The end is pretty near...

by Niels Brouwers 30. December 2013 22:47

Well, at least the end of the year!

This year has been good, lots of great events have been happening in my life but since this blog is mainly about my game development activities I will stick to that. So far, The Carter Jones Adventures was released on BlackBerry 10, Windows Phone 8 and IOS. While the grunt of the work for the game was done in 2012 (and early 2013), it turned out to be quite challenging to find the time to actually finish the game for a specific platform. This was not due to the game, platform or tools but more because of my limited time for these activities.

Still, I did manage 3 platforms and there are a couple more coming up: Tizen, Android and I am considering Windows 8, the last one will be a challenge because it is not readily supported by the SDK that I am using. But it might be really easy and I will be investigating that soon.

Considering sales and downloads, I tried two strategies: the IOS and BlackBerry release were pay in advance downloads and did pretty bad considering sales. The Windows Phone 8 release was released for free with an in app purchase to enable level 5 and higher. So far the WP8 release got over 27.000 downloads, with just a few people who unlocked all levels.

So, financially, I won't be quitting my day job anytime soon :-). Something odd happened though, I included Flurry statistics in the IOS version and after a couple of days the number of users was growing but the sales were not! Turns out, the one sale in China (so far) got installed on 50 or so other devices, even on an ipad 1 with IOS 5.1! (I excluded that option in the App store, although the game runs ok on an ipad 1 - it just reverts to the lowres gfx, I intended a special release for this later on). So.....jailbreak anyone?

Anyway I hope everyone playing The Carter Jones Adventures enjoys it, I know I did while making it. I love to hear any comments so keep those coming please! I guess what 2013 boils down to is that I am now an official Indie Game Developer, and I think that is a pretty neat achievement!

And I plan on making more games, it is a great way to combine my art and developer skills.

Totally unrelated but still (literally) pretty cool: a swan I carved from a 50cmx50cm ice block. I actually made two swans facing each other but this picture worked out great solo. 

The Carter Jones Adventures IOS version will be available starting tomorrow!

by Niels Brouwers 5. December 2013 06:21

It has been a while but now it's finally here!

The IOS version of The Carter Jones Adventures should hit the App Store tomorrow! It will run on all devices capable of running IOS 7 and a special version will be released for the IPAD 1 (sorry, you will have to wait for it, but we wanted to make it available for the most devices at once).

If you played the game, let me know your thoughts, where can it be improved what did you like or not like - I'd love to hear your comments!

Twitter: @NielsBrouwers

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CarterJonesAdventures

To celebrate we've discounted the Black Berry 10 version to just $0.99!!! Would you like us to discount the In App Purchase for Windows Phone as well? Tell me if you do, if enough of you ask for it...who knows?

Will update soon!

The Carter Jones Adventures Windows Phone release and before

by Niels Brouwers 11. October 2013 05:37

 

It has been a long, long time since I wrote up something for this website. In the meantime, I became a proud daddy of a very beautiful daughter! Words can not describe how happy she makes me. The flipside, of course, is that I spend a lot of time being a daddy and that obviously has some effect on this website and my responsiveness in the big internet world outside there. However, last month things have began to settle a bit and I am finding some time here and there to work on expanding the Carter Jones Adventures to other platforms.

Let's talk a bit about that, in February the game was released for the new BlackBerry 10 Phone that was just released back then. For the initial release I hoped to get the game finished before the imposed deadline (the Marmalade BlackBerry program gave me a free license if I submitted the game in time to BlackBerry World). I made the deadline, with the game including 30 levels. I had no time to implement In App Payments or something fancy like that so I just put up the game as a paid game.

The response has been good in the sense that the people who played it on their BlackBerry liked the game. However, the numbers were very, very disappointing. Not many people got to play The Carter Jones Adventures on their BlackBerry. You see, BlackBerry did a great job getting a LOT of apps in their store. Once the phones went on sale, people got to chose out of literally 10.000s of Apps. It's pretty hard to stand out even if your game is great. We all know now that BlackBerry is struggling which probably didn't help with sales either. In the end, that was a prettty disapointing experience. I kind of left the game and focussed on other stuff.

