Thursday, October 9, 2014

Mobile Income Report #4 - September 2014 (monthly income report from Android, iOS, Tizen, bada, ... games)

previous parts
  Mobile Income Report #3 - August 2014
  Mobile Income Report #2 - July 2014
  Mobile Income Report #1 - June 2014
  Apps page - Portfolio (what are my assets?)

 If you do not want to miss any of my Income Reports you can follow me on Twitter. Just click the button above.

 Under Apps page you can see my portfolio. It is list of the games that are then reported in Income Reports. The portfolio is regularly updated with new information (releases for new platforms, new updates, ...)

What I did in September

  • on 3rd September Shards was featured in "Free App of the Day" (FAD) event at Amazon. What does it mean? You have to agree to give your paid app for free for one day. For 24 hours your app is then placed on the welcome page of Amazon appstore. As you can imagine it is really big promotion. In one day the game was downloaded by more than 125000 people! The average rating was 3,8 stars which is more or less similar to average rating of free version with ads at Google Play. In comments we also got some useful feedback from users. Being promoted in this way had also positive effect on paid downloads in next days - unfortunately not in thousands nor hundreds, but in ones and few days after event in tens of downloads (see Reports section of this post). What was really good, was fact, that the interest raised not only at Amazon, but also at Google Play and even at Apple's iTunes. On the other side, we did not see any changes in Samsungapps downloads.

  • On 27th September we finally released our Fruit Dating game on iOS. Game has one universal binary for iPhone / iPad and it is available here at iTunes. Unfortunately, there was bug in iOS8 version (related to screen orientation) so we had to update it immediately. The update is just in approval process. The game is puzzle game with nice graphics by Tomáš Kopecký and music by Matúš Široký
 For generating puzzles I coded special procedural generator which helped us very much - really big time savings. Generated puzzles were then manually adjusted to look more attractive. Below is one screenshot from editor and final game. As the procedural generation of puzzles is very interesting topic I will publish article on it in next days.

  • believe it or not, beside FAD for Shards we were featured in one more FAD event in the same month! Our earlier game Deadly Abyss 2 was promoted on 30th September at Amazon. The game got average rating 2,7 stars with more than 60000 downloads. The rating is not good. Lot of user were complaining about controls. But, unfortunately, most of them obviously did not see the tutorial. For me it means: in any other game where tutorial is necessary I must force the player to go through it. Other part of users did not like gameplay and lack of information on upgrades. These are right - the gameplay is very unbalanced. Even if you play for first time you can survive for long time. Also the explanation on upgrades in ... none. You can guess from icons, but for the next time we must add clear description.
  • I still continue to learn Unity and work on "game from jungle". I was not in team from the very beginning, so lot of work was done before I joined. The intent is to make the game available for mobile devices as well as home PCs. Unfortunately, there were no performance tests before, so while the game currently runs well on PC, it is terrible slow on tablet. I am converting all of the built levels into new model that works with texture atlases instead of individual textures, replaces 3D models with 2D sprites, replaces 3D physics with 2D as well as some inflexible custom animation system with standard Unity one. As I want to do as much of the conversion automatic as possible, I wrote some scripts that do this for me. Here is screenshot of one converted level. See the nice big STOP sign, which is automatically put into places where something went wrong during conversion:

 For building texture atlases I am using my SBC Tool, which we used so far for all our games. It is great tool and I have big plans with it. Currently the code inside is old and terribly written, so every adjustment is pain. But I plan to rewrite it from scratch, add some extra functions and offer it for some reasonable fee. I hope it will help me on my indie way. Good point is that I am really using the tool hard, so the functions in it have real value. Here is example of texture atlas from Fruit Dating created by the tool - you can see how nicely it is organized:


 And now to figures. September was highly affected by "Free App of the Day" event in the beginning. Stats for paid apps are these:

 You can see jump in Shards downloads for Android and iOS. Compared to August earning ($39,7) there is increase to $375. It is great, but from detailed day-by-day data it is clear that October will be poor again. To make reports clear I shifted downloads during FAD events (125000 for Shards and 64000 for Deadly Abyss 2) into table with free downloads.

