Fun Infused Friday 7
Welcome back to Fun Infused Fridays. We took last week off because of "low business volume Friday"... yep, we're not allowed to call it Good Friday anymore at my day job. Plus I didn't have a lot to report, it was crunch time on Hypership Out of Control for WP7 and there wasn't much interesting to tell. Thankfully this week, that is not the case!
Our biggest news of the week is that on the 27th, Hypership Out of Control when live on the Windows Phone 7 marketplace! I'm now a multiplatform developer! The game so far has received a mix of very good rates along with several bad ones. The game has some performance issues which is more apparent on some of the less powerful phones (I believe mainly the HTC models). We kicked out an update that addressed some of these performance issues already. That update passed review yesterday and should be available now or very soon depending on where you're at. There are still some performance issues we want to improve on and I've begun work on a second update. There are a few minor bugs here and there too that I've been fixing.
One really nice feature in Hypership WP7 that I added is a scrolling ticker that displays on the title and menu screens that pulls its content from my web service. When I realized that some users were having performance issues, I was able to put a message on this ticker letting everyone who was playing Hypership know about the issue and that I was working on a fix. This was a great way for me to interact with everyone playing the game in a way that would not otherwise be possible. Don’t overlook doing something like this in your games too.
The game itself is free but features ads on-screen during gameplay. So far the ad revenue hasn't been too high. Day 1 only netted me 50 cents but day 2 it went up to $6. From what I've read about the WP7 environment, it generally takes a couple weeks to really get rolling on ad revenue and the first few weeks can be highly erratic.
One thing that I'm really, really liking so far is the true online high scores (see the full scoreboard here). Unlike the XBLIG version which relied on peer to peer score sharing, the WP7 version is completely database drive. This means that anyone at anytime can submit a score to the global listing. I've already had a lot of fun competing for the top spots (most of which I hold, at least for now). This feature should add a ton of life to the game.
I got back to working on Volchaos this week too. I'm still tweaking the existing levels a lot and adding in backgrounds. I also added a new key / locked blocks mechanic where you grab a key to open up locked areas. I'm aiming to do 40 levels and I need to introduce several new gameplay mechanics like this so the levels don't get stale.
I'm hoping to do a second playtest for Volchaos in the next week or two. I think I've tweaked the existing levels and gameplay enough that I want to see how players react to the changes. The game is a bit faster and a bit less floating than the first time around.
World of Chalk
World of Chalk got some attention this week too. Enemies finally got their hit / knockback animations mostly working (sometimes though they keep charging forward while playing the hit animation which just looks bizarre). Doors are also in the game now and link together several levels.
There is still a lot to do on World of Chalk and not a whole lot of time before this year's Dream Build Play. Now that Hypership WP7 is mostly done (besides at least one more update coming soon), this game is going to get a lot more attention.
I had to choose between Portal 2 and the new Mortal Kombat. Since I haven't finished Portal 1 yet, I decided to go with MK. I'm really enjoying the game a lot so far, even though I've only had a few hours to spend with it. I enjoy the return to the original formula that made Mortal Kombat great (MK 2 is still my favorite in the series). The 3D games were enjoyable but were never as gripping as the 2D stuff. Maybe that's just me though, I tend to enjoy the 2D versions of most games better anyways (Super Mario Brothers, Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Ninja Gaiden)... it's probably no wonder I haven't done any 3D games yet.
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