I recently replied to a post made on a 'Independent Game Dev' LinkedIn group I am member of. Essentially giving my opinion of what has been working for monetization (i.e., making a living making games.)

My opinion boiled down to this:

Make at least the full paid version first (even if you never release that start there.) You can think about monetization as you go! Maybe even put a placeholder in, but don't get hung up on the details because who knows what the market will be like when you finally get there. You can always plan on rolling out a free 'monetized' version at the same time or even after (e.g., Flip the Bird has a free version coming out for iOS soon. You heard it here first...). I think it is ok to separate the free and full versions. Let the user buy into the full game.

Make a game you want to play (and play them!) I have been playing Flip the Bird off and on for a year now. The latest iteration of updates has got me interested in it again. I want to grow this bird into something bigger, but my players are coming in slow and my efforts are being spent on the apps that are producing monetary results (not Flip), its not a bad game, the endless game play is fun, but we have so much more in store: levels, challenges, even the stalled tutorial development (you wound not believe how many folks do not see the "Tap to Flap" message flashing on launch, and even launch suffers from what I call angry-bird-itus... You tap to launch, not pull and release! We know this part sucks and we will address it in the free cycles because we want everyone of our apps to be great.) but I digress...

Monetize naturally. Always play the games you make, and look for natural breaks and placement to insert revenue generation on the free version (e.g., Doodle Army 2 has an ad in the lobby, that free and users who have paid for the access to the full set of in game weapons. 'pro pack'.) We are toying with adding a subscribe option to allow users to buy them away and tell us "make sure the servers stay up" with the power of their wallet. Your app might have load screens. Remind the user the game is not the full version and show them an add for a bit. Don't forget to cross promote your own apps if you have more than one too!

Once you are live make small changes (i.e., the balancing act.) As you murder the last great idea with the newest great idea, try to do so without losing your customers... Reminds me of the game Smuggle Truck sometimes as I try to make sure every change I make does not throw customers in such a way I can not recover them when they settle back down and realize I am not trying to screw them or don't care (I will look for a good example of this occurrence regarding monetization, but the only one that comes to mind is not monetization related, but related to using too much memory on Flip to allow the game to run on older devices. We figured out a way/hack to keep em supported, but wow what a lot of work... I can not wait for my users to upgrade!)

Use some form of analytics to keep track of user behavior. If your taking this seriously I don't see why you should object to exploring this in some form (staunch privacy advocates just started hissing at me.) And if you offer a free game track the user actions, that is part of the price of free. yes I just promoted the player's privacy be a monetized incentive. If you find it distasteful or invasive make your full game not have a lick of it and rely on more traditional methods of gathering feedback. The idea there is that you already have money from that person, so its all about making sure their gameplay is as pure as it can be. But it behooves you, the developer, to understand the players of your game. And I think a lot of players, paid users, would not mind letting you know how they play for the express purposes of making your game more interesting. Give it an 'opt in' option and state your intent to do no intentional evil with it but make a better game for those playing. But seriously think about it. I am personally tired of being dead wrong with some choices I have made. If I really knew how my players ticked better I would not have as chosen so poorly (it is varied in topic and degree to illustrate my bad choices, suffice to say it may be an interesting post for another time when looking at the reflection pool...)

I am sure there is more, I will end with this opinion:

Making games is a lot less fun when money starts to matter!

That is an excerpt from "The Tao of Fun and Profit", the working title of my next book.

Posting something to the internet has a chance of becoming stuck in the public domain for the rest of your life and potentially beyond. This what I describe something that has become interneternal... The collective memory recall powers of a redditor can be astounding to behold. Interneternity can be a very, very long time... think before you post kids!

Sound advice from Jeff Vogel  (on February 9, 2012) of Spiderweb Software for the indie: "Find your niche and own it. Accept what you can't change, be as awesome as you can, charge what you're worth, and stand proud on the ocean floor."

Jeff Vogel is one of the long term success stories I like to aspire to. He works hard, loves what he does, and as long as he keeps delivering the quality goods I expect he will continue to do well. I've never spoken to him, but if I do I think I will simply say "Thanks for all the fun and advice!" He has had a great influence in where I am and heading today.

Thanks Jeff! Thanks for all the RPG loving over the (dry) years! Thanks for encouraging and sharing as much as you do! Its the kind of stuff that fuels my forges here at CodeWorx!

