To Update or Not to Update that is the question....

Discussion in 'Public Game Developers Forum' started by Balloon Loons, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. Balloon Loons

    Balloon Loons Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
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    Hey guys.

    Wanted to see your thoughts on updating your app. So other than the obvious reasons to update (bugs, crashing, etc) does anyone still see a reason to update or continue to improve your app if it only has a few downloads and has 0 exposure (no published reviews on review sites)?

    I feel like once your app falls into the graveyard there is no point in updating it anymore to add features, levels, etc. Am I right? As much as I want to add new things we just didn't get the support or following we really needed to warrant that. So should we update or just move on to the next project? Is there a point in updating a graveyard app?
     
  2. rikschennink

    rikschennink Well-Known Member

    Oct 12, 2011
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    I had a certain set of functionality that I wanted to be in my game eventually. Had it failed I would not have added it, since I've had some decent exposure I decided that I owed it to myself and the players to update it to the point where I would have liked it to be on version 1.0.

    If it would have totally failed I would not have done that since my head is buzzing with awesome ideas.
     
  3. Balloon Loons

    Balloon Loons Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
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    What is your game?
     
  4. Zenout

    Zenout Well-Known Member

    There's always a chance that the next game can go the same way. But it's not worth supporting a game that has no following at all - my first game does andsecond one doesn't. Difference was that the first game was made out of love, and the second was made for what I thought would be popular.

    If you really like your game then you should try to identify any issues and update it so others can see what you intended them to. Else move on to developing something that first and foremost you love yourself.
     
  5. Marat

    Marat Well-Known Member

    Jul 12, 2012
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    What's your app? Have you posted any info on this forum in Upcoming games or something? Exposing your app here gives you tons of links in Google search
     
  6. rikschennink

    rikschennink Well-Known Member

    Oct 12, 2011
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    Webdeveloper
    Netherlands
    Eve of Impact
     
  7. Balloon Loons

    Balloon Loons Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
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    My game is balloon loons. I did post about it twice. Once asking for beta testers and once on the release day. Both times the posts went pretty much ignored. Not many views and like 4 people replied total. We had one person named Eric who was supportive from day 1. He not only beta tested and said he loved the game but he also wrote a small review for us on a site. If you see this thanks Eric! But otherwise no one really replied :(.
     
  8. Balloon Loons

    Balloon Loons Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
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    Game looks pretty cool buddy. How long did development take? And how did you manage to get reviews like that!? No one even looked our way lol. Good for you!
     
  9. xr1337

    xr1337 Member

    Jun 12, 2012
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    UnSure

    Games dont work like productivity apps. The replayability of a game dies when
    1. the player completes the game
    2. the player got bored of it.

    Most casual games would fall into the play once and forget category.
    I all depends on how expandable the title is.

    If a game relies on levels and has alot of content to push out, new maps, new characters. Then it makes alot of sense to push updates.
    For casual games, its always a one shot kinda of trick.

    But in the end, it really depends on how well the app is remarketed. Maybe on the first release, no body noticed because of lack of marketing or even reviews. You could improve the title further to get it noticed. But at the end of the day, it really depends on what type of content you have.
     
  10. Zenout

    Zenout Well-Known Member

    By love I refer to every single detail unconditionally. Making a game with love is like bringing up a child before releasing them to the world. Your sense of humour would be a different approach, I would call it a 'quickie' :)

    My first game was updated many times, it progressively improved but as it was my first app it had many things that were never ideal for mobile or simplicity etc. I think it's worth being a perfectionist once a bunch of prototypes have been tried and tested.

    @OP would be cool if the whole screen in your game rotated around the Z-axis. Possibly zoom a little. I think that would enhance the gameplay, especially when played with widescreen.
     
  11. Zenout

    Zenout Well-Known Member

    !

    Apologies to OP, I was of course referring to rikschennink's game. I shall try your (OP) game too when you add a sig ;-)
     
  12. Balloon Loons

    Balloon Loons Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
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    I agree with everything you said so much. And I have to say yup this game was exactly what you describe. Our baby. My partner and I joked about it all the time how she was growing so fast lol. She is definitely our pride and joy. I'm working on a graphics update to change the backgrounds in the game with something prettier and also to change some of the still images before the levels start. I'm using a different drawing technique to make it all more appealing to an older audience. But the gameplay stays the same. In the options there is a setting for camera zoom btw.

    Sig added :)
     
  13. Zenout

    Zenout Well-Known Member

    Indeed a very rewarding experience when your development feels like your pride and joy! Now you are refining your product, ideal. (though I do have additional suggestions below which might be worth considering for this or the next update - the trick is to only pick out what your find interesting from all of your feedbacks all over - haha!)

