segunda-feira, 6 de fevereiro de 2012

Monster Puzzle RPG - My Game

So I released in the last few days a game called Monster Puzzle RPG. It's my third game in the Android Market. It's not successful so far, though. I made it together with my cousin, he told me about an interesting mechanic he wanted to pursue and, after some convincing, I went along with it.

Download Monster Puzzle RPG on Android Market!

Monster Puzzle RPG on ModDB!

Let's analyze the game(our own game xD), then.

The main mechanic of the game is a grid. A grid of blocks where you have to destroy the blocks and rotate the screen to get an advantage, so you can avoid AND attack the monsters. It's feels quite puzzle-ish, which is why it has the puzzle in it's name. To reinforce the puzzle aspect, I decided to grade the player based on his score and allow the player to retry the stage freely to increase his rank, similar to Angry Birds.

A picture of the puzzle-battle thing

While not inside a puzzle-battle, you proceed through the story in a visual novel manner, similar to games like 999. This way of telling the story was chosen because it's easier and faster to make, since we are indies, but even so it's still an effective way of telling a story, I believe.

We went for an sort of addictive gameplay thing where you kinda wanna make yourself unlock the S rank in every stage. Not sure if it worked, though.

We went with a traditional medieval theme and a story about a treasure hunter that's looking for an specific treasure. I think that it fits well with the puzzle theme and that isn't integrated in to the gameplay yet, I suppose. The story is light-hearted and develops as Soleil, the main character, interacts with his companion, a little girl by the name of Ciel. They are both happy people, so the story stays warm through the demo, but if we continue the game it will go deeper in to darker themes.

We went with pastel colors since we find that lighter on the eyes, so light colors are seemed though the entire game. The graphics are mainly vectorized stuff. We're not graphics specialists, but the game still went nicely, we believe.

The sound effects are generic stuff, but they fit well. The music was compoused my cousin, who's really amazing and managed to create some cool songs for the game. We went with MID stuff, which kinda limited his potential, but the musics are still great and might justify a download, I hope. He used a program called Fruity Loops Studio

So there you have it! So the game still isn't successful(we hope we can turn that around), but we do not thing the game is faulty, it's just a matter of exposion.

sábado, 4 de fevereiro de 2012

Mass Effect - Review and Analysis

So last time I did an analysis was quite a long time ago and I haven't posted in a while, I've been busy with some game projects.

So Mass Effect is an western RPG released in 2008. Here is a trailer if you never heard of it:

I'm normally not a fan of western RPGs, because I rarely get immersed since the choice making system hardly interests me because I feel like the storyline ends up worse because of it, but Mass Effect managed to stay with me during the entire experience, so I finished the game.

The battle system is ok. It's a shooter with RPG elements. Basically you get to equip weapons and armors, manage inventory, choose special ammunition. You also level up and you can customize your character by choosing specific points to invest in to. So far it's basic RPG stuff with a space theme. But when you get down to the battling it's a shooter. A cover-up shooter. So basically you have biotic powers, special weapons, customizing options, but the battle boils down to hiding behind something and shooting until the enemy is dead. That's it. If you hide in a place too close to the enemy he might try to swarm you. If you hide too far away your shots might miss more. All the customization you do  pretty much boils down to being able to kill enemies faster or surviving longer. It's unrewarding, which is bad.

It can be fun though, shooting things and hiding and stuff. But it feels kinda dumb. You rarely die in the main combat system and when you do, it's because you didn't hide in a good spot. Or you didn't hide at all. Not smart. So is this a good battle system to make? Not really. Sure, it's fun and it uses the old and tried formulas of rpgs in general, but it doesn't try to be anything more and it feels dumbed down. The inventory system is also as well a pretty big let down, since your inventory ends up full of useless stuff that you have to manually delete. That can take a while. Bad design decision.

Outside of the main battle system you get a bunch of quests that you can go do. Sometimes it's boring, others it's good. I didn't do all the quests, maybe around half? The NPCs are pretty interesting though. They rarely make you go "Wow, this dude is amazing, what a complex person!", but they never make you go "damn, they rushed this one". But the quests feel quite generic and repetitive. It could've been done a little bit better, but then it's optional content, not sure how much polishing should go towards that since developers have to meet deadlines. But the player ends up with a "another quest like that..." taste in his mouth. Not good. But not that bad either, specially from a game creator's point of view.

