Devlog #15 – The way forward

We are back again, how have we all been? I have some good news and bad news… which shall we tackle first. Lets perhaps start with the good news because frankly it’s shorter to explain then the bad news.

The good news is that Puzzle Puppets has been certified by Microsoft and we can release it to the public with a click of a single button! Bad news is however, we aren’t hitting that button…. Now don’t be sad, it’s certainly not because we think you are silly and we don’t want you to have our game. This decision unfortunately has come under the ‘Best for business’ sort of banner. It all comes down to our marketing plan and giving Puzzle Puppets the best chance at launching as a successful title. The silver lining of it all is that we are planning it as a multiplatform launch so everyone will be able to enjoy it on their mobile platform of choice!

So why postpone a game that’s basically ready for public consumption? I’ll elaborate on what’s been happening over the last few weeks and what the key factors have been in getting to that decision. Firstly, marketing is a MASSIVE deal! We have spoken to a few of our other mates who have made games and they stress the same thing. It doesn’t matter how awesome we think Puzzle Puppets is, if no one knows about our game then it will just get lost in the sea of apps and games that collect dust. Our original marketing plan was to release it on the Windows Phone 7 as it is still a fairly young market and thus we might be able to break through easier and get noticed as a quality game that other people would hear about and then look forward to once we port it across to the more established app stores like iOS and Android. Doubt started setting in as I spoke to a cousin who made a fantastic footy game called Goalkicker. He had basically done the marketing strategy of emailing and pimping out infomation about his game to as many people as possible but it still didn’t get as much exposure as one would like. I was going to do the same thing but it made it clear more was needed. Investing money into marketing seemed like it was going to be needed and we dont exactly have the funds to kick something off to make waves.

This is where we looked back into the Film Victoria funding programs. We had looked into them towards the start of our project but at that time it wasn’t a great fit for us. Now however is a perfect fit for us, we have a game ready to show them what we can do and they will fund us to help pay for our marketing strategy. So right now I’m working on our submission to hopefully secure us the funding we need to get our game noticed and give it the best chance to actually get some ground and popularity so it can do well. So fingers crossed we will get approved and can go ahead and hire the marketing team of Surprise Attack. Aaron and I have been attending the IGDA mettings where all the indies and such get together to drink beers and talk gaming and its where I manged to meet the guy responsible for the Film Victoria funding. Talking with him has given more perspective on whats required for submitting and this is where it takes us to the porting of the game.

We have always wanted to port the game but was going to leave it to after we had launched it on WP7 so we could work out if we should be doing it straight away or go get jobs to and transition into part-time indies. Well the funding from Film Victoria wont seem viable if its only for one platform and so we have bumped up the porting so Puzzle Puppets will release on all platforms at once. Azza has been using unity and getting some info from the boys at Dime Studios as the best way to tackle the porting. He has settled on a plugin called 2D Toolkit which looks like its working very well. He also wanted me to add that hes currently ‘bending unity to his twisted will’ as things are working but hes not sure if things will explode later on. Either way we have the block grid up and running on his Android device and can pop to his hearts content. We are also looking into some super cheap macs so we can build and test it on an iPod so if anyone knows of any macs going dirt cheap then please contact us :D

Ok this devlog has gone on a bit and the distractions of friday have made me loose my mental train of thought so I appologise if its a dribbling mess. Oh just remembered, we contacted Microsoft aswell to try and get xbox Live added to our game but unfortunately haven’t heard back from them yet.

But yes, to sum up. Game is finished but we wont release it. Working on porting it into unity so we can release on all 3 major platforms. Trying to get funding from Film Victoria to help us pay for excellent marketing. Your indie buddies are an awesome source of help and information. Port is making progress and is awesome to see it on another device.

Oh to give a prediction about the timeframe everything will happen if it goes according to plan is submissions close 21st of November, then about 2 weeks we have interviews, then 4 weeks and things would be finalised for funding to swap parties. So the earliest we would be looking at is a January release date and in the meantime ill be doing more content and plays and Azza will be working on the port.

Well I think that’s all to report, things are happening but until we had our exact plan there wasn’t anything to talk about :\ Perhaps as we go through this Azza will talk more about Unity, I’ll show some old Puzzle Puppet stuff and talk about the new content.

Enjoy the weekend all, hope Halloween was good to everyone and we will catch you next week for perhaps a screen of Puzzle Puppets running on Android!

CYA!

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