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iPhone Dev Blog #27

Development updates and notes on our new iPhone action-puzzler "180," and iPhone game reviews. Today's focus - following the launch!
iPhone App Game Development Blog #27

 

 

Another week has passed - what's going on?

180 for iPhone - Yay! Our game has been out for one week now! It feels pretty weird to type that. The game is not over, as I've not launched the promo campaign for reasons that should be obvious - hopefully we can get a move on with that soon, I expect to kick in with that in a week or two. In the meantime, we've been doing light promotion and it's been pretty well-received. The game in it's final form is in really tight shape, I am very proud of what we've accomplished and that it's finally out in people's hands (literally!) The feedback has been wonderful, and lots of people are tweeting and emailing and texting me to tell me how much they love the game and how addicted they are. That makes me pretty happy! I knew we had it in us to deliver a winner :) I eagerly hop on the leaderboards everydy to see how many new people are competing for that top spot. Come and get me! Right now B34$T is nipping at my heels, with MandolineGrill and Wenny just behind, followed by Butl3r. I am sitting pretty snug right now, but I'll be honest - I'm not really that good of a puzzle player, and sooner or later someone is going to obliterate me!

We are selling fairly well considering, and the YouTube demo video is collecting a good share of hits from interested people. It's still early, and hopefully we can crank these numbers up with the help of some word of mouth. I have a couple of websites and media sources interested in giving us some coverage, and the awesome gang over at Player One Podcast are running a little contest where you can win a promocode for the game. Additionally, they mentioned Headcase Games and our projects/Retrogaming Site on their show this week (it's at about the 52 minute mark). It should come as no surprise to hear that this is my favorite gaming podcast, so definitely give them a listen and see what they're all about.

I've got a thread for the game going over at TouchArcade, lots of people have posted very positive impressions in there which is wonderful. Feel free to help put in your two cents as well, the more visibility we can get for our little thread means the more that major iPhone gaming will give us some attention.

Reviews and ratings on iTunes are very positive, which is excellent (and helps sell more copies as well). Again, if you've got the game and enjoy it, please help us out by giving us a rank and writing a little blurb (be honest! Just say something)

Some other connections will kick in soon and should help us get a visibility boost, but overall this is a very uphill battle. The amount of competition on the App Store is staggering right now, so we really need as much support as we can muster. Believe me when I say I am taking my cause to the streets, I am out putting flyers and stuff "in the wild" and trying to woo people when I see them with iPhones (in a friendly way! Well, mostly) Obviously this method won't really help me crack the mass market, but it never hurts to try. My immediate goal is to get featured on top of the App Store, which is a seriously roped-off club. If we can break in there, then that is the beginning of a monster. Obviously the odds are very rough, but I can dream and try my best! This much I know, our game is very fun, unique, and perfectly suited for the iPhone - that much has been proven. Anyway, if anyone out there has a connection at Apple, now is the time to speak up :)

Anyway, regardless of all of that, pick up our game if you haven't already. See how you measure up to the big shots on the boards! I'm waiting...

Bizdev -it's pretty quiet right now as I am quite busy gearing up this marketing and doing promotion on the different levels. Also I am (quite behind) in helping my buddy Albert wrap-up his own game, and I need to rip through the rest of this blog so I can get back to work on production. We'd like to get that submitted in the next month.

Otherwise, in between working and promoting I am running around and having a decent share of meetings about lots of stuff, lots of potential things to do next. I was asked to appear at a PAX panel in September to speak on indie games, I gave an interview for a magazine, and I have a few other things of that nature potentially lined up as well. Talking with some other people about partnering on potential projects, lots of this stuff is riding on the outcome (one way or another) of the current business. It is honestly very exhausting, but quite exciting.

I'll take the opportunity to say this - if you have a website, podcast, etc and are interested in talking to me about 180, iPhone game development in general, life as an independent developer, or perhaps my 12 years in big studio game development, shoot me a message and let's talk. now is the time when I am interested in pushing for promotion, of course.

What Else is Going On - It's quiet otherwise.. early May, the madness of E3 is just a month away I believe. I faxed my registration credentials nearly a week ago and hoping to hear back shortly, hopefully that will get all fiured out shortly. Things are quiet in videogame news otherwise I guess, "the calm before the storm." Actually, it's a little too quiet - isn't Mario Galaxy 2 due this month? I believe Metroid's on delay.. can't think of anything else super-huge on the immediate horizon, except of course the elephant in the room (SC2) which will dominate the world for a long time I am sure. Long-awaited release of Sega's Alpha Protocol is finally down to just a month, which means I can update my website at long, long last... Anyway, maybe I have been hunkered down in my foxhole a bit much lately, but I can't think of anything terribly huge which is captivating the headlines right now. I guess E3 will stir up a bit.

What Have I Been Playing?

There's an absolutely abominable flurry of releases of titles on the iDevices right now. I'd say unprecedented really. If you are a dev releasing a title right now (and I am one too) then I feel pretty bad for you, because there's so much noise right now that it's really hard to get noticed unless you have hookups or big marketing moolah. Even so, a couple things catch my eye, so I will try to concentrate on what's beside all the hubbub a bit, here goes:

Here's a game which was visually arresting to me when I originally saw it; I never caught the name and meant to find it for awhile, but in the sea of iPhone apps that's soooo tough. Somehow I ran into it on a random page, and went to scoop it up. The verdict? The game is alright -tilt to steer your car, the goal is to hit cars which match the color of yours (active color will switch after a collision). It's a neat idea, though strangely I played the game for a full session without realizing the rules (and just avoided everything). It's alright, I never really get into these accelerometer control games. One thing I wish this game had? Machineguns! Skip this "hit the same color," I want 3D Spy Hunter! That would be rad...! Come on guys, you already have this engine built..

 

Vector Rally, like Hit N'Run up above, is a racing-themed game, but this one is very different. It's billed as "turn-based strategy racing," how it works is you select one of 9 choices for each turn (slow/medium/fast, for straight/veer left/veer right if that makes sense). Pick your choice, minding your velocity and trajectory, and try to make a perfect lap - but figure it wrong and you'll ed up crashing into walls. This looks very nerdy, but it's so addictive and very nicely polished. This app is enjoying a little time on the Featured page on iTunes, I heavily recommend picking it up. Way more fun than it may look, and actually quite easy to get into. Fully-fleshed out presentation with lots of options, I look forward to see what other features show up in this app! A unique experience which should not be missed.

 

A doodle runner! I am surprised they didn't call it that.. anyway here we have another Canabalt-style game, with a little doodle guywho runs along endlessly. Tap the screen to vault into the air, hold the screen and he'll high-jump. You know the drill. I messed with it for a moment, it's fine for what it is.. check out the lite if you can't get enough of these.

 

Here is an app which I reviewed on TouchArcade (author sent me a promocode). Something about it intrigued me, not sure what. Again, it doesn't look like much, but what we have here is another of those little games which you play once for a second and think "oh, whatever." Then you die and say "well maybe just one more time." Then next thing you know it's been 20 minutes and you're still messing with the wretched thing! It's extremely simple, but appealing and I appreciate what they've done. Hard to sell on the screenshots alone, but the aesthetic works (they make good use of the audio as well). This is a bone-simple little app which is absolutely worth 1 dollar, if they get some leaderboards figured out then it could be kind of popular! Big kudos for successfully constructing this with the Gamesalad Engine, that's no small feat and they've done an excellent job considering. I like this game.

 

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