Maintaining my integrity as a developer VS catering to the m

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Post » Mon Aug 31, 2015 8:57 am

So a few weeks ago I released my first game on iOS and Android. It was done in my spare time and the game is a free download. It's an endless arcade style game where you try to stay alive in a spinning ring of platforms.

I'm a big fan of old school video games and dislike how many video games these days seem to be developed with the goal of making sure that anyone can finish the game. It's a GAME! You're supposed to feel some sense of achievement if you finish it!

Anyways, 2 weeks after release I decided to look at the stats from the first 300 or so downloads. Not a particularly pretty sight for a gamer:

http://imgur.com/erdeTVy

*Note, only players who have played more than 20 games have been included in this analysis

90% of people score less than 500 points in 20 or more games! To put this into context, if you literally don't press anything and let the game do it's own thing you'll score ~150-200 points. At first I thought maybe my tutorial was flawed and people didn't grasp the goal of the game but after showing the game face to face to a few non-gamer fans and looking at how they play, I've realized that the game mechanics might just be too difficult for most casual gamers.

This puts me in a bit of a tricky spot! The game was made for people who enjoy video games and in my personal opinion, the quality of the game would be greatly reduced if I lower the difficulty. It might open the door to getting more players but ultimately the experience would be slower and less rewarding for those players that actually manage to conquer the game mechanics and play it properly.

So, do I cater to the mobile masses by lower the difficulty of the game or maintain my integrity as a developer and simply come to grips with the fact that my game has limited potential to significant success in the mobile gaming world?

PS. The game is called Bounce Bounce Bear if you want to try it out:
Google Play - https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... uncingbear
Apple Store - https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bounce- ... ?ls=1&mt=8
Mega Game Studios is a tiny independent game studio run from our apartment in Melbourne, Australia. We're not quite sure what we do yet but we think it has something to do with apps, board games and plush toys.

www.megagamestudios.com
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Post » Mon Aug 31, 2015 9:22 am

I remember seeing the video you posted before. I thought the concept was good, and appreciated that it was an attempt at something different.
The game looks pretty simple, so I'm not sure how you could lower the difficulty.
I'm wondering what age group the players are, considering the content looks like it'd appeal more to a younger audience. If the players are really young, they might not have the level of skill to grasp the mechanics involved.
You could perhaps include separate difficulty levels, like easy, medium, hard.. or something like that. Or begin easy and slowly ramp up the difficulty if possible.
It probably doesn't matter how many points people get as long as you have them playing it.
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Post » Mon Aug 31, 2015 8:13 pm

Well... I have trouble getting over 1000..... I am not sure why, I may think about what is troublesome.
Game design is all about decomposing the core of your game so it becomes simple instructions.
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Post » Tue Sep 01, 2015 2:10 am

Hi @Vegamon007

I downloaded your game and I really like your production values! Everything looks and sounds really nice!

I've had a couple of plays and found the mechanics enjoyable (but hard to get a decent score).

Now, please don't take the following, as criticism on you game, because its not. It's just a general feeling have, about a lot of games on the app store.

I'm an 80's guy and I love old games. I used to play games like Aztec Challenge (super hard) and Hunchback (same) for days! The reason I used to play these games and put up with the difficulty was, that I wanted to know what happens at the end.

Back then, ending cutscenes were kinda limited, but an ending screen was fine with me! Some of the games definitely disappointed me, as they would just loop back to the start.

I REALLY dislike the 'endless runner' genre.

I don't feel any point or drive to keep playing. I guess a lot of people must feel differently, otherwise the likes of 'Flappy' would not have gotten as big.

This is just my feeling on the issue. As far as games go, I really like to be able to work towards 'Completing the game'. Then, if I feel like I want to better my score, I might play it again.

Sorry for going a little bit off your original question, but I just wanted to let you know that you have cool game there, but I would find it way more addictive, if I had something to work towards.

At the end of the day, you should make what YOU love and there will be people out there that will feel the same about it.

I think including an easy + hardcore mode like some of the suggestions above is definitely a good option. Then again, 'Flappy' was insanely hard and most people couldn't score over 10 and yet it still caught on.

One other thing would be, popping up a big replay button as soon as you die :)
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Post » Tue Sep 01, 2015 7:49 am

Hi guys, thank you so much for your feedback!

The main feedback I'm getting from this, as well as other forums is that the game lacks incentive for players to continue to strive towards improving their score. To fix this problem, I'm going to try to make the cloud unlocking system more apparent by giving players an in-game meter which shows how close they are to the next cloud unlock. In addition to this, I'm considering implementing a reward which is based on cumulative points rather than highscore so that players can see some progress even if they are unable to improve their score. Would love to hear your thoughts on this!

Oh and @Ninjadoodle, I agree with you that I do prefer a game which can be won and I'm actually working on a game with a final goal as speak. For Bounce Bounce Bear however, I think an end-goal or a storyline would be a bit at odds with the general feel of the game. Oh and you can tap the middle of the screen to restart after you die!
Mega Game Studios is a tiny independent game studio run from our apartment in Melbourne, Australia. We're not quite sure what we do yet but we think it has something to do with apps, board games and plush toys.

www.megagamestudios.com
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