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Please critique my game [promo codes included]
Started by sairafi505 Mar 20 2012 04:52 AM

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#1

sairafi505

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Hi,

Last week I released a universal game called Cheeky Monkey In Space, and as usual, it didn't sell as well as I hoped. I've been trying to get as much feedback as possible so I can improve it. The problem is most of the feedback/reviews have been good, and I'm not complaining, but I want some critique so that I can actually make it better.

Heres the app store link:
http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/cheeky-monkey-in-space/id507895515?mt=8
(any feedback on this page is appreciated)

Here are 5 promo codes:

MYNWXTK7RFRN

ARRJ7TAEYYHT

6F36RP6PJLPN

JWALY4LNJ7KK

R7KLE9MR4N69

Note: Please mention which promo code you took. If all the promo codes get taken, just post in this thread and I'll post some more.

Thanks
uid: 82699 topic_id: 23641 reply_id: 323641


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#2

nosheet

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nosheet
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Thanks, man!
Will get the game (buy it! ;) later this week.
I've seen the promo video -I think on TouchArcade forums - following up our discussion on the other forum topic.
You are having rocking ratings, dude, so congratulations there!

From what I've seen the video, the game mechanic seems to be very interesting and innovative, looking forward how it plays on device.

As far as sales go, not sure what I can suggest as it's all lottery, as we talked about in the other thread.

From what I see, you could spend some more time polishing the game in the graphics department, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it will sell better (at all).
Probably the way to go would be to try if you can make some meaningful In-App purchase mechanism and make the game free.
I hate doing these things, as will often break nice game concept, but it seems to be the tendency that nowadays users expect.

Another way is sinking some money in marketing, but I am not sure about the returns. I would be very reluctant to try that myself.

Yet another way to monetize would be to make it completely free, and use it to advertise your app-development services. This kinda sucks, but this is how I got most of my iOS money so far.

Finally, when it comes to making games on mobile devices nowadays, we can only go back to the old corny "journey is the reward".
We can almost never expect if our stuff will sell or not, so the only thing we can control is whether we enjoy doing it or not.
On the other hand, if you want to approach game development as a business, then the very process should start with coming up with a very media-friendly idea (maybe try to build some controversy, but nothing too much or you will be censored by Apple nazi policies), design the game around in-app purchases, raise the money, pay the designers and pay the media slots, start marketing the app as soon as you have one decent screenshot ready, bomb the blogs and forums with your in-development rants and then eventually when it comes to launch people will already know your game and be expecting it.
I know, not many of us (certainly not me) have motivation and ability to stomach it :)

Until then, like for the great majority of us - journey IS reward.
uid: 80100 topic_id: 23641 reply_id: 94961


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#3

Chinta

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I have used: 6F36RP6PJLPN
When I try to use JWALY4LNJ7KK and R7KLE9MR4N69, I got a message that they were already used.

Thanks for the codes.
uid: 63121 topic_id: 23641 reply_id: 94996


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#4

peach pellen

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Looks like a very neat app, my one suggestion would be graphics - the circle around the monkey doesn't look "polished" enough. Improving it would mean your icon was more attractive to.

I know this because my art is not always great and I do see a difference when I tweak things like this, especially that show on the icon.

Peach :)
uid: 52491 topic_id: 23641 reply_id: 95069


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#5

sairafi505

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@nosheet Thank you for the post, and yes the ratings are good but thats only in the UK (where most of the sales come from). I hardly have any sales in the US although it is the biggest market :S I have certainly been considering IAP for a while, but I feel that it is only useful when you have exposure and can get A LOT of sales. Right now I am working on a make-over, which includes the difficulty curve. Many people have been telling me that the game gets too hard too early (although it is possible to get 1, and sometimes 2 bananas in all 80 levels very easily, its just people are stubborn and want to get the 3 bananas in every single level). I am trying to improve the graphics, but don't have a good idea on how to approach this, nothing I come up with seems appealing.

@cmrapplabs Thank you, and hope you're enjoying the game. Any feedback is much appreciated.

