Sunday, September 14, 2014

Turbomole statistics update (part 2)

I am sharing one more chart showing the daily "Turbomole Trial Run" views over last 61 days. So it's about 2 months since we released this flash game to Newgrounds.

Total number of views is at the moment 46082, so there has been in average 755 views per day (source of data: Newgrounds Statistics). The number of daily views has varied between 35 and 3620. I am pretty happy to these figures, because two months ago we were expecting no more than 5000 views in total.

Ad revenue has been very modest for "Turbomole". There is just one ad shown before title screen, and that's all. I didn't want to irritate players with large number of ads, so there are no between-scenes ads at all in this game. Also, the eCPM seems to be quite low for flash ads. Pre-roll ads would provide better eCPM, but the number of those has been disappointingly low...

What makes the chart interesting is the recovery that has happened couple of times: The number of daily views has first declined close to zero, but then for some mysterious reason it has recovered again. I have followed Newgrounds statistics data on daily basis to get an idea why this has happened. It seems that these "peaks" have occurred because of new sites have taken the game to their list. This has enabled new players to find the game and it can be seen as peaks in daily views chart.

Currently, there have been total of 97 hosts sharing "Turbomole's Trial Run" game (according to NG statistics). In practice, 90% of all views have generated by 6 hosts. It seems that most of the audience has been located at Japan, Turkey, and South Korea. Rest of the world has ignored the game so far.

Based on this information I think it is very important that you find the right websites to spread your flash game. But it is an another story how to find them. At least I don't have direct answer to that.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

"Dualball" the Game

We have been working on two separate game projects in parallel. Now one of them is in quite mature condition and it is likely that it will be published in a couple of weeks. So it maybe is time to shortly introduce the game concept?

Working title for the game is "Dualball". This is a platform game where player controls two balls at the same time with single click (or touch, depending on the device). The challenge comes from the parallel nature of this game: you must be able to do some multi-tasking and time your clicks correctly. Timely performance is rewarded with coins that are spread on the levels. Collecting all coins is not always straightforward, and you have to carefully think what kind of a sequence is required to clean up the level.

We have been testing "Dualball" on flash and Android platforms, and it seems that the latter one is bit more convenient for this concept. However, game will be released in flash format first. Android version will follow if there is enough interest to this concept.

Originally this "Dualball" was started as some kind of a technology trial where we tested parallelism and simple controls. One development branch was to try loading levels directly from our own server. We also created a level editor that was running on Excel and Libreoffice. Levels were written out in .csv format, to keep things as simple as possible. Basically all server/client stuff worked quite fine, but there was some performance issues visible and we decided to leave loadable levels out from this version. But this is something we definitely can use in our future projects.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Creepy carrots for Mole (video)

I created today the following piece of art:

As you can see, this is not a gameplay video at all. However, it is loosely related to our "Turbomole Trial Run" game (_very_ loosely!).

Just look the clip and enjoy! And you can of course start following our Youtube channel too. :)



No matter how simple your game is, or how well you plan it. In any case it is 110% sure that there are several bugs included in your masterpiece. And fledgling game developer surely has more bugs than the experienced ones. :) Here are my thoughts of this matter.

Major and/or often occurring bugs are usually very easy to detect, and they are relatively easy to find from your code. You just need to find (or know) where certain functionality is located in your code and check the difference between desired and existing operation. Fixing the bug might not be so straightforward, but at least you know fairly well where the fault is.

But then there can be very nasty bugs that occur rarely or even randomly. Sometimes it is very hard to understand if some behavior is really a bug, if it can't be easily reproduced. And locating these bugs from your code is very difficult if you don't have clear idea where to look for them.

Luckily here are some ways to ease up bug hunting. I am using very often a method where variables likely to be related to the bug are simply printed on the screen continuously. Then it is possible to see how variables behave during the gameplay and that helps so resolve the problem. The method of implementing this approach is tool-dependent, but it should be possible no matter which gamedev environment your are using.

Game development tools migh also have different ways to ease up debugging. I have found out particularly useful the feature where collision boxes are made visible. Each collision can be seen visually during testing when that feature is on.

In general, debugging a game might require a large amount of creativity and ingenuity. There are some ready-made solutions available, and using them may make your life easier.