    First impression on visiting the AppStore was for me the screenshots were quite appealing (viewed on tiny iPhone). Unusually I didn't notice the icon until after beginning the download (ah, quite a large filesize you have there? Guessing that you don't use PNG etc.), so yeah perhaps the icon should stand out some more - that should be your priority, an icon can be rendered on your super computer... I've witnessed people download stuff based on the icon alone! If you can get the player 'in the door' then you will see more purchases.

    Here's a few more suggestions (to pick through) for some minor additions for an update:

    Yes after trying 'Balloon Loons' I do think an update would be worth the effort. I played on iPhone where the virtual controls seemed just a little small, my advice for them would be to double the size on iPhone! At first I started to remember an old game called Bonkheads - a 1990s Amiga game which is *not* to be confused with majicDave's upcoming The Blockheads - always a family favourite (Bonkheads was, haven't played Dave's yet as he is still making it!). Your game has a similar feel to the old Amiga game while also being different, one thing that I did desire was that the ledges would screen-wrap at the same altitude on both sides. I would also have liked to change the 'thruster' control so that it could be held down instead of the required pumping action. Plus (!) a tilt-method where I then think controlling the character would be of great ease and very accurate (with a good intertia)...However, I doubt if younger players would find tilting at all managable - They might prefer a big handle to grab hold of (Sprinkle game does this well), though without tactile feedback [all touch screen games at time of writing] this is always something that is tricky to master. Perhaps when the player touches the auto-hidden/ghosted controls then the first point of touch should be the controls' middle (dynamic VC positioning).

    So yeah quite minor adjustments there in a way which I think would compliment the overall appearance, and bring the game to a higher place. I think it would be a shame to waste if you moved on too soon. There's always little details like slowly zooming out at the start of the level rather than remaining zoomed in for a few seconds. Highlighting the expected button during the tutorial (or ghosting out the tutorial-disabled-button)...Really minor adjustments that add to that final polish we should continue to crave for as developers! Have some of the AI go off randomly to break-up the flocking feel (or give them some gentle turbulance which effects their trajectories), which in turn opens paths to the players' objectives (AI should not remind the player that they are playing a computer game!).

    The price is interesting, good to see you didn't launch at the typical amount - though keep an eye on your competitors with any similar games. And of course experiment at holidays / promotion time.

    Hope the feedback helps you and your partner decide to further polish your game (worth it most of the time!).
    Good Luck :)

    (btw: thanks adding the sig, many people desire clickables...but I think you have the two fields the wrong way around! Try this one Ballon Loons)

    (tl;dr -> we have to pick bits out from all feedback, so tough read it!)
     
  14. Zenout

    Zenout Well-Known Member

    ...apparently I can't spell (or type) balloon! Hope you have many variations in your keywords.
     
  15. Balloon Loons

    Balloon Loons Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
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    WOW Zenout! First of all thanks so much for downloading the game. Second THANK YOU FOR THE AWESOME FEEDBACK! I appreciate how much time you put into actually writing all that! THANKS!!!

    Yup I agree with these points. We are actually changing the control scheme a bit for iphones in the next update. No more joystick just buttons that are always visible and don't move. The current method is GREAT on ipads but not so much on iphones mainly because of the screen space and how your fingers work. So look for that soon.

    And yes we are turning the action button into automatic tap, so you'll be able to just hold it down.

    As for file size, I chose jpeg for the backgrounds because I was actually able to compress them the most without noticable change in quality. The png versions were always bigger. We use one jpeg to show the bkg and the platforms so 45x 4 (each device) turns into a huge file. We are probably going to solve this by moving the retina images to a server. The app will DL these if the player is using a retina device, the first time he plays (only once) and then never again. This should bring the size to around 50mb which is perfect. That's the goal. This will also probably be included in the next update.

    Also interesting note there on breaking up the flocking effect. Didn't think of that!

    Otherwise did you find it to be an enjoyable experience? I'm really proud to call this our first game. I think it shows that we put alot of heart into it and time. I myself enjoy playing the game ALOT. Even in beta testing I was never bored by it. I wanted something simple that someone can pick up and play and I think we pretty much nailed it there. Sure there is polishing to be done. We did the best we could for a 2 man team :) I agree that it's a shame to just drop it.

    Right now we are planning a simple spin off called Balloon Loons Escape, which takes place after Lucky defeats the McBunBun castle. This version will be free and will be like an infinite runner type of game. A bunch of new cool powerups are included in this but otherwise it stays mainly the same though the gameplay is a bit different as a side scroller. The idea is to get our name out more using this app and hopefully people buy the full version from there. Without support we can't continue updating so that is so important that we get a good following. But I really do feel like we have something solid here that people can enjoy.