@peach I think my biggest regret is the icon because it is the main contributor on making people check out my game on the newly released list. Definitely should've spent some more time on it, and while I will improve it in the next update, I don't think it'll make THAT much difference now that it's off the newly released list, and I doubt I will get on any other list in the app store.
uid: 82699 topic_id: 23641 reply_id: 95246


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#6

Chinta

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Sorry for keeping you waiting. I had trouble syncing your game from iTunes to my iPhone-3gs.
I spent some time trying to figure out the issue, but lost my patience.
I tried to buy it from appStore on my 3gs, but it wouldn't let me buy.
I got a message saying "iOS 4.3 is required" to install the game.
My 3gs is 4.2 - and I do not want to upgrade it.

>>>> Question: This is actually a surprise for me. I thought Corona supports iOS-3.x and later. Does Corona support only 4.3 or later?
Or, did you specify any minimum-iOS-version or something like that in your game (i don't know if such thing exists though) ?

So, I finally bought it from my wife's iPhone-4.

here is my feedback/.observations:

1. First of all, I actually like the game and the background track.
2. When I wanted to buy your game, I was outside, on 3G - no WiFi. As I am on 200MB download plan, the first thing I looked for was the size of the game. When I noticed that it is 18 MB, I did not want to buy it at that time. I bought it after 3/4 hours, after coming back to my home, where I have wifi. (If you did not follow it up, I would have forgot about it, and same thing can happen to others)
What I am trying to say is: may be reduce the size, so that who ever notices your game can download it immediately - even on 3G also. Try making it under 10MB if possible.
(My game was at 15MB. I have reduced it now to 9.8MB, by reducing the audio sample rate for BG-Music and sounds, reducing the image sizes that need not be crystal clear etc...)

Anyway, this is just my opinion.

3. After downloading the game, on iPhone4, it did not start first time, and second time. Splash screen came up and the app app dies.

4. As Peach said: You have to work on the circle around the money in the Icon, and the game also. When the circle turns to bus, it looked fine, but in the beginning it doesn't look good.

5. I personally do not have any problem with anything except the Icon and circle around the monkey. May be you need to consult a graphics expert to improve those. If you want, I can give you contact details of a person that I have used for my game.
Send me an email to my email address: @gmail.com

Coming to the game:
6. Yes it gets hard very quickly.
You said that its easy to get 1/2 bananas, but players are stubborn and wants to get all 3 bananas.
I think it is true. Even I wanted to get all three bananas. **** Because, below is what is mentioned in your game description in AppStore:
"Cheeky Monkey has lost all his bananas in a space journey. Can you help him get back them?"
So, I was trying to get as many bananas as possible, and I figured that getting 1 banana is easy but getting 2nd and 3rd bananas is very difficult - even in the starting levels.

I felt that getting all 3 is kind of impossible in some levels - especially in level-6 when're all three bananas are too close around the rocket. As soon as you get one banana, the rocket takes the monkey… It took time for me to figure out that you do not what to touch the rocket to get bananas - unless you what to fly.
May be keep some space more between the bananas and rocket.. otherwise, as soon as the rocket takes the monkey on first banana, the player will go to next level and will not learn the trick to get all bananas in that kind of situation.

Its actually a good sign that players are trying to get all the bananas...

7. level-8: I felt there is no way to get all 3 bananas. May be I can find it if had played that level for more time, but I felt I already spent a lot of time in that level and skipped to the next level.

8. Level-10: Getting the banana in the middle of those 8 black holes - felt like it is kind of impossible..

9. I did not understand on thing. Why is the monkey sliding downwards on the planet? Is that intentional and part of the game?
Sometimes when it jumps to another planet, it starts sliding and getting itself into a blackhole or hitting an asteroid.
I think you have implemented that sliding motion to show that planets move around themselves, but I think the movement is too fast. When the monkey jumps to another planet, it slides very fast and slips into a blackhole very quickly - leaving no time for player to stop it.

10. I think this one is important: Whenever I go to next level, or restart current level, there is a long pause.
By that I mean, music goes off, screen goes completely dark - for few seconds - leaving an impression that the app might have died.
More than that, I think its breaking the involvement in the game.
To be clear, when I was playing a level, I was getting involved in that game - due to the bg-music and the space graphics,
but as soon a level is replayed or go to the next level, I was loosing that involvement - mainly due to the long reload time and no-music.

I have played 12 levels till now. I will let you know if I find anything else later.
I hope it helps. Good luck.
uid: 63121 topic_id: 23641 reply_id: 95331


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#7

Chinta

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My wife has played your game, and here is her feedback.
Her main concern is reload time between levels.

