Monday, March 29, 2010

The wild Apple AppStore adventure..... a year into it

Well today marks the first year since Tangled has been approved and I must say it's been quite an adventure. Now I know what everyone wants to see, they want to know how many sales I had and my marketing techniques. Well let's get one thing over with and here's the summary of the sales for Tangled:

As you can see there's no way I'm going to quit my day job ;)  To be honest I never planned to anyway. The summary doesn't really give out the whole picture though, the sales weren't steady for the whole year, this graph will paint a better picture:

The sales when I first released Tangled were WAY beyond my expectations, the initial feedback I got from communities like was good and I worked really hard to improve things but sales declined very fast but as soon as I posted the changes I made based on the feedback I had received they picked up again.... I had just figured out that the best way to keep my sales going was to keep getting feedback and update Tangled regularly. Unfortunately each update didn't bring back the same level of sales as the first two did. I did my best to improve the graphics but unfortunately I'm not a graphic artist :)  so I decided to turn to a publisher. I wasn't really willing to spend my own savings so I went for a publisher that was willing to work for a profit share. They promised me great things, new graphics, music and great marketing. I was very excited and I was expecting great things to come from Tangled especially with the help from "professionals", things we're going very fast once we got all the contracts signed and they sent me a rough version of the graphics they were working on and the future looked very bright for Tangled. Things slowed down and getting feedback from them took longer and longer and eventually they sent me an email telling me they were closing down and our contract wouldn't be good anymore (they gave me all the psd files for the graphics they made). The person I was dealing with at the publisher was very nice and was even willing to keep going with me (under somewhat different terms) but I decided it would be easier to just go on my own. This is how Tangled 2 came to life, I decided to take all the work I had done and get ready to submit it on my own.

To be able to release Tangled 2 I needed new graphics and music, I figured I would just hire a graphic artist myself. I thought it was going to be a pretty simple task but it turned out a lot harder than I had expected, I found lots of them had so-so portfolios and wanted s LOT of money, until I found a couple people who had nice portfolios and were willing to do it for a fair price. I picked one and we started working together but with the different time zones it was very hard to communicate and for some reasons the emails would always get "lost". After two weeks of getting no response I decided to ask the other graphic artist if he was still interested and he said he was and we actually got together that same night and worked for many hours to get all the graphics done. At that point Tangled 2 was really coming together and I managed to send it to Apple for approval very quickly.

During that time the sales for Tangled were fairly low, between September and December I was getting on average $5/day. In December most developers get a bump in sales and I wasn't an exception, my sales pretty much double to $10/day and stayed steady close to the release of Tangled 2.

Now this is interesting, lets have a quick look at how the launch for Tangled 2 compared to the original? Tangled 2 had everything it needed to succeed, an addicting game play, gorgeous graphics, relaxing music, achievements and Open Feint support. Well I had some problems with the launch of Tangled 2, unfortunately a bug slipped in and the game would crash on the first generation iPods and iPhones and this quickly led to some bad reviews. The bug was immediately fixed (same day as the game was released) but sadly due to the nature of the AppStore the update couldn't be made available right away. The update got approved today but the damage has already been done, while the game was on the first page for the new releases people would read that it crashed and just skip over it. We'll see if the update helps bringing back the sales but I think the damage has been done. Just for fun let's have a quick look at the evolution of Tangled from version 1.0 to 2.1 to Tangled 2

Tangled Version 1.0:

Tangled Version 1.1:

Tangled Version 2.1:

Tangled 2: 

So what do I have to say about the AppStore now? It's still a great place and a great opportunity for developers. I do still believe that a great idea will do very well (see DoodleJump or Zombie Farm). Sure it's saturated but there are ways to get your app noticed....I just haven't found the right way ;)

I am still a huge supporter of the platform and I have an iPad version of Tangled 2 coming out for the release of the iPad. I also have another game idea I've been working on with my graphic artist and one more idea I had today but this will be an iPad exclusive, I had thought about doing it on the iPhone but it didn't work on the small the iPad will be PERFECT :)

Well if you made it all the way here I want to thank you for reading the whole thing and please check out Tangled 2 and give me some feedback :)

Tangled 2 updated

An issue was raised to me when Tangled 2 was released, I had the issue fixed the same night Tangled 2 was released but unfortunately Apple has to approve the update before it can go live. Tonight Apple has approved it and it's now live on the AppStore.

Thank you everyone.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Tangled 2 has hit the Apple AppStore!

Tangled 2 has just been released on the Apple AppStore and for a limited time will be sold for $0.99 (the regular price will be $1.99). This update brings many new features including amazing graphics from Joel Espaillat Rodriguez, and the most exciting new feature: our brand new Action game mode! In this mode you try to achieve the highest possible score by untangling the dots as fast as possible before the screen gets filled with more dots. Watch a demo of the Action mode! This mode is unique to Tangled 2 and unseen in any implementation of the classic Planarity puzzle game!

Here's the release notes:

The sequel to your favorite puzzle game is back with a new Action mode!

Tangled has been completely redesigned with new graphics, music, puzzles and new social
networking features (Open Feint Achievements and Leaderboards support). Fans of the original
will love the new redesigned interface, familiar game play and brand new puzzles to grind your
way through.

I highly recommend that everyone tries the new highly addictive Action mode. In this mode
you have to untangle the dots as fast as you can to make them disappear before there's
too many on the screen. Each dot you untangle will give you points, can you make it to
the top of the leaderboard?

Tangled 2 has taken the Planarity type puzzle to a whole new level that no other similar
game on the AppStore can match! The new Action mode is 100% original and there's nothing
like it in the AppStore.

    - Action mode (100% original)
    - Normal mode which includes 30 carefully designed puzzles
    - Random mode (for unlimited fun with 10 difficulty levels)
    - New Graphics by Joel Espaillat Rodriguez
    - New Music by Kevin MacLeod
    - Social Integration (Open Feint Achievements and Leaderboards support)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tangled 2 Preview

You might have heard already, Tangled 2 is coming soon! I've been very hard at work on this sequel and I hope everyone will love it. I am planning to submit Tangled 2 to Apple for approval this weekend or early next week, so it should be in the AppStore soon.

What's so exciting about Tangled 2? Well the most exciting feature is the new Action game mode. This takes the basic Tangled puzzle game to a whole new level. The goal of the game is similar, you want to untangle the dots, when a dot is untangled (all the attached lines are untangled) it disappears and you get points. At certain interval more dots will appear and after a while you will move to the next level where more dots appear. The game ends once there's too many dots on the screen. I would love if you would take the time to respond to the poll on the right. Thanks ;)

Here's a quick list of all the new features in Tangled 2:
- New Action mode
- New Graphics by Joel Espaillat Rodriguez
- New Music by Kevin MacLeod
- New Puzzles for the Regular mode (puzzles from Tangled 1 will also be included)
- Open Feint integration (High scores and Achievements)
- Small stuff like a proper resume (the game will remember the EXACT state the puzzle was in when you left so you can pick it right back up
- Many bug fix (most of the code has been rewritten, there's barely any traces of Tangled 1 left)

Here's some screenshots (who doesn't love screenshots), you can click them for a larger version. The third one is a puzzle you'll remember if you played the original ;) and the last one is the new Action mode, I will post a video of that mode soon since a screenshot doesn't do it justice: