If you build it, they will come, Or not.

Hello there, welcome back. I’ve started receiving some feedback from you guys and I appreciated it. As always, you can find me on Twitter.

In keeping me honest, I’ve not had time to focus on my game or the Entelect R100K Challenge this weekend. Instead, I worked on a project that is not game related at all. I’ve you are into devices like the Arduino, then I might just have something of use to you. It’s still early days for the prototype so I’ll update you as and when I have more.

I suppose after looking at Stray Cat you will agree that the game targets a very specific audience. At the time of it’s release I was still high on the fact that I had just released a game on the App Store and I didn’t hit the ground running. Not as much as I could have, or should have, that’s for sure. So needless to say I didn’t act quick enough or with enough skill, after all, I was new to all of this. I still am new to this.

To be honest, the kids who played it seemed to like it throughout testing and I’ve found my kids playing it without me asking them to. So a little history here, I didn’t want to make the game free because I felt that I needed to make some kind of revenue to help pay for the costs of making the game. I also didn’t want the game to be supported by Ads as I’ve heard horror stories of things kids have discovered through Ads. So I decided to charge $0.99 for the game and that’s where my learning curve started.

The problem is, most kids aren’t allowed to load games from the App Store by themselves and they are certainly not the ones who make the “buy or don’t buy” decisions. This presented me with a problem, I need the parents to see the game and buy it for their children. The problem is, Stray Cat doesn’t attract the attention of the parents because it’s not a game for adults.

Facebook Friends

I’ve always heard the investor talk of sourcing your funds through “friends and family” so I thought that since I have lots of friends on Facebook I’d see some downloads if I mention the game there. After all, my friends would support me, right? How wrong was I! My downloads following the release and the Facebook post was limited to me, my wife and one or two people at work who also started their own game development journeys. My wife had more facebook friends than I did, so she did the same. It barely made a difference. So the first lesson learnt, it doesn’t help to just rely on your Facebook friends to get the word going. Ok, so that was too obvious, I know.

Twitter

I mentioned the game on twitter, but I had so few followers I wrote twitter off almost before I even made the post. If you can tell that I was even new to twitter at this point, bonus points to you, I was a complete rookie. If you’ve picked up that I’m being very vague in terms of exactly how many downloads were linked to which Facebook or Twitter post, then you my friend are at the boss level of the game. You don’t need bonus points, you need to start spending them!

The fact is, I missed a huge trick.

What I didn’t do, but should have done

There is this site, called TapStream and they offer a free service to shorten your URL’s. This sounds very silly initially but the beauty is that they also track how many people have opened the URL! So on my facebook post, I posted the URL to install Stray Cat and the URL pointed straight to the App Store. Had I shortened the URL in TapStream and posted that shortened URL, then any user who clicked the link would still go to the App Store, but they would be sent there VIA TapStream. Why, I hear you ask? Well, simply then I’d know that if I had 10 downloads and 5 clicks on my Facebook specific TapStream url, then I know that 5 of my 10 installs were as a result of my Facebook post.

Why is that important, you ask? Well, I need to know what is effective and what’s not effective. I need to advertise and mention things where people actually listen or are interested. Lesson learnt again.

App Store Stats are Delayed

With Stray Cat, I realized that the game targets a very specific audience. Kids mostly. How do you get your target audience aware of your game. At this point I hadn’t heard about things like TapStream so I was flying in the dark. Another thing is that the Apple App store only updates data around 12:26 PM South African time. That means, if lots of people download my game right now, I’ll only know about it tomorrow. There’s a little trick there though, the App Store doesn’t update stats at the same time every day, it seems to vary by a small margin. AppFigures has a handy little site that lets you check on this.

Lets start marketing!

Facebook allows you to link your advertising campaign to your app on the App Store. This is problematic because it makes using TapStream a little difficult. But, at this point I wasn’t using TapStream in any case, so my problem was simple yet the same: if you ran multiple advertising campaigns you have no idea of knowing which campaign resulted in the downloads. I decided to keep things simple, to do a Facebook advertising campaign for the iOS version only. I had high hopes of some results.

