Jump to content

[TOPIC: topicViewTemplate]
[GLOBAL: userSmallPhoto]
Photo

What Is Wrong With This Game?
Started by roaminggamer Mar 20 2017 01:26 PM

38 replies to this topic
[TOPIC CONTROLS]
Page 1 of 2 1 2
[/TOPIC CONTROLS]
[modOptionsDropdown]
[/modOptionsDropdown]
[reputationFilter]
[TOPIC: post.html]
#1

roaminggamer

[GLOBAL: userInfoPane.html]
roaminggamer
  • Corona Geek

  • 4,680 posts
  • Enterprise

Hello everyone.  Back in 2014 I released a game called "Red and Dead"

This game never did well and yet, even today when I play it myself I have trouble stopping.  Now, I know there are a number of things wrong with this game, but I was hoping that I could get help from you guys and gals.

 

 

Specifically, I am asking for you to:

 

1. Download a copy of the game for your device (FREE android link added above and here.)

NOTE: Ignore warning dialogs.  The free android copy is a rebuild with the latest Corona and it gives a warning about store.*

 

 

2. Play it for a while.

 

3. Give me some brutal and honest feedback here.  I am interested in anything you have to say, but my biggest question is, "What Is Wrong With This Game?" 

 

Thanks a ton to anyone who should participate in this ad hoc survey!

 



[TOPIC: post.html]
#2

GrahamRanson

[GLOBAL: userInfoPane.html]
GrahamRanson
  • Enthusiast

  • 49 posts
  • Corona SDK

Hey Ed, I've just downloaded it from dropbox ( I also purchased it as it's the least I can do for all you've done for the community ) and here is my feedback:

 

First Impressions

  • The icon doesn't really grab me, however, I am completely useless at icon design so sadly I don't know how helpful this particular piece of feedback is.
  • I don't think the first screenshot in the store should be the title, I can only assume a lot of people don't look much further than that first screenshot when browsing so it should be something from the game itself. Put your best foot forward and all that.
  • A short video showing the game, for the store, might be a good idea.
  • I think you should be dropped into the game sooner, this might be just me but I'm not a huge fan of tutorial/how to screens. If you can get the player into the game straight away, and then have some text in-game at appropriate points to teach them such as "TOUCH LEFT/RIGHT TO STEER" then "STEERING SPEEDS YOU UP", followed by "AVOID THE RED" etc that way they get in, playing, and hooked straight away. Then when they quit the current game, take them to the main menu where they can fiddle with options, difficulty, etc as well as seeing info about the game.

Gameplay

  • Make a song and dance of when the player reaches a new level. Even just a little thing like "New Level" being displayed at the top with some of the particles you get when you hit a red square. Gives the player a sense of achievement.
  • Have some particle effects like the explosion when hitting a green square, maybe they could be green.
  • I really like the speed up you get when you do a doughnut, could there be some way of having to use that like a slingshot? i.e. maybe at some point there are some green squares that are aligned, and move, in such a way that you have to have some serious speed to collect all of them. So it forces the player to do a slingshot move to get all of them.
  • Maybe add some kind of special Gold Stars or something that are optional to collect. Gives some replayability for a perfect score. You can then put them in tricky places that forces the player to say, get a load of green, then dart over to the right to get the star and be quick enough to come back to the left again to get the next green.
  • Maybe more ship types with slightly differing speeds/turn rates that could be played as.
  • Or, have little Upgrade pickups that the player can collect if they want to. They only upgrade the ship during the current game. Basically little Speed / Turning + 1 pickups. Not sure if this would be a good idea or not but basically what I'm getting at is a little bit of variety / player choice.
  • Maybe add some additional Reds, like flat lines or closing gates etc. Maybe these are added later on though already and I just haven't got that far yet :-)
  • I feel like I should be able to keep my finger on the screen all the time ( assuming I want to steer ) and simply slide it to the left/right etc to adjust steering. Kind of like an analogue stick stuck on the X axis. However, I realise this would change it to a single-touch rather than two-touch game so feel free to ignore this, or all other feedback, if you want it to stay two-touch.
  • Could add leaderboards/achievements and social sharing, that sort of stuff.

 

 

Overall I don't think there is anything wrong per se with the game, the core mechanic is sound and a lot of fun. It works well and has a good learning curve. I just think there needs to be some more on top of that to provide some more variety.

 

I hope some of this helps but as I say, please simply ignore any of this feedback if you want. It's just my opinion and a lot of these things might do more damage than good by taking away the simplicity of the core game.



