This week was one crazy week. We shipped Shellrazer on Android as a free app with an in-app-purchase to unlock all levels, and we got over 450,000 (!) downloads since last Friday. Sweet! Thank you to all the people giving Shellrazer a go on Android!
I thought in this weeks dev-blog we’d give a little update on how things transpired.
We launched on Wednesday, and we fixed a few minor issues preventing the game from being installed on some devices. On Thursday things were slowly picking up, and then on Friday we were featured on the Google Play store. Open the floodgates! Very quickly we had 50,000 downloads and, as expected, a number of support issues. Since I’m the sole programmer on the team, if kinda felt like the picture below. :)
I worked through the weekend to fix one particularly big issue on the Samsung Galaxy S3. For some users the inputs were lagging so much that the game was completely unplayable. This freaked me out a little, because it seemed to affect only certain models in the USA, and I didn’t have access to a phone of exactly that model. I changed a bunch of things in the code, and had a few of the people who emailed me about the problem test it on their device (Thanks a ton! You know who you are!), and confirmed that it was in fact fixed. We updated the game to 1.21 yesterday morning, and things seem to have calmed down a bit.
One particular thing players seem to dislike is that Shellrazer is listed in the Free games list, yet it requires an In-App-Purchase to unlock all levels. When we hired our Toll-Troll, he thought it was going to be the job of a lifetime to collect the toll from people, and he was super excited to start his job on Wednesday. He had to endure quite a bit of abuse and one star ratings, so he’s had a rough few days! Poor guy.
I thought I’d address why we chose this model of a free game with an in-app-purchase to unlock the rest.
When we designed Shellrazer for iOS, it was our intent to make it a paid game, and have completely optional in-app-purchases for things like a coin doubler (the bookie) and coin packs. We made an effort to make sure the in app purchases aren’t required to have fun in the game. People with skill should be allowed to play the entire game without ever having to buy a coin pack. I think we managed to achieve this goal very well, and we’re happy with how the game isn’t pushing in-app-purchases on you.
When we started working on Shellrazer for Android, we wanted to use the same model: a paid game with optional in-app-purchases. However, when we first uploaded a test version of the game to Google Play we saw that the game was compatible with 1701 different Android devices! That’s a huge number of devices! We can’t possibly test on all those devices, and the last thing we wanted was somebody buying the game and then finding out that it doesn’t work on their device. That would really suck. So instead we decided it might be a good idea to make the game free, and have an in app purchase to unlock all levels. That way people can try the game first, and if it works properly on their device and they like it, they have the option to buy the rest of the levels. Great! … right? … right?
Something we probably haven’t made clear enough in the game, or possibly people aren’t aware of, is that there are two types of in app purchases. There are consumable and non-consumable in app purchases. Consumable purchases are things like coin-packs: one-off boosts to your number of coins. Non-consumable purchases are things that stay linked to your Google Account forever, just like when you buy a game. The bookie and the unlock all levels are non-consumable purchases. So if you install the game on a new phone, and you use the same Google account, the Game will have the levels unlocked and the bookie installed right away, because these purchases are stored in your Google Account. So in a way, buying the in app purchase for all levels is the same thing as buying a paid game, except you can try it out first and see if you like it.
Alright, I think that’s all for this week. I hope it cleared a few things up!
Again, thanks a ton for playing our game, it’s pretty awesome to have this many players so quickly. 1 million players, here we come!!
For Android we made the game free for 10 levels, after which you’ll find the way forward blocked by a toll-troll. You can bribe him to let you through and raze the rest of the levels, how sweet is that! Our goal is to have as many people as possible try our game and see if they enjoy it. It’s a different model than the iOS version (which is a paid app), but we thought we’d try it out. If this model does really well on Android, then maybe it’ll be worth experimenting with a similar version for iOS. I guess we’ll know in a few weeks!
It’s been a bit of work getting my engine ready for Android, but it’s finally done. Some people commented before that I should have just outsourced the conversion to Android, but I wanted to do the conversion myself to make sure that the engine was Android-ready for the next game we do. I’ve got this system set up where I can develop the game entirely on the PC (Visual Studio ftw!), and then flip a switch and the Android version or the iOS version is generated for me almost without . If I had outsourced the Android build, this would have been a lot more difficult to get right. Give a man a fish vs. teach a man how to fish kind of thing.
Alright, that’s all for this weeks dev-blog, start up those turtle cannons on the Android!
Aaaand we’re back! We hope you had a great Christmas and a good New Years. We took a few weeks off to recharge, as you’ve probably seen by the lack of Dev Blog updates. This week we’re back and we’ve got some cool info about the Android version of Shellrazer and of course the next big thing we’re working on!
The Android version of Shellrazer is shaping up really well, I’ve got it running well on all the devices I’ve been able to test it on. We’re still on the fence on whether to release it as a paid app, or as a free app with in-app-purchases to open up levels. We’re leaning towards the latter, but what do you think? Let us know in the comments! So still a few things to work on before we will release it, but it will be soon!