My feedback might seem too picky, because I am a developer.
She is not a developer, so its like a normal player's feedback.

Hope that helps.
uid: 63121 topic_id: 23641 reply_id: 95334


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#8

PXL artificer

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Going to try the game and I'll let you know...

In the meanwhile... since usually giving promo codes in forums is kinda messy you should try yaycodes, it makes it very easy to give away promo codes (http://yaycodes.com/).
uid: 9158 topic_id: 23641 reply_id: 95335


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#9

sairafi505

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@cmrapplabs Thank you for the detailed feedback, I will try to implement every single thing you mentioned.

1. Corona does support older devices, but you also have to use older builds (build 706 I think). However, if I use this build, the only device that will be added to compatibility is the iPhone 3G since it's the only device (other than iPod 1st and 2nd gen) that does not support iOS 4.3. In my opinion it's not worth it because not many people still use the iPhone 3G, and even so, my game will hardly perform well on it (I use about 35mb texture memory in the levels).

2. Originally the game was 22mb but I decided to reduce the size so that it could be downloaded on 3G (when 20mb was the air limit). I thought that would solve the issue, but I will attempt to get down to 10mb or less in the newer update.

3. Thats interesting because I haven't heard about any incident of the game crashing when people I know got the game. Definitely have to investigate into it.

4. A complete graphics make-over is underway.

5. I agree, it does seem impossible at times because in some levels you need to be overly accurate. When I designed the levels, I was thinking that I need to make the levels hard so that the players don't think its easy and boring. The result was 80 difficult levels and get frustrating at times. The plan is to reduce the difficult and make sure that you don't need to be 100% accurate to get all bananas (maybe only in the later later levels).

6. In level 10, the trick is to get the middle banana from the right to the left, rather the other way around, I though it would be a good puzzle, but I think I may have introduced it too soon. Also it is possible to get it from left to right, but again you need to be VERY accurate.

7. Although the friction is set to max, and the bounce is set to 0, this still happens because both the planets and monkey are circular physics bodies. The way to get around it is to tap on the monkey to stop it from sliding too far. When playing the levels, I used to do this without realizing that players who know nothing about the physics of the game won't know how to use it. I will add some linear damping to either completely stop the monkey in place, or dramatically slow down the movement.

8. As mentioned above, I use ~35mb of texture memory in the levels, which usually takes 2 seconds to load every level on my iPhone 4. Initially I thought this was fast enough and theres no need for a loading screen. I have added a loading screen to the next update, but you bring up a very interesting point about the involvement in the game. I might leave the background soundtrack playing through the loading screen and onto the next level. I will attempt to make the loading instant as well (maybe use a number of smaller sprite sheets rather than a couple of big ones).

Again thank you very much for the detailed feedback, it will definitely help me improve the game dramatically.

@shedder I have never heard of that website, will give it a go next time. Hope you enjoy the game :)
uid: 82699 topic_id: 23641 reply_id: 95430


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#10

Chinta

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Hi @sairafi505.. Sorry I couldn't respond on time. I got tied uo with lots of other work this week and couldn't focus on anything else..
Thanks for considering my feedback.

3. Thats interesting because I haven't heard about any incident of the game crashing when people I know got the game. Definitely have to investigate into it.
>> I think you can ignore this. I think I had that issue because I might have messed up my phone before purchasing it. Because I couldn't install it when I used your promo code on my iPhone3gs, I tried to copy the .iap file from iphone3gs to my iPhone4 from xcode. I just didn't think much that time that it is not supposed to work.

Regarding texture memory, if you think you can reduce it from 35mb, here is what I follow. Ignore it if you already know about it.
An 65x65 image will take double the texture memory of 64x64 image.
So, I try to make sure that the images are in that boundaries. For example: if I have any 260x260 image, I scale it down to 256x256 and scale it up a bit from the code if I want. It straight away saves 256kb texture memory there.
By using this procedure, I brought down the texture memory usage to 15MB on iPhone-4/iPad-2 from 28MB.
I know it depends on the game's requirement, but just giving you an example.

level difficulty:
I think this is the mooooosttt difficult part of the game. Thats what I really feel right now, because I am trying to tweak the difficulty of the levels.
Its just not easy to know the right level of difficulty. Will it be difficult for the player? I think we, as developers, never know because we might already have played that level for several times, and got used to it already. For us, it just might seem to be not-so-difficult, but in fact it might be difficult for a first time player.
I am going through that hell right now, and just don't know what I will end up with :-(

about level loading time:
May be, leave the bg-music, with you stars background (or, may be some slow transition from alpha 0.1 to 1 over a second or two) should be ok. I think you just need to create some kind of illusion for the player..