 The most profitable game was Shards again raising its share from 86% in August to 93%. No wonder - thanks to FAD. Fruit Dating is still very low. Let's see whether it will change in October with iOS version released.

 For the ads supported versions the September was better than August. The earnings raised from $121,7 to $168,7 (by 38,6%)

 In absolute figures Chartboost is still most profitable, but it is loosing its relative position (from 57% to 45%). It is given by increase in earnings from Amazon ads (from $17,7 to $38,0). My Chartboost eCPM is around $2,5. If Amazon keeps its eCPM higher I may consider to redirect some traffic there.

 So, total income for SBC team in September = $375,0 + $168,7 = $543,7 (+ 336,9% compared to August report).


 While Shards performed well in September I am still below my mid term target ($750). So, current portfolio will not probably pay my bills. It is time to move further. The Unity game I am working on is big project, it will not be finished soon, so I have to start some smaller projects beside to keep my indie life.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Mobile Income Report #3 - August 2014 (monthly income report from Android, iOS, Tizen, bada, ... games)

previous parts
  Mobile Income Report #2 - July 2014
  Mobile Income Report #1 - June 2014
  Apps page - Portfolio (what are my assets?)

 If you do not want to miss any of my Income Reports you can follow me on Twitter. Just click the button above.

 Under Apps page you can see my portfolio. It is list of the games that are then reported in Income Reports. The portfolio is regularly updated with new information (releases for new platforms, new updates, ...)

 What I did in August

  • we released free version of Deadly Abyss 2 at Amazon. The main reason was to touch $6 CPM for newly published apps that includes Amazon interstitial ads,
  • I finished some contracted work on game named "McDiary From tomorrow...".  The client came with  game that has mobile part and web part. I was responsible for mobile part, which is simple game in which you are catching falling diamonds into cart. There are 7 colors of them (like in the rainbow). You have to catch only one of each color and you also have to avoid falling stalactites. If you are successful, you can send your resolution to do something to web page. If you connect to web you can read resolutions of other people. The game uses box2D for physics and is available for Android and iOS. As there are menus and registration forms and so on, I had to learn it for Android as well as for iOS. It finally kicked me to dive deeper into both systems. Here are at least some screenshots. The graphics was done by Tomáš Kopecký (flyboj) from - see his work for example here.

  • in second half of the August we were preparing for "Free App of the Day" event at Amazon. Yes! We were chosen with our game Shards. And on 3rd September our game was featured. So, next time, in September report, I will refer in big detail on how was it all about.
  • there was really serious bug in iOS version of Shards. All iOS 6 devices were crashing. It was reported by one guy from Canada. Thankfully he is also developer, so he understands that coding is complex area and was very helpful. The bug came from fact that with the game I was targeting iOS 6 and above. But some linked libraries were targeting iOS 7 and higher. I previously compiled box2D as static library with iOS 7 target (not intentionally, just did not mentioned). Box2D is not using any iOS specific features so why it crashed? There is some optimization in compiler for iOS 7 that replaces consequent calls to sin and cos with only one call to function that is not present in older versions. So all iOS 6 devices crashed because of calling non-existing function. If you see in crash report this, you have the same problem:
Dyld Error Message:
  Symbol not found: ___sincosf_stret
  Referenced from: /var/mobile/Applications/XXXXXXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXXXXXXXXXX/
  Expected in: /usr/lib/libSystem.B.dylib
  Dyld Version: 212.3.2
  • still learning Unity ... and working as a part of bigger team on Unity game. Group of guys formerly working on Mafia II game (yes THAT Mafia II!) were looking for programmer for their Unity game.  Matúš Široký, the music composer who composed music for our Fruit Dating asked me whether I would like to join their team. It is really big challenge for me: Unity ... is new for me. C# ... is new for me and I am only amateur in the team, while all others are big professionals. So I feel little pressure in my head... really, just little ... ok, medium... and only sometimes big :-) While I am new in Unity I already set some pipeline for sprites based on my previous experience. With few key presses I can now create big sprite atlases and import them easily into Unity - with custom pivot points, ... - and immediately create prefabs from them. Here is at least one screenshot from the game (the graphics is by Rostislav Vajbar and you can see his portfolio here):



 Here are figures for paid apps for August:

 Compared to July the number of downloads is almost the same (from 26 to 27) as well as earnings (from $40,7 to $39,7). While iOS are 14 (as in July), the number of bada downloads decreased by half (from 14 in July). No wonder as this OS system is dead.