The beauty of Facebook Advertising is that you can be very specific to target your audience based on information people share freely on the site. This is scary for personal privacy but great for marketing! With my target audience being children, I targeted parents. Parents, who have purchased something online recently, who has an iOS device and are from an English speaking country. I was very specific with my audience to have the best possible chance of showing my ad to someone who is likely to buy the game. The you set a budget to limit your spend. Facebook charges you every time someone clicks on your add. Simple enough but again, this costs money which I don’t have lots of. I set up my campaign to run for 24 hours.

For the actual advertising content I made 3 ad images. 1 with the main title image and 2 with in game screenshots. That was it. So once you start you Facebook advertising campaign, it takes a while to get going but once it does, you can periodically refresh the page to see the performance of you ad. My advertising campaign was up and running and I had my eyes on it, nearly even seeing every character in the counter manually change. It’s like watching paint dry.

Within the first few hours I realized that the in game screenshot ads proved so ineffective compared to the full screen ad that I disabled their ads halfway through to rather focus on the main title image advertisement.

Stray Cat Title Image

The most effective advertising image

 

Stray Cat In-Game Screenshot

Not nearly as effective as the Main Title image, but still not completely useless for advertising.

Stray Cat In-Game Screenshot

Completely ineffective for advertising

 

The Numbers

Stray Cat - Advertising - First Campaign

Stray Cat’s First Facebook Advertising Campaign Results

 

In total, my advertising image was shown to 7,785 people (432 + 183 + 7,170). Of those, 102 people (5 + 97) actually clicked the link to go to the app. Of those 102 people, 1 actually installed Stray Cat. So my conversion rate of people clicking on my ad versus those buying the game turned out to be less than 1%. Pretty disappointing, right?

I thought so too. Back to the drawing board I went…

Don’t Panic

Hello there! Welcome back.

Today marks a significant milestone for me as I have just renewed my Xamarin and Apple subscriptions for another year. When I started this journey I knew it would take time to turn this into a business yet somehow I still thought I might make it within a year. This has not happened and as a result I can’t help but think that this is both expected and unexpected. It’s an indifferent feeling that I can’t quite explain as well as I would like.

The Year At a Glance

The year hasn’t been fruitless however, as I’ve learnt a lot about the process and the people. I’ve made a significant change in my life in that I shelved atStumps, a project I had been working for years and years but never quite finished. I’ve also reached out to the greater community and became involved in MakeGamesSA, a South African game development community. I seem to have also inspired two colleagues, who have also released a game each, Save a Fire Fly and AoM.

AOM

AoM

Save a Firefly

Save a FireFly

I also delved into Twitter. Now I’m not really the social media kind of guy so getting up and running wasn’t a natural thing for me.

Most importantly though, I’ve learnt some new respect for time. I’ve learnt that I really haven’t got as much time as I thought and that I need to choose carefully the things that I do with my time.

Dont Panic, It’s The Mensa Experience

The real “achievement” came totally unexpected and it took other people congratulating me before I realized it. Last week Thursday I was invited to attend a Mensa meeting with my cousin to hear a talk by Hanli Geyser about game development.

Mensa

Mensa is the largest and oldest high IQ society in the world. It is a non-profit organization open to people who score at the 98th percentile or higher on a standardized, supervised IQ or other approved intelligence test

So I was excited to hear someone who clearly knows more about stuff than I do talk about game development. At midday, I received a call informing me that the speaker had cancelled at the last minute and they wanted me to replace her. In an instant my stomach turned, my heart skipped a few beats and my emotions were shouting “DONT DO IT“. “Just say no“. I was the opposite of Nike.

It took a moment for me to stop, think and breathe. I had a “DONT PANIC” moment that would have made Douglas Adams proud. I saw it written in bold red letters on a black background. Like this:

dont panic

Don’t Panic

I reminded myself that I’m on this journey to make it a success and that I won’t ever know where the road leads unless I take it. I said yes. It was one of those “yes” then fall down to the ground moaning “what did you think saying yes” moments.

