Showcases and other sharing

Hi all,

DSC_5829

Should you be around Hamburg this week, don’t miss the chance to play the updated demo of Pajama Walk (even before it goes online here on Gamejolt). Come to say hi at DevGAMM Hamburg 2015 and get some lovely giveaways directly from Noony at Gamm:Play Showcase:

  • September 10, 15:00 — 18:00, Table A2
  • September 11, 15:00 — 18:00, Table A9

The Pajama Walk game is also nominated for the Best Indie Game and Media Choice Award at DevGAMM Hamburg 2015. Keep you fingers crossed, this is getting serious.


CONFIRMATION. Indie Prize Tel Aviv 2015 I 19-21 October 2015. Noony&Moony's Pajama Walk - freakyzelga@gmail.com - Gmail - Mozilla Firefox 2015-09-07 12.22.13

The Pajama Walk game was also approved for the showcase at Casual Connect Tel Aviv, which will be held on October 19-21. So excited!


Also, we (finally, huh) started the page on Facebook. Hit ‘Like’ to get the latest updates right away.
https://www.facebook.com/PajamaWalk

Cheers,
DMG team.

Upcoming updates, name change and a little teaser

Hello dear friends,

It’s been a busy summer, and we’ve been working silently, but hard. Now let us share some updates with you!

First, we are changing the game name. ‘FingerBoy’ was picked as a title on early stages of the development when you had to drag Noony with your finger across the room (and it’s not the case anymore). Moreover, we keep hearing the current name is slightly eeerrrm suggestive :D And that’s absolutely not what we want to achieve!

From now on meet ‘Noony&Moony’s Pajama Walk’ (or ‘Pajama Walk’ for short)! :3

PW

We are going to gradually change the name everywhere – it’s not a 5-minutes task.

Second, we are going to DevGamm Hamburg on September 10-11 and probably to Casual Connect Tel-Aviv on October 19-21, and we are preparing an updated demo to showcase on the both conferences. This means the demo will be online as well so very soon! Stay tuned, the game has definitely changed since then.

Last but not least! Just to tease you a bit, here are two marvelous tracks from the upcoming demo. Can you feel the vibe?

Cheers!

Gamejolt featuring: post-mortem

It’s been half a year since our game was featured on GameJolt. The conclusions could have been written earlier, but who ever did this on time?


The story so far

On December 31st, 2014 FingerBoy was featured on GameJolt’s main page. Just after New Year party we’ve got a few dozens of letters in the inbox – ratings, comments, new followers. One of the comments was from a GameJolt moderator – he said, ‘We like you and we have put you on the main page as a featured game.’ What a New Year’s gift!


So what it’s all about?

FingerBoy featured on GameJolt on 31 December 2014

Featuring means that for a day (or two if you’re lucky, and we were lucky) there is a large banner with a link to your game on GameJolt’s main page. Then the game is moved twice to the lower banners, still on the main page, and then to the featured games archive.

It’s obvious that these first couple of days have the the peak in views/plays. Number of the players who visit your game page varies on how much they like the game’s title picture or description.

On the first day, December 31st, our game starring little boy had about 1200 views and 600 plays, on the second day – 1600 and 1100 respectively.

FingerBoy GameJolt statistics 31 December 2014

FingerBoy GameJolt statistics 01 January 2015

You can see that there is a drop on January 2nd, – this happened when the game was moved down below main banner, but it was still on GJ home page. Do not pay attention to statistics on January, 5th – the screenshot was made earlier that day and players did not start coming yet. :)

A month and a half after the featuring date visitors’ activity gradually decreased to 140/110 views/plays per day, and it’s quite a long tail. The game is long gone both from the home and the featured pages, but people still find it

Another interesting fact is that after the game left the main page there was no sharp drop in stats. It turns out that a lot of players visit featured games page and pick games from there.

FingerBoy GameJolt statistics 30 May 2015

Exactly after 5 months, traffic has returned to its initial figures. As just before the New Year we have an average of 15/10 views/plays per day again – it’s not a big number, but people still visit and play.


