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1055887 Posts in 42878 Topics- by 34816 Members - Latest Member: Religue

October 22, 2014, 05:49:44 AM
TIGSource ForumsDeveloperBusinessAndroid Game - Looking for Advice
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Valignus
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« on: April 27, 2013, 10:52:14 PM »

Well I made my first game, but its really a simulation.  An aquarium simulation.  You can raise and breed fish, buy equipment in the shop, and do a few other things right now.  Its played in real-time and its modeled after real life, where a guppy fish takes 90 days from being born until it is mature and capable of reproducing.  Its meant to simulate owning a real aquarium, which is why it takes so long for fish to grow, etc.  It'll eventually turn into an educational experience. I also have a lot of plans I'm working on to add new features for a more life-like simulation.

I sold 1 copy for $1 on day two of its release and got a 3 star rating, as soon as I fixed possibly the only bug in the game they upped it to a 4 star rating, out of 5 stars.  Its been released for about a week.  I've pretty much had no exposure for it other than the Google Play Store.  Its not polished in the way of graphics, I'm currently working towards that.

It has optional in-app purchases to buy "Gold Coins" which you can use to purchase fish food, fish, equipment, and other things, some of which haven't been added due to lack of good graphics.  You earn between 100 and 200 gold coins per day that passes ( real time ).  You can also earn slightly over 100k Gold Coins from achievements across the experience.  Which is more than enough to purchase a lot of additional content.  The rest of the Shop items can be purchased over time from selling fish you breed and raise.

I see an aquarium game that's free to download in the app store, and it was actually released 4 or 5 days after mine, it has polished graphics and in-app purchases.  It has over 1,000,000 downloads already.  It makes me wonder... do they already have a follower base? Did they just do a lot more marketing?  Is there product just that much better than mine?  Do free apps just get that many downloads so fast?

Can I compete with free to download apps?  Charging a $1 seems to me like a small amount of money if I will be pushing constant updates and new content.  The in-app purchases in my game are optional so if I get 1,000,000 people downloading my free game, that doesn't mean I'll make a single cent off of the game.  Users can purchase everything from the shop with their earned coins, all it takes is some time.  Making games is fun, I'd like to give out free games but that doesn't support my hard-efforts and tiny budget for making a game with art I need to pay for.

There is one person working on this project and it takes a lot of my time.

Do graphics mean everything for a game?

I'm weary of changing my app to a free game, but is that the push I might need to get this started?

Any sound advice is welcome.  Thanks for reading.
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Valignus
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« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2013, 11:04:55 PM »

Disregard the part about the other game having 1,000,000 downloads in about a week.  It seems the date I was looking at was the last recorded date of the statistics.   Who, Me? 

Still, that's a lot of downloads.
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Valignus
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« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2013, 12:17:38 AM »

Well I've been looking into this a little more and have been doing more thinking about this.  I may provide a free download version of the game, where you don't earn as many coins per day as the paid version.

This might get people to try the free version.  Still they could show support by making in-app purchases, and if they wanted to earn more coins per day they could purchase the standard version of the app.
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Sebioff
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« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2013, 02:14:29 AM »

I think you already realized it, but let me sum up the problems:
  • it is your first game, so it doesn't get any visibility boost from other games/apps you have made. As it is very crowded getting visibility in the Play Store can be hard, no matter how polished and fun the game is. The best ways to get visibility are: having previous apps/games, getting some blog/reviewer to write about your game, having a good app description. With the last point I mean SEO and it's very important. Determine the keywords for which you want your game being found in searches and make sure it appears at a good spot. It's actually not very hard to do, the Play Store search is more dumb than you'd expect from a company like Google.
  • it is a paid game. Sure, paid games can be successful as well, but they receive way less downloads than free games -> less visibility. I think the price isn't even that important here, most people would probably not give it a try even if it were 0.1$. If you do some research you'll find that conversion rates from free to paid versions of about 5% are considered very good. You can imagine that this rate is a lot lower if people can't even try your app before having to pay for it, so only a very very low percentage of all people who actually find your app in the Play Store will buy it. That's why so many games go the free-with-in-app-purchases way; people don't hesitate that much if it doesn't cost them anything to try your game, then once they realize they like it they'll eventually be willing to pay for it. You should at least offer a free demo.
    Just remember that for free versions the uninstall rates will be a lot higher as well (usually around 75%!), you shouldn't be disappointed by that. For paid versions it is way less (~20%), demonstrating my point that only the people who are really interested in your app will pay for it.
  • your game has bad graphics (as you said yourself; since you didn't post a link I can't judge it). Now, imagine someone landing on your page in the Play Store trying to decide wether he should buy your game or not - how does he come to a decision? He can only go by the description and the screenshots you provided. I can assure you that the majority doesn't read the description at all except for maybe the first one or two sentences, it is really mostly useful for SEO. So, the person will look at your screenshots instead... so yes, I think good graphics are important to convince people to give your game a try. But no, I don't think that graphics mean everything for a game. If the game itself is bad you won't get any publicity (e.g. from word of mouth) either. I think they are most important for the first impression. It helps to have good graphics but can take a lot of time, so as a single developer you'll have to decide carefully where to invest that time best.
    Adding a video to your Play Store listing might help as well with that first impression, especially for games.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2013, 04:18:51 AM by Sebioff » Logged

