[released] Dead Run

Comments

  • Hi everyone! So, since Dead Run has been submitted to the App Store, I'm getting ready to do a bunch of telling the world about it. Having watched Rami's GDC about pitching your game, I've been thinking long and hard (again) about how to pitch Dead Run.

    Please help me craft Dead Run's pitch! This is what I have so far, what do you think? Can I shave a few words out? Does it sound right? Good? Bad? Terrific?
    In Dead Run, you must shoot zombies but not survivors. You have half a second and one touch to decide. How long before your fatal mistake?
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  • In dead run, the pressure is on as you make the split-second decision: Is that a zombie, or a survivor? See how long you can go before making a mistake - fatal either for you, or for a helpless survivor.

    Feel free to take all of it, some of it, or none of it :D I just tried to rephrase exactly what you said.
    Thanked by 1Tuism
  • @Tuism I really love this game! Well done! I played it at A Maze and really wanted to know more about it, I want this for my phone but got Android... :P
    Thanked by 1Tuism
  • Thanks for the paraphrasing Denzil :)

    I'm however trying to shave words off the pitch! I want it to be as short and to the point as possible, have you watched Rami's talk on pitching? So valuable:

    http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/226067/Video_Perfectly_pitching_your_game_in_three_sentences_or_less.php
  • @MattMac thank you so much! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!! :D It'll get a release for Android... Eventually! We just have to sort out a bunch of things, one bit at a time... It's currently sitting in the queue for App Store :) It's a huge learning experience!
  • @Tuism That's good news! As far as I understood SA devs aren't able to sell on PlayStore, so hoping you get around that. I'd like to help make you guys dead rich... :) I'll have to play it online until then though, and though I really love it I also really seem to suck at it! :D It's hard but addictive...
    Thanked by 1Tuism
  • edited
    Slay a zombie or kill an innocent? A twitch and touch marks life or death.
    Thanked by 3Tuism dislekcia Boysano
  • Running, adrenaline pumping, you see another Zombie...load, cock,...shoot..too late your all dead!
  • Tuism said:
    Hmmmmmm, seriously thinking about it, now that you mentioned it. Why would you say so, @Merrik? I personally like the contrasting colours, but it sometimes gets lost in the red background (but the bg isn't always red).

    Implication wise though, I can see that having it not red makes the game less violent... But is it necessary?

    Then from pure aesthetics point of view it's more "consistent", foreground = silhouetted all the way through... And there's always contrast. However for a moment I think the "figures" of human or zombie would get obscured - I constantly worry (cos I've seen it over and over) that people don't know the difference between zombie or human and get frustrated because of that. So functionally I think black blood is less communicative.

    What does everyone else think?
    Red under a shadow, like purple maybe?
    Thanked by 1Tuism
  • edited
    Finally I got around to playing it just now, awesome game and I definitely would start with 99c no ads version to get focused feedback from paying customers. If it goes slow, do a free version later.

    Most of this has been said, but I'd like to repeat what I agree with after playing it:
    1. Day / Night cycle is a bit fast, and make player feel slower than he/she is.
    2. Not sure if it is bug with gun, found 2 unexpected results:
    2.1 When 2x zombies are close and I shoot I can run past first one and shoot 2nd (well that is what it looks like), I think you mention in previous post that actually both are shot.
    2.2 When I have gun (it seems like it auto equips? why cant I swap between bat and gun?) and there is zombie with a survivor just behind (to zombies right) I lose since I kill them both with 1x shot...seems unfair.
    3. Gun looks like a bat.

    I like the weight, but would love to hold in and release for powerful hits, for larger zombies... Not sure if this is already so, since I only got to lvl15 so far.

    This is really a great game and too many good things and features to list!!!
    Love the art style and sound too!


    Thanked by 1Tuism
  • Slay a zombie or kill an innocent? A twitch and touch marks life or death.
    Jonno you wrote the introduction to Echo too and you're pretty awesome with this :) I however had a moment today where I had to do a quick pitch of Dead Run to just some randoms, who're not game devs or hardcore gamers, and I realised - I can't "say" this! XD

    So Ridiculous Fishing's pitch is "Fishing with machine guns". If someone asks me what Dead Run is, I want to say... what?

