I got an email from the Apple appstore today that Amazing Brok was rejected. I assumed it would be, since I was sure I’d do something stupid. Turns out I was right!
Amazing Brok is a 2D platformer with over 70 levels of pure awesome (if you ask me). We planned on provided the game for free, but with just a limited number of levels (11 at last count). Then you could buy the remaining levels through in-app purchase. This is a fairly standard set up, or at least I think so. Plus, it gives the user a chance to play the game before deciding to shell out $1 to play it. We preferred this approach to just linking to the full version’s app page in the store since we didn’t want to track multiple product codes and split the rating/review counts.
My mistake was that I used the term “demo” in the app description. In my defense, that’s exactly what it is. However, calling it that is bad. Call it “Lite” or “Free”, but not “Demo”. Who gets a Lite version of an app expecting the full version? I understand Apple’s argument: they want to provide complete experiences. They don’t want your app to promise features that it doesn’t deliver. However, I didn’t want to call it Lite since once you buy the full game it’s not Lite anymore.
So I’ve decide to offer Brok for free, but only include 11 levels. Then, if you want, you can purchase all the levels available at this time via in-app purchase. What you get for free is a complete, stand-on-its-own experience, but there’s an expansion if you want more content. How’s this any different from what I started with?
- I removed the reference to the term “demo” in the appstore description and in one of the popup dialogs in game.
- I changed the in-app purchase SKU to be called Brok: Origins Level Pack, instead of Amazing Brok (Full Game).
- I hide the level buttons that aren’t accessible in the free version.
- I included a circus level, so that there are now levels from all stages in the free version.
I suspect that it’ll get rejected at least once more, due to the level buttons being grayed out when they are locked. You unlock them by playing through the game, but it’ll appear to the reviewer that there is still functionality that is inaccessible. However, if that happens, I’ll probably just explain that mechanism (I should have done it before, because there doesn’t appear to be a place to leave comments after submitting.) Fingers crossed!
Moving a bit slower still than I’d like, but it’s getting there. This demo is a bit more interesting, at least it seems like something is happening. The collectible item in the middle of the board goes away regardless of what you do. What should happen is that after a triangle is formed, all collectibles inside will go away. The one there now is just serving as a placeholder, and no test is being made. Also, after objects are collected, more will appear to replace them. That will be the prototype. Then we’ll figure out what we want to do going forward.
NaGaDeMo Demo 3
So far progress has been pretty slow as I struggle to find my pacing. Last night I spent a good chunk of time setting up version control and task tracking. The time frame for this project is pretty short already, and it may not have been the best idea to introduce these changes to our normal workflow. Normally, I would attempt to redeem myself somehow, showing you the logical reasons why I decided to move forward with those changes. But I can’t think of anything other than sometimes I make bad decisions.
For version control, I decided to set up a mercurial repository at bitbucket.org. They offer 5 private repos with collaborators for free, which was a better deal than github. I went with mercurial because I wanted to try it out, and compare it to git. I let you know what I think about that after I’ve used it for a while. From some cursory reading, it seemed like an easier workflow than git, which I thought would be nice for Adam (the artist).
For task tracking, I set us up a board over at trello.com. I’ve played with Trello before, and I liked it. They have an iOS app, which will help me stay on top of things. Currently there’s only one card on our board, though: “Make a prototype”. If anyone is interested in seeing the trello stuff, I’ll try making the board visible to the public. Leave a note in the comments if that’s something you’d like to see.
And finally, the interactive demo. Not a lot of changes visually; I’m still trying to remember things about Unity. But you can click-and-hold on the screen to get the sight line, and release to move the puck that direction. Aaaaand, that’s it. The next version will be much better.
NaGaDeMo Demo 2
I’m working on making our prototype for NaGaDeMo, but tonight was mostly just getting familiar with Unity again. I love the IDE, and how quick it is to get things going. Here’s the non-interactive build I managed to create after a couple of hours of messing around.
NaGaDeMo Demo 1
but Amazing Brok has been submitted to the (Apple) appstore. Fingers crossed for a short turnaround, so we can schedule a launch party and start planning where to put the piles of cash the trucks are about to start dumping on our lawns. While waiting for my Scrooge McDuck vault to be built, I’ll try to write up a postmortem on Brok for anyone who might be interested in that sort of thing.
Also, we are participating in the National Game Development Month (see details at nagademo.com). We’ve decided on an idea that we want to prototype. I’ll try to post frequently during this event, using the tag nagademo.
All this week I’ve been working on finishing touches to get Brok out the door. It’s time for him to grow up. It’s a tough world out there, but I’m not doing any favors by protecting him from it. He needs to begin that process, the process of learning how to handle what life is going to throw at him. I have no idea where this is going.
Tonight I added the credits screens. Tomorrow I’ll put in the final adjustments to the scoring system. Friday night I’ll clean up the last of the issues with level layouts. We’ll do some final testing this weekend, and if all is good we should be submitting this app early next week.