Monday, April 18, 2016

Toto Racer has just reached 10,000 views!

Alright then! I will not bitch about life as a game developer in this one post! I am really happy that the game has made it to 10,000 downloads. That's just on android. Excited much! Here is a poster I had made for the occasion! It has approximately taken 5 to 6 weeks. I will be back soon! Cheers!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Growing a thick skin & airpush sdk headaches.

So you worked really hard on your game? You thought about it day and night, and finally came up with something you were sure would be loved all across the globe? But all that counts to nothing.

The thing is people have grown accustomed to games produced by big companies. It is very tough for a indie gamer to compete on terms of graphics and gameplay. So when you bring out your game, you have some tough competition. Especially in a genre like racing/endless games. In the first week, whenever there was someone commenting on how pathetic the graphics are and how much the gameplay is the worst they have ever seen, I would take each and every comment to heart, and start analysing the entire project. I even went as far as almost taking the game down. But slowly you grow a thick skin to that. Finally, not everyone is going to like your game, just like not everyone will like your clothes probably. A stupid comparison, but I think it gets the point across. You need to stay focussed in what is done, and probably learn from the comments people post. Since I am not getting some crazy number of downloads or comments, I have made it a habit to reply to each and every comment on the game, whether it be a 1 star or a 5 star. I think it helps, a bit. I didn't mind taking out 10 minutes in a day to do that. I mean, didn't the user take time out to comment on your work? I think that's the least I could do.

Although now I have a crazy issue. Google wants you to split the file and upload it if it is more than 50mb. I did that. But a lot of users complain about not being able to go past the loading stage. The scene just doesn't load. How about that? I have tried a lot of things, but it just won't go. The worse issue is, on every device I am checking, the game runs just fine. Teething issues these. Especially if you don't have a full time coder working for you. It almost seems that you are begging the guy to change it. To try to reach perfection. But since it is your baby, you are the only one who feels that.

I integrated google sdk for the advertisement. To say that I am getting extremely bad results for Asia would be an understatement. Pathetic as it may be, I am stuck with it for now. After searching for a bit, I thought if using the Airpush sdk for ads. But guess what, it just won't work. If you have a blank unity project, sure it will work just fine. But try integrating it will a project that is using google ( For leaderboard and etc), it will slowly kill you. It gives a DLL error and it is extremely frustrating. I got in touch with the airpush guys also, but after a point they seem least interested. They will keep on repeating what is written in their documentation.  It's either that or they simply don't have enough people to manage the tech issues. After spending a gruelling 10 days on it, today, I give up! It is not meant to be. I am utterly disappointed with having to give up on airpush because I genuinely thought that airpush would be good!

Alright then, tata for now. I will be back with more posts whining about how things just don't seem to work.  

Monday, April 11, 2016

First month into the world of game marketing

There are more than 200 or 300 games being released everyday. If your game gets a lot of downloads without any marketing, you are damn lucky. Or probably your game is absolutely amazing. But before starting my marketing all I was getting for 30 - 40 users a day. Beat that. So how do you go about it? I have read 100's of articles on this. Each site says more or less the same thing. And let me tell you, they aren't helpful at all. Not to say this post is going to be very helpful also. I will just jot down some random stuff I tried, which might or might not help you.

For android I posted it in numerous sites. xda forums, reddit and a couple more. I got a an okaish response in xda forums. It might be due to people not liking the game or that the site is more app related. Although I got some comments and stuff, I am not really sure how many members I converted into users. Here is the thing - None of the forums really helped me for my download count in the first week. Most of the review sites are paid. Yes, if you have a budget you could probably try it out, but for me, when I have no clue about the results I can get, spending 30-50$ was a bit much on it.

So I emailed a lot of guys (lot of time wasted). I got featured in a couple of local newspapers and stuff. And then I decided to take the leap and go for social media PAID marketing. Facebook man, facebook. I read a lot of stuff on how people have used it and about the general guidelines of it. I took my main poster for the game, which was the main screen of my game too, wrote a stingy headline - download now or something, and let it flow on facebook feed, instagram feed and facebook ad network. You can basically check where facebook showcased your ad and to how many people. My first 2 ads were major flops. After going through my ad results I understood my audience. They were basically 14-20. Targetting above 22 was almost a waste of money. I also understood that facebook ad network is a waste (for my game). It wasn't helping me at all.

I changed a lot of stuff. I targeted only India now (if you see the game you will understand why), my audience was 14-22 only, and the ad showed to ppl with wifi only. I changed my creative a put up a poster where it showed what the game is about. The ads were just going for mobile feed and instagram feed now. I removed download now from my header and just put up a small brief about my game. The results turned out much better. I got almost a 300% increase in downloads with the same amount of money being spent. After this I tried video ads for a couple of days. The video ad creative was my game trailer. It was a major letdown. Very few people actually took the time of seeing the video. I realised I just had one shot of converting the audience to users. And video ads weren't the thing for that. It had to be an attractive poster.

After my first month, my download count is 9k right now. Which is nothing great, but hey it's a start. Next post will probably be about the videos I created for my marketing! See ya!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Marketing Posters for Toto Racer

Before I even start, let me tell you I have never in my life done marketing. Making the game was one thing, trying out to market the game is a whole lot different. Now even before the game got done, I started making some posters which I thought I could use once in 10 days to keep the hype going. I don't think that has been a bad strategy at all. I have got some nice Instagram, twitter and facebook likes due to that.

I will talk more about my trails and errors in the first month of marketing the game, but later. That will probably need a post of it's own. I will currently show you the different posters done. In the next post I will put up my game trailer, and the different videos I made for promotion as well. Watch out! (As if)

And to top it up, here is a poster I created to mark my 1000 downloads on Android.

About Toto Racer

A little about my game then. Toto Racer is a racing game which is set in real Indian streets. The basic concept of the game is to give a user a very local Indian experience. I took the old Bajaj scooters as my inspiration to bring a warm rustic feel to the entire game. The cows and trash on the road are pretty much part of actual Indian roads, and hence it helped me create obstacles for the game.

For this, I first selected 2 cities, and took videos of the actual routes of the cities. I then went on to use them as reference and create a 3d model of the entire route of the city. My environment consisted of all small streets shops which someone would expect to see in India. Each city has its own unique shops to showcase it's culture. I used Maya to create my environment, and then took it in unity3d.
My characters were pretty much defined. I wanted a cute character which people could start liking, and a badass cop.  I don't want to go too much on how all the assets were created, because I am 6 months too late for that! :)

You can find the game on -

Playstore :

Appstore :

Putting up the main poster, screenshots of the game & UI design. I am trying to keep this post short & sweet. My next post is going to be about all the marketing material I prepared for the game.

Game Screenshots :

UI Design :

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Introduction to the blog

Hello world,
Starting 6 months late, but here I am trying to put down my experience as a game developer. I will start with my first game title, Toto Racer and I will be documenting everything which I can here in the hope that it will one day be beneficial to anyone who enters this journey. A lot of bloggers base their blogs on the financial well to do of their apps, but I will try to steer clear of that here.

I came up with the idea for Toto Racer 6 months back, and have truly given it everything in the hope of creating something worth people's time. When I started of, I had absolutely no clue as to how a game starts from a concept to a finished product on the app store. But here I am today, writing my blog while it's been almost a month since my game has gone live.

A couple of things to consider here are - I designed and created the entire game. But the coding part of the game was outsourced. Keep that in mind when you go through my posts. I will be trying to keep this up to date with anything & everything I think will be worth documenting.