Small Updates

We pushed out a small update on Friday for Villagers Vs. Vampire (and thursday on Google, but we had to fix that one) to make some UI tweaks, add some help and tips screens, and label all our menu buttons for easier understanding.  Still only getting about a sale or 2 a day, but it’s OK.  I managed to get it written in my spare time, and have had about a thousand players so far, so that’s an accomplishment at least.

Going through the experience also means that the next game we write either A) may not take as long, or B) take as long, but with more content and polish.  I’m hopeful of either scenario.

Speaking of next, that’s what we’re doing right now!  Looking at the mechanics of our next game and getting a structure started so we can prototype it to ourselves.  We’re thinking it will be a puzzle game with a space mining theme, coupled with a crafting system and some economics as you fly to other planets to sell your wares.  It’ll be 2D, like V Vs. V, with upgradeable this’s and that’s.  We seem to have an algorithm for the mining mechanic, but we still need a prototype to see if it’s actually going to be fun or not.

So, on we go!  Have a good week, everybody.

The Side-Street to the Ramp of Production

Coming to the end of our 5-day vacation here.  I think I’ve had enough time to get my head clear and refocus on work, but one never really knows.

Right now, we’re working on an update for Villagers Vs. Vampire, making some UI tweaks, and adding some help and tips screens.  Not everyone follows my line of thinking, so it makes sense that we would need those. 8)

Also, it’s still surprising to me that the Amazon Android version is currently our top seller.  It’s been the general consensus that sales on Apple devices are routinely 10 times that of Android versions, but that’s not what we’re finding so far.  Right now, Amazon leads Apple 3 to 1.  That may change if demand for our game picks up.  We haven’t yet sent out for website reviews, so that may be a part of it.  I’m also considering more advertising, even though we’ve already spent a good deal on it for questionable results.

Other than that, our focus is turning towards our next project.  I’m thinking of something sci-fi / space-ish, but still having some puzzle elements.  Like an asteroid mining game, with some crafting and making trade runs with your ship.  Still working out the details, and we’ll have to see if the main puzzle game will actually be fun or not!

Anyway, thanks for checking in, and have a good evening!

V Vs. V Sales, Part 0

Villagers Vs. Vampire has been (mostly) released for a week now. So how are we doing? Well, good and not-so-good.

Our sales and downloads have been pretty low. My best guess is that about 250 people have played our free online version here on the website. We probably have around 500 free downloads from Apple and Google, and about 80 sales between Apple and Amazon.  We’ve had maybe 2 or 3 reviews total, across all platforms.  The ad revenue from the free versions is pretty abysmal…if I added it all up (and we’re talking about 10 different ad networks) I might have $5.  Ads only really work when you have 100,000s to 1,000,000s of players.  I’m not sure that we’ll use ads again in future games, because so far the trouble and nuisance hasn’t been worth it.

On the plus side, however, everyone who’s played the game and written to us has enjoyed it.  They find it compelling and fun.  Those who know us (and some who don’t) have been talking us up and trying to get new people to play our game.  It’s very gratifying and humbling to see this kind of support.  I feel like we’ve really accomplished something in getting a game completed, published, and in the hands of people who actually like it!  Plus, even though smartphone games are very front loaded sales-wise, it’s only been a week.

So, as I’ve said before, even if the game doesn’t sell much, it can’t be a failure in my view, because the experience I’ve gained by working on it has been immensely valuable, and each subsequent game will improve on the last.  This is just the beginning of the road ahead of us.  We’re already discussing and planning out our next project, which I’ll talk about in more detail when/if we actually start it.  Meanwhile, we also have ideas for V Vs. V (and give us a shout if you have some of your own!) and we’ll keep it updated in the coming months as well.

I’m also going to try and be open about our sales data and experiences.  I’m always very interested in the data that other small indie developers publish, so mine may be helpful to someone in a similar boat.

1 down, 4999 to go…….more or less 8)

Villagers Vs. Vampire Is Released!

Our game is now out on Apple, Amazon, and right here on our website.  We have the exciteds!

Here’s where to get it:

Apple

Amazon

Google Play Free version (w/ads):  https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.perceptivepumpkin.vvvfree

Also, play right now for free on our website, http://vvv.perceptivepumpkin.com/playonline/.  It does require the Unity web player to play.

This is the result of 8 months of free time, but in some ways, the work is just beginning.  Now we need to let more people know about it, improve on it and also look ahead to our next project.  Thanks for your support, and happy gaming!

