Monday, December 12, 2011

Easter surprises

It is time to unveil what I have been working on in the past couple weeks! This project has undergone tremendous design changes and it has been no walk in the park. At last I have played it safe by making a game based on Defend Your Nuts. After all, defense games are still my specialty.

Below are some screenshots. Note that this is an early build:


As you can see, you will play as a bunny rabbit with the quest of recovering large magical eggs using up to seven unique weapons and specialty items (walls, other bunnies, etc). Weapons and items are found inside the eggs themselves, which hatch successfully unless the enemies manage to destroy them beforehand.

There will be an optional gore mode, but either way this game is not for young children. I'd like to move away from violence next year.

I still plan to release this free-to-play Flash version for the web, and iOS and Android versions containing premium content. But due to the Easter theme, it will probably be released sometime in March.

In other news, The King's Path has just been announced as Ansca Mobile's App of the Week! I am flattered. Thank you! If any of you would like a free copy, then send me an email and I will give you a free promo code! In the meantime, I am working on putting together a small video to show some of the gameplay, as requested.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Game Kite

I am pleased to announce that The King's Path has been released for iPhone and iPad. Along with this announcement, I will now be doing business under the name Game Kite LLC. The name is short, simple, and meaningful to me because right before I quit my job in April to go independent full-time, my friends and I took a trip to the windy Rehoboth Beach in Delaware to visit the Dogfish Head Pub, where we the spent the next day shopping around in small stores - including a kite shop. It was perfect weather for kite flying. Additionally, we noticed a vendor that sold flying pig sculptures, and coincidentally this all happened the week after I released Pigs Can Fly. Whether or not we saw a squirrel loading up his hiding spot with acorns and bazookas is another question...

The website will evolve over time so what you see is mostly placeholder.

Although there are actually very few advantages of starting a limited liability company as an individual, I figured it would be best to start now than later. It is still just me, taxed personally, which by definition makes me the sole proprietor.

Already I have found a problem with The King's Path. The in-app purchases for the iPad HD version somehow got excluded from the app review process, but it's a minor problem because the actual game is still playable. I plan to release Android versions in January and finish up the current project in the meantime.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The King's Path

At last I can announce that I am submitting the already finished tower-defense game, titled "The King's Path" to the Apple app store today! This means it will be going through a review process for approval, so may be available in one week!

It took some time to transition from an individual membership to company status, and I was never in a rush in the first place. In fact, I am spending the day making some final touches and even polishing and balancing some of the features - which is far easier now that I have taken a break from it. I am also adding achievement support for OpenFeint, and a better ending.

I will be announcing its release soon...

What else is new? I finally got around to releasing Defend Your Nuts on Kongregate, which is currently on the front page, so that's awesome. It has been ranked well on AddictingGames, a more casual site that owns a non-exclusive license for the game. I had to go through Android's legal department to get two versions removed from their app store because the game is intended to be free for the public, not 99 cents.

Also my current Flash and soon to be ported mobile game (see previous entries) went through some very preliminary play-testing. Only three people actually tested it for me, but each person can represent tens of millions of players on the Internet. I concluded that although it is fun, it targets such a narrow audience so I am changing it again.

I am still confident that I can finish this entire project by the end of the year. Already progress is going smoothly. This time, it is a 2D game with left and right controls (no 2.5D depth) and will play as a beat 'em up defense game. Between each round, the player can buy new weapons and items from a selection of 30, and then slay enemies that come from the left and right sides of the screen.

Some weapons have special abilities, like stealing life hearts, stunning enemies temporarily, freezing them, catching them on fire, etc. Part of the inspiration comes from the dueling scene in the classic film Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, where (avoiding spoilers) one opponent has to keep getting a new weapon because they break easily. The weapons in my game will probably break by limited durability in order to force the player to conserve weapons and buy new ones. It would be uneventful if they could just rush and get the best one for the rest of the battles.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nearing the end

The project is nearing the end! I expect to reach beta by next week, but I anticipate that there will be a tremendous need to revise features and heroes once I gather some feedback.

All the primary features are finished, including the team layout for hiring and upgrading heroes.

And I decided against some kind of treasure map or aerial view, in favor of a simple network of nodes.