I had very little time to prepare. Less than an hour in fact, which included feeding the dogs, eating something, taking a shower and oh yeah, preparing a speech! I was rushed, so I pulled out my block of sticky’s and scribbled notes on the first one, building up the story from who I am to why I chose games and then finally ending up with some of my journey. In total I had 30 sticky’s, each with just a few hints at topics on them.

At the venue, I started my evening with a Heineken. You know, because I could. I was relaxed and I had fun with it. This was “winging it” at the next level. I only made it to the 9th sticky before my time ran out and question time began. The audience was captivated and thoroughly enjoyed the topic and I ended up saying a whole lot more about a whole lot more than I thought I would. In the questions that followed I seemed to have covered most of the other sticky’s so I supposed I still ended up using most of them. It was a wonderful experience and I am ever grateful for Mensa for inviting me in the first place.

Since then, the fact that I spoke at Mensa seems to have spread like wild fire. I have people congratulating me at work, on Facebook, on Twitter and most certainly in person. I didn’t quite realize that people view it as an exclusive club at that level. Whether that is warranted or not is not for me to say, I can merely observe the reactions of those around me and be proud that I did it…

Competitions & Artificial Intelligence

Hello my friends

I started this morning with a Vida cappucino, sponsored by a colleague. It’s an unusual start because I don’t typically go out to buy coffee since I tend to make my own. After I had added a little bit of sugar and had my first taste of the rich, creamy goodness, it occurred to me that it quite simply follows the change in routine I had in the last few days.

The next 100K Challenge

Last weekend, I started splitting my time between my new game and the next Entelect R100K Challenge. I typically don’t like to jump between projects but I seem to always end up doing it. I constantly remind myself that when I do, it appears that I don’t finish what I start, yet I’m rather good at going back to finish things eventually. I’m sure that it’s a normal notion for people to think that they go back to finish, even though in reality they don’t or that so much time passes that by the time they do it is almost too late. So I suppose I need to be extra vigilant about that. I made the shift from atStumps to dedicated ‘smaller’ games as a result of the first 100K Challenge so I’m keen to actually enter one of the challenges with a proper entry and not some last minute hack. This year it’s a Pacman challenge, where your bot needs to score more points than the opponent’s bot. I’ll see if I can squeeze it in with recent events, so here’s to hoping.

Not my first last minute entry this year

In spite of my best efforts I always seem to get stuck doing things at the last minute though. I must admit it just seems a lot harder to justify the required time that I need dedicate if the deadline isn’t anywhere near the immediate future. After all, I have a wife and children and they need some of my time too. Earlier this year I entered the Hello World Open and you guessed it, I entered at the last minute. Actually, there was no other way because you had a very short window to enter the competition but I ended up not even using all of that and only actually did something the very last weekend!

[Editorial note: this little bit added because it got dropped somewhere]  The idea was simple, you had to write a bot that had to race against other cars on a ‘slot car’ track. Sounds simple, but my oh my is there a lot to it.

The competition divided the world into 3 regions, namely West, Central and East and as a South African I found myself in the Central region, competing with all of Africa and Europe. To make things really hard, you didn’t know what the qualifying race tracks would look like before hand. In addition, before each race they would randomize the traction of the tires on the track, the weather conditions as well as the engine power of you car. This meant that for every race your car had to learn everything from scratch and you had to do a lot of calculations to keep your car on the race track.

The competition then held qualifying rounds in each region separately. In each region, there would be 4 rounds of races and after each set only a certain number of teams would progress.

Round One, not getting my hopes up

Round one consisted of 856 teams and I ended up in the 181st position with 1 win, 2 second’s a third and a fourth place. Not a bad start and in fact, a better start than I anticipated. I had a bit of a look and of the South African teams, I was the only one I could find who progressed to round 2. I didn’t expect this, I thought I would bow out early. I thought that I would realize that I missed something obvious somewhere and then regret not knowing doing it right in the first place. See what I did there? I sold myself short. I think we all do that, we prepare for the worst simply to be a little detached and to avoid disappointment. We think we please each other by doing it, we don’t. We don’t risk enough and then we ask why we don’t get the results that we want.