    "Dead Run is a game of a ranger running into a horde of zombies that will test your trigger finger. BUT some of them are survivors! Don't shoot the survivors!"

    <--- best I can come up with for now that I can say to people without bursting out laughing XD What do you guys think?
  • Boysano said:
    Finally I got around to playing it just now, awesome game and I definitely would start with 99c no ads version to get focused feedback from paying customers. If it goes slow, do a free version later.

    Most of this has been said, but I'd like to repeat what I agree with after playing it:
    1. Day / Night cycle is a bit fast, and make player feel slower than he/she is.
    2. Not sure if it is bug with gun, found 2 unexpected results:
    2.1 When 2x zombies are close and I shoot I can run past first one and shoot 2nd (well that is what it looks like), I think you mention in previous post that actually both are shot.
    2.2 When I have gun (it seems like it auto equips? why cant I swap between bat and gun?) and there is zombie with a survivor just behind (to zombies right) I lose since I kill them both with 1x shot...seems unfair.
    3. Gun looks like a bat.

    I like the weight, but would love to hold in and release for powerful hits, for larger zombies... Not sure if this is already so, since I only got to lvl15 so far.

    This is really a great game and too many good things and features to list!!!
    Love the art style and sound too!


    Thanks for your very kind words! :D It brings me a tear of joy :,)

    We are waiting for the app store's approval on it, so... That's the plan so far! 99c to start, which gives us some berth for specials. See how reception goes. I'm personally just very curious about how it all works so it's a good position to start learning about this stuff :)

    Which version were you playing? The one on playdeadrun.com? The thing is I had already adjusted the day/night speed to be slower so I was wondering if you were playing the most current version (and if you weren't I apologise and must ask where you found the link so I can fix it!) (and if you were playing the most current then I'll have another look at it :) )

    Double zombies give trouble when you play as Flash, I think... It has to do with timing of the animations, I'll look into it.

    2.2 Is more worrying, there are two buttons in the current version, so you don't automatically use the gun (it used to do that). Did the buttons work as expected?

    Because it's basically a twitch game I hadn't thought about charged hits and stuff like that, but good points to consider :)

    Thankssssss! :D
  • edited
    Dead Run is a game about knowing whether to bash someone's brains in.

    (...although a small part of me is uncomfortable with the preposition at the end.)
  • *hands someone a phone* Tap to hit zombies! ... *watch them play, when they hit a survivor, say* "That wasn't a zombie!" *grin like an asshole*
    Thanked by 1Tuism
  • @Tuism quickly tried to play again from http://www.deadrunapp.com/
    and made sure to allow all plugins..and now buttons showed.
    Took me a while to figure out that right click is shoot, so it feels like a bug when I left click on the shoot button and the bat hits.

    Sun cycle speed good now also.

    Thanked by 1Tuism
  • edited
    Boysano said:
    @Tuism quickly tried to play again from http://www.deadrunapp.com/
    and made sure to allow all plugins..and now buttons showed.
    Took me a while to figure out that right click is shoot, so it feels like a bug when I left click on the shoot button and the bat hits.

    Sun cycle speed good now also.

    Whew, cool! Yeah the web version works but you need to understand right click is shoot. Getting you to click the shoot button is way too awkward for a reaction twitch game :)

    So where were you playing before? I need to change it, people shouldn't be able to find an old version XD

    Doh, I edited the link in the first post, totally forgot about that -_-
  • edited
    @Tuism Cool, if short is what you are going for (which makes sense, short and sweet), then you can rephrase your last suggestion

    "Dead Run is a game of a ranger running into a horde of zombies that will test your trigger finger. BUT some of them are survivors! Don't shoot the survivors!"
    to

    Dead Run is a game of a ranger running into a horde of zombies that will test your trigger finger. BUT/JUST/(Make sure you) don't shoot the survivors!

    I think this says exactly the same with one sentence less. You introduce that there are survivors, and give their purpose in one short sentence. I think your first sentence is good as well, though perhaps it feels a bit distant. It doesn't involve the player that much.

    Maybe rephrasing it to say something like:
    In Dead Run, play as a ranger running through a horde...

    or

    In Dead Run, you are a ranger running...
    Thanked by 1Boysano
  • edited
    Tap that phones, might break their bones, but tapping wrong WILL KILL YOU.
  • dislekcia said:
    *hands someone a phone* Tap to hit zombies! ... *watch them play, when they hit a survivor, say* "That wasn't a zombie!" *grin like an asshole*
    That's actually pretty close to what I do now when I can show the actual game, half of me wants them to figure it out themselves, though, without me saying a word. It's right now a 70/30 tossup, some people just don't even bother thinking about it :/
    Thanked by 1Boysano
  • An update on Dead Run...

    It was rejected during review with the app store XD Reason? For having the words "Russian Roulette" as one of the names of our achievements...!!

    So we've gone and changed the name of it - it's not even a mechanical thing as the achievement actually has no elements reminiscent of Russian Roulette, but they won't allow it for the use of the words.

    The lesson here is to be careful about what you put into your app - any sort of non-wholesome language could possibly get you rejected, and I'm sure there are other criterion that are very hard to "assume". If you can find a list of banned terms that'd be the best.

    Good luck to Dead Run's resubmission - and may everyone else learn from our experience!
  • Can I ask what your plan is/has been with regards to marketing Dead Run? I know you've had a bit of coverage from rAge and amaze...

    I'd also love to know what you think worked best in terms of sales results once this is live on the app store :)
  • Honestly, I'm learning as I go :/

    Well once I get it into the store, and can send out promo codes, I'll be mailing a collection of press people to introduce myself and say hi this is my game please take a look. It's currently playable online but I figure it would be a better approach to send promo codes - this game *is* better as a touch game.

    Also, I need to put up more material in the periphery before I do marketing - with a game like Dead Run I think it's better if press sees I have something else in the wings - and right now for me that something else is Beatattack, and I haven't had time to put anything online for that yet. Video, blog, etc. Something that makes it easy for press to pick it up on their radar while checking out Dead Run.

    Monetisation is always a tough call, I'm just gonna dive in at tier 1 and see how that goes. We might do free with ads on Android to test both models, but the focus right now is iOS. Then Android and Windows mobile. Any advice anyone has that comes from data and experience would be super welcome - we keep hearing this and that and we think this and that, but very seldom are there data to back up claims, so I'm really keen to see that. AB(CDEFG) testing would be the bestest of the best.

    We'll also open up our numbers to contribute to that dataset, however we do it.

    Any thoughts on this yourself, @dammit? I daresay you're pretty much the spearhead for marketing around these parts :)
  • :P I have a lot of knowledge that I've only just begun to have the opportunity to put into practice. No doubt I will be learning a huge amount as I go along as so I'm doing my best to gather as much information from everyone who's at least one step (if not more) ahead of me.

    To be honest, it sounds like you have a good plan. It goes against the idea of "start marketing before you release your game" but I think that doesn't work for mobile or smaller games that don't have an early access. I think this speaks to the nature of the kinds of consumers you're looking at - people who are looking for something that will hold their attention for a shorter space of time ... people who are not likely to be getting hyped up about an upcoming mobile indie game release. They'll want to play it now, or not be interested.

    It's part of the reason I didn't show WW at HobbyX because I realised that those consumers wanted to find something, buy it and leave. I couldn't even point them to a kickstarter or any funding project because I don't have those answers yet so it would have been a frustrating experience for everyone.
    Thanked by 1Tuism
  • Another question - what are your thoughts on releasing now, so close to the Christmas rush? I'd be worried that you'll lose any momentum you've gain in November in December and will struggle to get it going in January again.
  • Are we there yet! :)

    My wife wants this game - her words.
  • Well I know you'll have a sale here. This and the BEAT BEAT BEAT BEAT BEAT will destroy many hours of my life.

    Gladly.
  • edited
    @dammit yeah that's what I thought too... The game isn't big enough to warrant a long attention cycle, and it's basically done so there's also almost no updates. So as much as I want to follow the "show early show often" thing, it seems that in terms of media that's not going to work right now.

