SokoBomber [WP8; W8; more "soon"]

edited in Projects
SokoBomber is now in a release state! Thanks to everyone that gave feedback and helped out!
Original said:
Bomberman and Sokoban make quite a nice mashup, and both games had some inspiration on this idea. The name will probably change when I can think of something cooler, but the idea behind it is that it will be a game for mobile and desktop PCs. I'm doing this part for an exercise to learn Unity better, and part as a work exercise. I am happily focused on the code and implementation as well as the content side of things for this game, but would like feedback and thoughts from you guys.
Game Page: http://ernestloveland.co.za/sokobomber-game/

You can play it here in your browser.



V0.1.3.0 gif
v0.1.2.0 Screenshot
v0.1.1.0 Screenshot
v0.1.0.0 Screenshot

Other downloadable versions:
http://ernestloveland.co.za/unity-web-games/sokobomber/offline/ - v0.1.3.0 is latest.

Help and Controls:
Click/Touch the screen in the direction you want to move. (Or use WASD)
Push bombs around to open up pathways and create explosive chains to solve puzzles with the goal of acquiring the gems.

Thoughts? Comments? Criticism? Suggestions?
I am also looking for an artist that wouldn't mind helping me make this pretty while I focus on content.

Misc.
Dev Blog #1: http://ernestloveland.co.za/2014/01/02/sokobomber-dev-blog-1-bombs-builds-but-puzzles/
Dev Blog #2: http://ernestloveland.co.za/2014/01/09/sokobomber-dev-blog-2-new-mechanics-and-things-learned/

Comments

  • Finished it!

    I really liked the way that pushing the bombs through arming squares meant you had different amounts of time to get to safety or rearrange the board. That's smart :)

    Questions that occurred to me while playing:
    -Can we get time/turn indicators on live bombs?
    -What happens if timers/fuse lengths are bomb-specific instead of ignition block-specific?
    -Different kinds of bomb explosion patterns? Maybe bombs that make nearby blocks weak, etc?
    Thanked by 1edg3
  • edited
    I didn't finish it but I didn't play long either, instead I made these temp graphics for you if you want:
    image
    4 walls, with variants each with a damaged state, 6 floor tiles, 3 with grass stuff? and 2 damage floors one with grass.. or something. 1 bomb, and a dudulon that needs flipping for directions + death.
    I can commit an hour or two after work, if you'll have me, I'd like to make the first iteration tileset for you.
    Thanked by 2Merrik edg3
  • The puzzles are very cool :)

    They are a bit difficult though; maybe you can introduce the new solving tricks a bit more gradually? For example, in puzzle 4, you have to realise 1) you can push a bomb into a ignition block from different directions 2) you can push the bomb after it's been put in the ignition block. It took me quite a while (partially because I already forgot (2) which you introduced two puzzles ago.

    Also, I would love it if you could move (much) faster. I'd often have to redo stuff (mostly because I botch up the execution); moving so slow is frustrating.
  • Builds (that may or may not work):
    Linux x86 v0.1.0.0
    Mac x86 0.1.0.0
    Win x86 0.1.0.0

    As per Karuji's request, click the "Raw" link on the top right to download.

    Feel free to browse the source if you so desire, I warn you that I do things in a lot of bad ways, and don't know exactly what I am doing in Unity :P

    --------------------------------
    dislekcia said:
    I really liked the way that pushing the bombs through arming squares meant you had different amounts of time to get to safety or rearrange the board. That's smart :)

    Questions that occurred to me while playing:
    -Can we get time/turn indicators on live bombs?
    -What happens if timers/fuse lengths are bomb-specific instead of ignition block-specific?
    -Different kinds of bomb explosion patterns? Maybe bombs that make nearby blocks weak, etc?
    Turn indicators on live bombs are on the way, I just need to learn how to do the 3D text in world thingy (probably later today), I don't like using the Unity GUI stuff, it doesn't translate well onto my phone screen.

    Well, I like the idea of having bomb's with different fuse lengths, perhaps adding 2 more bomb types:
    - Bombs that have a set fuse time, no matter what triggers them (e.g. a bomb triggered by another bomb with this would still take X turns to explode)
    - Bombs that have a set fuse time but only when triggered normally (on a triggering spot).

    I thought of bomb explosion patterns, I just think I need to work out how I want to distinguish different bombs to the player in an easy to remember way before I add them.