Hello World Open Round 1

Hello World Open Round 1

Round Two, rather unexpected

So round two, which I really never planned on seeing, consisted of 203 teams. I thought, WOW, the top 203 teams would surely beat me to a pulp. Embarrass me in new ways that I’ve yet to conjure up. Now don’t take my skepticism wrong, I know I’m a good programmer. Maybe even a great one. But I’m no mathematician. I figure math out, it doesn’t come naturally to me. Like everyone else in the competition, I followed the reddit threads about it fairly closely hoping to learn something, which I never found until it was too late. What I soon discovered though, was that there was a huge amount of math involved. The turning angles, for example, is an under-damped harmonic oscillator. Say what? You try and code a car from start to finish, test it on the race tracks and also figure out math that is completely and utterly over your head. Just too much to do for so little time. My car winged it. Well not quite, my calculations were accurate to about 0.1 but that isn’t nearly enough to compete with the guys who had the calculations spot on.

Hello World Open Velocity and Turn Angle calculations

Hello World Open Mathematical Predictions

So, as I was saying.  Round two consisted of 203 teams and I ended up the 46th position with 1 win, 3 second’s and a last place. I couldn’t believe my eyes, I had made the top 50 for Europe, Middle East and Africa! I was through to the next round!

Hello World Open Round 2

Hello World Open Round 2

Round Three, completely flabbergasted

Round three was fought tooth and nail. It came down to the last race, it was close. I finished 16th with 1 win, 2 second’s and 2 third’s. I was astounded. I would never have thought that I would be able to get this far or that I would finish 16th. It showed me that it is never as clear cut as one might think. The top 12 teams went on to compete in the final round, I had just missed the cut 🙂

Hello World Open Round 3

Hello World Open Round 3

 

My first look at iOS vs Android vs Microsoft

Welcome back. I’ve been hard at work on my new game, but more on that when I have something more to tell.

The story continues with Stray Cat, the first game that I managed to get through the submission process and onto the App Stores. It’s available for both iOS (iTunes) and Android (Google Play and Amazon)

Android: A story of Ice Cream Sandwiches, Jellybeans and KitKat’s

Initially I had pinned my (Android) hopes on the Amazon App Store but to date have yet to see any movement whatsoever on it. So is it alive, does it have a heartbeat? Maybe I’m missing the plot but I think it’s a dead rubber. I’ve stopped checking on it altogether, in fact I’m considering just pulling the game off the Amazon store altogether.

So Amazon isn’t the way to go and Google Play doesn’t pay to South Africa, so revenue is pretty much non-existent there. The only form of revenue to be made from Google Play is advertising. In the end, I added AdMob advertising into the Android version and released one for free on Google Play. This was a problem for me, as it meant I had gone back on my ideals of not releasing add supported games.

I spent lots of time pondering on it and spoke to friends and asked questions and in the end, I realized that I can live by my ideals or I can try to make things work. It turns out that being adaptable remains the one thing true to an indie developer. I also realized that people are not keen on spending any money whatsoever on a game they know nothing about, made by someone they known nothing about. Of course, I had done fairly little in terms of advertising at this point, but I’ll share my advertising findings in another post.

The final moment of irritation was that we’ve tested a lot on a Samsung GT-I9500 and I know for a fact it works. Yet I have people contacting me saying it doesn’t work at all on that exact model. I also found that things that generally worked rather easily on iOS always took a tweak or two more on Android. I can’t help but see flashbacks of the nightmare that was developing for Nokia’s Symbian OS.

You might not remember, but if you wanted some game to run on your Nokia, you had to choose the exact version that was specifically made for your exact phone model. The same game had various versions for various phones and if you picked the wrong one it wouldn’t work. I’ve not had any similar issues on Apple’s iOS. Things just generally seem to work. Also, Apple just has the recipe right in terms of hardware which just seems to perform much better than even the top of the range Galaxy Tabs. I’ve not collected an extensive set of data on it, but certainly on our tests on frame-rate and processing rates at least it seems to hold true.