Here is a screenshot of a battle taking place. As a reminder, it is a turn-based game similar to the Disciples series. There are interesting items including grave dust to summon death, a glowing orb that blinds an enemy, and a potion of invisibility that allows a hero to be invulnerable for a couple turns.

(Ignore those two buttons in the top left corner - I use them for debugging).

Already I am thinking about what to work on next.. I plan to revisit Pigs Can Fly to make a worthwhile sequel. Even better, I plan to hire contractors to help me create levels, leaving me to just polish and redo all the art. It may or may not may ship with a level editor because it all depends on how things go.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Big sale on small potions of health!

Progress has really picked up in the past couple weeks. All 18 of the warriors (including spell casters) for the three races are functional and almost all of the interface screens are finished (battle selection, shop, talents, etc).

I would say that this is shaping up to be roughly the same amount of work as the previous game, but on the contrary, is turning out to be much easier because it's the second time around and follows a similar formula.

As you can see, there are six different talents that the player can take advantage of (tokens are earned by finishing battles). Money can be earned to buy items in the shop and revive fallen warriors. Items are unlocked over time so the player is not bombarded by too much content up front. None of this is final, but should serve as an indication of how this project is turning out.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Dancing in design land

Well, I must have changed the genre of the game at least half a dozen times, over the past few weeks. It has been a very rewarding experience, to say the least.

This game started under the beat 'em up genre, where the player has complete control of just one character. It was functional, but I had so much trouble getting the game to feel compelling, intuitive, and less repetitive. Plus, balancing the game was a serious issue, so I allowed the game to evolve into a different genre.

I realized that with my 18 characters, I was able to group them into three teams based on appearance: humans, undead, and the cursed. It was entirely coincidental. There are over 20 weapons, so each character gets their own. The game is now turn based, and the following screenshot should give insight as to how it will play:

I'll hold off on explaining any of the rules, because as usual, a lot of this is subject to change. But to get an idea, just watch some videos of Disciples II.

Probably the free-to-play web version will only feature one race to choose from, and the mobile app will have the other two. Plus I can create some ridiculous weapons as additional content - a large trout anyone? How about a rolling pin or an oversized teddy bear?

By the way, the previous tower-defense game is going to be available in the next couple months. It is 100% finished, but my Apple developer account is undergoing an upgrade so I cannot submit anything until it is ready.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Art update

Progress on the new project is going very well. I am cranking out characters and environments while planning the story. I want at least six more characters. Currently there are 18 weapons, but that will go up to 30 once I begin to paint the crossbows. It sounds like a lot, but each weapon is categorized for a particular animation set, so no additional work needs to be done. The backgrounds are overlayed with a dirty texture. There is a visible seam down the center of each environment, but it will be fixed.

The two unarmed characters and the jester are friendly townsfolk.

Next comes the fun frame-by-frame special effects for spells, such as fireballs and explosions. I found this inspirational article that describes the basics.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The framework

I added a lot of animations and variations for the armor and weapons. The program has been sprinkled with some very primitive AI and camera work for panning smoothly across the scene. Those spells icons do not do anything yet.

At this point, this project can go in so many different directions! I keep telling myself that I should keep the heart of the design simple, and gradually add more content to support it. I am still leaning towards the beat 'em genre, which is where the player controls just one hero.

Technical notes: The background has been overlayed with a dirty texture to prevent it from looking flat. There is actually no performance penalty for doing this in Flash because the background can just be flagged to be cached as a bitmap, which occurs in memory after the first render. This also means that the dirty texture is stored only once in the swf file. Of course on mobile devices, everything is a bitmap anyways... I estimate that three screens worth of background art can be squeezed into a single 1024x1024 texture with reasonable quality.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Brainstorming with art

Well, I spent a day prototyping that zombie match-3 game that was mentioned previously. It turned out as I expected. The game is basically a cross between Pizza Chef and King's Guard, where rather than drop pizza onto the board, you drop weapons to create units to form an army. It actually played fairly well, even with 80s style programmer art.

(red rectangles are allies, black rectangles are the invading enemies)

...Actually the past couple days were mostly spent on drawing and painting. I mimicked some of the art styles found in Chibi Knight, Ninja Brawl, and OMG Zombies, to create some main menu designs...