 The most profitable was Shards again. It increased its share from 80% in July to 86% in August. The game has good user reviews and during August we were in contact with Amazon team responsible for Free App of the Day event. Shards was featured within this event on 3rd September and next month I will report the financial impact of it. I am little bit sad seeing Fruit Dating is performing so bad. I like that game as it is original puzzle with nice graphics and music (and some really challenging puzzles). But it seems, that bet on proven concept (Shards - brickbreaker) is better than some original thoughts...

 For the ads supported versions the August was bad month. As bad as July. There is only slight increase from $118,6 to $121,7. The income stayed on the same level. I can look at it from positive side: there was no further decrease :-)

 Most of the earnings came from Chartboost again. This network has priority in our ads manager. Newly you can also see small amount for Deadly Abyss 2 Amazon ads. These are interstitials and Amazon guarantees $6 CPM for August and September (if you meet some conditions). We have only very low traffic there. But if the CPM remained at this level we would consider to prefer Amazon over Chartboost.

 Finally, this month there is one more source of income for me. Despite income from apps, which is income for all our team (and only around 1/2 half is mine), this one is all mine.It is $1048 from contracted work on McDiary game.

 So, income for August for SBC team = $39,7 + $121,7 = $161,4 (+1,3% compared to July Report)
  + $1048 for contracted work for me = $1209,4.

 In August I reached my mid-term target ($750), but only thanks to contracted work. Excluding it I am past three months on $160 level. Contracted work seems to be way how to keep my freedom of independent developer, but of course at cost of time for my own projects. Anyway, thanks to it I was forced to study hard new iOS and Android topics, that were new to me.


 Next report theme will be definitely featuring of Shards as "Free App of the Day" at Amazon (3rd September) - its financial impact and discussion of experts on role of Shards in today's world :-)
 I will also report my progress with Unity and our non-Unity games as well as share my experience with other related topics.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Mobile Income Report #2 - July 2014 (monthly income report from Android, iOS, Tizen, bada, ... games)

previous parts
  Mobile Income Report #1 - June 2014
  Mobile Income Report #0 - Portfolio (what are my assets?)

 If you do not want to miss any of my Income Reports you can follow me on Twitter. Just click the button above.

 Under Income Report #0 you can see my portfolio. It is list of the games that are then reported in Income Reports. The portfolio is regularly updated with new information (releases for new platforms, new updates, ...)

What I did in July

  • as we met Amzon Developer Select conditions we got 500k ads to promote our Fruit Dating. The promotion campaign was scheduled for July. Here are the results:
Fruit dating Amazon promotion campaign

  As you can see we really got promised 500k ads. The average clickthrough rate was less then 0,5%. This was not surprise for me as I expected something like this. It is more or less similar to clickthrough rate when I am on the publisher side. What is not shown in chart is the conversion rate - to how many purchases those  2327 clicks led. And truth is so, that in July we sold only 1 copy of the game.
 This is really bad. But as time flows it looks that this game is not for masses. It is puzzle game and while it has cute and modern graphic, it has rather oldschool gameplay difficulty. The puzzles really are not easy. It may be worth to try to focus on some special segment of players, like some puzzle clubs or so.
 Anyway, it is experience again. We got promotion campaign for free. Of course we had to meet the conditions. Most important was, that the game must run on Kindle Fire HDX without any stretching of the graphics. Kindle HDX has screen resolution 2560x1600. The advice is: if you want to fulfill this condition, create your graphics at least for this resolution. Yes, it is terribly big. But downscaling is easy, while upscaling is often impossible.
  • if speaking about Fruit Dating, I have to mention that for more or less week we were featured at Here is shot of the screen to keep this memorable moment for future generations:

  • in second half of the July we finally finished big update of Shards - the brickbreaker. In the update 10 new levels has been added (60 levels in total now), added 2 types of glassy enemies - Shardiens - and added various graphical effects. Most noticeable one is that Shardiens distort space when destroyed:
    Shards - the brickbreakerShards - the brickbreaker

  I also corrected some bugs in ads networks manager in the game code. This decreased the number of errors and thus reduced bad ratings. Current rating at google Play is 3,84 and I hope it will reach 3,85 soon, which is often displayed as 3,9 rounded. The best review of the month for paid Android version I got from Amazon user fjk who wrote: "I bought Shards on a whim. It turns out it to be the best brickbreaker I have. The controls are excellent, and the 60 screens are terrific. Give it a try."