Apple, yes just Apple

This hasn’t put me off Android, but combined with the very poor download stats compared to iOS’s pretty low total, I’m not going to focus as much on Android for the time being. If I made games full-time, I would still focus just as much on Android as iOS but since I have to split my time, it’s Apple first. So my plan is to make the games for iOS, then to migrate them to other platforms afterward, rather than doing it all at the same time.

Microsoft, still in version 3.11, alpha.

Bring on the Microsoft store and in true form, what just works on the other App Stores is a complete headache here. If you are lucky enough to figure out how to navigate what I can only describe as the worst program flow ever, then you are probably going to realize that just after you’ve paid your subscription fee that you’ve done it to the wrong store. You paid the Windows store instead of the App store. Of course that’s what you meant to do, right?

Enter the App Store and Windows Store confusion. Yes my friends, lets cross brand, cross name and ultimately confuse the crap out of everyone. Once you are in, you’ve sorted out your payment mess, you create your application profile and then you are stuck. You notice that you can’t do anything until Microsoft Verifies you. HUH? 7 Days of waiting for, erm, nothing to happen. Apparently, they didn’t need to verify me? WHAT? I’m confused.

On the next step I learnt that I need to configure the BETA testers using a box that I couldn’t use because it’s all greyed out. So, after much searching and struggling with horrible KB articles that seem to be a circular reference to themselves and mention just about every Microsoft product under the sun, I figured out that there is no good reason why I can’t simply delete and recreate my app. Oh yeah, you guessed it, in true Microsoft “reboot” it style, I could progress to the next stage with the newly created app profile. a Few weeks wasted. I have lots of spare time, right?

Microsoft, promoting the use of aspirin worldwide.

Hold on to your horses, that’s not it yet either. So I get that there is a need for things like content ratings and PEGI and so on, but by comparison, Apple asked a few questions about my game and rated it accordingly. So did Amazon, so did Google Play. No my friends, not Microsoft. They provide you with a list of all the approvals you need from all the Countries to accomplish the same thing and even though their vastly confusing KB articles stated that I don’t need to complete all those forms, the fact is you need to spend a serious amount of time to do what the mainline app stores do for you.

And the verdict is?

If Apple was my primary store and Google Play was my secondary store, then Microsoft would be somewhere between I’m bored, it’s 3am and I can’t sleep and I’ve already finished my book so “hey, lets see if I can make some progress with Microsoft” and well, nothing really. I can’t imagine anything I’d rather want to waste my time on. Skip, at least until I have much, much, much more time available!

So that meant the end of my initial App store experience. I had created and launched my Game and now people would start to download it.

Until we meet here again, in a few days perhaps?

And so the second half begins

Hello dear friends. I hate to start off with an apology but I need to say that I’ve been way too quiet. It’s been nearly half a year and I’ve not been too active on my blog. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t active or didn’t focus, far from it. I am a lot more active on Twitter so if you want blow by blow updates that’s probably the best place to get in on the action. The things I learnt the last few months have made me feel like a ship, rising and falling in stormy waters. Wait, that sounds a little more gloomy than I intended, but still conveys the feeling of the roller-coaster ride that it is.

As it stands I have 2 games on the Apple App store and although I have been working hard on my latest [still unannounced] game, I’ve been busiest getting some form of a foothold in social media and some form of grasp on the murky waters that is advertising. I’ve also been following the FIFA World Cup, which is drawing to an end and that means it’s 4 more years before we see it again. Unless you support Germany or Argentina I suppose there isn’t much left in it for you, but I’m impartial because the South African side didn’t make the cut to begin with. So it is with very little fanfare that I can say I feel that Germany will take it and I’ll care very little if they don’t. Here’s to hoping it’s at least a spectacle, right?

So why the sport analogy? Well, with sport it is important to finish well. Sometimes when you finish well you can even make up for a poor start. But, there is absolutely no use starting off with a bang and fading in the end. Also, it is as much about the training before the game and the post match work as the actual match itself. I learnt a lot about that in the last few months in terms of game development too.