    If not we do have a number of other pretty awesome ideas! But we are definitely here to stay! LOL
     
  16. Zenout

    Zenout Well-Known Member

    Hi BL, you are welcome to the feedback - albeit slightly random plus containing an incorrect observation!
    Here's another long post, I see lots of long posts in your other thread and am happy to voice my thoughts too now and then ;-) Though yes you are correct that it takes too long to write them lol, but hey I like a change now and then - especially tonight where I am in 'deliberately distracted mode'.

    The controls: Wanted to pick back up on this point as it seems to be getting in the way of gameplay (especially when the character is on the left edge of the screen - handheld). When I was noting the above controls feedback I had remembered on the iPhone that the thumb-stick would 'feel' as if I had missed (typical VC), so I suggested re-positioning it dynamically...you already are I now see! Thinking about this some more, I wonder if when the player drags their finger too far horizontally then perhaps that initial reference-point should drag along with it, thus allowing for more feel during 'opposite-lock' / direction-swap? - Though you say that the current plan is to use a fixed position with two buttons for left/right. Maybe at least make them re-positionable during an options screen?

    Still quite sure here that a tilt-based control method, with one-touch (anywhere) to auto-tap as you say, would make the game far more enjoyable...Which answers your question if I found the game an enjoyable experience; it made me desire something -> always a good sign when the user sees potential, better if they find it in the options -> tilt! So I did, as a player, try to find the gameplay which appears to be in there. I wanted to be in that zone which Bonkheads produces (erm, played via a keyboard), and it seems that your game could find that groove after further refinement. So my enjoyment is of the potential variety. Oh I must emphasize that the characters could use some intertia (movement should accelerate, so you have a velocity which has a max, a subtle neccesity).

    Interesting about the filesize. And certainly worth getting down to a max of 50 if at all possible. Do what you have got to do is my advice for this game. I am sure that will help you. I would certainly do it myself to first game (67'ish mb) if an update was planned, now that the 3G download limit has been increased from 20mb to 50mb.

    Flocking: Yes I just had a slight sense of 'zombies' though the sounds did help avoid actually thinking this! I guess just some additional movements and animations will help inject more life (juicyness) in to the feel/belief of the characters.

    Good to hear you are still very proud, that's the spirit! I am sure that after a few updates you will feel that the quality level represents what you originally had in mind. All games get updated (except rare cases, plus I guess 'quickies' might not), it's a good thing and comes part and parcel with the job - it turns out ;-) I remember after 3rd or 4th update thinking how much better my app had became since launch!

    If you can get the downloads on your next app, which you say will be free, then indeed some of those players will invest in your other app(s). Be careful not to make the mistake that I did, which was to (albeit creatively) appear to advertise your other app on the main screen. I was put off from doing a 'More Games' button after all of the patent nonsense, so I figured a massive "i" made from a handset and an info button would look cool...didn't work. Instead players see it as advertising! So cross-promotion is also an artform.

    I see there is already an update waiting approval. Kinda reminds me of my second game last year (a floppy flopper of a flop-type thing lol!), I did a quick-fix bug update but never then found the mood to produce a second 'proper' update - due to rediculously low sales. The first game I made around 5 updates! In hindsight I might have made more updates for the flop if there was a team available to assist. It was initially tricky deciding what to do next (December 2011) - and then is where You are now, in a way (during August 2012 of course) - What I did at that point: Developed the next game, but am not yet done as I want to take advantage of the only real visibility period... This third game is way better than even I anticipated so that's cool. And for sure it will get many updates as it's been made with what the second game somewhat lacked, love and commitment. This one is designed to make everyone happy - done messing around and it's taking ages haha!

    Great you have plenty of ideas, keep on enjoying realising them - Survival is all you need to keep you developing until you make your ambition the reality (we try!).
     
  17. Devcade

    Devcade Member

    Feb 23, 2012
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    Sure, why not. Some websites track recently updated apps, so your app might get posted on some
    websites that generate newsfeeds like that.

    Also, if you change the status of your app, from free to paid, or paid to free, websites
    also track that too.
     
  18. DemonJim

    DemonJim Well-Known Member

    Nov 19, 2010
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    #18 DemonJim, Aug 12, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2012
    I would say consider this: by supporting your older games with updates you are gradually building a trusted future-proof brand.

    By always updating for things like Retina and the rumoured new aspect ratio in the next iPhone, players know the game has a long lifespan as it will work nicely on all their future devices. Relative to making the game in the first place, it really shouldn't be that much work anyway.

    If gamers know you only support your latest game they will think twice about buying your older games. They might even think twice about buying your new ones, because they know if it's not a big hit you won't ever update it.

    So think of it as building trust from the gamer and creating a respected brand, not merely about maximising sales in the short term.
     

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