  • on 25th July we finally passed Apple's approval process and Shards is now at iTunes! It is only short time there now. To support it I sent free promo codes to various iOS games forums. Unfortunately, none of the users wrote any review nor gave any rating to the game. I got one 5* rating from who bought the game: "This has quickly jumped into my top five brick breakers. Smooth controls, great level design and simply gorgeous to look at! A real joy to play! Thanks devs and here's five stars you truly deserve! " Words like this and previously mentioned comment are the ones that makes you happy and increases your motivation.
 As a conclusion of this part I have to say, that it is really hard to let the world know about your game...


 Here are figures for paid apps for July:

 There is decrease in total downloads from 34 to 26. But the earnings increased from $23,5 to $40,7. It is mainly thanks to Shards launch on iOS at iTunes. The decrease is in bada OS downloads. No wonder, bada is dead system now.

 The most profitable was Shards. It increased its share from 71% in June to 80% in July. The game has good user reviews and we plan to add new levels. I hope to attract more new users.

 For the ads supported versions the July was bad month. The income decreased from $138,4 to $118,6. The decrease continued from June and lasted till half of the July. Then we released update of Shards and the trend turned.

 Most of the earnings came from Chartboost again. We prefer this network in our ads networks manager. From July the manager also supports Amazon interstitials. These are first fallback if Chartboost fails to load ad. Amazon ads are available in US and some limited number of European countries. So if this also fails then AdMob is selected. AdMob is the last one as the earnings are lowest, but on the other side it works as great safe network because it is available almost every time.

 So, total income for July = $40,7 + $118,6 = $159,3 (-1,6% compared to June Report)

 It is currently far from my mid-term target which is $750.


 From 1st August there is 2 moth period with guaranteed $6 CPM at Amazon for apps newly implementing their interstitials. I implemented these ads into free version of Deadly Abyss 2, but I do not expect any big traffic.
 I am still studying C#, Objective-C and Unity.
 There are still some opportunities how to utilize current games - for example convert Fruit Dating for iOS, HTML5, ...
 It is almost time to think about new game!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mobile Income Report #1 - June 2014 (monthly income report from Android, iOS, Tizen, bada, ... games)

 On 1st June 2014 I left my previous job and became true Indie game developer. It is big adventure and I started this series of Income reports to share my experience with other small developers.
 If you are interested what are my games like, you can see detailed Portfolio here. The portfolio page will be regularly updated.

What I did in June

  •  I was working on adjustments of our games. The main one is prepared set of new levels for Shards - modern Arkanoid / Breakout game. Lot of players asked for more levels, so we made adjustments to add them easily. Jupiter who is responsible for graphics and levels created set of 10 new ones. The total number is 60 now. We also added Shardiens - glassy enemies that are spawn from hives. Both enemies and hives can be destroyed and when this happens it affects the screen space with distortion effect. The update will be published in July.
  • iOS version is finally coming - most of the work was done and I hope it will get published in July,
  • we adjusted Fruit Dating to support 2560x1600 screens without stretching images and published it at Amazon store. Thanks to this we reached the Developer Select program and we got 500k ads impressions campaign to promote this game. The campaign is scheduled for July,
  • although my games are for Android (beside other OS systems) I am not Android programmer. So in June I took deep studying of Android programming. I want to do the same for iOS in July. My target is to be able to write not only games, but also non-game apps,
  • beside this I am learning Unity for 2D game programming.


 Now to numbers. Below is table summarizing earnings from paid versions. It does contain any iOS and Tizen versions yet as iOS version of Shards will be published in July and Tizen OS was not launched yet (its planned July launch in Russia was postponed by Samsung - developers were not given any explanation).

