march 07, 2013 06:05pm
Okay it's been a while now since Take My Machete has been live and being downloaded/played, so I figured it's time to look back at have a look at what went right and what went wrong. If you haven't downloaded the game and checked it out, please feel free! - Take My Machete on iTunes
To be honest, I created the game as a learning experience. There was no real goal of making a bucketload of cash. It was basically a "get a goddamn game finished" project, after many years of procrastinating. After a few months of unemployment early last year, I decided to start and finish a project before the year's end. I managed to accomplish that AND gain employment at the same time, so I am extremely grateful and lucky.
Development was fun, it had its ups and downs like every other game project. Pushing myself to finish it wasn't as hard with the mindset and goal I set. From what I saw and read about the App Store, free games usually got thousands of downloads per day, so I was happy enough knowing my game would be played by a bunch of strangers around the world.
The engine was coded (visually) using Multimedia Fusion 2, and the art was created all in Photoshop. I contracted a guy called Jon from TFA Music to create some funky tunes, and I had the base of a shippable game complete. It took around 7 months from idea to finished product. I worked pretty much full-time while I was unemployed and at nights and on weekends when I was working again.
Anyway, to numbers, as I assume that's why you're reading this post. To date Take My Machete has had around 22k downloads. I'm pretty pleased with that, being my first game and not really knowing how people would receive it. Downloads started well with about 9k on the first day, and have been severely dwindling since. It now sits on around 10 downloads a day, as a free app.
Besides creating a website and trailer for the game, emailing reviewers to let them know about it, posting on Reddit, SomethingAwful and Touch Arcade; I didn't spend a single dollar on marketing.
The game has In App Purchases, but it was never designed to have a pay wall or parts of the game where the player felt obliged to pay some money to progress. The IAP's were optional and mainly for cosmetic stuff. I felt as though if the players enjoyed the game enough, they would feel happy to donate a dollar to help me out to earn back the money I spent on creating the game. The main budget I spent was on music and was around $450.
Sadly this isn't the case, and as of today the game has only earned around $50 from IAP. There is one advert shown in the game on boot up, and it's netted me about $250. The shitty thing about it however is that the network I used (Chartboost), only pays out when you reach over $300 earned. Considering I maxed out at $250, and the game only gets 10 downloads a day and earns anywhere from 0-1$ per day, getting this payout could take years. So, I tried putting the money back into Chartboost via advertising my game. $200 got me about 400 installs at 50 cents per install, totally not worth your time.
As I mentioned in the second paragraph, the game was never meant to be a money-maker, but it is disappointing to lose money at the same time. Every developer wishes for a massive success story and wants their game to do well, if they tell you otherwise they are lying. To be honest in the App Store marketplace it seems getting your game out there is more about who you know, rather than what you create. Maybe it's different on other platforms, but who knows!
In closing, it was definitely a great learning experience and has given me the knowledge and insight into creating a game from start to finish by myself. I will of course be making more games, and I can't think of anything else I'd rather be doing with my time :)
So thank you if you downloaded the game, played it, enjoyed it and shared it with your friends. Even if you didn't enjoy the game, thanks for taking the time to check it out. I'd love to hear your feedback.
The next blog will probably be about the prototype for my next game, so until then ciao!
december 28, 2012 09:05am
I will hopefully be submitting Take My Machete (TMM) to the App Store in the next week or so!
It's been a ride to say the least. Having dabbled in game development for so long and only really having one half-assed release (Milber 2, we'll forget about the original Milber and the rest of my early Games Factory days!).
To be honest, the end 10% or so of development has been flying along and in so, it's keeping my motivation as high as it's ever been. I'd like to think squishing bugs and getting feedback is an important part of feeling like you've accomplished something. Even if it feels like it never ends and the bugs and issues are there just to spite you.
TMM is a small game, a good player should be able to beat the main story in an hour or two. However the beginning player should take 3-4 hours as they learn how to deal with the different enemies and flow with the control system. There is also an Endless Mode for pick up and play gaming, which should satisfy the more casual gamers. Overall, I tried to include a bunch of un-lockable and collectable content that higher level players can strive at reaching and obtaining to complete the game at 100%.
I am also incredibly thankful and appreciative of all the support and feedback a bunch of people have given on the game. It's a tough job to develop and play-test a game without overlooking certain aspects which others may pick up. Getting too good at your own game is a bad thing when you need to consider a first time player during design. I found it very easy to make something overly hard just because I found it easy to complete. It's always nice to get a first impression and balance/change things based on that.
In closing, I'd like to thank anyone that has been following this blog during the development period of this project. It really means a lot and I hope you can get some enjoyment out of the game when it is finally released!
Shout out to all the game developers creating new and exciting ideas and experiences! Without you I would have no inspiration or drive.
december 01, 2012 10:24pm
So, I've officially announced the game after all this time! You can check out the website here - www.takemymachete.com and the trailer here
It's been a while coming and I've learnt a lot along the way. Still, I have a bit of development left to go on the game and a lot of testing before it's released.
Just yesterday I finished the opening cutscene for the story mode, it turned out okay but also adds like 10mb to the filesize of the game (which if you're dealing with iOS, is a big deal since players can only download apps which are under 50mb if they aren't on wifi.) I have one more cutscene to go for the ending and some minor ones in between stages and bosses.
I contacted a dude to get some music for the game, and it's sounding amazing so far! Very alien and retro-futuristic sounding.
As for the other stuff that needs to be done...
- Create a better system for endless mode that randomises waves and increases in difficulty along the way.
- Add the boombox.
- Draw some posters for the poster pack and add that to the den.
- Test again.
- User testing!
- Fix some stupid issue with the CreditMart not dealing with purchases correctly.
- Fix IAPs so they work.
- Add Lucky Spin to main menu.
I'd estimate the game is about 85% done, so I'm well on the way to the final stretch and the release of my first adventure into game development for mobile.
If you want to help out in anyway, chuck me a follow on twitter - http://www.twitter.com/rhysdee or like the "Take My Machete" page on Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/TakeMyMachete
Also, please share the trailer and website with your friends, I'd appreciate it a whole lot!
october 01, 2012 08:50am
Another month or so has passed since my last blog post, so I figured it would be nice to show you all the current progress on the game. I finished the basic main game, it has 4 stages, each with a boss at the end. Each stage has about 12 waves of enemies and introduces them in a slow enough pace so you can figure out how to dispose of them before getting horribly murdered.
The first boss!
I've decided there will probably be additional stages and bosses in the form of DLC after the game has been out for a while. Hopefully this works quite well, as you keep all your inventory, credits, achievements etc. stored in your "den", which you can access at any time. You can even replay the main game if you want to grind for credits...! If you're just after a quick fix, there will be an endless mode you can unlock upon completion of the main game.
Stage selection screen
Today I implemented the basic UI and functionality for purchasing pets and choosing your current companion. The store (CreditMart) also has some other cool stuff that I won't be revealing just yet! To buy stuff in the CreditMart you use credits (surprise, surprise!) Credits can be picked up from enemies and bosses (and crates) in game, or can be purchased via IAP for a low cost.
In terms of things left to do...
- Create a nice main menu!
- Mentor selection screen
- Finish the den UI
- Add the rest of the purchasable stuff to the CreditMart
- Add the cool unlockable stuff in the den (endless mode arcade machine!)