    And as for the Christmas rush thing - I think you'll agree that it's bad to clash with big games news time, so yeah maybe later will be better. As for momentum - to be fair, the only real press DR's gotten so far is basically local, which, while I'm grateful for, isn't really where the sales are gonna come from. So in terms of general press "out there", any time I start is a good time to start. I first want to build up enough of a tail/follow through material for my studio so that there's a rabbit hole for anyone who goes looking. And that means blogs and future releases (Beat Attack) that need to be documented which I simply hadn't had the time to do yet in the last while. And will do now. Ish.

    What do you think of this line of thinking?


    ------------------

    To the Bischoffs! Thanks so much! :D It's sitting in the approval queue again, and as I understand it, having one rejection means that future approval will be under more scrutiny...

    (ie take longer)
    (you'd think they'd take special care on it so it'd get looked at sooner or something)
    (but then again people might game the system by trying to get rejected so I guess this is right)

    ... but I guess we'll see if that's true. The first time was just about exactly two weeks. Let's see how long this one takes :(

    Man I'm looking forward to pushing BEAT BEAT BEAT BEAT BEAT BEAT more :) Been busy on game-a-day XD
    Thanked by 1dammit
  • Very late to this party... really like the feel and theme of the game! In particular the way it's possible to read zombies from survivors without really knowing how I know. That's very well done.

    And ho boy did that do weird things to my vision after playing for a while! (On playdeadrun.com). Like when you stare at the moving checker pattern and then afterwords your vision "swims". Bit late for feedback seeing as you already submitted to the app store, but I did find the start quite slow and laborious - then again I'm one of them super hexagon types ;) Got to 28 so far, looking forward to improving on my phone.
    Thanked by 1Tuism
  • Hey there thanks for your kind words :D

    Actually the pacing is one of the first things we want to still tweak further - it's sent for approval but we will still be updating the app so the pacing of the game will still be tweaked :)

    Oh and for advanced players there's flash mode. We might just make that clearer to show people that it's there instead of it being a nice easter egg :)
  • Are we there yet! :)
  • I wish we were XD
  • Hi guys, a bit of news!! And I need some experience and advice!!

    Last night I got a mail that says app is ready for developer release...

    BUT.

    We feel like we're not ready for proper release yet, because:
    1. there's a few things we want to tweak to make sure first time play experience is the best it can be before we.
    2. contact press, I'm not ready to contact press yet, still building some stuff.
    3. Not sure if iPhone 6 compatible, will need to build using newer Unity, I think?

    So I have the option of releasing silently without any announcement, and you awesome guys can get it from the store already if you want to. It can also be a little experiment to see what happens to a launch without any marketing...

    Then later we'll pump the press contacts and promo codes etc after we are done with the update.

    How does that sound? Is there any reason why I shouldn't do a silent release first that I'm not seeing?
  • I'm guessing that the only reason to possibly hold back from a silent release is if you want to at all piggyback off of any potential traffic from possibly being on the Best New Releases list.
    Thanked by 1Tuism
  • I'm guessing that the only reason to possibly hold back from a silent release is if you want to at all piggyback off of any potential traffic from possibly being on the Best New Releases list.
    Which is why you'd generally do a silent release in a market like the Canadian App Store first, that way you can push to press AND be on the new releases list at the same time.
    Thanked by 1Tuism
  • Cool guys, yes I remember Bladeslinger and a bunch of other titles doing that, thanks for reminding me! I'm not sure how that process works, I hope I don't have to resubmit and wait through the approval process again. Gonna go check it out :D
  • OK I found where I can set for territorial release,

    Now, for those who want to get the game now, which stores is actually easier to get to? South Africa, Canada, or doesn't it really matter at all?

    If I don't run into problems I'll do the silent release tomorrow :)
  • I should, hopefully, be getting an iPhone 6 soon so can break it for you on that.

    Also I think I have an account for the SA store (not that I can even remember what it was)
    Thanked by 1Tuism
  • edited
    So, I tried to release to Canada and South Africa.

    Then I got this error: "You do not have a contract in place for the price tier you selected. To make your app available on the App Store, you must have an active Paid Applications Contract."