Then I did some character design based on a new game called God of Fight. I managed to animate him in a background I whipped up.

It feels very natural. I am eager to add some attack animations and enemies that use the same animation set.

This gladiator consists only of single-frame body parts that are animated like a paper doll, which makes it incredibly easy to create additional body parts for variation. In other words, I do not have to redraw anything so it saves a lot of time! I have some code that can dump the transformation data from a Flash movieclip to Lua, so it's extremely memory-friendly on mobile devices.

I can really see myself developing some kind of hack & slash game like Castle Crashers, featuring three distinct heroes to choose from. Realistically, most of the work is in the art and design. The programming should be really straight forward, and therefore, easy to port from Flash to mobile using Corona and Lua.

My only concern is choosing a theme. Fantasy is probably the most popular. Zombies, pirates, ninjas, and vikings are also really interesting. Well, whichever I choose, there is always time for another one! This is shaping up to be a 4-6 month project, but frankly, I would rather pursue this over two smaller games that rely on some gimmick.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A change of direction

Working alone is a double edged sword. On the one hand, there is virtually no overhead and office politic drama, so decisions can be made instantly on a whim. On the other hand, those decisions can be very hard to make. My decision was to put the current project on indefinite hold. I just wasn't happy with it.

(screenshot of the prototype)

There were 21 cool items planned, but the core of the game was not fun. Plus, the game would have very little replay value.

But enough of that. I spent a couple days thinking deeply about what I would rather develop. Actually, what I would rather play on my iPad for many hours. So, I am hereby announcing that I will be developing a match-3 puzzle RPG with a zombie theme. Like many of my designs, I tend to blend several games into one. I will have more details once I finish the prototype.

On another note, the latest tower-defense game is finished. I recently registered an LLC here in Pennsylvania, so I will be submitting the game once Apple approves the business documents and such. Realistically, it could be a month, but I don't see a need to rush anything.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Another flying pig?!

Well, it is the beginning of a new month and new project. It is almost a new season too. The weather is cooling down, and soon my office in this second story room will feel nice and toasty. I live with two roommates (five if you include the three dogs) here in a small town in Pennsylvania. It's quiet, green, dirt cheap, and necessities are in walking distance. In other words, it is a perfect place for being self-employed.

As for the new project, I really enjoy wrapping things up and starting something brand new. Each project is an opportunity to filter what did not work, and try new things from art, programming, design, and business. More importantly, any mistakes do not cripple a project for years because my development cycles are only 2-4 months long. There will come a day where I want to invest independently in a year long project that I deem worthwhile, but that day has yet to come. I am having too much fun developing small games while getting a taste for different platforms, art styles, and genres.

In the meantime, although I want to return to Flash game development, I do not want to leave the mobile scene. So, I am going to take advantage of both! My objective is to develop a viral Flash game developed with heavy design iteration, that launches with a link to the mobile app developed with Corona. Adobe's packager to turn a Flash app into a mobile app is still garbage.

Anyways, I am through with the sponsorship route as a monetization model. Though, the two months of work on Defend Your Nuts and its half dozen licenses sold have collectively surpassed how much I could have made at my old job in that duration anyways, so I cannot complain. Combined with Pigs Can Fly, these two games games have collectively been played an estimated 10-14 million times worldwide, or at least definitely by the end of this year. This kind of exposure is too difficult to ignore.

I have prototyped a couple ideas. The first involved creating 2D amusement park rides with physics, inspired by my childhood experience of playing with K'NEX. It did sound like a good idea, but it introduced a very large unexplored can of worms. I may revisit it.

There are so many ideas on my list, but many are incredibly ambitious and involve multiplayer. This time around I want to scale way back and concentrate on just making a fun game, while leaving lots of room for polish. I really paid the price on this previous tower-defense game, where there were just too many features, art assets, and design changes. Worse, everything was interconnected so a single change would often break other features, or throw things off balance. Despite becoming more productive with Corona, the game itself turned from liquid to stone near the end of development.