    --------------------------------
    Pomb said:
    I can commit an hour or two after work, if you'll have me, I'd like to make the first iteration tileset for you.
    That would be awesome! Thanks! :D

    I do want to be finished as soon as possible, but don't feel pressured to rush things, I appreciate your help! I'll PM you just now to ask for your email address so I can chat using that.


    --------------------------------
    The puzzles are very cool :)

    They are a bit difficult though; maybe you can introduce the new solving tricks a bit more gradually? For example, in puzzle 4, you have to realise 1) you can push a bomb into a ignition block from different directions 2) you can push the bomb after it's been put in the ignition block. It took me quite a while (partially because I already forgot (2) which you introduced two puzzles ago.

    Also, I would love it if you could move (much) faster. I'd often have to redo stuff (mostly because I botch up the execution); moving so slow is frustrating.
    I do want to go for some kind of gradual progression, I just kinda rushed out some playable levels with the first 3 being the "tutorial" style I want to go for so I could share it and get some feedback as soon as possible. I will be building a few levels a day and posting updates each evening if I can.

    I'll keep tweaking the movespeed over the next few days, hopefully I can find a movespeed that feels better.
    --------------------------------

    Thanks for the feedback guys, I will focus on fixing up things that bug me, adding in content, and building some of the suggestions to try out today when I get to working on the project.
  • edited
    I made this: he's got an downward arrow on his head, cause he carries bombs and shits gonna go down!
    image
  • I fucking love how you can kinda just make a neato prototype and @Pomb magically appears and spews awesome all over the place.

    @Pomb, you're a hero.
    Thanked by 2edg3 konman
  • dislekcia said:
    @Pomb, you're a hero.
    QFE :P

  • edited
    Updated Version available:

    @Pomb is awesome. That is all.
    image

    v0.1.1.0
    Changelog:

    Mechanics/UI:
    * New small bomb
    - can fall through holes
    - smaller blast radius
    * Added test level for self (Main Menu => "M")
    * Fixed GUI on LevelSelect
    * Added bomb countdown ticks visual helper
    * Added progress persistence so for future builds you can have everything unlocked
    * Added "tutorial level" and "proper level" for small bomb mechanic to try our (levels 8 and 9)

    Graphics:
    * Animations - Gem's shine, ignitor's flame
    * Various sprite changes

    Meta:
    * Fixes to my dumb mistakes with the git repo
    Downloadable Builds: http://ernestloveland.co.za/unity-web-games/sokobomber/offline/
    Web Player: http://ernestloveland.co.za/unity-web-games/sokobomber/
  • Puzzle 4 was my general love hate relationship. It took me a while to solve, but all the rules of the game made sense when I did. I'm not sure how I feel about it else where in the game since it was just so satisfying to finish, but a more gradual introduction would likely be better for most people.

    Puzzle 7 felt like I solve it by accident since there wasn't good feedback about pushing the bomb through the hole made it disappear, black bomb black hole don't mix.

    Also some of the ignition timers, like the 9, were a bit hard to read but that's not too major of an issue.

    dis kinda covered most of what I thought so two things to add:

    1 Bombs need particles for explosions,

    2 More screen shake for explosions ;)
    Thanked by 1edg3
  • Karuji said:
    Puzzle 4 was my general love hate relationship. It took me a while to solve, but all the rules of the game made sense when I did. I'm not sure how I feel about it else where in the game since it was just so satisfying to finish, but a more gradual introduction would likely be better for most people.

    Puzzle 7 felt like I solve it by accident since there wasn't good feedback about pushing the bomb through the hole made it disappear, black bomb black hole don't mix.

    Also some of the ignition timers, like the 9, were a bit hard to read but that's not too major of an issue.

    dis kinda covered most of what I thought so two things to add:

    1 Bombs need particles for explosions,

    2 More screen shake for explosions ;)
    I added the small bombs to see how they would do within the game for building levels, it has some potential, but I need to think about how I will get the most out of it.

    As for your 2 points:
    1) Everything needs particles
    2) Everything that could warrant a screen shake will get one :)

    I've been reading up on the particles stuff, but the screen shake I already have an idea on how I want to implement it, which I think will work pretty well.

    I realise (with feedback and playing myself) that a lot of the puzzles are either too difficult for the stage they are introduced to you, the progression of mechanics will probably be at roughly 10 level intervals with the difficult gradually increasing every level (so the first 10 levels will be rather easy). I kind of haven't started on the easier levels, but as soon as I have enough decent ideas I will put them into the game in the order I feel they should be, and then will let you guys know I am trying to get the progression right. For now it is more a "how does it feel" for each mechanic, is it difficult enough with well thought out puzzles, and so on. General ideas and feedback is also always important, but I want to build decent levels and progression when I have a final idea of what all is at my disposal.
  • edited
    I had some fun playing it. I finished all 9 levels, but had trouble on a couple of them. By trouble, I mean that I spent 10 minutes repeatedly getting stuck and feeling like a complete idiot when I realised that the answer was so simple and I'd just been trying to move the wrong bomb all along. I think that feeling is a good thing for a puzzle game.

    Some specific feedback:
    • I understand why you've gone for the mouse/touchscreen controls, but I feel I'd be a little quicker at solving the puzzles if I could use arrow keys or WASD as well.
    • I'd also like to press ESC or something (or click a button in the corner) to be able to give up or quit.
    • I'd like a simple footstep sound, and maybe some victory music, but most importantly, a thud when I bump into an immobile object or wall.
    • Detecting when you die detecting when it is impossible to solve the puzzle (that is, if all the bombs have exploded, or all the bombs are stuck in corners).
    Bug reports, maybe... (I was using the 0.1.1.0 Linux build):
    • You mentioned progress persistence on the changelog, but it didn't seem to work. Each time I launched the game, only level 1 was unlocked.
    • About button at main menu didn't seem to work. (Unless you haven't put it in yet)
    General feedback about puzzle game progression:

    People will always disagree over which level is harder than another level. What you really want to focus on is the progression of the mechanics. What you can do to tweak the difficulty is adjust how much extra time bombs give you, so you have a bit of room for wrong moves in the earlier levels, but later on you have to do it exactly or you're screwed.
    Thanked by 1edg3
    • I understand why you've gone for the mouse/touchscreen controls, but I feel I'd be a little quicker at solving the puzzles if I could use arrow keys or WASD as well.
    • I'd also like to press ESC or something (or click a button in the corner) to be able to give up or quit.
    • I'd like a simple footstep sound, and maybe some victory music, but most importantly, a thud when I bump into an immobile object or wall.
    • Detecting when you die detecting when it is impossible to solve the puzzle (that is, if all the bombs have exploded, or all the bombs are stuck in corners).
    Bug reports, maybe... (I was using the 0.1.1.0 Linux build):
    • You mentioned progress persistence on the changelog, but it didn't seem to work. Each time I launched the game, only level 1 was unlocked.
    • About button at main menu didn't seem to work. (Unless you haven't put it in yet)
    General feedback about puzzle game progression:

    People will always disagree over which level is harder than another level. What you really want to focus on is the progression of the mechanics. What you can do to tweak the difficulty is adjust how much extra time bombs give you, so you have a bit of room for wrong moves in the earlier levels, but later on you have to do it exactly or you're screwed.
    I had WASD in, but had some difficult compiling for Windows Phone 8, the code is still there (commented out), will have it back in this evening.

    Going back to the menu is something that I have functionality for but I forget to add in where needed, I want to build it either with skinned Unity GUI or I will build it as a sprite (I feel like I should learn more about the GUI functionality).

    Puzzle unsolvability is a tricky one, I might have to sleep on that one for a few days. I like the idea, just need to work out a nice way to implement it.

    Progress tracking I am doing using PlayerPrefs, on linux these are supposed to be stored in "/home/your user/.config/unity3d" somewhere (and somehow), I admittedly only tested the desktop and the web builds myself. The Unity script reference for it doesn't say anything at all about linux, so I suppose at some point I should find a more cross platform solution.

    About button goes to the main menu right now, will build that scene close to last.

    Thanks for the feedback!
  • edited
    I sorted out the persistence issue, and it's kind of my own fault it wasn't working. The game only writes the prefs file when the game closes, and since the game was full screen and I had no way of closing it, I was lazily using a keyboard shortcut to kill the process, so nothing was saved... Alt+tabbing it and closing the window properly solved the issue. Now, with the pref file written, I could set my preferred resolution and disable the full screen mode there, so I can close it each time.

    Just so you know, it's saved in the folder "~/.config/unity3d/DefaultCompany/SokoBomber". You should set the company name in Unity's Player Settings.