If you recall from The Challenge I made a game called Stray Cat. I thought getting it onto the App store would be the hard work; how wrong was I. Look, I always expected that it wouldn’t be that easy, but I never thought it would be this much work. Anyway, the point is, there is a lot more to making games than being creative, a lot more. While I’ve not nailed it yet, in fact far from it, I do have some ideas with what doesn’t work or at the very least hasn’t worked yet.

It’s quite a lot of information and I don’t want it to get lost in translation so I’m spending some time on the posts, so come back in a day or so and you’ll get to continue the experience with me.

I’ve also learnt that my day job expects me to blog and communicate with peers regarding my area(s) of expertise, so you’ll start seeing some of that come through as well.

As for now, I need to get more coffee.

Everything that’s Flappy isn’t always gold

Welcome back. If your week was anything like mine then I share your joy of experiencing this Friday as the start of the weekend.

For me, weekend is game development time. I spend pretty much all my free time working on games to get this going. That makes a “no” a bitter pill to swallow. Even if you expected a “no” in the first place. As you are no doubt aware, I submitted Clappy Bird to Amazon and to Apple.

I was surprised that Amazon provides feedback as quickly as they do. I submitted it last week Saturday to them and come Sunday morning I had a lovely letter informing me that I’ve used artwork from Flappy Bird. This was of course not true, I had drawn all my art work myself but I cannot deny that it was drawn to the same purpose as Flappy Bird and it looks very, very similar. In addition, Clappy Bird is no doubt a clone of Flappy Bird. I replied to the rejection and was simply told that I am using the Flappy Bird icon, which again I wasn’t.

I decided to leave it at that and to see what Apple came back with. It had taken Apple a little more than the average of 6 days (I think) but I finally received the loveliest and most politically correct response from them. They made no claims towards copyright or me using Flappy Bird graphics, rather, they indicated that they don’t approve games that leverage of other games. Fair enough I suppose and to be brutally honest, I appreciate that. Like I said in my previous post, the original creator of a game should reap the rewards of it, not the copy cats.

The interesting thing here was still the fact that Flappy Bird was removed and no longer available. Obviously, the counter argument is that the creator could opt to re-submit it at any time.

Regardless of the “no” I am extremely happy to have submitted something and seen some of the process flow. I’m also very encouraged by the fact that they won’t simply allow Flappy Bird clones. It does beg a few questions though, such as why say no to clones now and only with regards to Flappy Bird? They said no to me, but Fallout Boy is about to release a clone. What makes their clone special?

Why did Apple not prevent all the clones for 5-0 Radio for example, in fact, the creator of 5-0 radio, Allen Wong, has famously stated that there were so many clones he ended up creating clones for his own app to compete with himself and the clones. He still bought a Lamborghini Aventador, so I suppose he won’t complain.

In all, I’m still satisfied that what’s fair is fair. I took a shot with Clappy Bird and they said no. It’s their right to say no and that no protects me too.

The Challenge

Hello dear friends. January came and went, we’ve all hopefully survived the “post Christmas” period and are already questioning our sanity on how it can be February already.

I’m finding it very hard to keep my blog up to date with my happenings. Maybe there is a lot happening and I’m just not getting to it or my time management isn’t what is should be. January saw a whole host of changes to my development process and truth be told, I don’t know what to make of it just yet. One of my friends brought forth the prospect of a partnership idea. In this idea he and I will be the programmers and then he re-introduced me to a 3D artist, who also brought a colleague into the picture. For me, he brings valuable business experience and 3D Artists. I don’t mean to play down his skill as developer, but I’m looking to areas where I am lacking and highlighting them.

So one could become 4 really. Listening to my universe could mean that I no longer have to draw graphics pixel by pixel, so it is surely a path I need to explore if I have it available. We started off by throwing ideas around and I soon re-learnt that this is by no means an easy process when you can’t just do what you want to do or if you have a a raw idea. Zombie would simply take to long to re-work considering it has roughly 2500 images already.

In the end we came up with a pretty interesting concept and really started throwing ideas around. This would be a project of a few months and if done right, could work technically. We still had a lot of ground to cover to make up the concept to be sure that it will be fun yet challenging. I spent a great deal of time in front of my white board and we had quite a few long sessions of sharing ideas.