Instead, this other prototype seems far more feasible. It involves a flying pig (no surprise) that launches out of a cannon across the landscape while collecting stars (money) to purchase upgrades in some make believe shop. It definitely falls under the popular toss genre. A considerable amount of time will be invested into the cinematics to tell the pig's story and bring out empathy. Already I have a really good feeling about all this. This screenshot contains only placeholder art for the prototype so try to see past it (refs: background, cannon).

So this is where I stand for the next 2-4 months. I am intentionally not setting a deadline this time, because I want to take my time on this.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

More changes!

What is the most interesting observation I have noticed when it comes to game development over the years? Almost everything needs to be reiterated from art, to programming, to design. Consequently, with design, the game has also been reduced and rid of unnecessary bloat. I am still targeting the more casual audience, especially on iOS devices, so the game should be simple and easy to understand.

With that said, I returned from a brief vacation and experienced the game with fresh eyes. And with the help of playtesters, I have decided to make drastic changes to the heroes. At this point, I am satisfied with the fire, cold, physical, and poison elements, but each hero does not have enough utility. Worse, upgrades are independent from one another. Sure you can upgrade an ice mage to slow enemies, but it gets progressively more expensive and he will be doing as little damage as a freshly hired one.

Therefore, each hero's level will be simplified to have predetermined benefits, and most of the heroes will be changed in some way. It will be less about damage, and more about utility.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The first build on the iPad!

Here is a photo of the latest tower-defense game on my iPad! I originally planned to have it in the market by now, but the game was just was not ready for even external play-testing. I ended up changing some core features in order to simplify the game. Perhaps I no longer feel the need to rush things, because I now feel the warmth of the light at the end of the tunnel.

With that said, I'm at the point where I can now concentrate on other things. The past couple days were spent packaging site-locked licenses for Defend Your Nuts, researching for the next project, and just taking it easy. I also took a day trip to New York with my roommate to pick up some high quality spices for cooking. We also visited Korea Town way out in Flushing, Queens to shop at the local bakeries and high end tea shops.

Yes, I do have two keyboards - one for my primary PC and one for my Mac Mini that I just use for compiling iOS projects. I recently picked up a "silent" mechanical Das Keyboard and I love it. I find myself typing up to 50% faster with no fatigue, because the keys have been specially engineered to have calibrated pressure sensitivity. At first I was not blown away, but after going back to a cookie-cutter Dell keyboard and its mushy feel, it just can't compare.

But back to the topic of the project. I was really amazed at how simple it was to build the app for the iPad. Corona does a fantastic job at taking care of all the annoying bits that go into the process. Have you ever made an iOS game in Xcode with no engine? I have.. and it was an incredibly miserable experience that turned me away from mobile development for a long while. These days I would rather just license great technology that takes advantage of very high level languages.

Though, typical of game development for something to take longer than expected. I use Git for source control, but out of the box the software does not handle binary files well. My project's entire depot was a reasonable 2gb, but it took about three hours just to "pull" the project onto the Mac Mini. Despite this, I still love Git for small projects due to its simplicity and power. I'm definitely going to continue to use it.

Friday, August 5, 2011

And the winner is...

I'm proud to announce that Defend Your Nuts is primarily sponsored by Armor Games!

It has been less than an hour, but the game is doing well and the feedback is mostly positive, which is great news! So, congratulations to Armor Games! I'd like to thank all the beta testers who provided feedback on all aspects of the game.

Music: (battle music), (shop music)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Beta has been reached!

The current tower-defense project has reached beta! This means all the systems are finished, so it is bug fixing and careful balancing from here on out! My plan is to spend the next week working on loose ends and sprinkling some polish everywhere. Then the week after will be full playtesting on as many mobile devices as possible before it gets submitted to the online app stores for iOS and Android. It does take about a week for Apple to approve an app, so realistically the game should be live by mid August.

At this point there are quite a lot of features that will need careful tweaking and balancing. For example, the player receives benefits from upgrades, items and achievements. Then there are seven heroes with four different upgrades each. Not to mention, 20 unique levels that need the strength of the enemies balanced independently. It's all roughed out and playable. Each revision makes a tremendous difference that only increases the fun factor.

I scrapped the volcano theme and replaced it with a beach theme, because artistically it was far easier to pull off. There is also a new treasure chest "hero" that collects gold within a small radius (think of the thief in Crystal Defenders).