    Regarding detecting if a puzzle is impossible to solve, you don't have to be able to detect every unsolvable scenario (in fact, I think it's better if you don't, because half of the fun of a sokoban-like puzzle is pushing stuff around randomly and not knowing if you've already screwed up). You could just check every now and then that at least one bomb can be moved (i.e has an open space on two opposite sides).

    Also, another idea for a mechanic: a block that can be moved if a bomb goes off next to it.
    Thanked by 1edg3
  • Will do on the company name part.

    The block moving idea is also really cool.
  • This is pretty nifty!

    Some points of feedback:
    • I definitely echo the movement speed points made above. I feel like that's the factor that largely inhibits the speed at which I solve the puzzles. A thing about puzzle games is that you generally want the act of performing the solution to be at least as fun as the act of arriving at the solution. The myriad of polish stuff you can add, like cascading explosions and pretty much all the standard stuff will help a lot, but also not feeling like I'm moving through syrup will help too, I think! If you're concerned about players accidentally pushing things by walking into them, a short delay between moving into a block before it actually moves may address that.
    • Level 9 was a bit weird. It was the only puzzle I didn't solve on my first try, and I think that's might've been because it's the only puzzle that hid information from me (ignitor under a block). I'm not sure whether I think that's a good or bad thing or not, but it's distinct in that it's the only one where your initial overview doesn't give you all the information you require to solve it. In hindsight, of course, I could now have intuited that this might've been the case, but my initual attempt was to try and get a chain reaction going that would explode all the bombs as I needed.
    • Level 2 was just as weird. I wasn't sure why I'd won that level even though I died - indeed, I wasn't even sure that I HAD died, so I immediately did the level again to try and work out what had happened. I think the 0 timer doesn't let me as a player see or understand quite what the arming tile is doing, and a level without a crystal JUST after you've shown me that crystals are the goal was just odd.
    • Some suggestions for mechanical additions:
      [list]
    • The obvious: Slippery/ice floor. I've ALWAYS loved this mechanic in block pushing puzzles. For you, I think it could add an extra dimension over the normal case of having to push stuff to block other stuff in that it may provide the player the ability to slide bombs a long way but only use one point on the fuse. I think that might be great!
    • Special bombs that blow through multiple walls at once.
    • Bombs whose explosions don't immediately detonate other bombs, but simply light them.
    • A special echo to @dislekcia's suggestion for bombs that weaken walls. This will really let me feel like I'm influencing the environment in a dramatic and meaningful way.
    [*]Your earlier levels often had fuses set just so that I had enough time to push blocks into place and then move away before they would explode. I found having exactly enough resources to complete a puzzle far more satisfying than in some of the later puzzles where this was not the case. I understand that having them just right is also particularly important for player learning, so you can be sure they do things exactly as you want and learn exactly what you want to teach, but feeling like I've arrived at the intricately designed solution exactly is a really great feeling, and I think you should try to harness that. All while taking all concerns of difficulty stated by others in this thread into account, of course! Arguably, however, I feel like having exactly enough on the fuse to do what you need may actually make puzzles easier by minimising the possibilty space of things players might try.
    [*]I feel like you can make a lot of interesting puzzles around having just enough time to escape the explosion, something you haven't played with much yet. Even fuse numbers may make this particularly interesting because of the fact that you can't 'pass' your turn by remaining on the same block, so it's that zugzwang case of getting into a position where that you're forced to move before a bomb explodes isn't detrimental to you. I feel like there's a lot of potential here.
    [*]Small bombs were great. I almost feel as if ones with a small blast length should be the ones you introduce to players first, providing the bigger bombs with infinite blast length later. It may help you cement the idea of proper bomb positioning better in the player's head that way too, if the first bombs players see are ones that only explode adjacent tiles or something.[/list]

    Overall, this is a smart idea. I see a lot of places this can go!
    Thanked by 2edg3 dammit
  • Thanks for the feedback @Chippit.

    Took me a few reads over to digest everything.

    I am busy reworking levels right now, and fixing some of the player friendliness for the game in general which should hopefully cover some of the points (speed of movement, the dying on level 2, progression and puzzle designs), and I am working on the levels as I envision the game should progress so I can get proper feedback on difficulty and experience for the players.

    The idea of the small bombs first is quite an interesting one, though I would do the holes they can fall through at a different point in the game perhaps. As a side note, the blast "length" of the large bombs is 10, it just happens the levels are small enough that you do not see this. I will probably tweak the blast radii more over time while I build and adjust the final puzzles.

