Wednesday, January 27, 2016

New Art

I hope you've been challenged by Social Session's puzzles. For most people who have played it, their response is quite positive. But here's the problem: the number of people who judge the book by its cover and never download the game is staggering. Only about 15% of people who view the game's app store page actually download the game. This is pretty low. And also, the number one critique I've gotten from people (that aren't my friends) is that it just looks bad.

Now, I'm not offended by this at all. I know I'm not an artist. I kind of thought the art would be okay because it's "simple", but in this case, simple just translated into "amateur" or "rushed" or "incomplete". And I'm understanding now, more and more, how important good art is for a game to be successful. It's like the sign on the front of your store. No one's gonna come into see what you offer if it looks bad on the outside, even if what's inside is great.

And I can't hold it against anyone, because, each of us is faced with a decision of which games to play, and when you have thousands of options at any given time, you have to judge a book by its cover. You just can't play them all and give a fair judgement. Unfortunately.

So, if you've played, thanks for looking past the "simple" art. But for all the others, I'm going to be looking into either purchasing some stock art, or getting someone to freelance some art for me.

Of course, the problem is that I don't really have a budget for it. I've spent several hundred dollars just getting the game done, and haven't made more than about 10 bucks on the game so far (it's a freemium game). It's hard to justify spending anything more on it. But I'll see if I can find something that's a lot of bang for buck.

Thanks for reading! #SocialSessionsGame

Monday, January 18, 2016

Marketing Social Sessions

Well, Social Sessions is now officially published. I'm no longer a game developer, I'm a marketer. ...nope nope nope, that's not true at all. I hate marketing. It goes back to the summer I tried to sell Kirby vacuum cleaners. TRIED. Never again. But for now, I don't want my development efforts to be wasted and not shared with the world, so alas, I will market however I can.

I started posting about my game to the community on Reddit. Some forums are hostile toward people "self-promoting" their own apps, and others are welcoming to it. Either way, that avenue quickly becomes exhausted. I sent about 150 emails in the last few days (no bulk email tools, just copy/pasting and changing names and email addresses by hand) to sites that review mobile games.

Wouldn't it be fun if there was a market for "local" indie games, the way there's a market for "local" music? Just go down and hang out at your local Cafe or bar and set up your game and let people walk up and play it with their friends. That would be cool. Someone needs to make that happen. Especially in a city like mine, Austin, where there are enough indie developers to warrant it.

Anyway, I've also been trying to use Twitter to spread the word. It's all a little disheartening. I really just want to make fun games, and let people discover them on their own... but I know that there are probably thousands of games out there that I WOULD like if I only KNEW about them... so that lets me know that I need to try as hard as possible to let people know about my game. The goal is to be "loud" enough to get the word to those who will actually enjoy my game, while not being so loud that I annoy everyone else.

Anyway, if you're reading this and you're one of those people that I'm trying to target (lovers of puzzle games, indie games, challenging games), go download Social Sessions on your phone today!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Friday, January 8, 2016

Rejected, Fixed, Resubmitted

Post-holiday update from Hester Games! I was notified shortly after leaving for a Christmas holiday that Apple had rejected Social Sessions because it lacked a "Restore Purchases" button. I knew it was an easy fix, but I wouldn't be able to fix it until I returned in January.

In the Android version, I automatically connected and restored purchases on game start. In the Apple version, I relied on the fact that if you attempt to make the same purchase that you already have, the App Store just asks you if you want to have it again for free. Problem solved. But I guess Apple wants an explicit button there, and that's perfectly fine.

It's been fixed, and resubmitted last night.

Looking forward to exciting new things in the new year!

By the way, you can follow me on Twitter!