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mobidus

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hey all,

I've been a long time reader (and viewer of Martin's videos), and figured that with the release of my second game Blocky Maze Runner, (see below) I would take the time to create an account and begin some sort of development blog.

My 'journey' started well over a year ago when I decided to take things serious and actually complete a game. And, as sort of a reward to myself, put it in the app store.
So around September 2015, while browsing the Play Store and seeing quite a few platform games (with impressive download numbers I should add), I thought to myself "hey, I can do that, too". So I set out to create one.

As a little disclaimer, I should add that it was not actually my first game. I've been doing programming and 3D modeling for quite some time. However, things often never got past a point where you'd actually call it a game. The usual excuses (I'm sure you know them, too), meant that at some point I would abandon a project only to start another one.

testlevel.pngAnyway, here's a screenshot from the game in an early stage. I think this was around two months in (I also have a day job so there's only the weekends and evenings)
The lead character could already do his thing (jump, run, shoot, pickup stuff etc) and there are platforms (obviously), and even an enemy, although he didn't have his own spritesheet yet.  

The game progressed nicely, but I was struggling with a theme. To date it's still something I'm not the most excited about, but I figured that I couldn't spent forever deciding, so I went with an space/alien environment with the lead character freeing workers in order to progress from level to level.  

Mid January 2016 the game looked like the screenshot below. Level creation had started, multiple enemies completed and traps, as well as level completion mechanics had been added. Things were starting to look & play pretty good.
newskin.jpg 
You know how they say that the last 20% takes 80% of the work?, Well, it would take an additional 3 months to finish the game. Level and asset creation took by far the most time. Around 1,5 hours for the basic layout and then another two to three for tweaking and finalizing. My initial plan was to create at least 30 levels, but I soon realized that would take too long and so I settled for 18 (6 per screen inside the main menu).  After all, I could always make more after release.

And then, finally, on April 28th 2016 I uploaded Crystal Hunt to Google Play. I was as happy as could be. I had reached my goal... I had my own app in the store!

In the months after release I tried to give the game some exposure. Reaching out to review sites, but nothing really happened. Despite not having any big expectations, getting so few downloads certainly was a disappointment.
Crystal Hunt received some reviews from friends and colleagues early on, but now, nearly a year later the number of downloads are stuck at 2, maybe 3 a week. Having reached a lifetime total of about 150 downloads...

Around November 2016, I started toying with a new concept. I realized that many players often play a game just for a few minutes. A platformer with fixed levels, that take several minutes to complete might not be ideal. So I came up with something that is easier to pick up and has quicker gameplay.

wheelie.jpg

screenshot1.png 

The two screenshots above show an early version and the final product(below) for the game I worked on for the past 4 months. The objective here is to progress as far as possible through a procedurally generated maze. There are also mini-cubes to collect which you can exchange for new skins.

The development of this game was a lot different this time around. Levels are calculated in real-time, so there were a lot of situations I had to test where the player could get stuck or generally allowed for impossible situations. The different skins where quite fun to make though.

It took quite a while to select a name. Overall I found it hard to come up with something that didn't already exist. With Crystal Hunt I learned that it's key to choose something that fits the genre & theme. Currently I rank poorly even for the word crystal, but still, I doubt people look for a platformgame when they type in 'crystal', right?
Anyway, I finally settled for Blocky Maze Runner. (Something with 'cube' seemed more appropriate, but competition seems a lot higher). Granted, it's not the most catchy name, but at least it fits the style of the game. [smile]

Well, that's pretty much my story. Blocky Maze Runner was uploaded yesterday, so it's probably a bit too early to tell how it does.
If you like you can download/play both games from here https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=Mobidus.
I hope you enjoy them, and in case you have some feedback, or like to rate I would really appreciate it.

Enjoy & thanks for reading!


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bestgamesstudios

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Reply with quote  #2 
Hello Modibus! Welcome to howtomakemobilegames!

I read your post,  and seems what you are struggling with is a pretty common thing - currently, the stores are really over-saturated,  so it's a good idea to do extensive market research before publishing a game, and find niches without too much competition yet high searches - if you already have a good working game that is enjoyable to play, then there is no need to create your next one from scratch - I suggest finding better search keywords and make another game based on the game you developed which takes advantage of this ( additionally, this will allow you to improve/add features to your game mechanics)



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mobidus

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Reply with quote  #3 
Hello Bestgamesstudios,

Thanks for replying! I haven't given up on platformers just yet. After all, they still are a very popular genre. Perhaps even more now that the new Mario game has appeared on GP. For the moment I will continue to make updates for Blocky Maze Runner. Then, depending on how things go, I might create some sort of spin-off using the 'engine' as a head start, like you're suggesting.


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