This has been a really enjoyable experience so far. Normally progress on a game slows down near the end, but this one actually picked up in speed because it became easier to work with Lua and Corona. I'm sure the next mobile game will be even easier.

Oh, and I selected my sponsors for Defend Your Nuts! The auction went very well and surpassed my expectations! But more on that later...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Desert and winter themes

Progress is still going smoothly. I've finished the tile sets for the desert and winter themes, so the only outstanding tile set set is for the volcano levels. The sooner I solidify all this content, the sooner I can begin to tweak the difficulty curve.

For developers:

For the walkable path, I use a total of six square sprites for each theme (horizontal, vertical, four corners). At first I attempted just to use one corner piece, but that easily causes seams and result in inconsistent highlights and shadows anyways. For a seamless horizontal piece, just create a square movieclip and then then tile it. Select one in the center, and then begin working from that because you can preview it as a pattern where the surrounding pieces are grayed out.

The props (e.g. skulls, snowmen) can be deleted during the game at the cost of gold. I actually create and place these as movieclips in Flash where each property name is the same as the name of its corresponding member of the sprite sheet. The level is exported as a .swc so I can I can use FlashDevelop to take all these levels and output debug text describing the location and type of each prop, formatted as Lua code so it can all be copied and pasted in one go. It may be a strange way of doing things, but it's very easy and rids the need to introduce a level editor because Flash is the level editor.

Friday, July 15, 2011


I decided to make some substantial changes!! The game is now grid-based and no longer features the ridiculous pods that limit where heroes can be created. Additionally, all of the interface design has been redone to make better use of the limited screen real estate! Although this entire overhaul took a couple days, it will actually make the rest of the project easier because levels will be easier to create... I'm going to need about 20 of them, so it would be great to make them all in a single day!

The rocks and mushrooms (and other future obstacles) can be paved away at the cost of gold to allow heroes to be purchased on those squares. Specifically, the dwarf will have only a 3x3 grid-cell attack radius, so it would be advantageous to remove that small rock in the corner of the path on the right side of the screen.

Below are the level design concepts from prototype to final. The final design borrows art inspiration from Plants vs Zombies, Bloom Defender, and Mining Truck...

Conclusion: the smooth windy roads were a failure for many reasons so it had to be fixed. Today marks the end of four weeks of development, so there are two more to go until beta. It's going to be a very busy couple weeks!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Global map

I digitally painted the global map with different types of terrain where the player will be able to select missions. This is the first time I have painted a landscape successfully, so I was thrilled how the process made much more sense this time around. But now that I have looked at it a couple more times, there are many spots that need more work. At this point, many of the game's features are beginning to come together so progress is looking pretty good.

And the latest in-game screenshot:

Thursday, July 7, 2011

All monsters and heroes

I've been hard at work on the tower-defense game. Tomorrow is the half-way point and everything is on schedule. All the monsters and heroes are finished, along with special effects and some revised user interface art. The game is playable, but of course is not balanced yet because that comes last. Audio and music should not take long. I do all my art in Flash and then export everything to be packaged into sprite sheets using Spriteloq. Here is a screenshot of the main stage that I use to maintain consistency:

Heroes (6 of them) either attack with physical damage, fire, ice, or poison. Pirates throw bombs that do both physical and fire damage. Likewise, each enemy (20 of them) has a weakness to one of the elements. The icons on the right are the hero upgrade buttons. A lot of the work to be done next week is not even shown in the screenshot. It will include a global map to choose what path to defend (probably 1o) and some permanent upgrades the player can select through experience, initially constructed from a choose-your-own story at the beginning of the game. I've definitely acquired a lot of my inspiration from other tower-defense games, but especially the Protector series.

Update: I'm experimenting with different styles of environment art. I'm not satisfied with it, but it's still a whole lot better than the previous design. Environment and background art is my weakness, but no surprise I spend so little time doing it.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Tower defense characters

Progress on the new tower defense game for mobile devices is going okay. I draw and animate at least one character a day because I'm going to need about 20-25 of them. I started with very sophisticated animations, but then I cut way back so that each character only has at most six frames of animation. Animation is probably my least favorite activity working for myself, but it's growing on me.

