September 7, 2015

Monkey Madness

Here's what I'll do after Tim - the Unsatisfied Artist.

It's a simple crossing of Boom Bloxx and Angry Birds, I'd say.

You got 4 types of Monkeys which have their own quirks, and each are pre-determined within a level. Your target is to reach the target score by bombarding the shit out of the constructions.

Web version can be played here (no longer available)

The current version has the first episode levels in it. Gameplay-wise it's close to final but I'll do a bunch of other obvious things (visual themes, more levels, better menus, re-order levels, tutorials, etc.) before I consider it as a publishable product.

I will also create a feature that lets a player continue a level with 3 extra bomb monkeys. The feature can be used every 60 minutes or so, and is fully free, as the game will be premium.

I'm also considering to record a walk-through video of each level to which I could link to when a player fails a level.

Both above features are on my list because many of the levels are quite difficult. I wanted to make them hard to have it feel more puzzly/challenge-like, and partly to have more gameplay time.

As of now I've used a bit more than 2 weeks developing it, and am estimating that it takes about 2 more to finish. The most time consuming task is to create the levels, which has taken ~half of the dev time. But that's what you get when you go develop a level-based game.

I also consider doing a turn-based multiplayer on a single device, where the players would try to destroy each others' block piles. Not really sure if it'd be worth the trouble, though.

General feedback is very welcome, but here's a few things I'd especially like feedback on:

  • Going premium: Would it make sense to go premium on iOS and free ad-based on Android? Do iOS players feel cheated when devs do that? 
  • Difficulty level: If you played the prototype, let me know if any of the levels just feel way too hard.
  • YouTube walk-throughs: Is the idea good, or just unnecessary as the players might not find them useful?
  • Any name ideas for the game? "Pomperion" is obviously a working title. :)

Bug reports are also welcome!

4 comments:

  1. Played the demo, and it plays pretty smooth already!

    Regarding the feedback, here are my thoughts:

    - Going premium:
    Rovio pulled off a similar strategy with Angry Birds (premium version on iOS and ad-based on Android), but I think it says a lot that they have now gone full-blown free-to-play on both platforms with Angry Birds 2!

    Now, Rovio is a huge company, and you're a one-man army, so a better comparison is probably the game "Pako" by Tree Men Games. They have had great success with keeping their iOS version premium and Android version ad-based.

    So yes, I think it could definitely work. The only additional comment I have, is that your game appeals so much to free-to-play, that I feel it nearly seems a bit "forced" to make it premium. You have a level-based game, and could easily allow players to buy extra lives, an extra monkey before each level, or something else along those lines. Basing this heavily on allowing the player to gain these paid items for free by watching a video advertisement has worked very well for others. So it might be something worth considering! Just don't be intrusive with the ads. Allow people to chose to get a helping hang by watching a video ad instead. That is if you decide to go free-to-play, of course :)



    - Difficulty level:
    When the "metal" blocks started appearing, the difficulty increases drastically. You may want to add a few more levels in the beginning of the "metal block" part of the game to very slowly introduce this new concept.


    - YouTube walk-through:
    I feel like this would end up taking a whole lot of time? But if not, it would probably be a fine idea. But it would only make sense for a premium game, to be honest. Not so much for a freemium / ad-based game. If you go free-to-play, you will want people to watch an advertisement to get one more monkey when they fail a level instead of giving them a walkthrough, if you go for the free-to-play model.


    - Name:
    Not a whole lot to say here - sorry.




    On a completely different note:
    Will any of these games be able to be transformed into HTML 5 browser games? Does Unity allow for this to be easily done?

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  2. Cheers for the comment, Sune!

    Yeah, I've been thinking along those lines with my premium vs. ad-based decision. One key factor also is that I don't want the reviews to be filled with "blaah yet another energy mechanic" or "money-sucking developers at it again" which is why I'll either go full premium with no ads and no iaps, or go full ad-based (forced ads every ~5-10 plays or so).

    Yeah, I've gotten a few complaints about the difficulty curve so I'll definitely keep adjusting there. :)

    Unity does support WebGL at least to some extent, but I haven't played with it at all, so I don't know. If it ends up working as well as the other platforms in Unity, I guess it'll be an easy thing to do. :)

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  3. You're welcome, and I appreciate that you get back to my comments too :) It's always interesting.

    I completely understand your view too. Of course you want to avoid getting negative feedback already on the first games you released. Understandably.
    But forcing people to view ads is never a good idea. It'll leave nothing but bad feedback. Rovio recently introduced forced video ads in Angry Birds 2, and this can already be seen on the newer reviews of the game.

    So just be careful with what you do :)

    Would it be an option at all to make the game free-to-play, with no in app purchases at all (no energy mechanics), but rather give players the chance of getting one extra monkey once they've used all in a level, by having them view a video advertisement? I'm just throwing ideas at you. Do with them what you want :)

    I was merely asking about the HTML 5 part because I've seen some people actually being quite successful at selling their HTML 5 game to publishers. So I was just curious.

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  4. I guess it could be an option to do what you suggested, but I'd be afraid that either

    1) I'd want people to view ads, so I'd make the game hard, and therefore people wouldn't like (= too hard)
    2) I'd keep the levels rather easy, so there wouldn't be enough ad views

    Finding the perfect balance there would need constant updates with adjustments to the existing levels' difficulty based on analytics in order to get the right amount of ad-views, and that just sounds too complicated and too much work. :)


    You're definitely right about the forced ads. As a player I don't mind them as long as developers don't make me watch them too often, but the limit for "too often" is rather hard to balance between all players.. Do you know if there are any studies or articles on how tolerant casual players are for ads?


    I'll focus first on mobile before moving to other platforms, but thanks for the heads up on HTML5. :)

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