Letsplays


Let’s talk a bit about letsplayers as well.

Immediately after the game was featured there was small increase in number of letsplays. The game was highlighted by youtubers about once a week before that; immediately after it was twice as much. January and February brought about 20 letsplays overall.

Since the demo, that you can find here or on Gamejolt is very short, takes 5-6 minutes to finish it, so it’s not surprising that the number of letsplays is low. But still it’s damn nice to have people play the game and share the experience .

FingerBoy Noony waves hello to you, reader :3


What now?

During first 5 months since being featured the game was played 7,5k times, and the game page had 11k + views. The game gathered 100+ subscribers, and a few dozens of letsplayers.

It is important to note that if the game does provide a web demo, it’s downloaded and played much less. An eye-candy game called Isles of Umbra made by our friends was featured on April 2015, and got 1600 views, but only 220 plays on the first day.


What can you do with all this?

Increase followers fan base. Now we are writing not just for reposting bots or close friends, but for real subscribers. Awesome people who liked the game, who rated it, and who are waiting for updates.
Provide news updates. All your updates go directly to followers’ inboxes. And if it is well written, funny or provocative, it will be shared further. Also, the news appear on the main page in the news bulletin – we still need to find the best publication frequency that won’t look like spamming.
Identify target audience. We finally realized that our main players are young women who get gentle, almost maternal feelings for the protagonist of the game. It is still not clear how can we leverage this knowledge however. :)
Appreciate lestplayers. We have introduced a weekly column #letsplaywednesday, where we feature the best letsplays. The videos still appear more frequently than we write about them, so currently we have enough. In addition, those letsplayers who are just starting their career benefit from this as well.

If it were you how would you have taken an advantage of this opportunity?

P. S. Statistics was monitored periodically, but we didn’t take screenshots every time we checked. So you’ll have to take our word for it. Judging by the comments of GameJolt founder, updated version of the site (and dashboard) will have more detailed statistics including history for more than last 5 days.


P. P. S. Just few days before the English translation of this post GameJolt changed its design. Now the featuring process is a bit different, and more games are on the main page, but the overall idea should remain the same.

With GJ update our numbers dropped significantly (almost down to zero), but that’s another matter to analyze and another story to tell.

If your game was featured on updated Gamejolt, feel free to share your story!

Stugan and team presentation

_--Photo-02.02.15-20-57-24

Long time no hear!

While we were out, things have been busy here. We are still working on the new mechanics and backstory, and this takes all the free time.

Meanwhile, we have made a new video, introducing the team behind the game. Video was made specially for Stugan application, so the voiceover is ours as well. :D

Keep your fingers crossed for the game to pass the contest. Two months dedicated entirely to finishing the game is a great chance to have get the project ready for the release this year.

Thanks for watching and have a wonderful day!

Parents’ room creation, part 2

Part 1

I promised you the interesting part, and here you are.

We did some research and chose to work with 1024*768 resolution. If the game is launched on the widescreen, the level will be simply cut from top and bottom. Now I face a question – how to draw a perfect 4:3 image without a ruler (no, I don’t have one)? And here comes an old iPad 2 with the screen size exaclty as needed!

DSC_2866
So the image is 1:1 scale.

First, I choose one of the level’s states from prototype, – it doesn’t matter which one, since the level is familiar already, – turn the iPad light to maximum and attach the tracing paper on it with the masking tape. Tracing paper is thin and semi-transparent, and the masking tape is widely used in traditional art – you can detach it easily and it doesn’t ruin the paper underneath. I am using a colorful Japanese washi masking tape like the one here http://www.cutetape.com/shop/japanese-washi-masking-tape.html – it’s more fun this way and I am not using it anywhere else anyway.

k_classwashi_714e
After that I open the level image on iPad and do the rough pencil sketch over it to refine the shapes. Since the iPad has a touch screen, it’s not very handy to paint over the image projected – I do touch the screen with my hand this way or another, the image moves, hides and does everything else it shouldn’t do. But I need only the main shapes, so I finish this part pretty quickly.