There's a vehicle though, called Mako. It sucks. That was a horrible design addition, it feels clunky and it takes quite a while to finish battles in it. Maybe if it had some overpowered, some cool weapons and maybe if it made you feel powerful it could've worked. But it's just bad in every sense.

Other than Mako, Mass Effect doesn't really do anything too wrong gameplay-wise. But it never does anything in a excelling way either.

The main battle system is average, but better than the tank

The Story
This sucks. No, really. It feels like an action movie. So this bad guy wants to destroy the universe and you have to stop him! No plot twists. No shocking revelation. No objective change. No new perspectives. The plot feels generic and weak. How did they mess this up so badly? Except that they didn't really mess up, they just didn't try to do it. The plot is weak because it doesn't even try a little bit to be strong. This is ridiculous, really. This sort of story should go in to an action game, not in to a RPG-like something that wants to tell a story.

The universe, though, is pretty well fleshed-out. The races and NPCs, the technology, the dialogs, the way things interact is pretty good. It feels immersive and detailed. Immersion is important. But it feels like the game created this amazing world for you to play in, but it didn't really try to create amazing things for you to do. Sad, sad. But it is a great universe.

They suck. Even worse than the story. It's a bland, non-interesting cast. They have no motive, they pretty much just follow you around in your quest to save the universe for nothing. It's ridiculous, really, they could've all been removed and everything would stay the same. You could take away the characters and make the game a solo game and it would be the same. You could change the main plot to becoming a pole dancer and keep the same characters and it would be the same. This is sad.

The characters try to have some back story, but it's all bland and non-interesting. And they're all "fleshed out" through conversations, they never develop the character through story and plot. This is just ridiculous. This is why they say games have bad writing. Please, I beg you, make your own characters better (:

The models are pretty well detailed. The citadel looks pretty. Everything has a good degree of quality. It lacks artistic power though, I mean, everything is pretty but nothing is beautiful, but I guess that's because of the setting. It's worth of praise, though.

I don't remember the soundtrack, so it's not memorable, but not annoying either. The sounds effects feel good too. I suppose it all works together to create the immersion.


Don't look in to Mass Effect for anything but for a direction in to creating and detailing an amazing universe. The writing(story and characters) is mediocre, the main battle system is simple fun but otherwise average. But from this game you can get some knowledge for improving your game universe and you overall immersion, both of which are important(specially immersion), so maybe you should check this game out. If you have the time.

From Google images, expresses how I feel about the tank. Don't make anything like this, please

quinta-feira, 22 de dezembro de 2011

LeadBolt - Android Games Monetizing

So as of late I've started trying to monetize some games and applications.

I like to keep two things at heart when monetizing a game:
  1. Avoid damage to the game experience
  2. Avoid making people angry

Banner advertising - I don't like it

Google has a service called AdMob, as you probably have heard if you read anything about the subject. I like to stay away from AdMob. They are basically little banners you put in your app and you get money for clicks or impressions. You really need a LOT of traffic to get significant revenue. And, to me, they feel kinda cheap. You're tarnishing the game experience for so little gain, since they actually rely on being "in-screen". I think they should be avoided.

Content Unlockers - I like those

So I've started using LeadBolt. LeadBolt has ads similar to AdMob, but I don't use those types of ads. What I use are content unlockers. That stuff is cool because you're basically making some of your content "premium". It works like this: the player has to complete a task in order to complete the ad, and then the game continues. Or you could give a reward if the player completes the ad. Click here to see how LeadBolt Unlockers work!

LeadBolt, my favorite ad network so far!

It's kinda like paid content, but the player doesn't waste any money. But you get paid. So that's great. Once I get some numbers to show on this, I'll show it.

LeadBolt also has notification ads...

Notifications - Evil

Notifications ads are evil. Basically, notifications appear on the user's phone even after the game or application is closed. They don't tarnish the game experience. They generate great revenue.

But they make people angry. People really hate those, seriously. I don't really wanna be hated nor do I wanna cause headaches to people in order to try and earn money. Anyways, they are available through LeadBolt, but I don't use it. You shouldn't, either.

Air Push is another ad service that supports those notification types. Avoid them.

And what else?
If you wanna use LeadBolt too, you should sign in through here! That way I get a bonus when you sign up, why would you not want to help me, right?
Another service that has caught my interest is TapJoy, it has a virtual currency kinda system to it, I'll check it out better when I have time.