    I google it and see that I have to find something in "Agreements, Tax, and Banking". I go there, and there's nothing there. Like I've googled for what it is and everywhere it says there should be a "request" button for a contract.

    But I don't have one :/

    So back in the support queue I go. Oh gods. The pain.


    OK nevermind, apparently I never agreed to the general dev licence -_-
  • edited
    Hi awesome guys, I've silent released to the Canadian and South African app stores, now the thing is, I basically can't go see it unless I register a separate apple account, right? :/ Or is there something I can do to get around that?

    Here's the link:
    https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=914928184&mt=8
  • Congrats dude, grabbing right now :) (and will get it again when it hits US store, because double store logins are a PITA for updates and because damn you deserve it)

    And no, no way around it. You need to create a ZA or Canadian account.

    Also, why cant I heart a bajillion times dammit you silly forum!
    Thanked by 1Tuism
  • Ok, I hate to say this, but the new "Get Ready" feels totally broken :(
    On most plays, I have to wait 5s+ with the baseball bat icon flashing at me-which makes me think I'm supposed to tap it.. That's reinforced by placement. That just leads to me repeatedly putting the shotgun I'm not actually holding away and pulling out the baseball bat.

    Keep in mind all through this 5s+ tapping outside that button does nothing, so definitely not being cued or reinforced to actually do the main thing in the game.

    My suggestion? Get that simple Get Ready back and make it FAST. Only pull in the weapon swap buttons when they're relevant. I think I said in a previous post I don't believe you need them, and I still feel that way. But if you feel you must have them, only let it be when they're actually usable, and get them into a less prominent location. They're secondary features, they're not the whole point of the game.

    Sorry to be so harsh on this, but like I said right now I would consider this broken. Probably to the point of a B-class non-shipping bug (where A is crashing on startup).
    Thanked by 1Tuism
  • Hey Matt!!

    Thanks for the input! I haven't seen the app from the store myself yet, I'll register a Canadian/SA account asap I guess. Good thing for silent launch...!! The game has been like this for a while, since the desktop build at A MAZE, but perhaps something gets lost in translation between the desktop/web and mobile controls...
    On most plays, I have to wait 5s+ with the baseball bat icon flashing at me-which makes me think I'm supposed to tap it..
    I'm not sure what you mean by this, you are supposed to tap the baseball icon, or do you mean it's flashing *after* you tapped it, so while you're running?
    Keep in mind all through this 5s+ tapping outside that button does nothing
    Do you mean tapping outside the baseball bat button does nothing? It should trigger anywhere on the left half of the screen, unless there's a bug I'm not aware of!
    Only pull in the weapon swap buttons when they're relevant. I think I said in a previous post I don't believe you need them, and I still feel that way. But if you feel you must have them, only let it be when they're actually usable, and get them into a less prominent location. They're secondary features, they're not the whole point of the game.
    This makes me feel you think that the weapons are being swapped - it's left to bat, right to shoot, is that not obvious enough? Hiding the shoot button till you can shoot is actually a good suggestion, will probably implement that.

    Did you mean that it's not necessary to have two actions, bat and shoot? So the game will automatically decided to shoot or bat depending on the distance from your target? What we've found with that configuration is that people basically keep tapping the screen and miss that they have a bat at all, despite the opening screen "teaching" the player to bat. Then when they keep tapping, they pick up a shell and just blast without thinking, and never make a connection with the gun. So we found that people seem to need that strict differentiation between bat and gun.

    ------------------------------------

    Has anyone else tried the current Dead Run version yet? It's basically the same as on http://www.playdeadrun.com (just with keyboard and mouse controls instead of all touch) if you're not on the SA and Canadian. Your input would be most welcome on this silent test launch!
  • edited
    I think the game's looking sweet! :) So I'll just mention two things that I don't think are great.

    I find that sometimes there's quite a lot of wait time between spotting zombies. Sometimes I just swing my bat wildly while I wait, because during that time I'm actually a bit bored. I haven't thought of any elegant solutions, but it'd be nice to have something to do in the interim. Maybe if you hold down on the bat button, you charge up a flare that you can throw that lights up the (otherwise generally dark) world and makes it potentially easier for you to see whether the next creature is a zombie or human. Not saying that's a good solution (partly because doing the art for that sounds a bit tricky), but at least then I've got something to do while I wait that can help me a little with the core thing of figuring out whether something's a zombie or not.

