel. I had about 10 minutes to find the nearest ATM machine, withdraw the money and comeback to post office. I did it, but man, I was soo tired after all this running. The thing is I haven’t run such a long distance for 5 years or so.

I noticed one thing – before I started to run I said to myself – man, that road is so long. But when I made my first step, then another, then started to run I realized that it’s actually not so long and that it’s getting shorted with each step.

I wish I could say the same about game developmet. Sometimes I believe it takes forever to complete a game. Especially, when your game looks like ready, when all you have to do is just add a popup or two, polish one or few things, adjust levels difficulty. Each day I say: just one more day. But then it happens that we missed the deadline by 40 days. Or more. It is so demotivating when you can’t say it’s ready, but it looks like it is.

The problem is – you cannot skip it. You either get in top 10 on portals or die.

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Be ready to be picked by Apple Stuff

14 03 2008

I am sure you’ve heard the 5th Symphony of Beethoven: taa-taa-taa-taammm. The initial motif of the symphony has sometimes been credited with symbolic significance as a representation of Fate knocking at the door. Well, two weeks ago it knocked at my door.

Apple seems to like my games. Everytime I submit our game to Apple downloads it is rated high and gets good coverage. I have also found out that Apple stuff tries to find good software on their own. That’s how they picked Path of Magic (after PR). But somehow they found out about Pony World, added it to their catalogue and made it featured game for kids.

In the first day we received over 2000 downloads and it didn’t dried off quickly. But we received just one! order. Imagine my shock and disappointment. When your game gets 0.02% CR it is a dissaster.

The problem is – the game was not fully ready to be launched. We added it to our catalog to get players feedback, but without pushing it to hard to the crowds. It was also Mac Intel only.

Once Apple featured us we quickly released Universal Binaries and fixed 2 or 3 bugs. That made a trick. CR increased to 0.5%. It’s not a good one, but it’s soo much better than 0.02%. I knew that the game may not sell like fire… that’s why we’ve been working on Pony World Deluxe for last 3 months. Still, 0.02% is something hard to believe for a game like Pony World.

It shows that Power PC has still very big share on Macs. Don’t even try to fool yourself with Mac Intel only release. It will not get you far.

It also shows that you never know when or who can feature you – and once it happen – you better be ready!

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I’m still alive

12 03 2008

It’s been a month since my last post. Some could think that I dropped the idea of blogging… and I am here again to tell you that there will be few very interesting posts coming in the nearest futere.

First of all, I haven’t been blogging for one reason – I was focused on Runes of Avalon 2. I was also working on Pony World Deluxe. Getting the games ready for launch is very time consuming, but I’ve learned a lot and I will share my experience with you.

Here’s what I will talk about in the next few posts:

– From 0.8% to 3.6% CR – how I improved CR from a crappy one to a stellar one
Are you ready to be picked by Apple? I was not!
Get in top10 or die! Big Fish Games Top 100 analysis inspired by Jake from Grey Alien Games.
– Importance of beta testing

So see you soon.

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