Fourteen days over three weeks. That was the challenge – to make a game using Adobe AIR and get it released on Android and iOS. To prove to myself that it could be done, and done well – free of the constraints of commercial pressures and with no expectations.
What can I say but … I surprised myself. It’s done. It’s up on Google Play now for immediate download and will be on the Apple Store as soon as its approved.
You might have noticed no posts in the last few days. They’ve been pretty manic. The game was pretty much built and ready go by the end of day 12 ( last Thursday ), all 40 levels were fully playable with finished art and music. Since then it’s been a process of writing game blurbs, grabbing screenshots, testing it on various Android and iOS devices, filling out forms on Google and iTunes. It’s a very tedious process which I won’t go into, save to say you don’t want to do it too often.
It’s an odd feeling, releasing a game. A mixture of elation, trepidation, and to be honest, anxiety and deflation. You’re not guaranteed fame or fortune, or even a small spot of the limelight because of the sheer volume of apps out there. Chance are your game will sink into the deep cold abyss like , well, like a Fishblock. Beyond Twitter and Facebook announcements to family and friends, my experience in marketing is very limited. I post on game forums and so on, but it’s really not my forte. At heart, I’m a game designer, not a promoter – which in this highly competitive field, just doesn’t cut it when you’re talking commercial success, or even commercial viability.
However, that’s not really why I did it. I wanted to release something that was mine – not for another company, or for someone else. I wanted to know that I could do it. Self belief is very important – finishing goals, and so on.
I’m really actually pretty delighted with the game itself. It’s surprisingly fun, although fiendishly challenging on some later levels. The addition of the dog adds a bit of heart and emotion to the game, you don’t want him to fall of the boat , although it’s amusing when he does. It has that ‘this level should be easy, I know I can finish it with one more go!‘ feeling that can be pretty elusive to build. I hope you enjoy it, anyway.
So now what? I’m a bit burnt out by the game and am keen to move on, but there’s still a web version to make to help promote it. I’m going to try and ask a few games sites to review it once it’s on Apple. Google Play does a bit of a miserable job of promoting new games, I don’t have high hopes for the Android version simply because the lack of visibility in the Google Play store means it’s impossible to get things featured – still , stranger things have happened.
I put Google Analytics in the game so I can track plays of the game. It’s pretty wonderful, you see little blips where people have loaded up the game, from Australia to Sweden and back. Right now, there are two active users. Hey – it’s a start 🙂
I wanted to take the time now to thank the two guys who helped me build this game.
- Tony L – an amazing, unique artist who adds such character to my games. I am so in awe of his skills and how prolific his work is. He has an aversion to social media, so I can’t link his portfolio but needless to say he’s done the art for many games and commercial projects I’ve worked on over the years.
- Adrian Galassi, composer extraordinaire, who went once again above and beyond to supply me with not one musical track, but 7. You can get hold of his soundtrack for the game here. Adrian creates really memorable melodies and puts his heart into composing tracks that really fit with the theme of the game.
Anyway, the voyage is complete… I want to say once again how amazing AIR and Flash is as a tool for rapid prototyping and building games fast. It fell out of favour because of an evil propoganda campaign by Steve Jobs, which although unfounded, saw developers flock from it in droves. I’m hoping projects like mine can be a showcase for just what is possible with AIR. One codebase, runs pretty much everywhere – that’s the dream.
Please download Captain Fishblock and spend a dollar on it. It’s not much but every 5 star rating and purchase will really help, you’d be surprised how quickly a game can rise to popularity. If you have a review site and want to review it or interview me, I’d love to be involved.
Thanks for following me along on the AIR to App Store journey – we did it. A small accomplishment, but one to be proud of.
Cheers, Oliver Joyce