1 down, 3 to go

The full version of Villagers Vs. Vampire ($0.99) has been approved on Amazon, so that version should be available on Sunday, 6/24!  The free version had a missing line of code (don’t you love that?) so I had to re-upload it.  Don’t know if it will be available by then.

Apple hasn’t started reviewing either of our versions yet, so it appears our release schedule will be a bit staggered.  Oh well.  We’re moving forward with our plan to release a free web version on this site, so we’ll let you know when that’s up and running.

Currently doing some A/B testing of ads to see if any of them are effective.  I should have a set of data to compare by the time Sunday rolls around.  I’m trying my best to take all indie-related advice into consideration (especially the business side of the equation), so that we can start off on the right foot.  I should have started some of the marketing earlier, but overall I think we’re doing fairly well.

Other than that, some very nice comments and impressions about our game and the video, and we greatly appreciate the support!  Hope to have more good news soon.

V Vs. V Gameplay Video!

We’ve just uploaded a short gameplay video to Youtube.  <Khajit> Take a look!  </Khajit>  We created it using Fraps and Sony’s Vegas Movie Studio 11.  I normally avoid Sony products and software like the plague, but I’ve been shocked and amazed by the quality of their video editing software.  Best $45 I’ve spent in quite a while!

Anyway, to the video!  If you like what you see, click on the Like button to send some happies our way.  We hope to have the game released soon and are awaiting approvals with crossed everythings.  Thanks for the support!

V Vs. V Gameplay video

App Store Submit is Go!

OK!  Villagers Vs. Vampire, both the full version and free version, have been submitted to the Apple app store.  Hopefully all goes well!  I anticipate it’ll take a week or so to hear whether we’re approved or not, so for now it’s pretty much just nervous waiting.

In the meantime, I need to submit the game to the Amazon App store as well, which I’ll undertake shortly.  And during this week, we’ll be setting up the web version of the game and host it right here on this site, so stay tuned for more exciting update thingies!

“You’re always preparing, just go!”

We’re finishing up now and preparing for the release of Villagers Vs. Vampire!  Reggie is ready and waiting for you to help him defend his castle!

I’ve been composing screenshots, descriptions, and I’m now starting on videos.  There’ll be 2 versions of the game:  An ad-supported free version, and a full version for $0.99.  It looks like our initial release platforms are going to be:

  • iPhone & iPad (iOS 4.3 or higher)
  • Amazon Kindle Fire
  • Right here on our website, perceptivepumpkin.com

Other possible platforms may be the wider Android market and Kongregate, but we’ll have to see as we continue testing.  My goal is to submit the game to various app stores in the next week or so, and if there are no hiccups, hopefully we’ll get it out near the end of June/beginning of July.  Exciting and scary all at once!

It’s funny to me, because I’ve been writing software for almost 15 years now, and the applications I’ve created have been used by hundreds of thousands of people.  And yet I’m more nervous about this release than anything I’ve done in the past decade.  It really is different when the output you create is totally and completely your own, without knowing beforehand if anyone even wants what you’re writing.

But, regardless of how well the game does sales-wise, it’ll never be a failure in my view.  Given all the things I’ve learned, and the knowledge that this is just the beginning of many great games we’ll produce, we can only go up from here.  I’m hoping you’ll go along with us.  Thanks for your support!

The Glass is Half Full of Air

Hello again.  Sorry for the infrequent posting schedule.  It’s been busy here!

Since the development and testing has now stabilized, I’m going back to some elements that I put on the shelf, like getting the Android version sorted out.  I’ll probably target Amazon and the Kindle Fire first, then add support for the wider Android market.  I’ve also reconsidered releasing the game on Kongregate.  A recent post from another indie developer has convinced me to give it a shot.  We shall see.

In other news. E3 happened this week, and the general consensus I get is one of disillusionment.  Gamers were disappointed with the lack of surprises and heavy emphasis of big-budget man-shooters.  I don’t mind FPSs or violence or sex in games, but when that’s most of what the big guys have to offer, and it’s offered gratuitously, it just all feels so juvenile and boring.  I’ve heard several forum posters declare that they are now ignoring AAA games, and looking towards indie and Kickstarter games for their entertainment.  My response is “Yay!”

My hope is that we indie developers can continue creating new and interesting games that find a large, eager audience fed up with the $60 blood explosion simulators.  There’s a time and a place for that type of game, and I wouldn’t want to see FPSs disappear completely, but when your own fans can’t tell the difference between each company’s games, maybe it’s time to diversify.  </mini-rant>