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    How (not) to fail a game release

    Posted by
    June 13th, 2013 12:21 pm

    A few weeks ago, I officially published a game on Clay.io , a site specially for html5 games. Here:  http://spinturret.clay.io/ .A nice thing about Clay.io, other than the useful api, is that they can host your game even before you publish it to their game collection, so you can check if everything is okay.

    How I messed up, is that just before publishing, I mimimized the script, and changed the generic api script for one with only the features I used. And there is where I made a mistake.

    Instead of doing   clay.gamekey=”spinturret” , I kept the clay.gamekey=”YOURGAMEKEYHERE” .

    Because of that, the api didn’t work, so I couldn’t keep track of how much people played, and they couldn’t submit their scores to the leaderboard :(  .

    The built-in leaderboard was I feature I really liked with clay.io, and it suited my simplistic game alot. It was supposed to be an important feature, so people would try to beat each other’s score.

    Anyways, Clay.io does some promoting for the newest games, features them in their newsmail and stuff. If my game would have not been broken, I would have probably had some users interested for longer. Moral: always wait 24 hours after your last change (be it minimizing) before publishing your game. If you want absolutely someone to play it, you could go ask your Facebook friends, or maybe not.

    Then, to my next point: my promotional image.

    People judge by the cover, so yeah. What it looked like when I published it:

    Promotional1

    It seems pretty amateur, right? It’s just a screenshot.

    But now:

    But now I worked on it a bit and updated it, it looks like this:

    Promotional4

     

    Much better, right, much more professional. If I had this image when I had released the game, I would have probably gotten more players.This time, it’s not a screenshot, but an image entirely recreated in Gimp and Inkscape.

    (Now that I compare both side to side, I think that I should at a speck of orange to the bottom one. I’ll maybe do that.)

    Moral: screenshots and promotion art are really important, since it would influence how much people would get to your game in the first place. So you should have them nice and beautiful when you publish a game.

    Anyway, in shameless self promotion I declare: go play my game at http://spinturret.clay.io/ !

    3 Responses to “How (not) to fail a game release”

    1. Jorjon says:

      Just some advices:

      - Get rid of the radial gradient. Using gradients makes your game feel amateur.
      - Why is your game using solid colors but the character is using a texture? It feels inconsistent.
      - The colors you chose are the primary colors. While it is easy, it looks pretty bad. Try using colors that matches the background, for example some shades of blue or some pastel; less saturated colors.
      - It isn’t clear what the right bar is for. I guess it’s a multiplier for the score, but when it reaches 0, the score doesn’t reset, it just decreases.
      - Try changing the text color and font. Since your title is sans-serif, your text in game should be sans-serif as well.
      - I don’t know if its a bug but when an enemy reached I couldn’t hit anyone anymore. I could shoot but the collision wasn’t working. No game over screen or anything like that. The enemies kept coming and were under my character.

      • Zelen3d says:

        Thanks for the art advice. I really needed some.
        I probably won’t change much of this game’s look though, maybe except the colours and the background if I will ever get to it.
        The rest seems to be too much reworking for a game that isn’t that great anyway.
        For my future projects, I will definitely remember your advice.
        The multiplier thing is a bit weird, I agree. The way it works is a bad move of mine.
        About the last point, it must be a bug. I am not sure what happened there. From the top of my head, it may be a Clay.io achievement issue for someone who isn’t logged in. I should test it.

    2. Rose says:

      Thanks for the tips! I hadn’t heard of Clay.io before but it seems to be a pretty cool place for HTML5 games.

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