The next big thing we’re working on is of course Starrazer (working title), and Jesse has some more info on that one. Take it away Jesse!
Welcome back followers of the fearsome!
Jesse here with a few more ideas for our space-tastic game! Now what’s a space combat game without some firepower? Here we played around with some different ideas on weapon types and abilities. We really want to go for a physical feeling combat with hard hits and heavy effects. We’ll have standard beam weapons for sure, but we are more interested in missiles, tractor-beams and ramming speed.
At the bottom you can see another alien race idea. Donkonians are another race that I came up with a while ago with a character I created called “Jack Asstronaut” he was a weapons smuggler who could never catch a break. Most likely we wont be using every race we’ve previewed here, but it does give us a lot of ideas to work around with.
We’ve also started doodling up some simple gameplay interactions to get some internal discussion going. Again, just cause it was drawn up doesn’t mean it’s set in stone. We are going with the same kind of approach as we had for Shellrazer; draw tons, and use only the best ideas.
Here’s an idea where you could attach your ship to objects and slide them into place to block a beam. This sketch also started us thinking about remote power sources for enemies and elements in the game.
So it’s super great to be back! We hope everyone had some great holidays and we can’t wait to get to work on our new projects! Thanks for stopping by and checking out our stuff and we’ll be back next week with some more space action.
This week I’ll be showing how we put the levels together for Shellrazer in our custom level editor tool.
When we build a new level for Shellrazer, we start off with the floor. The floor is basically a spline through a bunch of points. In the editor you can add and remove points, adjust the subdivisions between the points, and, best of all, test the floor right when you create it. As you can see in the image, the turtle is on the floor at all times, walking from left to right. The game is running at all times, as you adjust the settings in the editor. Also, the finish flag is always present in a level, as you can see in the screenshot below.
Alright, now that there’s a floor, we need to make it look a bit more pretty by adding a background. Jesse created a few nice backgrounds with layers that parallax when moving the camera, so all we have to do is choose which one we want to show for this level. I chose the Beach background for this one.
In the editor it looks a bit weird, as the background isn’t filling the entire screen. This is normal though, because the camera is zoomed out way beyond anything we ever show in the game. You can see that the sky in the background is only as big as it needs to be when the camera is zoomed in.
Next are the ever important enemies! The enemies are placed in the level in groups. Groups are just that, groups of enemies that are placed in the level. By using groups we can tune finely which enemies fit well together. Each group has a difficulty rating which can be used for randomly placing groups in the level. In the screenshot below you can see that I added three groups in the level, all three random groups. The (1-5) in the description is the random difficulty range, and the 5.00 behind it is the X coordinate at which the group will spawn. It’s also possibly to assign a specific group (instead of a random one) to a location, so we can ‘script’ certain levels to always include a particular enemy, so we can nicely introduce the new enemies.
The next step is prettying up the level. This step involves placing background buildings in the level. Originally this was supposed to allow us to do wildly different backgrounds for different levels, but we didn’t use this too much. We should probably have generated the background buildings in a procedural manner rather than hand placing them. But, it did the job.
Now the last step is testing, tuning and more testing. To make sure a level isn’t too hard Shane did many runs of the game, tweaking the numbers, and doing more runs of the game, until the game difficulty ramp was just right.
Another week goes by quick! Especially when the game is available for FREE for half a day more! Get it now!
Until next week, keep those turtle-cannons blazing!
This week is a super great one because our update of Shellrazer is live! To celebrate this momentous occasion Shellrazer is going to be free for a week so be sure to let your friends who couldn’t pick it up before know!
All of those original Shellrazers will get the frosty content with the next update and will soon be setting foot on the cold continent of the yetis. 25 levels await you guys along with a bunch of new baddies and 2 new weapon platforms! We hope you have as much fun with the new content as we had making it all. Have a blast everybody!
Just to top it off here’s our Ice-Breaker trailer! Cut together by our designer extraordinaire Mr. Shane Neville, this short and sweet flick will surely get you in the mood to roast apart those nasty yetis. Here you can see just how effective those two new platforms are when dealing with the new horde. Be sure to try them out on the original world as well for even more fun combinations! We’ve also added a “Shell” rating to all the levels so you can test your builds to get the maximum score!
So another week stomps by here at Slick! We really hope you guys enjoy the update, we had a great time building it all for you. So until next week, keep those turtle-cannons blazing and those yetis underfoot!
VANCOUVER, British Columbia – July 26, 2012 – Independent development studio Slick Entertainment is proud to announce Shellrazer for iPad, iPod Touch, and iPhone, released on the App Store today for a temporary launch sale of $0.99 (regular $2.99). RIDE YOUR GIANT WAR TURTLE TO VICTORY OVER THE NASTY GOBLINS!! You are a Klang Clan [...]
Welcome back, followers of the fearsome, This week has been an interesting one! We’re helping out a local studio with some work, but we can’t talk about it. How’s that for a dev-blog huh? Not to worry, we’ve also been doing some work on Star Razer, so we’ll just talk about that! So for Star Razer I’ve [...]