DSC_2868 DSC_2870 DSC_2871

I turn off the screen and check whether I have missed anything. And then I turn back the iPad screen with “flashlight” on.

This one was tricky. To imitate the light table I needed a bright one-colored screen that doesn’t respond to taps – I will be constantly touching the screen and I want to still be sane after I’m finished. Task: to look for an app that shows only white screen, and does nothing else. Not so simple as it sounds, but I did found one – Easy Flashlight. Perrrrfect.

When I know all the items’ positions on the level I create a new layer put a new layer of tracing paper and fill the expected light/shadows with a Copic Markers. With this I check if the logic is still ok.

DSC_2873
And then the fun starts.

I take the 0.1 liner (any will do, but I prefer thin and waterproof, in case I start crying from joy), put the tracing paper on the place of each item and start drawing. This process brings the most fun. Less words, more pictures now.

DSC_2875 DSC_2879 DSC_2877 DSC_2885
One of the interesting parts is in-game animations. Basically the process is identical to the one in classic animation. Each frame is drawn on a separate layer, one over another, on the light table. Moreover, each frame is being numbered, so they don’t get messed when scanning.

DSC_2881
One could say the animation is done blindly, since you cannot see the final result until later it’s played in Photoshop. Well, it’s true. And when in doubt, I do several versions of one frame to choose the best later.

When every item, every frame is drawn, the further process is clear – to scan (small items are attached to the white sheet of paper so they won’t be blown away), put all items on their places in Photoshop (I did few actions to resize, desaturate and rotate all frames correctly) and add the basic shading (standard brush, standard presets, no magic here).

DSC_2887 DSC_2888 DSC_2889
Cut in slices, give the exported images to programmer, wait, shake, don’t stir. Happy gaming! :)

05_lvl_parents_fan_

Parents’ room creation, part 1

You might have already seen some of the game level development process for FingerBoy game when the project just started, but after second-third-tenth iteration it becomes more or less steady, and I decided to go a bit more in-depth. For you and for us as well.

The very first part might seem dull a bit, but it’s the longest and the most important part of level creation – preparing the level logic. There is no point in continuing if this is not done properly.

So.

05_lvl_parents_fin

Here is the final image of the parents’ room level. You can see it in game as well, the demo is on the right of this screen.

Development starts with simple logic description with a minimum amount of taps needed to solve it. Difficulty is increasing, and so does the tap count.

We have an internal document with the list of items that can emit/reflect/direct light. But it would be so boring if switching the light was the only thing you could do in the game, wouldn’t it? And thus we make another list of relevant items and see what we can use without breaking the immersion and feeling of the current room.

Rooms have to differ and have to be recognisable. You will not put a toaster into the bathroom or a chainsaw into the baby’s dorm, right? Since we are making the room for parents, the main items are obvious: double bed, closet, and a mirror. Other things are optional, but still in the list.

Here is one of the first sketches by our game designer, for example.

bedroom

And then come iterations, iterations and more iterations. TV was in the previous room already; there are too many lamps; the perspective of the closet is wrong and cannot be used, etc. After every little thing is solved and all the confusing points are eliminated on paper, we do a quick prototype. It’s very rough, without animations, only key elements in key positions.

05_lvl_parents_prototype
Then comes a quick slicing with a Photoshop Slice tool – it’s extremely useful, and it’s widely used by web developers. Each slice has its own coordinates and size, and with this information programmer can quickly build a level without having to guess the images positions.

05_lvl_parents_prototype_slicesLight blue lines are the Photoshop guides and are showing the limits for the wide screen – there is no point in putting active elements behind those as they will not be shown on a number of devices.

When the level prototype is done, the team has played it and the comments were processed, it’s time for the final part – drawing the level itself.

DSC_2866

Next part will be about live materials and tricky iPad use. It will be more interesting, I promise!

Part 2