Spellbind officially belongs to the past regarding development. But we are very happy to say that our small group has been enhanced with two additional persons which also happen to be good friends of ours. They will actively participate in the development of our new game.
So the good news is that we are able to announce JAQK Rush, a social puzzle poker-based game. Certainly, this is not something new, there is an abundance of poker puzzle games but we think that JAQK Rush somehow dares to differ by combining classic matching game gameplay with a concept based on plane geometric figures.
The target platform is Facebook. Once again the development tool is Unity3D. Currently a working prototype is being prepared and the first comments by people who have already tried it are really promising and encouraging. Soon we will publish the first gameplay video which will hopefully give you a better idea of the game.
Spellbind is a first person point-and-click adventure game available for Windows, Mac OS and Linux. Players play the role of Luppe, a young thief who enters the cellar of Lord Amatar’s house to steal his oldest, most expensive bottle of wine. A challenge that sounds easy and possibly might be so, if only the owner of the house had been someone else …
OS: Windows XP+, Mac OS X 10.6+, Ubuntu 10.10+
Graphics card: DX9 (shader model 2.0) capabilities; generally everything made since 2004 should work.
CPU: SSE2 instruction set support.
Speaking about porting Spellbind, we also made some changes in our landing page which is proudly powered by the Strikingly service. Our choice of Strikingly for painlessly creating a landing page for the game that actually helped us to redirect users to the various download stores, proved to be very wise. With Strikingly, everything is achieved through a very intuitive editor that renders the development of the page into a pleasant procedure, especially to people like me, who dislike pretty much anything related to web development. In addition to that, there are various beautiful templates you can use to create something awesome and quick. If you need to instantly develop an incredible landing page for your product and you wish to skip many hours of frustration, Strikingly is strongly recommended!
Some first insights about the game’s progress.
As mentioned in a previous post, we finally decided to release Spellbind as a free application. Additionally, we used ingame advertisements in a rather small percentage of the total number of screens and for a limited game time, so we didn’t really expect to have any significant income.
As expected, iOS proved to be a mature market having the majority of downloads with a valuable feedback about the game. A press release on PR Mac has been the main source of our iOS downloads. Some additional paid advertisements had a rather small effect on iOS downloads.
On the other hand, Google Play didn’t go so well. Mainly because a black screen problem related to apk licensing procedure when the game starts for the first time only, we justifiably had some negative comments and rating. Furthermore, a few posts on Android applications related forums could not give a boost to Android downloads. Surely a major warning to avoid glitches like this in the future.
However, what I didn’t expect was the activity in Amazon Store. A store with many adventure games players and with a very receptive audience as it proved to be. With virtually no marketing activity, but a few twitter posts, Spellbind had some impressive results. It received very good reviews and is listed as a top rated game. That was quite an encouraging feedback to us.
Some other facts that should be taken into account.
There were no reviews or notions about the game in any indie games channel.
We used game analytic services for monitoring custom events. This helped us understand the actual difficulty of the puzzles. Various custom funnels and dashboards assisted us on monitoring the game flow. That way we are capable of knowing stuff like the number of people that have made it to the first part of the game and finally reached the last part or the number of puzzles which players found difficult to solve so they decided to skip them using the skip option. This kind of information is going to be very useful to our next game.
What we will try to avoid next time:
– Release a game for mobile devices only.
Not delivering a Spellbind PC version was clearly a mistake of us. That said, our next game’s primary platform will probably bethe PC platform.
What we will do next time:
– Demonstrate an early prototype of our currently developed game in various channels (indiedb, pre apps etc.)
– Prepare a press release.
– Use a game analytics service.
– Try to reserve more money to spend on marketing activities.
Viewing it from a developer’s perspective, we have learned a lot of new things by working on Spellbind, things we will use on our future efforts. We have raised some visibility and received valuable feedback that will help us improve. Perhaps this is the most important aspect of the entire procedure. We certainly intend to repeat it.
On Monday (3/10), Spellbind became available as a free download on Apple Store, Google Play and Amazon Store for Android Apps. One minor problem with the android licensing mechanism forced us to upload a new version the very same day. Until now, we have had more than 1000 downloads along with some quite useful feedback from the players. That is something very encouraging for us and certainly the best reward for a project that lasted almost a year and a half together with our daily jobs. 90% of downloads are on iOS most probably because of a press release we did with prMac that had some fairly good results. Also, there are several requests for a Spellbind walkthrough. There is already one available at http://www.appunwrapper.com/2014/03/10/spellbind-walkthrough-guide/ . If you fancy adventures of that type, give it a try, send us your feedback, spread it out in case you like it and stay tuned for what comes next .
Well, I think I can safely say now that the journey has began …