Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pigs Can Fly Stats

It's been more than a month since Pigs Can Fly was released, so I'd like to share some statistics. Bear in mind that the top hundred or so Flash games get up to 100 times the exposure (or more) compared to this game, so this should show that acquiring a large number of players in a short period of time with a decent game (average rating 3.9 out of 5) is actually very feasible.

I use for statistics. It's a very simple API and something I will definitely use again. It cost me nothing for the first game, but I look forward to purchasing the service for additional games.

The game has been played by about 2.3 million players, and is available on almost a thousand sources (websites, private servers, etc). Most of the attention was received within the first few weeks. The average play time ranged from 14 to 15 minutes:

These are the countries with the most players. With this knowledge, I'm going to make at least some effort to support language localization, even if the translation is crude, it's better than nothing.

These are the top sources. must be a very high traffic website, and probably receives more than Kongregate because the game was featured on the front page of both websites. Strangely, many players play outside a web browser (localhost). is a German website, is Brazilian website, and is in Spanish. This makes it easy to see why the top countries are what they are.

And now for some other fun statistics...
  • 20.5 million pigs have been given their wings.
  • The game has been played an equivalent of 65.3 consecutive years.
  • 708k players needed help so clicked the walkthrough button.
  • 262k muted the music (30% unmuted the music).
  • 243k muted the audio (28% unmuted the audio).
  • 14k clicked the button.
  • 200k+ visited
  • 34% beat level 25 (last level of initial release).
  • 2% beat level 30 (last level after additional map pack update).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bees, flies, and angry bunnies

The game is 80% done.. which realistically means the game is half done, because the final tasks tend to be small but very large in quantity so it can all take longer than expected. I added some flying creatures that can snatch acorns on the branches, and annoying bunny rabbits that are small and difficult to shoot. My friend has a garden so he requested that the bunny be the most ruthless creature of them all. I don't look forward to balancing this game.. it's going to be the most time consuming and challenging task.

I'm glad that most of the interface work is out of the way. I've purposely avoided putting text on the screen because I estimate only 50-60% of the players will speak English, according to the statistics from Pigs Can Fly.

Some things I still have to do: main menu (if necessary), monster info ui, weapon upgrades, baby rockets for bazooka, fence/wall shake, a few effects, game over screen, game win screen, acorn indicator, audio and music.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Weapons, trolls, and ogres

Progress on the game is going well. I still have not thought of a name yet - the project itself is titled "Dungeon" because the initial design was totally different. So, maybe "Acorn Defense"? Anyways, I've finished three weapons and two monsters, while bouncing back and forth between art and programming. I estimate the game will be fully playable by the end of this month.

The most time consuming part has been the animation, but that's no surprise because I have no experience doing it. I've been doing a combination of paper doll animation for the monsters and frame-based animation for the effects. Fortunately, it took half the time to animate the troll than the skeleton. The skeletons are built from MovieClip body parts, so I can randomly give them variation. Likewise, the troll can be changed to an ogre by setting each body part to frame two.

Bazooka: Shoots further the longer the cursor button is held. Explodes and does radius damage. Can be upgraded to leave a flame behind for a couple seconds, and then upgraded again to shoot baby rockets into the air on impact.

Bow and arrow: Shoots further the longer the cursor button is held. The arrows stick into the enemies or ground. I'm thinking of it being upgraded to shoot multiple arrows, or poisonous arrows, or both. The red skeleton just got hurt (I didn't bother with pain animation sequences).

Rifle: Does more damage the longer the cursor button is held, and the laser gets brighter, just like the sniper from Team Fortress 2.

I want at least one other weapon, so it might be an uzi that gets less accurate the longer the button is held down. The protective wall can be upgraded from picket fence, to tree trunks, to bricks, to stone.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

FlashPlayerDebugger.exe is already in use

I love FlashDevelop, but in many cases it can lock up FlashPlayerDebugger.exe, thus forcing me to have to kill it manually through the task manager. This can be automated by inserting this into the Pre-Build Command Line in Project|Properties...|Build:

taskkill /f /fi "IMAGENAME eq FlashPlayerDebugger.exe"

And for Adobe AIR development, you would probably want to close adl.exe as well, so insert this line too:

taskkill /f /fi "IMAGENAME eq adl.exe"

Hmmm... and if I really wanted to, then I could have FlashDevelop also execute my batch file that backs up my specified directories to an external hard drive:

XCOPY c:\_Art G:\_Art /d /s /e /c /i /h /r /k /o /y /f
XCOPY c:\_Code G:\_Code /d /s /e /c /i /h /r /k /o /y /f
XCOPY c:\_DLBackup G:\_DLBackup /d /s /e /c /i /h /r /k /o /y /f
XCOPY c:\_Photos G:\_Photos /d /s /e /c /i /h /r /k /o /y /f
XCOPY c:\_Website G:\_Website /d /s /e /c /i /h /r /k /o /y /f

I use git for source control, and push the project daily to the external hard drive, but this batch file additionally does a hard backup of all my important files including the projects. If nothing needs to be updated, then it executes in less than five seconds. This is good enough for my needs. I'm thinking of additionally doing some automated encryption and source control to my dropbox or web server.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Defend your nuts!

What a busy week! This first week being indie has really flown by. But somehow, very little of it was spent on actual development! Insurance, rolling over retirement, packing and moving out, unpacking and moving in, registering an LLC, etc. I am confident that things will settle down. Yesterday was the first full day I got to spend on the new project. I have many ambitious design ideas, but I am going to play the next project safe and make a fun defend-the-castle type game. I need to improve my skills as an artist before I whip out the wild cards, plus I love defense games.

I started off by putting on my programmer's hat and whipped up some placeholder art and basic game code:

Then I put on my artist's hat and replaced the few assets:

I considered a rich prince who defended his treasure, but that's boring, so I changed that idea to a squirrel protecting his nuts. I know games don't have to make sense, but this game is going to need more substance and some improvements to the background. In the meantime, here are some sketches of some potential undead enemies: