Thursday, April 25, 2013

House Cleaning

This update will be a bit of a housecleaning, so bear with me if it is a bit rambling.

Jungle Jumper 1.23

So I didn't get around to doing a post when I did the 1.23 update a week ago. It wasn't a huge update, I just removed In-App Billing, fixed a texture and set the AdMob banner to only show on the game screen. So I'm really pleased I removed the In-App Billing, it was a mistake to put it in their in the first place and I already sleep better at night. I have wanted to only have the AdMob banner show up on the game screen from the beginning, but I've never really been able to figure out how to do that. It turned out to be very easy and it makes the game seem way more professional that the ad is not blocking the title of the game in the menu.
Jungle Jumper is not doing so great though, it's not being downloaded at all as much as it was a few weeks ago, but hopefully it will go back up again. This means that I won't be meeting my $400 goal this month which is a bit of a shame, but that's fine.

There is a Bug in my Soup

So there is a nasty bug in Jungle Jumper that is causing around 10 crash reports a week. The bug seems to have been introduced after update 1.2. But I didn't realise it was their until a few days ago because I had hidden the bug early on as I thought it was a one time issue. The problem is that the stack traces don't really tell me anything other than that it is a rendering issue. I'm guessing that I made a mistake with all the improved graphics. It looks like I'll simply have to go through my renderer class and clean up all the code and hope it makes a difference.


You might have spotted that an extra tab has appeared on my blog. There isn't much in there yet, but I plan to have it bursting with links and images for different projects down the road.


So I've been pretty sick the last couple of days and have had to stay home, it seems I've gotten influenza and I'm coughing like a chain smoker. It has however been a bit of a blessing in disguise as I have been able to sit and program a bit, which leads me to my next point...

A New Dawn

I've finally gotten started on my new game. I'll play it close until I'm a bit further along, but I can say that it is going really well and that I now have a really nice alpha version of it, that looks like crap, but has the basic game play elements in it and is already quite fun. Hopefully I'll be able to share some more info about it and possibly some screenshots soon.

Iron Man 3

So I warned you I was going to be rambling a bit and I just wanted to mention how excited I am for the next Iron Man movie. I'm planning on going too see it on Friday with my better half if I'm well enough. So far I'm hearing very good things about it, such as people comparing it to The Dark Knight movie.


So I'm beginning to get a decent amount of traffic here on the blog and I'm wondering if I have any regulars out there. If I do please write a comment, I'd love to hear whether anyone finds my ramblings of any interest and whether there is anyone in a similar start up situation who gets any info out of my monthly reports. Any feedback would be very welcome.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Lure of In-App Billing

So since I updated Jungle Jumper with In-App Billing, my download numbers have gone down, my bug reports have gone up, it has become way more difficult to use one code base for several app stores and I have not sold a single "Remove Ads" product in the game.

I don't like In-App Billing. When I originally wrote out my values for Lonely Giant Games, one of them was "Make games without hidden costs, e.g. In-App Purchases." I since changed that to "Make games without hidden costs, e.g. pay to win." I did this because I thought it would be nice for people to be able to upgrade Jungle Jumper to an ad free version with an In-App Purchase - and I still do to some extent, but it is a slippery slope.

As soon as I decided on this, I though that I could also make the new world, that I'm planning to build for Jungle Jumper, something you could buy, and maybe you could buy a few extra costumes as well.

So what's the problem with that you might ask? It's not like you can "pay to win" by doing that. No, but you are making your game into something that it is not supposed to be: A shop. Games are suppose to be a place where you go to have fun and you're transported to another place. What you are basically doing is smacking the users in the face with reality, when you are suddenly interrupting them by asking them for money. In the end you are breaking their suspense of disbelief, and that is simply one of the worst things you can do in any form of entertainment.

There is also the fact that Jungle Jumper is a game for kids as well. And I'd like for parents to not have to worry when their kids play my games. I know you can set up parental control stuff to avoid kids buying from the Play Store, but I think a lot of parents still don't know that.

"Let not the lure of the dollar signs lead you astray from good game design my children." 

We've seen some beloved game series like Diablo and Dead Space flirt with variations of In-App Billing with bad results. I truly hope that this is only a phase while publishers are enamoured with the idea of micro-transactions everywhere. I think it's important to have higher aspirations than to just make a game that earns as much money as possible.

As for myself, I'm going to take In-App Billing back out of Jungle Jumper as soon I have time to make the next update.

In-App Billing is crap, whether you're a gamer or a developer. But it's easy to forget that when you're on the end that will receive the money.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Jungle Jumper 1.22 is out

I put up the new update yesterday here's what's in it:

Improved jungle vine texture: The jungle vine texture has always been a bit crappy and blurry, now it is sharp and crisp :).

Improved spider texture: The spider texture was also a bit poor, I redrew each frame and made it a bit more nasty looking with some fur. I also added an image for when the spider is dead. Before a vertically mirrored image was simply used.

Improved chameleon texture: Much the same as the spider. The lines were not as sharp looking as I wanted so it had a once over and I think it improved quite a bit.

Implemented In-App Billing: There now is a button at the bottom of the screen saying "Remove Ads" and if you press it you are asked to pay a one time $1 to remove ads. We'll see if this works better than my paid version of the game.

Other: I cleaned up a bunch of code, which is always nice.


This update ended up being quite a bit smaller than I had planned. I had a bunch of things I wanted to put in there, but when I have as little time as I do at the moment to program, it very easily becomes difficult to keep track of a lot of different changes that are halfway implemented. I'll try to keep the updates smaller.

I'm not really sure what the next update will be, there are lots of things that I want in the game. The music, a new world for Jorvis to explore and maybe some silly extra costumes that you can buy through the In-App Billing. Not to mention the elephant in the room. The Facebook implementation to get a high-score system.

At the same time I also really want to get another game out. So much to do and so little time ;).

Monday, April 1, 2013

March Report

Here we have the report for March.

Total installations end of March 2013:
Google Play

Active installations end of March 2013:

Admob stats March 2013:


March was an incredible month. I did not think it likely that I would reach my $200 goal, but I far exceeded it. I didn't do any updates. The only thing I really did was to update the description on Google Play, which seems to have really had an effect.


My long time goal is still $2000 so I can make a full time living of it. Next month's goal will be $400 dollars. Which seems pretty possible, if the game keeps doing this well and possibly improves a bit when I update it. Which I hope to do very soon. What I really need is more games, but that seems very far away at the moment. I'm simply not getting enough work done. I have way too little time for it, being back in a full time position at work. I'm hoping that I can maybe take a week of work and work full time on the games and get my next game into shape.

I still have not managed to get the Facebook implementation to work, so I have taken it out for the moment, hopefully it will return for the next update. The big features in the new update, will be a few improved textures and an In-App Billing button to remove the ads for 1$.

I also found out that the game no longer works on Android 1.5 and 1.6. This was because of Google Analytics. I have remedied this issue, which is why I want this update out soon so It works correctly again.