January 25, 2012

These Robotic Hearts of Mine (2011 game roundup)

Writing about web page http://www.draknek.org/games/hearts/

Started for: First FlashPunk community competition (5th December 2010)
Development time: Just under a year
Theme: 96×96 pixels, FlashPunk colours
Status: Released to the world :)
Play online on Newgrounds
Buy for iPhone and iPad
Buy for Android

These Robotic Hearts of Mine is the game I was working on, on and off, for the entirety of 2011. It’s been quite a journey!

By the start of the new year I had the game in a very recognisable form: if you’re interested you can play that version here.

That was early January. After that it was a case of iterating and polishing and tweaking the game rather than making any major changes. I never intended it to take the best part of a year to get to a final release, but I kept taking breaks from the project or distracting myself. In some ways that was for the best though: it still needed a lot of playtesting to get the difficulty to a managable level, and all the time I wasn’t actively working on it I was still showing it to people and getting useful feedback.

Working on the narrative was more frustrating, because of my desire to have every puzzle represent the corresponding story in some way. That meant that changing the narrative meant breaking the difficulty curve, and improving the difficulty curve meant breaking the story. That balancing act took some time to get right, and wasn’t particularly fun.

Being selected for the Eurogamer Indie Games Arcade was a great help in actually getting it finished: it gave me a deadline to aim for. And then it was just a case of releasing it…

For those interested in numbers:

Sales: I released the game on iOS and Android on the 23rd November (approximately 2 months ago). In that time, I’ve sold about 400 copies on iOS and about 100 copies on Android. About 40 of those sales can be attributed to the half-price sale over the new year weekend.

Plays: I released the game on Newgrounds on the 12th December (approximately 1.5 months ago). In that time it’s been played over 170,000 times.

I released some of these figures on Twitter about two weeks ago and they haven’t significantly changed since then: perhaps 1-4 sales per day.

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After a hiatus of several years, I’ve started blogging again at blog.draknek.org.

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