The top row are the heroes, and the bottom row are the evil creatures. I actually have no idea what the second green guy is supposed to be. I'll probably replace the horns with large ears to turn him into an armed gremlin. There are no other views for these characters - they mirror horizontally and that's it. This means their primary hand will switch, but I am totally fine with it.

I'm still considering ways in which I can easily balance the game with confidence. This game is not written in Flash, so it's not like I can send out a URL to get some massive feedback. I suppose that would be one strong advantage of using Unity, since an app can be embedded into a browser. Again, I tried Adobe's Flash packager for iPhone, but it was incredibly slow and lacked features.

I'll be honest, I'm not really feeling this game as much as I did with my previous two. But, probably once I hit alpha and drop some good music and audio in, everything will just fall into place. I already have plans for my next project, which will probably be an experimental Facebook game.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The next adventure

Defend Your Nuts is currently being auctioned for sponsorship! It's going to need one more patch after I collect more feedback, but I am satisfied with how it has turned out. In the meantime I have been researching technology, since I have decided to switch to Android and iOS as my primary platforms.

I dabbled in Adobe's free Flash packager for iPhone during development of Defend Your Nuts, but with just a couple monsters on the screen, I was getting at most 5fps on my iPad! It was so slow that it did not matter if GPU rendering was enabled. I have some experience developing for iOS from scratch with straight up Objective C, so I knew I did not want to repeat such a miserable experience.

I eventually settled on Ansca Mobile's Corona SDK because I get to write all my code in a high-level language (Lua) and avoid tedious memory management and all the typical boiler-plate code that goes into a game. I understand those things are essential, but with the scale of my games I am better off putting faith in someone else's technology as a foundation. Plus I can continue to use Adobe Flash as my art and paper-doll animation tool, because I have found a way to export the transformation data out of my assets and into Lua scripts. For frame-by-frame animation, my license of Corona came with software that creates sprite sheets out of SWF files so this saves me even more time. The variety of aspect ratios on mobile devices always worried me, but Corona does a great job in handling all this with different scaling options. Porting to Flash should be easy because it has a very strong resemblence to Action Script and common data structures.

I got up to speed by prototyping some game ideas. I tried an experimental method by taking random clip art from the Internet and rearranging them in Flash while listening to music - that way I was oblivious to even the genre. Then once an idea came to me, I would export the assets and do some programming. The method is inspired by this digital artist who paints by first distorting an image to see a new unexpected image to work with.

Well, it kind of worked, but I got some strange results...

Here is a side scrolling game where you play as a knight hopping on cakes to collect cherries. The game lacked some serious depth and wasn't fun at all so I trashed it.

Then I rearranged clip art of food until some kind of veggies vs fast food tower defense idea came to mind. I refined it with additional art and a conveyer belt, but it was too strange so I trashed it as well. Also why would players want to destroy burgers and ice cream?

Then I continued to play around with clip art until a new idea came to mind. I refined it with some art of my own:

It's a tower defense game. The king hires you to recruit heroes to help defend against the onslaught. Here we see a cheap pirate/bandit hired to throw bombs, standing on one of the blue stumps reminiscent of a board game. I wanted to avoid a grid system and go with something a bit more natural. The idea could work, so I'm going for it. I expect a beta to take six weeks, so here we go...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Beta is finished!

At last the new game has reached beta status. This means I can begin collecting feedback to make some final changes. This was originally a four week project, but I invested an extra week into additional features: achievements, a leaderboard, and language localization.

I found a nifty way to get the game translated into a total of 16 languages (the screenshots show simplified Chinese and German) powered by Babelfish when possible and Google for the rest (Babelfish is more reliable). I write an html file that contains my text (written like an array in ActionScript with apostrophes and commas), upload it to the web as a webpage, get it translated, and then copy and paste. The rest is just programming where the subtitles go.

Thankfully I know a bit of Spanish so I was able to spot some problem cases. The text is simplified as much as possible. For example, rather than "Leaderboard" I wrote "The Winners", and rather than "Achievements" I wrote "Trophies". There are still some problem cases (like I used "mine" instead of "landmine" so it creates some hilarious sentences for the achievement), but it's good enough.

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.