Then, in August a new incentive offer came from Marmalade + Microsoft: build a Windows Phone game, get a free Phone! Because of the great platform support Marmalade offers, doing that was pretty easy and so I did! I submitted the game in the second half of september and surprisingly it got approved really fast (like, in 3 days or something like that!). Because I had a little more time, I implemented an In App Purchase: anyone can play the game for free until level 6 - it requires a single In App Purchase to unlock the entire game after that.

Then the show started...within a little more than a week The Carter Jones Adventures got more than 10.000 downloads and we're still counting. Reviews are mixed, either very good or very bad (most complain about the controls and the difficulty). The controls had some bad default settings, lesson learned and it is fixed in an update that will be live soon! In App Purchases are dissappointing just like BB but I like that a lot of people are playing my game and rating it! It's a great ride so far and I can't wait to release it for IOS and Android.

To Be Continued....

 

 

Twitter feed....

by Niels Brouwers 21. February 2013 05:20

You may have noticed that the Twitter feed on the right was broken again....

I came across the Twitter Timeline feature today and decided to embed that instead of pulling the information programmatically through the widget. It's working now, let's see how long it takes for this one to break....(yeah I am getting a bit sceptical about it!).

In other news: progress is being made! The Carter Jones is available on the BlackBerry 10 phones out there (Z10 at the moment and the Q10 version is in review as we speak)! The 'official' release will feature double the amount of levels (currently there are 30, so there's a lot more to come for those who have bought it already!) and a bunch more graphics to give the players some more background on who Carter really is and what he does.

So, the 'official' release has been delayed, but I am expecting to bring it to the Apple store by the end of March! So, for now, I will get coding / drawing to get the thing finished and ready to go!

 

 

Tags:

The Carter Jones Adventures - pending review

by Niels Brouwers 21. January 2013 17:19

So, the good news is that The Carter Jones Adventures is being reviewed as we speak so it should be hitting BlackBerry's App World pretty soon (for BB10). The release for IOS will follow in february and hopefully the Android version will be ready at that point as well! The Playbook version will be submitted right after the BB10 launch.

I've learned one thing over the past few months (years actually): making games from start-to-finish is pretty hard! Just check out this blog, I think I have started it over 3 years ago, writing about my game involving Carter Jones that I would bring to the XBOX Indie Games channel (XBLIG). Back then, I was expecting to finish it within a year or so.....

Now, we are 3 years later, the game is finally submitted to at least one store. But look into the history on this website, check out my submissions for the two DBP entries, find the screenshots of long ago and compare them with the screenshots that I show you here. It's a totally different game!!! Still featuring Carter Jones but not the same at all!

After failing to even qualify for DBP (twice) I figured something had to be fundamentally wrong and with the state of the XBOX Live Indie Games channel at that point I decided to quit it altogether for and restart something new. I focussed on an IPad 2d Platformer first, trying to keep it short and sweet, I reused a lot of the tools (leveleditor, sprite editor, animation-tool) and ported my XNA code to C++. I also stuck to the same character: Carter Jones, an adventurer for hire, modelled after James Bond, Indiana Jones etc.

I was moving fast, things were looking good, but the same traps were lying ahead: feature creep, no clear deadline, wanting to perfect it instead of finishing, postponing chores and focussing on the fun stuff. Then along came Marmalade and BlackBerry, they said: 'Hey, develop a game for our new BB10 platform and we'll give you full developer support (tools & materials).'. I grabbed the chance with both hands and 4 months later - here we are! Game submitted! It just works for me when there is a third party expecting something from me, it gives me focus and a deadline. The best thing is: I didn't feel like I was compromising on anything!

I still need to do a lot of stuff, there are a lot more levels coming up and I have many more plans but so far I am happy that I am about to release a game into the wild. Now I can start focussing on new fun stuff like marketing my game and seeing how it will be received by its players!

 

While we are awaiting approval from the App Store, here are a couple of screenshots (these are work in progress, I will show a few final images in a later post this week!):