    The only thing about weakening walls for me is that it feels more like I am making the player repeat actions rather than an enjoyable puzzle, though it does fit in terms of what I have already done with the 3 walls in a row, I could replace the multiple walls with a single one that takes 3 bombs.

    I am going to see how many decent levels I can get without it feeling boring using the currently existing mechanics, and then I will decide what to add in after that I think, I already have a strong set of mechanics for building puzzles, so unless I need more playable content I think I can safely stick to the current mechanics for now. I really like the sliding floors, it makes me think of the rock puzzle in Pokémon gold (internet explorer autocorrected pokemon to Pokémon, neato) that I wish they had used in a few more places.
  • Updated version available:
    image

    v0.1.2.0
    Changelog:

    Graphics:
    * Small bomb and hole added
    * Ignite prefab sorting order updated so flame draws in front
    * Explosion graphic changed
    * added lighting of things
    * added screen shake (cant find how to move back to no-rotation position. Bug? Feature? Who knows - edg3)

    Mechanics/UI/UX:
    * Fixed game ending to be better for the player
    * Rebuilt/added levels 4 through 12 to follow a better pattern of mechanics additions
    * Fixed minor bugs that I may or may not have introduced while adding code since yesterday.
    Downloadable Builds: http://ernestloveland.co.za/unity-web-games/sokobomber/offline/
    Web Player: http://ernestloveland.co.za/unity-web-games/sokobomber/
  • edited
    The artwork is looking awesome, and overall, the redesigned levels flow pretty well.

    This bit was still very confusing though...

    image
  • Yeah, I saw that in the evening yesterday, this morning at ~10AM I put up a fixed version to the web player, there is an even newer version up now with some changes to the UX and a bunch of other fixes in.
  • Was playing a couple of levels to see the new puzzles - kept having some bombs not actually seeming to do the effect of their explosions. The effects would happen, but nothing would break/asplode.
  • Yeah, I fixed a rare bug caused by rounding error today and that on was introduced. I have fixed it since, just forgot to update builds before leaving work. Will be sorted when I get home in the morning.
  • I just gave it a play, but got the same problem as dislekcia. Could only get to level 3, but couldn't progress further. I'm taking it the new build isn't up yet?
  • Can't figure out level 6 :D
  • Cool game idea and fun :)

    Suggestion: When a bomb is lit, highlight the tiles (in a "+") to indicate the explosion length. Just to make it easier for the players so they don't have to count tiles.
  • Dipso said:
    Suggestion: When a bomb is lit, highlight the tiles (in a "+") to indicate the explosion length. Just to make it easier for the players so they don't have to count tiles.
    Agreed
  • That isn't a bad idea. Will try it out at some point.

    Build should be sorted!
  • edited
    Updated version available:
    image

    v0.1.3.0
    Changelog:

    Visual:
    * Added character idle animation
    * Added random changes to tile looks
    * Up/Down button and level choosing
    * Changed some buttons and added menu graphic back
    * Added levels choosing graphic

    Game play/Mechanics:
    * Fixed wall destruction bug
    * Fixed camera shake
    * Fixed End Game
    * Fixed levels 10,12,1
    * Adjusted lights on (almost) all levels
    * Adjustments to the UI
    * Fixed rare bug that caused jittering (rounding error)
    * Fixed a bug introduced by the previous fix (walking over bombs, etc)
    * Removed some old things from the project
    * Fixed moving after the end game screen is visible
    * Fixed input (should be more consistent now)
    * Added movement to the screen shake (and moved into its own object)
    * Fixed the focusing of level select to be on the latest level
    * Made the level select page scrollable (with buttons for now, will add gestures later)
    * Added Ice block
    - player can slide on the block
    - player can push bombs onto ice and the bomb will slide
    (This is still going to be tweaked and tested a bit)
    * Adjusted test scene to allow for trying the new mechanic (accessible from the main menu with "m")
    * Built level 16
    Downloadable Builds: http://ernestloveland.co.za/unity-web-games/sokobomber/offline/
    Web Player: http://ernestloveland.co.za/unity-web-games/sokobomber/

    I want input on how the sliding on ice feels to people, if you would give feedback on that specifically that would be awesome! From the main menu press "m".

    Oh, and, as always @Pomb does awesome work!

