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My journey into Android and iOS

Discussion in 'My Journey Discussions' started by clpride, May 18, 2014.

  1. clpride

    clpride Registered Member

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    Hey guys, I'm new and just want to share my journey. I'm a software guy, and have been doing it for the last 14 years, working on mostly windows/unix apps with an emphasis on back-end processing. I've always been interested in doing something on my own, and with everything shifting to mobile I wanted to see if I could jump on the opportunity to start my own business. So 2 months ago I left my $83000/year job to pursue this. My business idea is focused on providing marketing/advertising opportunities for clients who want to tap into the mobile audience. I won't go into the details, but I see huge problems in the way advertising is done in mobile apps, and I'm trying to find innovative ways to address and fix these problems.

    Since I have 0 experience with mobile software, I decided I should get my feet wet and just start making some apps to get a feel for the market. I intend to incorporate my advertising ideas into them and use them as case studies. To learn the whole app dev process, I decided to start making games. Games are actually quite complex pieces of software (i.e. they have a ui, back-end processing, third-party extensions, etc.) so I figure I'll take away most everything I need for developing apps in doing this.

    In April 2014, I started making a game called Soldier Bird Dash. I felt I should do a quick game, since my intent was for this to be a practice run. I basically took the Flappy Bird concept and put a twist on it to make it a bit different yet still familiar. It's actually a bit more complicated than Flappy Bird, as this one has enemies with AI and attacks instead of pipes. I know a lot of people hate this type of game, but realize again, that this is just a practice game to learn the art of app development. I'm not trying to get rich off making games, as there's too much competition in that department to compete with, but if I can make some money on the side from it, I'd consider it a bonus. Anyhow, I finished the game in about 2 weeks with AdMob and Google Play Leaderboard integration. The artwork could be better, as I'm no Rembrandt, but I guess it suffices. The first version was released on April 15 on Google Play.

    A week after release, I realized how hard it it is to rank in the app store. I only had about 50+ downloads (mostly from family and friends). I naively thought it would be easier to get downloads because you regularly see even crappy games top the charts for some reason :/. Those guys must be working the system somehow I figure... Anyhow, in order to use this game as a case study, I needed to get more people playing it. So I spent $500 on a non-incentivized PPI service to get some installs. I finally got some eyeballs on it, and it's gotten good reception. The retention is good (60% of people have kept the game for over a month) and I've made $130 from it to date. I'm tempted to shift my main focus to promote this game more, as I feel like if it had more eyeballs on it, I'd make a pretty decent chunk of change. Also, I'm sensing more kids have iOS devices, so I may be hurting myself by not releasing the game to iOS. Anyhow, this is where I'm currently at. Right now, I'm making progress on porting the game to iOS and hope to have it there within the next couple of weeks. I will keep everyone posted on this journey!
     

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    Last edited: May 19, 2014
  2. Pilfer7

    Pilfer7 Regular Member

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    supposedly ios users spend more? so u may wanna take that leap

    keep us updated
     
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  3. sirmattheww

    sirmattheww Junior Member

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    Good luck! With your experience I am sure that you will be able to crack the code in no time.
    Make sure to invest when you fell that your apps need to in order to see how they are performing.

    All the best,
    SirM
     
  4. sirmattheww

    sirmattheww Junior Member

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    BTW, I just checked out your game and I must say that it is pretty good! I am not into FlappyBird style games but yours seems quite catchy. Good job.

    SirM
     
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  5. kinlee

    kinlee Supreme Member

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    I like how you added another level of complexity into the game.

    Did you code the game in nothing but eclipse or did you use something like cocs2d?
    Also how will you be porting the game over to iPhone?

    Anyways, good luck with your journey! I will be following you :)
     
  6. clpride

    clpride Registered Member

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    Yes I use eclipse, but I used an android/ios friendly framework called libGDX within. You can take games built with libGDX and compile them to xcode pretty easily. The third-party features, like leaderboards and ads are a bit tricky to get to work, but other than that it's a pretty good system. I have the game pretty much ported already, I'm just waiting for the Apple registration to go through. I appreciate the feedback :)
     
  7. amdcpus

    amdcpus BANNED BANNED

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    Good luck man, you should try buying app installs. They are fairly cheap I think around $.50 per install.
     
  8. clpride

    clpride Registered Member

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    Thanks, I actually have done some of that, but with the free to play apps it's a bit risky because you can't guarantee you'll make over $.50 for each user. Getting more data through analytics will determine if it's worth it though.
     
  9. clpride

    clpride Registered Member

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    Haven't done an update in a while, so I just wanted to let everyone know where I'm at. The port of my game Soldier Bird to iOS went without a hitch and I released my game to iOS two weeks ago. Additionally, I did a graphics makeover on it to make it more appealing. As for marketing, I've been doing a lot with social media, and I've found Instagram to be the most useful tool of all. I think my game caters to a younger audience, so Instagram is a goldmine for that market. The only downside to it is that clickable links aren't allowed, but these kids are still finding their way to the game.

    Although, I'm getting more traffic for my game, it's still nowhere near the level that I need it to be :/. I've learned that the app industry is one tough egg to crack. There's too many developers and too many clones, making it difficult to get visibility. Even innovative and unique games get buried under it all... To succeed in this market, what I've learned is that you either have to have one or more of these things:
    A) An innovative, unique, or revolutionary app/game and lots of luck (i.e. if someone reputable posts for you on Reddit/YouTube, you're probably in the money)
    B) Lots of money for pay-per-install(ppi) through Facebook/Tapjoy/Appbrain, etc. to get up in the top charts. At a ppi cost of $.20, which is pretty low for an install, you'd need to drop a minimum of $2000/day to maintain a top 50 ranking. My head spins just thinking about what it would cost to maintain the #1 position. Anyhow, the good news is that once you get in the top rankings you'll start getting tons of organic installs meaning you can start to ween yourself off the payed downloads.
    C) Good ASO. Just like in the web search engine world, people tend to find their apps through search most of the time. You miss this, and you'll miss tons of opportunities to get downloads. Additionally, I have yet to see any studies on this, but I think offering your app description in multiple languages would boost downloads immensely.

    I've gotten a little discouraged and I'm rethinking my strategy. My game is not interesting or deep enough to go viral and I don't have a huge stash of cash to bring it up in rankings so failure is pretty much imminent. I think the game has a lot more potential, and I plan to add some new elements that will make it more appealing (Story Mode and Multiplayer). This is kind of a last ditch effort which I'm still unsure of, so I'll be trying to raise funds through kickstarter this month. I estimate it will cost around $25000 to do this.

    If the kickstarter doesn't work out, I'll have to drop the whole game dev idea altogether, although I'd hate to do that. Since my ultimate goal was to use this experience as a launching platform for my mobile advertising idea, I think my only alternative is to approach mildly successful developers, having a minimum of 10000 daily active users, and pitch my idea to them.

    I hate having to do this as this adds a new layer of complexity... All I know is, all this will take time, and time is money...
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2014