In the last months I’ve made some changes to the design of the game. It was originally going to be an adventure game similar to what I did with Fallen Kingdom. I’ve since then decided to try and make a hidden object style adventure game. I feel that the controls in Fallen Kingdom were a little too complicated for the mobile platform. A 3D hidden object game where the player swipes around in a panoramic scene is better.
I’m making good progress on the Android version of Tourist Trap. The game is about a museum called the Tour of Mystery. In the game you’re haunted by a ghost of a Jackalope that’s on display at the museum. I’ve redesigned the Jackalope from the original Xbox Indie version. I think the new version looks much better. I’ve also set up the game so that the jackalope appears every so often and follows you around and then disappears again. Here is some screenshots.
I’ve been playing around with some AdMob and in-app purchase plug-ins for Unity. I’ve decided to run a little pricing experiment on Google Play. Fallen Kingdom is now free with advertising, with an optional feature to disable the ads with a one time in app purchase.
All the games I’ve made before were all the pay to play model. So I wanted to give the ad/in-app purchase model a try. Implementing the ads and the in-app purchasing system is more work than a simple pay to play game. But I like that it’s now easier for people to download and try the game out. I also like that players now have a choice. They can play the game for free with ads or upgrade through in-app purchase and enjoy the game free of ads.
I don’t know how well this will work though. The in-app AdMob ads are pay per click. So I’m not sure if very many people are going to see an ad they would want to click on. I’ve tried Google Adsense ads on this website before, with a very small degree of success. I’m not sure if ads in mobile apps will be better. I also don’t know if anyone would care enough about the game to upgrade to disable the ads.
I’ll have to wait and see. I’m adding a similar system to Tourist Trap for now. I may have to change it depending on how Fallen Kingdom works out. You can download the latest version of Fallen Kingdom from the Play store.
Now that Fallen Kingdom has now been on Google Play and the Amazon App Store for a while, I wanted do my traditional “Lessons learned” post. A place where I talk about what I think worked and what didn’t work with my latest completed game.
I’m still happy with my decision to move to the Unity Game engine. The engine has allowed me to streamline the game development process and make higher end games that I wouldn’t have been able to make otherwise. The built in collision and physics gave me the chance to create jumping and other physics based puzzles in Fallen Kingdom. These kinds of puzzles were something I originally wanted for the Mind’s Eye of Jupiter series, but I didn’t have the skills or resources to create them.
What Didn’t Work:
For Fallen Kingdom I decided to link the in game camera to the accelerometer of the device. Players could rotate the camera by tilting the device. I felt it was more immersive to tilt the device the same way you would to take a photo or video in real life. Based on the very low sales, I think this was a mistake. In the latest update to Fallen Kingdom, I’ve replaced the tilt controls with on screen swipe controls.
The other mistake I made was creating a demo and full version of Fallen Kingdom as separate apps. It’s harder to keep both versions updated and I think it’s also more difficult to get people to upgrade to the full version when it’s in a separate app than the demo.
My next game project would be porting over Tourist Trap for Android. It has been my most successful game so far and one that’s a good fit for the mobile platform. Also with the Unity engine I believe I can make the game even better.
I would like to look into using in-app purchasing for the next game. It would be a good way to offer a demo and the full version of the game in a single app. I also like the idea of including the payment within the context of the story of the game rather than a separate part outside of it. For Tourist Trap, the game could be free to try until you’re ready to buy the ticket to the Tower of Mystery from the ticket booth in the game. Buying the ticket would unlock the full version.