Two other great blogs on monetizing with the Android Market areeee:
Making Money With Android! - A really cool guy, who gives a lot of helpful feedback on his monetizing journeys. Many graphics and data for you to crunch, also a good forum.
Trilena Games -  Two girls that are growing in the Android business. They are what got me in to LeadBolt, they also have great data and are really nice girls that are just so helpful. Definitely pay their blog a visit and check their applications out!

Well, peace. Have a merry Christmas, you all!

terça-feira, 20 de dezembro de 2011

Publishing an Android Game: Android Market and SlideME

Where dreams get made and dreams get destroyed.

Let's first talk about the big fish:

Google's Android Market

So, if you've been following my guide and made a libGDX game, you could put it on the Android Market. If you're willing to pay 25 dollars. Yes, there's a fee involved, that can be a big turnoff for many people. I paid the fee .Sometimes I wish I didn't, because there are some alternatives to the Android Markets and they may even be more profitable than it.
Android Market. Pretty, huh?

Anyways, if you wanna pay the fee, you need a Google Merchant account. If you wanna to charge for stuff instead of giving away your games for free( I do that... ), you MAY need an AdSense account too. That depends on your country. My country, Brazil, totally required an AdSense account so I had to write a blog to get one. The one you're reading right now, actually.

I don't really have all that much to add about the Android Market. I always find it a pain to prepare all of the promotional images, banners and icons, so you should take care of that before hand. You also need to sign the app, which Eclipse makes it easy.

Some google information on getting ready to publish:
Preparing to Publish

Some images you need are a Icon of 512x512 and, optionally, a promotional banner of 1024x500 and a promotional image of 180x120. You can put up a video on youtube if you want to, so you can link it in your Android app page.

Try to really describe the best points of your application in the description, instead of just throwing around random key words. Try to use good key words but wrapped in a text that makes sense. Sorta.

Remember that if you set your app to paid in the Android Market, you can't change it to free. The opposite is also true. That can be bad.

So, let's talk about a friendlier alternative


SlideME is free, fast to register and requires less images than Android Market. So it's much faster to upload your app there and less painful too.
SlideME is pretty too, huh?
It takes less than 5 minutes to upload your app there, seriously. But there is a screening process, I'm waiting on that right now, actually, for my new game, Dream Catcher.

I'll talk about how that goes later!

More markets out there?
Of course there are! But up so far I've explored only those two, I'll give my insight on more later!
Some more alternatives from the Trilena Blog!

Make a game, publish a game, do it now! Don't procrastinate!

EDIT: As soon as I uploaded my APP, I came here to write this post. As soon as I was done writing it, my APP got accepted. That's fast. Go SlideME!

segunda-feira, 19 de dezembro de 2011

Make a Game - Publishing

Continuing the Make a Game series!
So your game is made, what are the publishing options?

My favorite Publishing spot

I think the best place to try and publish is Desura:

The Desura Logo
They kinda like Steam, but more Indie oriented. That doesn't mean it's easy to get in, though. I got turned down on my first attempt to get published there. It's still easier than getting in to Steam, I think.

In case you don't know, those are online stores where you pay to download games, they are a new trend in the industry.

The good thing about Desura is that it doesn't discriminate too much on how your game was made. Whether it's a LibGDX Java game or an Unity game for the browser, you can put it up in Desura, assuming they accept it, of course.

Desura doesn't want me, I wish they did!
If you wanna get in to Desura, go to ModDB first, it's Desura's sister site, in there you can put up demos, images and get feedback from the Indie Community, to make your better until it's accepted in Desura. You can even contact the higher ups for their feedback in to getting your game published! It's also good for getting some attention to your game!

My game is a silly Flash Actionscript game...

So go to Kongregate! They host flash games and a lot of people make a good amount of money there. You basically get money from number of plays, if I'm not mistaken. I have a nice, warm feeling about the flash game making community. There are a lot of others site to publish on flash, though, but Kongregate is my favorite.

What about Javascript and HTML?

A good place would be the Chrome Web Store, since I'm fond of Google. You could also put it on Facebook, same as flash games!

What about Mobile Games?
If you've been following our guide and made a game in libGDX, you would probably want to publish it for Android as well as Desktop. As far as Android goes, there are a lot of markets to publish in, but I think the most important one is the Android Market. We'll also visit other markets for Android later (like SlideME ) , since it's my current focus! We'll also talk about other ways to make moneys with a mobile game ;)

A deeper read on the Mobile Android Markets: Android Market & SlideME

Ok, what do I do?
If you made the game in libGDX, publish an Desktop version on Desura or ModDB and publish the Android version on a Android market!