    If you have trouble with the builds let me know (I know Windows works, and assume that Linux works too? I cant test Mac though)

    In-between edit:
    v0.1.3.1 (Web build only)
    Changelog:

    * Added star ratings for levels (bronze, silver, gold), you need to redo a level to see your star rating for it.
    * Adjusted sliding speed
    * Fixed bomb triggering after slides
    * Added Level 17
    * Adjusted explosion animations, now even more badass!
    Thanked by 1duncanbellsa
  • edited
    The Linux build works great. The ice feels good, although it was a bit quicker than I was expecting (I guess that's what the "Adjusted sliding speed" in the new web build is for). I like that you can use the ice it to skip past bombs right before they explode.

    Just a couple of bugs to report:

    - Restarting the level while the screen is still shaking messes up the camera position.

    - On the ice level, after going back and forth on the ice a couple of times, I got stuck. The sprite was a couple pixels lower on the grid than normal. Trying to reproduce it, I somehow landed up between two blocks and went into a ghost sort of mode where I could walk through walls and bombs and didn't slide on the ice. It looks like you've got grid alignment issues when coming off the ice.
  • Looking good guys!

    The lighting adds a lot of atmosphere; however, I get that wrenching feeling you get when things are a bit dark. The contrast between bombs and background is also a bit low.

    I like the ICE mechanic; I can see it can add a lot to the game. (Unfortunately, I guess that means the general movement has to be slow, which is still very frustrating. Redoing an entire level after making a small mistake is an incredible chore. What's more is, because I rush through the "old" parts, I am even more likely to make a mistake on the second round!)

    The puzzles start to feel like they flow nicely (or maybe I'm getting used to it?); the game is quite enjoyable, and I like the puzzles .
  • @AlphaSheep: Still looking to fix the screenshake, but the next build I do will have the ice bug fixed (it only happens with WASD :P )

    @hermantulleken: Ive been slowly but surely trying to make the lighting better, I will tomorrow at some point be sitting with a screen and playing with brightness and contrast a lot and finding the best lighting I can for different settings.

    The ice movement has been timed to be ~85% of the time for the player to move a single block. This was done so that it doesn't feel too disjointed from normal moving around and so that you can keep moving after you shove bombs across ice and it will still use the expected number of turns. There will be some tweaking as I build levels using the ice still, but that will just be to improve the feel of it (I think).

    Today is puzzle day, yesterday I gave a Unity session so was a bit slacking on the game dev side, but once I have my other requirements out of the way I am hoping to fix the screenshake/restart bug and build ~8 or more levels.

    Ive slowed down the actual updating of builds for now just because Im no longer adding in anything major.

    Thanks for your feedback guys.
  • edited
    Alrighty, update time.

    SokoBomber is out on Windows Phone 8 and Window 8 Stores, I will (as I get time to get to it) release on other platforms too. Current plans are:
    Android
    iOS

    The web version will always be free, and the game's dedicated landing page is here: http://ernestloveland.co.za/sokobomber-game/

    Release plan is to release a sizeable update in a month or two's time to add more content.

    EDIT: Oh, and I am aware that I need to fix up and sprucify the screenshots.
    Thanked by 1duncanbellsa
  • Wow, this is insane good. Well done edg3!

    Could you perhaps provide details on how many downloads you are getting per week etc?

    Also I am curious to know how you got round any "conflict of interest" clauses in your contract with your employer?

    I will be frequenting your blog as I am interested in the win8/wp8 arena too...
  • As a paid game it takes a while to gain traction, it hasnt had stellar performance, but the work that has been put in is slowly paying off. I dont want to release the stats yet until all the changes to the dashboard (and the Stores having problems due to Windows Azure changes) are all resolved, I will most likely write up a full post mortem on my blog and here within the next few weeks and share some numbers.

    Two major things in terms of "conflict of interest":
    1. Microsoft encourages employees to build apps and games on our platform and likes to share (internally) stories of employees that are successful as further encouragement. For the company it is a win-win: another quality app or game on our platform, and the person that made the app or game has become invested in our platform.
    2. I work as a technical evangelist, which means when I am not training people in our technologies and when I am not learning the new things as they arrive I need to keep my skills sharp. This covers everything from learning new systems, trying new development patterns, seeing what does and what doesnt work in our Store ecosystem and also making sure that as time goes by I am still clued up on all things related to our Store submission processes. The easiest way to do all of these things is to build cool apps and games and release them on the platform.

    My next big project is going to be my take on how to use the IAP systems and I will be focussing on "adding value" to the game through the system rather than it being an "easy" way out so to speak (the Valve Dev Days talk inspired the model I want to take).

