Apr 022013

I’ve just retooled the difficulty settings, and the level structures of Standard mode and Speed mode. Expert is much more “fun” now. More “fun” is good! Bonus points for those who get the reference to “fun”.

- Almo

 Posted by at 2:07 pm
Mar 072013


So I’ve been playing an indie game called Anodyne lately. It’s good game, but I made an important discovery through it: you can use Adobe Air to publish to multiple platforms!

Adobe Air & Friends

Adobe Air is basically a solution to build application, desktop or mobile, using ActionScript 3.
Looking at the indie game developer’s blog, I realized they had used Air along with one of my favorite libraries: Flixel

I decided to udpate FlashDevelop (a great tool, by the way) and do some quick tests using a game I’ve been developing.

The results were pretty encouraging! I was able to make my code work in minutes on Windows, Mac OS X, iPad and my Android tablet literally in minutes.

Some caveats

Now, the solution is not perfect. Most of your code will be reusable directly, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

  • Some native functionality is not directly accessible. You can, however, write an Adobe Air Native Extension (ANE). It may look daunting at first, but I was able to make one of my own in a few hours (subject of another post)
  • You may need to rewrite some parts of your code to support mobile correctly.
  • Flixel recopies the pixels each frame, so you may want to modify it. I did this and may post my version of it at some point.

I was nonetheless impressed with Adobe Air. I plan to develop a full, but simple, game in the next months in order to see if I meet any roadblocks down the road.

Here are a few AS3 features I tried and seemed to work correctly on all platforms:

  • Save files (save game)
  • Calling a URL
  • Using the AS3 touch interface

In the next few weeks, I’ll try to update my findings.

 Posted by at 5:50 pm
Feb 242013

Just working on the colorblind option menu. I have a habit of designing games that depend heavily on color, so I need to make sure that there are options to make them accessible to our friends who have a tough time differentiating certain colors. For this game, the player will be able to choose which 6 colors the game uses from a palette of 20.

- Almo

 Posted by at 11:39 am
Jan 172013

Cognizer is fundamentally a pattern-matching game. The core game is medium complexity with medium time pressure. The first version of Speed Mode is in, and it is low complexity with high time pressure. It’s really fun, and is playtesting well.

The first version of Chaos Mode has gone in, which is high complexity with no time pressure. Well, you can score more points if you play faster, but you won’t lose the game if you’re slow.

More updates as progress is made!


 Posted by at 10:27 pm
Jan 042013

So our next game is going to be a bit smaller than the last one and is going to be pure gameplay.
It will probably be called “Cognizer” and will be a puzzle game.

Here is a preliminary screenshot (Speed Mode)



The game will most probably have three modes: Normal, Speed and Chaos.
We’ll have some more information on it soon enough!

 Posted by at 5:05 pm
Nov 222012

As you may have seen from my last post about “sales”, things didn’t go too well for The Greatest Heist. Sure, we got about 4k downloads (something like that), but we got almost no in-apps through those downloads. Where did things go wrong?

My answer is: Compromise

You might be thinking that “compromise” is usually a good thing in all sorts of situations in life. And you’re probably right. However, it wasn’t the case for this project, let me explain.


First of all the game was a compromise between what I had in mind, and what I wanted to pay. I’m super happy with the art I got from Annie, but the truth is, I should have tripled my budget. Have a story, have more characters, have some different mechanics. I probably would have had enough time to do all this, but I was too afraid to put in more money. Of course, there is no way to know if this would have paid out, but at least I would have been happier with the final product.

Second point or how I tried not to be evil. The game was a compromise between old school design and in-app design. I wanted people to pay for extra puzzles, because they liked puzzle solving, but I didn’t want to limit them with an energy system or anything like that. It turns out that if you give out too many puzzles, they might stop playing at some point.  I also always nagged me how the character got money but never really got to use it. That would have been a great way to leverage an in-app purchase.

Finally, we release on 5 platforms (iPhone, iPad, Mac, Facebook and Chrome), but they were all the same. Instead of leveraging the game for each platform, I tried to minimize rework on each platform. This made the game easier to finish, but they didn’t stand out in any way for each platform. There was some natural rework, but we could have gone further.


Other factors that probably contributed

  • Casual games are a hard sell. You can’t really build hype around a game like, this, at least, not traditionally. I wasn’t going to write to Rock, Paper, Shotgun and tell them about Minesweeper
  • I didn’t talk enough about our game. Classic, but difficult for a guy with mostly production experience.


Our next game will aim at fixing these things. Lots of decisions, but it will certainly be more traditional :)


 Posted by at 10:10 pm
Sep 132012

So The Greatest Heist has been out for nearly a month now and we wanted to share some information on our sales/download data.

Here is some information on the game:

- Over 500 puzzles.
- Of those 500, a little under 200 are free, and the rest are split between Tricky (Medium) and Mean (Hard).
- You need to pay 0,99$ in order to unlock the medium and hard packs (2 different packs)
- You can also buy hints for the hint system (100 hints for 0,99$)
- You can buy different disguises for the main character (cosmetic only, 0,99$ each)

Unsurprisingly, it seems as though getting known on the app store is excessively difficult.

There was a huge spike on the second day, about 441 copies were downloaded, probably because the application was released near the end of the first day.

(Numbers were purposefully omitted, not sure what we’re allowed to show)

So, as you can see, this graph shows a standard download scenario for a game that slowly disappears in the collective consciouness…

More seriously, it really shows that you need a way to get your game known and visible, otherwise the apps coming out after will make yours less visible.

On the OSX, we seeing something similar, even if the game came out one week later.

Even though the OS X App store is much less popular that the iOS one, the same pattern seems to be happening.
We were actually #19 in top free downloads at some point, and that didn’t change anything apparently.

As for in-app purchases, well, up to now, we’ve sold only two! (one medium and one hard package to one guy in Singapore. Thank you Singapore dude!)
The problem might be that the paying content comes after you’ve solved all the easy ones (though it’s accessible right from the start).

But I guess we’ll have a better idea in a few weeks, if people keep playing the game.

 Posted by at 11:47 am
Aug 202012

The Greatest Heist, our next game is almost ready for release!

The Greatest Heist is a game about a cat burglar, Mademoiselle Fripouille, who enters the world’s richest building to steal everything she can. The gameplay is basically a derivative of minesweeper with a twist.

The game will be released on Facebook, iPhone, iPad, Mac OSX and Google Chrome Web store!

 Posted by at 11:08 am

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