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Valignus
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« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2013, 03:09:47 AM »

Thank you Sebioff, I'm going to look into SEO and adding a video to my store listing.  I'm going to improve the first two sentences of the store listing as well because I see what you're saying there, something quick and to the point.
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trilby
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« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2013, 02:52:17 PM »

Can you add a link to your game anda link to the high downloads one? I'd really like to see them both.
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Valignus
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« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2013, 05:10:24 AM »

Here is a link to the other game, the one with a lot of downloads.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.socialin.android.game.fishadventure&feature=nav_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDNd


Here is a link to my $1 game.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.pocketaquarium.aquarium&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDEsImNvbS5wb2NrZXRhcXVhcml1bS5hcXVhcml1bSJd

Here is a link to the free version of my game.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.pocketaquarium.aquariumlite&feature=more_from_developer#?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDEwMiwiY29tLnBvY2tldGFxdWFyaXVtLmFxdWFyaXVtbGl0ZSJd
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trilby
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« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2013, 04:56:35 AM »

The visual impact of the popular one is BIG, I mean its colourful, fresh it looks good, it catches your imagination.  Don't take this the wrong way but yours doesn't LOOK (I emphasise look because I havent played it yet) good for example the first 2 screen shots are like 75% black.  However I believe in making the most of what you have got so can you not spend a bit of time pulling out the nice colourful bits, making them a bit bigger and attractive and just make it big!  Also the icon you have made needs some work as its a bit dull too.  You have got to see that page as a shop window, anyone that lands on it will stay on it if it catches their imagination.

Theres nothing wrong with borrowing ideas from the pros either, I got a Kindle fire the other day and was amazed to see this http://www.amazon.com/TangoSoft-Mobile-Hungry-Dino/dp/B00C787O48/ref=sr_1_9?s=mobile-apps&ie=UTF8&qid=1367412803&sr=1-9, looks like a complete clone of cut the rope but they're at the top of the charts!

I'll download it later see how it runs on my phone.
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Valignus
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« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2013, 05:16:25 AM »

I agree on the art.

I found a pixel artist that was going to start on making good art and as soon as I showed them the document on transferring the art assets over to me they left and I haven't heard from them in a few days.  So I'm back to square one looking for an artist.  I put profit sharing up as something that might help find and keep an artist this time.
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trilby
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« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2013, 06:14:27 AM »

OK so I played it too.  I like it but its buggy and seriously lacks a tutorial in the game!  I couldn't seem to purchase anything from the shop (it says I have 6250 gold). I used the free version.

I'd stick with this one, I reckon once you'vew ironed out the small problems with it then you're gonna have something to be real proud of  Hand Thumbs Up Right

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Valignus
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« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2013, 07:01:55 AM »

I haven't built a tutorial into the game yet, the tutorial is on the website right now.

To buy something from the shop swipe your finger left-right or right-left on the big item button.  You have to get the button to turn from blue to green(selected), then green to red(needs confirmation), then one more time to purchase something.

An in-game tutorial is one of the things on my next-to-do list.  I've just been busy with looking for an artist.  Once I get something going with an artist I should be able to get a tutorial in the game.

Thanks for checking it out!   Smiley
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trilby
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« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2013, 07:36:48 AM »

No worries, happy to help, it distracted me from my own never ending to-do list at least for a while!!
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jontunn
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« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2013, 04:49:54 PM »

First of all, congrats on your first game! That's a major step that a lot of people never do. Second, this other fish game you are comparing to is doing a lot of things that you will never be able to do just by yourself. It's made by a company with a lot of developers and a lot of money. Not only are they most likely getting users from their network of games (they have all their games available on Facebook as well), they are most likely spending a whole lot of money on acquiring users.

They are acquiring users through straight up ads, and through networks like TapJoy. They can pay a company like TapJoy to get their game on an offer wall inside of a different free to play game. Players in these games will get in-game currency to go download this fish game. This is a very expensive way to gain users, but they can justify it if they are making enough from their free to play monetization.

Don't let this discourage you though, you are attacking the game at a different angle. Your game is a straight up simulation for hardcore people into raising fish for real (like you said, 90 days to grow a fish). This is a much different audience than the mass market that this other fish game is aiming at. Like other people said in the thread, polishing the game will help push your game. Right now it doesn't show to well in screenshots, so you should definitely start there.
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