[TOPIC: post.html]
#3

cyberparkstudios

[GLOBAL: userInfoPane.html]
cyberparkstudios
  • Contributor

  • 417 posts
  • Corona SDK

RG,

 

I think it looks really good. Great casual game.
Mechanics are smooth and intuitive.
It is very addicting. I kept wanting to try again, again, again.
I had to make my self stop before my eyes exploded from staring at the screen so long.
 
I agree with Graham's gameplay bullet points  1,2, & 4
I am sure he is right about the others as well, I only emphasis  1,2 & 4 because I had those same exact thoughts as I played it last night, and I do think those 3 points are key. And I think those can be easily added to the game by someone with your skills.
 
Until I can play it further and get to higher levels, at this point I just had one thought to add:
 
Maybe those 'gold stars' or gold rings, that Graham mentioned could be an incentive for player to accumulate 10 of them. And once accumulated, player benefits from an immediate positive effect.  Maybe player has invincibility for 20 seconds, so player does not die when smashing into reds or the walls for that period of time.  So in addition to the 'achievement' player enjoys while collecting stars, the player also enjoys a 'reward' right with in the game environment, once player has collected 10 stars our whatever number you set.
 
Best of luck!
Bob


[TOPIC: post.html]
#4

davebollinger

[GLOBAL: userInfoPane.html]
davebollinger
  • Contributor

  • 888 posts
  • Enterprise

  my guess, in a word, "marketing".

 

  i haven't downloaded, and haven't played, but i'll still offer $0.02 fwiw because i think you're proceeding from a false premise:  there doesn't have to be anything wrong with an app for it to do poorly.   i don't know what marketing you might have done already, but i'd guess it wasn't enough.

 

   marketing is vastly more important than quality.  (oooh, heresy, let the flame wars begin)  otoh, a "junk" app with good marketing can outperform a great app with no marketing.

 

   that's not to say that quality doesn't help, because it'll help generate "buzz" if ppl like it - but again, that becomes marketing factor.  ie, quality helps to the extent that it creates a positive marketing impression, and potentially build up brand loyalty for your next app, etc -- but quality alone does not sell.  the corollary is:  if no-one knows about your app, then it doesn't matter even if it's the best-app-ever - it won't sell, because no-one is buying.  to "sell" you must 1) attract customers, and 2) convert them.

 

  graham has already pointed out icon, video, screenshots.  also you need a fuller description to hopefully get some seo discovery. and if anyone does ever find it, can they then try it to see if it's buzz-worthy?    you've sort of built a $0.99 brick wall in front of it. maybe change from paid to ad-supported/no-ads iap, or separate free/paid versions.  (check out your competition in the arcade "top free" category)  it also seems a bit "heavy" at 21M for what it appears to contain.  where's its website?  its twitter/facebook?  it's dev blog?  have you posted about it anywhere?  (outside of dev channels like here, which don't count)  submitted for reviews?

 

  et cetera - all those types of "PR" steps are pretty much mandatory for success these days.  i myself am not a master of marketing either, btw, :D but i recognize its importance.


  • agramonte likes this

[TOPIC: post.html]
#5

Rob Miracle

[GLOBAL: userInfoPane.html]
Rob Miracle
  • Moderator

  • 21,849 posts
  • Corona Staff

Hey Ed. While I think all of the points above are valid, I'm going to disagree with one: I seriously struggle with your rotational movement (hold down on the left and make a full counter-clockwise circle). I find this very hard to steer. The best I did was level 2 before I gave up. You used a similar motion for challenge game you made a few months ago, perhaps for a game jam. I found it hard to steer the dragons with the controls.

 

But I think Dave's point is probably the biggest one of all. You can't have success if people are not downloading your game. I could not find any reviews and star ratings in either store. I know that's a catch 22. You have to have downloads to get reviews but you can't get downloads without them.

 

This is where the Corona Indie Group can come in handy. While to day its more general Corona talk, it the beginning it was a "If you rate me, I'll rate you" group and people still do that.

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/310088005728833/

 

 

Rob



[TOPIC: post.html]
#6

roaminggamer

[GLOBAL: userInfoPane.html]
roaminggamer
  • Corona Geek

  • 4,680 posts
  • Enterprise

You guys rock.   I read each of these responses through once and will be revisiting them to be sure I capture all of the great feedback you guys spent your valuable time giving me.

 

Thank you so much!

 

Note: Once I start to make changes I'll post back here so the community at large can see the results.

