Saturday, April 4, 2020

Quarantine updates

I've been sitting at home with my kids for a several weeks now and it's been a difficult time for me, but a couple of interesting things happened that I want to share with you.

First of all, Blobby Volley got featured in an article on GamesKeys as an underrated arcade game to play. I never contacted them, so it was a nice surprise to find out that people liked my game. I recommended Find a Way to them as well and they might write about it in the future.

I bought Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo when they were 50% off. They should help me make better icons and graphic resources for my apps.

People have been writing to me regarding my apps. I made a couple of bug fixes in Unity Ads Stats because the numbers were incorrect in some rare cases, as one of my users pointed out and helped me track the issue. Also, a couple of months ago I made a small app for my brother-in-law, who is a forester. It was supposed to help him count trees and estimate their volume. I made a simple prototype and published it on Google Play as a beta, so that it was easier for him to install. As it turned out, someone else found the app, started using it and came back to me with feedback. I couldn't help myself and I implemented some of the suggestions. Perhaps it's a sign that I should polish it a bit and publish a final version?

When it comes to the promotion of Find a Way, I didn't do anything new. I'm still considering paying a small amount for ads on Google and Facebook, just to see how they work and how many users I can get with them. It's hard for me to start though, because I don't even know where to begin.

I also forgot to mention that I started working on a new app for my wife. She has a Facebook group and a newsletter with events for children and parents. I was thinking that the app might be useful, because browsing and filtering Facebook events or emails is very inconvenient. I already made a small prototype using Firebase Realtime Database. It looks promising but I'm not sure how to add events to the database in a user friendly way, so that non-technical people can do it.

To sum up, I had a rough start into the quarantine, but I've managed to organize myself well enough now to be able to put in some hours into my apps. I still get very excited about them, to the point where I can't sleep. I might be spreading myself thin though, with all those little changes and improvements that I do to all of them. And I'd like to improve controls in Blobby Volley too. We'll see what I'm actually capable of soon...

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Find a Way: Promotion (part 2)

Here's what I did so far to promote Find a Way:
  1. I published a post in three Facebook groups:
    1. Unity Game Developers International
    2. Unity 3D POLSKA
    3. Ruch Projektantów Gier Politechnika Poznańska
  2. I created a post on Reddit in AndroidGaming
  3. I wrote to several review sites such as:
    1. Android Games Review
    2. Pocket Gamer
    3. AppsPirate
    4. Android Apps
    5. AppSpy
    6. Droid Gamers
    7. possibly some more that didn't answer me
The cost of getting a game reviewed was ranging from $89 to $3000, so I decided that I wasn't ready to spend such a high amount of money. Especially that I wasn't sure if it would get me any results. Facebook and Reddit posts brought me around 10 new downloads. Perhaps if my game was more graphics heavy, then it would be easier to showcase it... however creating such a game would take me years.

I'm slowly running out of ideas as to where I could still promote Find a Way. I'm considering investing a small amount of money in Google and/or Facebook ads, just to see how they work and what kind of returns I could get from them.

If you have any other suggestions of what I could still do to get more downloads, please let me know.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Find a Way: Promotion (part 1)

Since my new game Find a Way is not doing well on Google Play, I decided to take action and try to promote it in various ways, letting you know about my results. Here's what I've done so far.

I published the game on itch.io. I'd been publishing early prototype versions there even before the game got published. I did get up to 8 visits during the first week of the game's presence there and then it dropped to around 1-2 visits per day. Also, a large part of the visits seem to come from the blog anyway...

I submitted the game to the Indie Games Festival from Google Play. I don't think that I could ever win it but I thought that it might be a way to get more eyes on the game. So far, I'm not seeing any significant results from it, but the submission phase is still in progress, so perhaps some traffic will come later.

I submitted the game to Unity Connect. You don't know what it is? Well, I didn't either. It's a portal created by Unity to showcase projects and look for gigs. There aren't any analytics there but I don't think it brings many people to the game.

I didn't take any more serious steps to promote Find a Way yet because I've been trying to improve it a little bit by making the ads less intrusive, fixing some minor bugs, and building it with Unity 2019.3, which has some tweaks. I'm almost done with all the changes I wanted to make and I'll start reaching out to various online groups and review sites to see if it helps in any way. Stay tuned for more updates.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Find a Way: Results so far

It's been more than a month since my game Find a Way was published on Google Play and itch.io. So far it has less than 100 downloads and it doesn't seem that it's getting any traction. I wasn't expecting it to be super popular but I was definitely hoping for more than this.

The game itself turned out quite well and I'm proud of making it. It has some good ratings on Google Play (most of them are from my friends and family though). I'm frankly not sure why it's not getting at least a couple of downloads a day. It's not that people play it and don't like it - there's just nobody even discovering its existence.

I'm not getting depressed about the results though. I think that I might still be able to make it work somehow. My thinking is that I just didn't spend enough time for marketing.

So the plan now is to try a bunch of techniques to promote the game. Off the top of my head I can think of a couple of ideas that I could use, e.g. contacting review sites, posting it on game-related Facebook pages, posting it on Reddit, perhaps even paying for some traffic.

I'm going to perform a series of experiments trying to see which techniques work and which do not. I hope it can be interesting to you as well. If you have an idea you think I should try, please let me know.

I'll keep you up to date on my actions and their results. Come back in a couple of weeks to see how I'm doing. Wish me luck!

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Find a Way is out

After being more than one year in production, Find a Way is already out on Goole Play. You can also play the demo version (the first 8 levels) on Itch. The game turned out quite well: it's pretty, has nice music (thanks to Kevin McLeod from incompetech), and is fun to play. Here's a quick promo video that I made:




... and a couple of screenshots:




Go give it a try!


I'm not going to start any new projects for now because I've just had a second baby and my free time is severely limited. Instead, I'm going to focus on my existing apps and games, and experiment with smaller changes in them and/or in their promotion strategy. I'm curious if I can get any results.

I'm going to take a quick nap right now. Wish me luck with Find a Way and come back in a while for more updates.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Unity Ads and "Designed for Families" program

I was trying to join "Designed for Families" program on Google Play with my Blobby Volley game. The game itself is perfectly suitable for children and I only use Unity Ads in it, which is listed as a certified ad network. Unfortunately, I got rejected twice and I got a more detailed explanation the second time. It turns out that, although being a certified ad network, Unity Ads are not automatically
suitable for children. Here's what the email said:

The ad content in your app does not comply with Families Policy Requirements.
  • For example, your app contains an ad for dating
  • For example, your app contains an ad for gambling
  • For example, your app contains an ad for contests or sweepstakes promotions
  • For example, your app contains an ad for sexual content
  • For example, your app contains an ad for alcohol
  • For example, your app contains an ad for drugs/tobacco or uncontrolled substances
It had also a couple of screenshots attached showing those illegal ads.




It turns out that Unity Ads, by default, serve adult ads, unless you specify otherwise in you Dashboard (Monetization > Ad filters).



Be careful when you add restrictions though, because your fill-rate and CPM will certainly drop.

To read more about the topic, see this thread on Unit forums and the official guide for creating games for children and families.

As to Blobby Volley, I'm not going to apply for the program for now.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Find a Way: Progress report 10

I finally got some graphic designs from my friend! It means that I'll be able to move on with the game a step further. Still, some details are missing or need to be changed but there's a chance that I can finish the project before the end of the year. Here, take a look.