We tested our idea with everyone who wanted to listen and it turns out, everything we’re doing is adding complexity to an idea that is already fairly complex. So John and I challenged each other, could we each come up with a game in just a few days.

The challenge was simple enough: Create a one screen game that works with one finger input. It must be finished by Sunday. We had 5 days. It’s worth mentioning here that we are part time game designers, we have full time jobs at a large blue chip, so our time is very much limited. That means, we don’t have 5 days of 16 hours a day, or even 8. At best, we had about 2 to 6 hours a day to realistically work with. Of course Saturday and Sunday could be full days.

So on the Thursday, I started on a game concept I’d like to call “Stray Cat”. Our challenge was to have the game completed by the Sunday and then we could start the work with the artists to get the graphics out. My wife and I had plans to visit friends on the Sunday, so I had to finish by Sunday morning. Less time for me…

I did it though, I finished at about 9am on the Sunday morning. My game was fully playable, had fairly useful graphics and the sound I must admit is very cute. Since then, we’ve not grown the game that much, in fact, the only things we’ve been doing is test playing it and toying with the interface to make sure you can pick up and play without learning a whole host of fancy gestures. We’ve also been testing it on a variety of devices. I managed to talk Game into selling me a 7-inch “Me” Android tablet for the same price the sold it in December, which was R200 below the current listed price. To be fair, that was how much they said it was when I asked.

How this will turn out, I can’t really say. I’m hopeful that we can have nice and colorful cartoon graphics, make the game come alive in a way that would appeal to a younger audience as well.

Would anyone like to test it, if so let me know 🙂

And then came Flappy Bird…

This wasn’t the end of it though. Making small games turns out to be lots of fun and I can quite a lot in very little time. You’ve heard about Flappy Bird, it’s removal from the app stores and all the clones that popped up? Well, my wife really wanted me to make a true to the original clone, not some shoddy game that looks like the graphics came out of Microsoft Word. While I was waiting for my Stray Cat graphics to arrive I started working on a game I’d rather not name just yet, but it’s engine meant I could do a Flappy Bird clone rather quickly.

The creator of Flappy Bird openly stated he wouldn’t object to clones or sue anyone for cloning it. Or course, Flappy Bird is also gone forever. I would never dream to make a clone of a game that’s available.

So the Flappy Bird story being so unique and after some deliberation I submitted my version to the App stores last week and we’ll see what happens. I’m a little nervous about it, not because it’s a clone, it clearly is and I’m not hiding or denying that fact. Interesting fact though, Flappy Bird is not an original game either, it’s a clone of Flappo Bird for the Atari 2600 see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEi7_4FTG18. No my friends, I am nervous because it allows me to learn how the submission processes work for iOS, Android and Windows Phone. It’s the starting blocks for me, whether they accept it or not and lets not forget, the engine that runs it, was made for another [unrelated] game that I am working on.

a Clone, yes I know. This might sound strange if taken out of context, but I really do believe that the creator of a game needs to receive the benefit of it. Not the clones. In this case, the creator stepped away, played the clones and said he liked them. While we’re on the subject I’m also of the belief that games should be fun first and foremost. My daughter constantly cries when she plays The Sims or Theme Park on the iPad because she hits pay-walls that frustrates her game-play. In addition to that, as a parent I don’t want my kids playing games that run the risk of them clicking ads or buying in-app stuff without my consent (which happens, by the way). a Good friend of ours walked into her daughter playing talking Tom cat, except she clicked some link and now hard core pornography was showing on their tablet. I don’t want my games doing that, exposing kids to things they shouldn’t be. This also fits my model of 99c buys you everything. I am looking at a free model with ads too, and in that I might even include in app purchases as well, but if you buy my game outright, you have it all and no ads. I think that’s fair. I’m still busy with the ads though, so my Clappy Bird clone, if accepted will be 99c [US].

So lets see how this turns out. For the first time ever, my blog is up to date with where I am. That took some doing but hopefully I can keep it more up to date now and post more frequent “smaller” updates.