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The PR Monster

May 22, 2012

Q:
So this week how much work have I done on game 2?

A:
Almost zero

Q:
Why?

A:
Because I met Boris the PR Monster, and he he gave active game development the Vulcan death grip.

I naively assumed that making a game that was OK, and getting IGN coverage was going to make me do OK…I was clearly very wrong. I released the game, and in the first 24 hours got 14 downloads and 1 sale…and then day 2 was worse!

Why? Well I hadn’t told anyone the game was out, or done any promotion. Those eagle eyed enough will have noticed a couple of posts in the comments section from folks giving me advice or support. Essentially I am an idiot, and the kindness of strangers (and one non stranger) has helped me start to fix it!

Jake said “I wouldn’t expect big sales numbers if you’re not treating this like a business. (And no disrespect is meant by that.)”, and then went on to give me some thoughtful advice in his comment and over email. This came at the point not long after I had seen my first full day’s sales results and was feeling a bit down about it all. He helped give me some guidance and a push in the motivation department to get my ass going. My awesome friend Richard (I used to be in a band with him when I was 17 or so!) also sent me a list of contacts, which I simply could not have survived without! Other people also sent me a few bits of bonus info that helped out here and there too. Overall, I have been really amazed how supportive and helpful people have been, and I really can’t thank them enough.

So what happened, here is my week in point form:

Well I did put that pot of coffee on, and stayed up most of the night on Wednesday hammering away at a corporate press release thing. I felt a bit dirty writing something like that, but I can see that it does make me seem a bit more of a professional, and less of a guy who goes out and gets drunk, breaking phones and then stays up all night making games he has no idea what to do with speaking of which:

Imagefixed phone rebroken (plus a glimpse of potential game # 3!)

After that, my ill-conceived website with a distinct lack of game information needed to be updated. I had always planned to make a product page, but was just being lazy, thinking – ahh the game will do fine, who looks at these things anyway!? So yeas a complete website overhaul (including dropping the opacity of the drop-shadow – thanks Don!).

I then made a resources page for journalists, it is like a collection of everything game related, from logos and screen shots to HTML code to embed the trailer on bandcamp soundtrack.

Once that was complete, the emailing begun, I took Richards epic list and started at the top…You would think performing a mail out is an easy thing, hell a couple of hundred addresses and website links, should take an hour or two…Thursday rolled into Friday, which rolled in to the weekend. I still don’t really understand why it took so long! There is a lot of going to websites and clicking around to find contact details, or general messing around in Gmail. I also think as tasks go, it’s a fairly boring one, so perhaps my motivation faltered from time to time.

Up until I started mailing people I couldn’t really expect any kind of change in sales, and it didn’t, sales continued to sink with the end of Thursday showing me 36 downloads and 2 in app purchases. I know this seems obvious to people other than me, but yes promotion really does have an effect, once the first mail out had settled downloads and sales instantly started to climb (although some of this was probably due to reviewers downloading and trying the game).

Sunday I updated the game to 1.1 so it would:

  • Run on earlier iOS versions that 5.1
  • I added resume to the pause menu, (after several WTF style comments J – thanks Tom!)
  • Added Rate our app after the 6th level
  • Added a link to the developer page on the app store (for when game2 sees the light of day)

I haven’t yet uploaded it to apple yet because of a technical issue with the code signing or something…which is kind of pissing me off.

Monday, I joined the dark side and made a facebook page (thanks for the link Mr G) here it is – go and click like if you want to like it! Springloaded on Facebook which I think helps me in some way.

I also joined the confusing dark side of Twitter follow me @SpringLoadedDev  its like a giant 140 character limited version of MSN that everyone cans see, I don’t really understand it, but I searched for Hiragana Pixel Party, and found some people had been nice enough to start talking about it already. I don’t think I know how to get the best out of it yet (or very much at all), but after a few email exchanges with Andrew  @SpiltMilkStudios (of Hard Lines fame) he helped me get started in the right direction. (He also mentioned that he did full time PR for that game for 3 months, which shows how much I underestimated this whole thing)

Now it’s Tuesday and here are my figures:

Downloads:

Image

Sales:

Image

It still isn’t going to even earn me enough to get drunk (which is probably a good thing for my phone), but it is showing that I am slowly learning a thing or two about how to deal with Boris (the PR monster). The help and advice people are offering is amazing, I can also understand that becoming part of the indie scene allows indie developers to work together to become a louder voice, so now I need to try and meet people and join forces in creating the indie army! (I am sure there is a game in that). It feels like the effort you put has a tangible effect on your sales which is pretty rewarding.

Was that all a bit dull? I guess so…Anyway I was chatting with my flat mate last night and we were talking about trolls on the internet

(my mum won’t know what a troll is, so bear with me – mum, a troll is someone who writes offensive things on the internet, usually in response to a view or forum post, they are often trying to ignite a flame war, where people shout insults at each other – although it’s in typing, so they aren’t really shouting, unless they type in caps THIS IS CALLED SHOUTING – I doubt that made any sense to you, anyway thanks for reading my blog – signed your son)

So I came up with the idea of an internet license, essentially you online identity is like a real document / ID number like a passport. And as a user of the internet you can simply press a button that hides all posts from people under the age of 16…Seeing as I am guessing most trolling little crap-sacks are below the age of 16 this would make the internet a far better place for all of us. I think it really could happen, imagine if facebook / youtube / google ID suddenly demanded we all go and get an online ID to use their service, it would probably take off…I am not really saying it’s a good thing though, freedom is one of the things that makes the internet so epic.

So this week:

I will be doing some work on my second game…
I will be trying to contact language learning folks about my first game…
I will be reading reviews of my first game all over the net (hopefully – but probably not)…
I will be getting v1.1 up on the apple store…
I will not be having a bath in all the money I have made…

some links to things:

Spilt Milk Studios made the ultimate version of snake, it is here:

Hard Lines

My guitar playting friend Richard lives in Korea where he sometimes works for these guys, go take a look:

Minoraxis

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6 Comments
  1. Stanislav permalink

    It’s really interesting to know what’s happening behind the development! 🙂
    If this game would be on gambitious.com (which is not yet launched, lol) I’d invest on it, it has a big potential!

    P.S.: This page http://www.springloadedsoftware.com/HiraganaPixelParty.html has something wrong with the layout if using latest versione of Chrome.

    • cool, I took a look at that web page and changed some stuff – can you check if it is fixed? kickstarters are an interesting idea – so who knows! I will certainly check out the site after it launches…thanks!

      • Stanislav permalink

        The page seems to be fine now 😉

  2. great thanks for helping out!

  3. Stanislav permalink

    Resume button is needed after pausing, you already know this, but maybe you don’t know when the “low battery” advice is popping up the game stops and, after pressing OK, it quickly advance so you lose points and need to restart the level.

  4. the resume button is in 1.1…as for the other issue, I know about this, and it totally sucksI don’t knopw how to track when the iPad / iPhone auto pauses the game…Apple pause the game, but not the music and because the game is all based on audio timing this does horrible things to the game…in fact if you let the song end while the message is up, you will be stuck forever gliding across an empty wasteland! thankfully you can pause and select to restart the song. There clearly must be a way to fix this (I only realised after submitting V1.0 – but then apple passed it anyway Hurrah!).
    If / When I hit v1.2 I will do my best to fix this, it really annoys me knowing there is a bug in there! (it is the onlyone I knpow of) – Thanks for letting me know that now other people have found it too!! 🙂

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