 

Cheers,

Ed



[TOPIC: post.html]
#7

Sphere Game Studios

[GLOBAL: userInfoPane.html]
Sphere Game Studios
  • Corona Geek

  • 1,254 posts
  • Corona SDK

Hey Ed,  I can sum it up in a 5 words.... it is a paid app.

 

But changing it to free is only the start.  Having a free app will remove the wall that Dave rightly mentioned but without serious PR/Marketing/some amazing good luck your game is one of over a million other arcade apps and will get lost.  

 

Think of it a trying to find a tree in a forest.  The more money you spent on PR/marketing the more you paint that tree gold.


  • agramonte likes this

[TOPIC: post.html]
#8

lmgualandi

[GLOBAL: userInfoPane.html]
lmgualandi
  • Enthusiast

  • 58 posts
  • Corona SDK

The mechanics is good. It can get addictive. Better than many games. I was able to play it without tutorials, which is good. My advice for this game is to keep it as simple as possible. Let the player start the game with one touch. I would put only the endless mode, no levels of difficulty. Easy on the beginning for the users to learn, and going harder for it not to get boring. I guess you won't have much organic downloads with this game, so the app will have to be featured somewhere and have more attractive screenshots. More visual appeal. People like modern professional graphics, even if they are minimalistic. The icon isn't helping. It won't definitely be an easy task, though. Why does the ship gets faster when I make curves? It makes me create a strategy of only going straight slowly.

[TOPIC: post.html]
#9

roaminggamer

[GLOBAL: userInfoPane.html]
roaminggamer
  • Corona Geek

  • 4,680 posts
  • Enterprise

 I seriously struggle with your rotational movement (hold down on the left and make a full counter-clockwise circle). I find this very hard to steer. 

 

When you played it, were you playing one handed or holding the device in both hands.  

 

I assume you were using your thumb(s)?  If not which finger(s) were you using to steer?

 

Were you playing on a phone (iPhone 5 or similar), a phablet (iPhone 6 or greater), or a proper tablet (iPad or similar)?

 

Note: The way the ship steers in this game is the core mechanic and is a bit subtle.  It works as follows:

  1. Press and hold left side to steer left
  2. Press and hold right to steer right
  3. No-touching moves in current direction
  4. Touching both sides at once also moves in straight line.
  5. Touching either side gives a gradual increasing velocity to the ship.
  6. Touching both sides really boosts the ship, but again only in a straight-line
  7. When a single touch or touches are released, ship velocity drops off rapidly (but not instantly) to the current base velocity.
  8. Turning rate increases as a function of velocity to an upper-limit, then stops increasing.
  9. Base velocity and base turning velocity increase very gradually as the game progresses.  i.e. Higher levels have higher rates.

 

Thanks!


Edited by roaminggamer, 22 March 2017 - 01:33 PM.


[TOPIC: post.html]
#10

roaminggamer

[GLOBAL: userInfoPane.html]
roaminggamer
  • Corona Geek

  • 4,680 posts
  • Enterprise

@lmgualandi,

  1. When you played it, were you playing one handed or holding the device in both hands?
  2. What finger(s) did you use to steer/interact?
  3. Were you playing on a phone (iPhone 5 or similar), a Phablet (iPhone 6 or greater), or a Tablet (iPad or similar)?


[TOPIC: post.html]
#11

Rob Miracle

[GLOBAL: userInfoPane.html]
Rob Miracle
  • Moderator

  • 21,849 posts
  • Corona Staff

I was playing on a 9" tablet, so it would have been too handed with thumbs. I'll give it more play time and see if I can get past my frustration about it.

 

Rob



[TOPIC: post.html]
#12

Sphere Game Studios

[GLOBAL: userInfoPane.html]
Sphere Game Studios
  • Corona Geek

  • 1,254 posts
  • Corona SDK

Hey Ed, sorry if this comes across wrong but if you have to ask players how they are playing then your UX is too complicated/not intuitive.

 

In my experience, if players don't get it straight away they hit the uninstall button.  The customer is "always right" and if something doesn't work then clearly the app is at fault and we are incompetent developers.  They are of course blissfully ignorant of the fact they are 1 in 10,000+ players that can't grasp a real simple concept.

 

We all know that 9 out of 10 times the average customer is somewhat IQ-challenged but if fellow devs don't find your UX logical then you probably really do have an issue.

 

I'll quote my game.... players tap the build menu, then select water and it says "tap to add or remove water" in like 22px font.  This seemingly doesn't stop the emails asking "how to remove water" or (more infuriating) "your game won't let me remove water",  

 

I have come to the inevitable conclusion that a fair percentage of players are just not capable of reading/comprehending a simple instruction... yet these people are allowed to use email and reviews to express there stupidity!