 Total $23,5 is not much really. It is even less if I say that this poor profit from our games will be split among other teammates who were working on the games with me.

 The most profitable was Shards. It is funny that bada - dead OS system - made the same amount as Android.

 Here is income from free versions that contain ads or in-app purchases to remove ads:

 Currently the highest income is from Chartboost ads. We use these interstitail ads during game start and then from time to time between levels. If Chartboost inventory is empty then full screen interstitial is requested from AdMob. AdMob and Amazon are currently used mainly for banners - AdMob works as safety belt for interstitials. The income from Tapjoy is very very low. We implemented it only into Fruit Dating as the other way how player can earn in-game currency (stars). If player is stuck with logical puzzle he can purchase the solution for previously earned stars and if he does not have enough of it he can earn some by watching video ads. As the number of downloads is low the Tapjoy traffic is also low. So, I do not see the problem in Tapjoy network.

 So, total income for June = $23,5 + $138,4 = $161,9.


 In July I will report experience with Amazon Developer Select campaign. I hope Shards will pass validation procedure at iTunes. It would be great for Tizen developers to finally know when it will be launched. I will continue in my Android / iOS / Unity / Objective-C / C# studies.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Our games & apps

 Here is list of our games and apps with list of changes and details about each item. Click icon below to jump quickly to detail:

Fruit Dating  Shards Deadly Abyss 2 Futoshiki Mahjong Tris

 - Fruit dating published at iTunes (iPhone / iPad)

2014 - AUGUST
 - free verion of Deadly Abyss2 published at Amazon store

2014 - JULY
 - Shards published at iTunes (iPhone / iPad)
 - Shards upgraded to v 2.0.0 on Android (added 10 levels, enemies, additional graphical effects, ...)

2014 - JUNE
  - initial list


Fruit Dating
Fruit Dating at iTunes

Fruit Dating - bada
 Fruit Dating is original puzzle game with simple rules. It was first published int the beginning of December 2013 on Android OS. There are two versions of the game: free and paid one. In the free one the user has to accept ads while the full one is without them.
 In both versions when the player is stuck and can not solve puzzle he or she may purchase solution via in app purchases. Actually, the player does not buy solution but stars that work as in game currency and solution is then bought for these stars. The player can also earn stars for playing well. In some versions we tried to reward player with stars for watching video ads. For any first IAP purchase in free version the ads are permanently removed from the game. (back to applist)


 Shards at iTunes

Shards - bada
 Shards is clone of popular Arkanoid / Breakout games. We tried to make a really nice clone. Every single level has its own fractal background with bricks originally arranged. The game features really great soundtrack.
 The game is in two versions - free with ads and paid without it. The users of free version can upgrade to full one directly from app with in app purchase. They can get discount by installing some of our other games (Fruit Dating, Deadly Abyss 2).
 Currently this game became our flagship. (back to applist)


Deadly Abyss
Deadly Abyss 2 - bada
 Deadly abyss 2 is game with submarine. You control it with screen touches and you can launch torpedoes against enemies simply with swiping with your finger. There are also three huge and dangerous bosses.
 Two versions are available - full without ads and free with it.
 You may ask where in portfolio is Deadly Abyss 1? Original Deadly Abyss was our game for old Symbian phones and if interested you can see some screenshots here. (back to applist)


 Futoshiki - bada
 Futoshiki is Japanese puzzle game. Similar to Sudoku but different :-) Your target is to fill Latin square with numbers from 1 to 5. The game is paid or free with ads.
 As the game contains puzzle generator inside it can generate infinite number of puzzles! It can also solve them in human-like manner so when generating it is possible to rate the difficulty and when user asks for easy puzzle then prepare easy one for him or her.
 Unfortunately, I lost Android source code so I have only bada source code. This game was written separately for each platform as in that times I did not have my cross-platform engine yet. (back to applist)


Mahjong Tris
MahjongTris - bada
 Mahjong Tris was first game in my "new era". Previously I had experience with Symbian, Gameboy, Atari, ...
 The game was made first for Samsung bada OS. When launching there was big contest. We made it into top 300 qualifiers and won new phone. After some time the game was rewritten to use my cross-platform engine and published on Android. (back to applist)