    Lastly, I dont want to seem like I only focus on specific platforms, I just dont have the resources to do the final push to release on other platforms at this stage, the way I see it is you should release in every available market and keep updating your app/game to add value of time to build your use base. I still have 24000 users of my apps and games on windows phone 7 that I should try and move onto my newer games and apps, I just need to work out a strategic way to do this where whatever small percentage of those users still use my stuff wont be put off and might translate into new users on newer apps.
  • @edg3 Thanks for the clear response... I have 2 titles for Windows 8 I am planning to launch soon, that's why i'm asking.

    I haven't released anything yet, so am very eager to find out the pitfalls and caveats regarding the windows store launch procedure.

    Not to hijack your thread, but one of the yet-to-be-named titles can be seen in action here:
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwKX6fKhZTTQOTVMUTBNakZJcnM/edit?usp=sharing

    It passes certification tool and runs on my windows 8.1 tablet (ASUS Transformer book T100) and desktop pc...

  • Your biggest pain point will be ratings board certificates for Windows 8. You need to get yourself a PEGI and and ESRB rating (you can get them online for free through a self-service portal that relies on your own honesty) for some of the markets, and if you want to release in South Africa as a market you need an FPB rating. The FPB rating is horrid to get, I still cant work out where to go or what I need to do, so for now I just dont have a Win8 release for ZA. This is something I want to fix.

    Windows Phone is less stringent on the ratings certificate requirements, though anything that is obviously against policy (things with ratings above 16 I believe it was) will get your game rejected.

    Make sure you go through the guides for store submission and that you pass each of the things that apps most commonly fail for:
    W8: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/jennifer/archive/2012/11/12/common-certification-errors-when-submitting-to-the-windows-store.aspx
    WP8: http://blogs.windows.com/windows_phone/b/wpdev/archive/2014/01/10/top-windows-phone-app-certification-failures-and-how-to-avoid-them.aspx

    That being said, you need to understand that until your app/game gets the best exposure and starts to churn downloads on its own you will have an uphill battle on any platform. You need to make sure you submit all the images they want as part of the submission process. Make sure you have as many different screenshots as you can, if you support landscape and portrait views have screenshots showing both, make sure you have ALL the promotional images made and submitted at the same time so that you can be considered for Store feature slots, and so on. Polish as much as you can and fix bugs as you find them (and I mean this for after initial submission), so that if your app/game gets featured a month after release it is at its best possible state and draws players in. If you get offered a feature slot in 3 days time take time THAT day and make sure any crucial bug fixes get submitted.

    On average I am finding my submissions take 2 or 3 days to go through and if your fixed version goes live with new imagery it will start to show the changed version in store that same day, I have found that having the correct (and large number) screenshots and promotional images more effective than external marketing. It seems the best place to market to people to download an app for W8/WP8 is inside the store itself. So make sure you have a clear and concise description that a potential customer can read and understand what your game is immediately.

    I could go on this for quite a while, and I should perhaps write a full piece on this some time soon covering everything I can think of that could help you submitting to an app store (on W8/WP8 or any others).
  • @konman happy to share our experiences to date. Key things to know off the bat.

    If you do any sort of Internet access your age restriction needs to be 13 and you must have a link to a privacy policy.

    Get the ESRB and Pegi age certs for the respective Microsoft links I don't have them offhand.

    Plan about 5 days t get through assuming nothing causes a failure.

    Have all the store icons ready feels like there are so many.
  • edited
    @edg3 and @tbulford, Thanks guys. Wow, the ratings step I was hoping to be able to avoid as the games are non-violent (kinda) I thought. I have the link to the privacy page on a website in place already.

    Thanks for the advice. I still have a way to go as I am looking to replace the placeholder graphics with pro ones and polish a bit more, which should give me time to get those ratings sorted. Thanks a mil!
  • konman said:
    @edg3 and @tbulford, Thanks guys. Wow, the ratings step I was hoping to be able to avoid as the games are non-violent (kinda) I thought. I have the link to the privacy page on a website in place already.
    PEGI and ESRB take a few minutes, the GDB a few more :) dont stress about it but just make sure you know it needs to be done

  • Hey, this thread has been way too quiet. With @edg3 and @Pomb pairing up and making awesome. I am in eager anticipation...
  • Following my current schedule, there will be a large update that releases more levels, and if I can get around to it I will be doing an iOS and Android release (though most likely that will be early next month).
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