 

More importantly these people have a vote, can legally drive drive cars and procreate ... but that's a whole different thread (and may explain Trump being president!)



[TOPIC: post.html]
#13

roaminggamer

[GLOBAL: userInfoPane.html]
roaminggamer
  • Corona Geek

  • 4,680 posts
  • Enterprise

@adrian,

 

No prob.  Absolutely if the UX is not intuitive I've done something wrong.

 

However, I can't stand and watch (these) folks play the game so I have to ask things I'd have been able to observe in RL.

 

As this is the core mechanic, I am not going to drop it, but I want to see if there is a non-intrusive way to make it more accessible and clear.

 

For example.  Originally, the game had no left-right arrows to show when you pressed the sides of the screen, but I added them when a tester said, "what do I touch to turn?"  i.e. The user expected some kind of button or visual cue.

 

I agree re: instructions and users, but then on occasion I've seen it done very well.  I'm always encouraged when I see this, because I find making instructions hard to do right and often pointless.

 

At the end of the day I have a long ways to go to become a good UX designer.  


Edited by roaminggamer, 22 March 2017 - 02:41 PM.


[TOPIC: post.html]
#14

Sphere Game Studios

[GLOBAL: userInfoPane.html]
Sphere Game Studios
  • Corona Geek

  • 1,254 posts
  • Corona SDK

Saying that... other game devs does not a representative sample make.  UAT is fundamental to making a successful game (or app).

 

I've not played your game but from the screenshots I'd say it was close to the old arcade game asteroids.  That had 3 movements, rotate left, rotate right and thrust.  Perhaps imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery and just maybe 3 semi transparent buttons for rotate left, rotate right and thrust would really help the UX here?



[TOPIC: post.html]
#15

lmgualandi

[GLOBAL: userInfoPane.html]
lmgualandi
  • Enthusiast

  • 58 posts
  • Corona SDK

I was holding with both hands with my thumbs on a 10 inch tablet

[TOPIC: post.html]
#16

remiduchalard

[GLOBAL: userInfoPane.html]
remiduchalard
  • Contributor

  • 193 posts
  • Corona SDK

I hadn't the time to try it.

I had a look only on screen shot of the google play.

Color can be improve with "neon" color. Transform your color to look like more Tron or geometry dash.

Your game can be really handsome but if you don't change your design you won't have a lot of download.

 

If you don't know how to change your color to have neon effect, I can help you.



[TOPIC: post.html]
#17

davemikesell

[GLOBAL: userInfoPane.html]
davemikesell
  • Contributor

  • 526 posts
  • Corona SDK

I haven't given it a go yet, but I will.  

 

IMHO, marketing won't matter much if the game isn't good, unless it's paid I suppose and you get a ton of initial downloads, i.e. purchases.   For free games with ads/IAPs, it had better be addictive and set the hook early.   To the point where people want to tell their friends.  Word of mouth is the best marketing you can hope for.   You could spend market $$$ on marketing and generate lots of downloads, but if people quit and delete shortly thereafter, it won't matter.

 

Completely anecdotal, but I've never downloaded a game because of an ad.  A friend or family member or reviewer (after it went viral) told me about it.  And in turn I tell others about them.  

 

Of course you'll need some marketing - even if it's just guerrilla marketing (FB posts, tweets, emails, message boards, etc.) - to generate the first wave of downloads, but how many do you need to know if it's just not good enough to go viral?   10?  1000?  10000?   That's what I struggle with.   I adhere to the (possibly horribly misguided) notion that if a few hundred people have played one of my games and nobody has thought enough of it to tell anyone, it's probably doesn't have "it".



[TOPIC: post.html]
#18

davemikesell

[GLOBAL: userInfoPane.html]
davemikesell
  • Contributor

  • 526 posts
  • Corona SDK

OK, downloaded and played.   Here's my feedback.

 

First off, Kevin MacLeod rocks!   I use his music in a couple of my games.   I love this tune, too, but don't see a way to mute it without also muting SFX.  I'd consider adding separate controls for each.

 

I like the game play, feel, graphics, sounds and of course the music - fun to keep playing again and again.  Why would someone "start over", though?  I always just keep hitting "Continue" after I fail.

 

I never saw any ads.   Not sure there's enough of a hook to upgrade for additional levels.   If I had the full game and ads, I might upgrade to turn them off.   

 

Finally, when I launched on my iPhone 6S running iOS 10.2, I got a popup saying it might slow my phone down because it's not up to date.   That's kind of an inauspicious start to the game play experience.  



