I've been working on this game for about 3 years in my spare time. It's a simple puzzle game utilizing arithmetic operators. I made it using Unity3D. All the visual assets are made from scratch and the sound effects come from various free sound effect sites.
Although the idea is simple I've put a lot of effort into it to make it look polished. For example there is a day/night cycle which serves no other purpose than looking good :) City lights turn on and off, crickets chirp at night and birds tweet during the day. And lots of other details.
It is ad supported but ads are shown only after you've lost the game, not while you're playing. I hope you'll find it unobtrusive.
I know it may not be everyone's cup of tea but I'm very proud of it. I've finally released a personal project. I'd be very glad if you played it an gave me feedback. Also I'd be happy to answer any questions relating to the process of making and releasing the game if I'm able to do so.
But I'll work on it. Thanks for the feedback!
Although I don't assume people would outright buy the game without trying first. Especially from a first time developer. So the free version is a necessity for me.
Anecdotal, but I believe this led to much less moaning and groaning from users, higher ratings, and a better overall experience (and yes, better returns)!
I don't like putting ads in the game. If nothing, it breaks the retro atmosphere I'm going for. But I also have the dream of doing game development for a living and have to make money somehow.
I'll try the paid method. I guess I couldn't imagine people willing to pay for something I do as a hobby for now.
I've struggled with this myself. While there might be some who aren't willing to pay, many people are willing to pay for something they get value out of. That said, the sheer number of terrible apps I've downloaded stops me from paying up front for an app from an unknown developer, but as I mentioned before, my bar is very, very low for the amount of use I need before I'm willing to pay $1 to remove ads or unlock the rest of an app.
I commented before about finding the ads annoying. But really, this is the crux of it. It completely breaks the experience, as I am playing a pixelized retro game and a modern looking clean ad appears on the screen.
Tangentially, why don't you consider also publishing the same game, but with a different art style. An art style that might be more relatable for kids these days (no idea which, just suggesting you research that).
This is the first time I've heard this suggestion. I will definitely consider this. Thank you!
Oooh once you go that route, you can make skins "unlockable" from gamer progress! That's always fun (if the rest is, too)
There are two good reasons that I can think of for this:
1. The content of some ads can be inappropriate, even in children's games.
2. Fear that an ad will lead to a purchase of some kind.
I think an IAP would be a good solution for you.
Seriously, using some free apps makes me feel like it's 1998 again with the "you are visitor number 1,000,000" and "your phone might have a virus - click here for free removal" ads. I would not be comfortable with a kid playing games containing ads like that.
I haven't downloaded the game yet, so I can't really say if your ads would bother me, but I hate ads so much that I'd gladly pay to get rid of them.
I'll release a paid version.
Don't sue me please :)
Disclaimer: it is my side project
edit: I logged into the app. It seems my account has to be at least one week old to be able to share apps. I will do so when the week is up.
If there's a piece of art missing from the world. Make it yourself OK. Just because someone makes something a certain way, doesn't mean they are invalidating your world view. It's up to you to contribute.
I had jumped on the app store bandwagon at the outset and did alright selling apps at 99¢-2.99 but was hesitant to switch to IAP. It turns out I was wrong and the kids apps that did switch faired well enough to continue. E.g. While I was fighting for 99¢ sales, other similar apps were selling $10 bundles for graphical skins. As a developer it makes me ill that the core experience is worth nothing, but some new flashy artwork can be sold for $10. Sigh, but it works.
Most of the games I see nowadays sell what's basically shortcuts to success. This creates a very crooked sense of value especially in children that play these games. But selling environment and character skins and other non-functional stuff might be a good idea.
So, yeh, don't sell shortcuts to success, but do sell theme packs. It works.
I haven't tweeted anything yet :), but I'll let you know when there is an update.
You can also send me E-Mails at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll reply from my personal E-Mail account.
I'd like to thank you all again! This is a wonderful community. I'll keep reading and responding to feedback here.
Your insight as a parent is very important for me. Thank you!
I would change something on the onboarding. I had no idea what to do when I started playing. The tips and numbers highlighting are good, but before that a short text or visual explanation that I must create the equation which result is the falling bomb would help a lot.
After the first balloon is in view, the game is paused. It says "Assemble the equation by pressing on the operation and the numbers." And an animation of a pixel-art thumb coming down on the buttons in a sort of gif-loop until you complete the tutorial.
How does that sound?
This also has the benefit that your game becomes internationally-friendly to play (independent of language).
Also, like others have said, dont put in ads. Not for an educational game. Not lucrative at all, and totally goes against what your audience (parents getting this game for their kids) want to see.
And yes, I tried to select the education category from google play developer console, but it wouldn't let me because of the ads. I will most certainly release a paid ad-free version. People can try the free one and then make the purchase for their kids.
Do you mind if I create an open-source version of this as a web-based game (with credits given accordingly, of course!)
there is also an android version.
PS: You can just press the home button on your device, and when you come back, it will continue where you left it :)
The main suggestion is to have finer grained difficulty settings - mainly so that younger children can use it. IE first graders can only add small numbers. Take a look at Sushi Monster.
It's supposed to be like the "numbers" round from the show Countdown in the UK.
As I suggestion. You didn't need to waste time in so much detail for the first version. If you haven't mentioned about the birds and the building lights I would never have notice. It is a nice to have, but surely it would be better to ship the game earlier. Even though, I would rather like different cities. The city is destroyed, no matter what :0
Also, I found it frustrating. There were some totals that could not be reached (e.g. "14" where there was no 6 and no 9, and you can't use a 7 twice), so that city unfairly dies. I killed enough cities as it is via "Missile Command" over the years as it is.
The totals are picked from the numbers that are given to you to use. There is no possibility of a total that cannot be reached by the numbers provided. But I'll check to see if I have some sort of bug in the code.
edit: I've added a notice to the store listing so there's no confusion.
Also, it sounds like you're thinking about a paid, ad-free version. It would be another interesting analysis to compare the revenue streams of both apps.
Cheers! Great work!
I've just checked and since this post I've made around 3 dollars :D I don't know if sharing this violates some agreement I've accepted without realizing.
Edit:ah they're on the balloons. I assumed as they were so pixelated they couldn't
The trail of the rockets and the smoke they produce are particle creators provided by Unity. You provide the sprites and tweak settings.
It is possible to find add-ons for unity in it's built in asset store to do most of the things but I haven't used it. Except for Google AdMob integration.
It's just that, I have to get an iPhone and pay $100 for the developer program. It's out of my price range for now :) I developed this game using my late 2012 Glaxy Note 2.
There are multiple kinds of clouds, which can spawn at specific heights. They are spawned at semi-random intervals.
The stars only shine after midnight, they are dull at dusk.
Every object's colour values are separately changed according to the time of day. There is a delay between UI and scene dawn/dusk times because you're supposed to be far away and looking at the distant city.
I can write all day about this stuff, as I'm very excited but I'll control myself for now :)
Congrats on launch!