Thanks.
uid: 63121 topic_id: 23641 reply_id: 97012


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#11

sairafi505

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@cmrapplabs Thank you for your feedback again. I have managed to cut down the texture memory to roughly 15mb for most levels, but the loading time is almost the same. I am nearly done with the update which includes better graphics, better difficulty curve, bug fixes, and icon fix. All that is left is the level loading screen. Because I'm using director to change from the gameplay file to an empty file and then back when the game is restarted, the loading time is still about 2 seconds. But I have taken into consideration what you said in the earlier post about engagement, and so I left the bg soundtrack running through the transition and have included a loading screen.
uid: 82699 topic_id: 23641 reply_id: 97155


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#12

jeff472

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After feedback about the speed of my app, I have removed director transitions, and just switch between pages without effects.
It makes it feel a lot more responsive.
uid: 108660 topic_id: 23641 reply_id: 97162


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#13

CineTek

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I have used: ARRJ7TAEYYHT
Will test it tomorrow due to a (late) Update to iOS 5.1...
I´ll let you know of my thoughts about the game.
uid: 138330 topic_id: 23641 reply_id: 97169


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#14

Chinta

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@ sairafi505 - no problem. If that loading time can not be fixed, the bg-music and loading screen will take care of it I think.
uid: 63121 topic_id: 23641 reply_id: 97223


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#15

Chinta

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I just got access to an iPad-3 for a couple of days. If anyone wants some quick tests to be done on iPad3, I am willing to do it.
uid: 63121 topic_id: 23641 reply_id: 97224


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#16

jeff472

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>>If anyone wants some quick tests to be done on iPad3, I am willing to do it.<<

I'd like to take you up on that.
My 'new iPad' minor update has been bounced after a week in the review process due to
'black screen and nothing else at startup in iOs 5.1'

Since it is working fine on my own iPad and iPhone, both at 5.1, this is pretty frustrating...
uid: 108660 topic_id: 23641 reply_id: 97236


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#17

Chinta

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@jeff472, if you want to give me a build to test, I can send the UUID this evening.
uid: 63121 topic_id: 23641 reply_id: 97331


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#18

jeff472

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cmrapplabs: That would be really great.
Drop me a message /yr email through
www.facebook.com/CrossStitch2Go and I'll get things moving.
uid: 108660 topic_id: 23641 reply_id: 97344


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#19

Chinta

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@jeff472: I sent you my email id through your Facebook account.
uid: 63121 topic_id: 23641 reply_id: 97437


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#20

Chinta

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I have released MeanyBirds - my first game - for iPhone/iPad.
Below is a link to the game:

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/meanybirds/id510058942?mt=8&ls=1

I should say that I owe a lot to Corona. I don't really think I would have developed this game if I did not come across Corona-SDK. Thanks to Corona !

Here are the snapshots of my game, and few promo-codes:

EWJJK6NTF4HR
L43RLMKFH67J
EPA4LPEYAXYL
XNAEA9T9P99P

If anyone is interested, please feel free to use the promo codes.
If you like the game, please consider giving the game a good rating. (there are no ratings right now :-(

*** any FEEDBACK from you will be VERY VALUABLE to me.

Thanks a lot !













uid: 63121 topic_id: 23641 reply_id: 103428


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#21

Chinta

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If any of you are interested, Please use the below Promo codes:

EWJJK6NTF4HR
L43RLMKFH67J
XNAEA9T9P99P

I do not know if anyone had used those or not. So, let me know if they do not work for you. I will post new codes.
uid: 63121 topic_id: 23641 reply_id: 103557


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#22

Chinta

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It seems all the codes are used.
If any one is interested, let me know. I will send new codes.
uid: 63121 topic_id: 23641 reply_id: 103560



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