    The other thing I found that felt a bit strange to me was how I'm ultimately getting points for... well, what feels like inaction. I find myself having this uncomfortable conflict, where on the one hand I want to see more zombies, because hitting them is pretty cool (bouncing heads!), but on the other hand I'd like to see more humans because then my score goes up. But mostly, I just don't feel all that great when I'm being given points for leaving the controls alone. I wonder whether it'd feel better if my two buttons weren't a bat and a gun, but rather Kill Zombie and Save Human. If a zombie comes along, I kill it, and feel good about a bouncing head. If a human comes along, I save them, and feel good about getting a point for performing an action. If a human comes along and I don't save them, then I don't get the point for it (or maybe it's Game Over). If I kill a human it's Game Over. If a zombie comes and I don't hit them, Game Over. (Again, I'm not saying that's the right way either. I don't think many good suggestions come from 2am typing. :P)

    I think it'd be possible to build a game that rewards passiveness, but I don't think that this would be very satisfying, and I don't think that was your intention here.

    Sorry, I know these probably don't help now, but it took me quite a long time to try and pinpoint what it was that didn't feel quite right about it to me.
    Thanked by 2Tuism Kobusvdwalt9
  • Oooooh, so it's become a two button game :P I hadn't realized (my previous build was obviously way old). Yes I thought those buttons would swap weapons.

    In that case, hell make those buttons even bigger, possibly covering most of the touch area they represent but maybe lower the alpha so they aren't intrusive. And yeah, still only show the shotgun button when you have ammo.
    I'm not sure what you mean by this, you are supposed to tap the baseball icon, or do you mean it's flashing *after* you tapped it, so while you're running?
    No this is before you actually start running. I tap the flashing button multiple times, and it does what I thought was a weapon swap animation but is probably the bat swing. It doesn't start running right after pressing, in fact I just tried it now and kept tapping the button for 10+ seconds an then after that tapped outside the button area and it started running.

    A thought here, have you playtest on an iPad? I'm playing on the iPad Mini Retina, and I wonder if something isn't wonky with your input on larger devices.

    Jono, what device were you playing on? Phone?
    Thanked by 1Tuism
  • Yeah see now that doesn't count dammit The dude needs device feedback! ;)
    Thanked by 1Tuism
  • edited
    It's just feedback. He can take and leave what he wants to. I don't think I should not give feedback just because I don't have an iPhone...
  • So Matt, just to confirm this, you're tapping on the left side, and the guy doesn't run off?? If that's the case that's really strange and likely an unknown bug! I've tested before now on iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, and iPad 2, and there wasn't problems... But I haven't tested this latest straight-from-the-store version yet. Have to go register an SA account. Let me just do that now. PAIN IN THE BUM. But ok yes must do it. Doing it right now.

    Tapping on the right triggers the "click" no ammo animation. Perhaps I should literally pop a bit of text up that says "no ammo" when you do that.

    Jonno I thought about a lot of what you said and I ultimately agree with you, but a lot of it is probably too far into the process to change... Giving people something to do in between appearances is good, I am however planning to reduce the time of appearances to up the pace so less down time. Inaction... Well that was kinda the core concept, that you have two options in one action (hit), and that the interaction is in hitting wrongly, as opposed to not hitting on the right timing. But yeah I'll think on it too :)

    Thanks again for the feedback guys!!!
  • If a picture is worth a thousand words, is a 29fps 15 second video worth 435000 words? :P

    Video of buggy start
    Thanked by 2Elyaradine Tuism
  • edited
    Thank the lord for you Matt!!! OMG that is a game breaking bug. I don't even know how that is, it works fine on my 4S, iPad2, and Loet's iPhone 5. Gotta find more hardware to test it on. OMG.

    (made an SA account and got it myself)

    THANK YOU x A MILLION AND TENTY THOUSAND!!!
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