[TOPIC: post.html]
#19

sporkfin

[GLOBAL: userInfoPane.html]
sporkfin
  • Contributor

  • 240 posts
  • Corona SDK

Hi Ed,

 

I haven't read any of the other posts on purpose so forgive me if my comments are redundant.

 

I like the soundtrack and the initial moments of play.  I was drawn in right away.  However, I found the controls a little frustrating once the obstacles (especially the gears that chase you) showed up.  Eventually I achieve a level of proficiency, chiefly when I stopped holding down the inputs and switch to tapping.  It would be good to start out with a hint so the players know to tap the inputs instead of holding them down.

 

The 2 things that I think would be boost the game the most would be shorter, more achievable goals and an increased survivability of the ship.  

 

The levels/stages should be much shorter so it always feels like you are advancing if only by a little bit.  Instead of having to start over when I die, I think I should be able to keep half the points I earned to apply toward the next level.  This would keep the game moving and satisfy the "I wanna see what's next" impulse that gets players hooked to a game.

 

Given how prone the ship is to crash into things (at least when I'm flying), a feature I would like to see is a temporary shield around the ship that would protect you from one hit and then regenerate.  The shield would also allow you to bounce off of the wall creating a new movement/ evasion paradigm.  The rotational-thrust movement of the ship can be tricky to control and I think a shield might balance the gameplay a little more by increasing the survivability of the ship.  Maybe the shield doesn't auto-generate but you have to pick up a booster.



[TOPIC: post.html]
#20

agramonte

[GLOBAL: userInfoPane.html]
agramonte
  • Contributor

  • 268 posts
  • Corona SDK

I am going to second what people here have said. The days of building a game and expecting people to download it and make money are gone. You have to market it. I see so many awesome games in these forums and sometimes I wish I was as talented as you guys are because I would be able to make some decent money with the games you make.



[TOPIC: post.html]
#21

Mike Hempfling

[GLOBAL: userInfoPane.html]
Mike Hempfling
  • Contributor

  • 245 posts
  • Corona SDK

I would improve the graphics overall so it looks more enticing.

 
I also like the idea of doing some simple pick-up/power-ups.
 
Besides that I would do some marketing (with-in reason/budget) and hope for the best.


[TOPIC: post.html]
#22

patrice.merineau

[GLOBAL: userInfoPane.html]
patrice.merineau
  • Observer

  • 14 posts
  • Corona SDK

Your gameplay have nothing to do why this game is not doing well. Your problem is with your listing.

 

3 things why i DIDN'T want to download your game:

 

- It's not free. 

- Your icon is ugly (you can tell that it was made by a programmer, not a designer)

- Your screenshots are boring, they are only screenshots of the game...

 

Sorry if it sounds rude, but this is the first impression that I had when I saw your store listing.



[TOPIC: post.html]
#23

davemikesell

[GLOBAL: userInfoPane.html]
davemikesell
  • Contributor

  • 526 posts
  • Corona SDK

Your gameplay have nothing to do why this game is not doing well. Your problem is with your listing.

 

3 things why i DIDN'T want to download your game:

 

- It's not free. 

- Your icon is ugly (you can tell that it was made by a programmer, not a designer)

- Your screenshots are boring, they are only screenshots of the game...

 

Sorry if it sounds rude, but this is the first impression that I had when I saw your store listing.

 

Geometry Dash is $1.99 and has a garbage icon, and it's 5th on the Paid list.   Been up there for as long as I can remember.   Ballz is free but also has a bad icon and only screenshots of game play, yet it's the top listed Free game.   

 

You need some kind of marketing to get the word out there, but if it's not super fun and nobody wants to tell their friends about it, it's not going to be super successful.   



[TOPIC: post.html]
#24

Sphere Game Studios

[GLOBAL: userInfoPane.html]
Sphere Game Studios
  • Corona Geek

  • 1,254 posts
  • Corona SDK

@patrice.... harsh comments for sure!  I don't think Ed really needed a beating?



[TOPIC: post.html]
#25

patrice.merineau

[GLOBAL: userInfoPane.html]
patrice.merineau
  • Observer

  • 14 posts
  • Corona SDK

Seriously?

Don't get confused, Ed asked for real comments. I'm not beating Ed nor the game. I'm telling "harsh" comments on the store listing. He wants to know and get an idea why his game doesn't get downloaded.

So ok then, let's pretend everything is fine with this game then. 

Have a nice one.




[topic_controls]
Page 1 of 2 1 2
 
[/topic_controls]