I have been asked where do you sounds for apps. Well here are a few sites I have used for sound/music sources recently:



(I am sure I have forgotten some. I will edit when I remember!)

Those are the sites I start with. There is a LOT to be had right there and I usually don't have to look far. After that Audacity/Sound Forge apps comes in handy making new sound combos derived from other sounds. Its fun to play with, but I spend WAY to much time on it when I get into it!

I want to mention this last one, it has a reasonable cost to consider, but I find their samples to be great to try out entire packages of sounds. The guy running it has been very receptive to my feedback. Overall the polish is there. The need to rework sounds is non-existent. I have yet to buy set of sounds from him (no new projects in need yet), but it would save me countless hours of surfing and amateur foley work (did you know snapping a bundle of celery makes a great bone breaking sound?) Audio Skins is on my short list for sure! 

http://www.audioskins.com/index.php <- Definitely worth checking out!

Side note: Remember to read and understand distribution your license allows (royalty free or not!) That is a topic for another post another day!

Do you have a favorite sound site? Commercial or not, please share in the comments! I'd love to hear it!

Seems silly for me to do but I let my domain name registration expire (sort of). I was really busy working on doing a major update for one of the Appsomniacs games, Zombie Road Rage, and I forgot to authorize the transfer I initiated to my new registrar and hosting service... The devil is in the details. It is taken care of now (obviously if you can read this!) I am filing this under "silly dev". I will endeavor to not have THAT happen again! Anyone who sent me an email in the past few days likely got a bounce. Please resend that discourse, I would love to pick up where we left off!


EDIT 7/14/2012

My email now works again... Anything send to me from 7/10 to 7/14 midday was summarily accepted and discarded without warning. I got enough reports of non-answer on my part that I had to go kick the mail server to spin up after the domain transfer... Wow...


I'm not a system administrator Jim!


Published 6/22/2012 by Hunter

When a developer lols it is often off by one. kik!

No seriously! Thanks! The issues I was having was me nuts, and at least I can rest easy that its not me! Well until the all fix goes out and I am still having an issue, but lets just be happy being content. Keep in the sunlight!

There is a tight coupling between the user experience (UX) and the user interface (UI). They are often synonymous, I think they are nearly interchangeable in many aspects.

I think it is safe to say when you block the UI thread with some long running process you are *blocking* the UX from being as good as it could be. Maybe when multiple processors were not really prevalent I could accept it. Now I can not. I know better and now so do you (or at least you have my word of caution.) Short of citing examples and writing tutorials to show you I know better you know better from reading this PSA. You have an entry point to discovery. Go do it! NOW! The next time I see an app run and go get data and block the UX and create an unresponsive app I will bring out the gauntlet of shame and slap you with it! Since no one really reads my rants the world is pretty safe ... For the moment. Soon to follow is my PSA on creating threads all 'willy nilly'. There is a time and place for it... A good rule of thumb, never spin up another thread. And then only do so when a queued/scheduled task will not suffice. Do everything on one thread AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, but be smart and don't tank your UX (I know I know, its not easy, this is tough love time.)

There is one exception to my tolerance, Dwarf Fortress, although since having gone to OpenGL (did I date my playing time?) I rarely encounter anything less than 45-60FPS except when my fortress is collapsing and/or filling with lava and water... (physics/fluid dynamics baby! the simulation demands it! the simulation must have its synchronous way with you! I have a very unhealthy love of Dwarf Fortress... I know this...)

Is it just me? But I find the following technologies to be very exciting.

I am watching closely to see how the following 3D related technology *advancements* turn out (when they come out). If they do half of what they say they do they are still pretty cool to behold!

Something from a group called Euclideon:
Unlimited polygons! What if it wasn't about polygons anymore? I am keeping a tight watch on these blokes to see how they do!
The narrator... well... we can talk about him later. He has quite the radio voice. Maybe it is that and a combo of the Aussie accent. I'll leave it at that. Just work through the narrator if he annoys you, its worth grokking what they are showing.
Here is the one I think was just smart and I want it today/now/yesterday:
I could see these tools added as a must have suite in any major animation tool set. It may put some modellers out of work, or they would just spend time elsewhere on the models (less on structure and boning, and more on getting more stuff done.)
All of these ideas/advancements get my 3D adrenaline pumping (in a good way!)

Time to get your Friday nerd on! Here is a gaming oddity. I didn't actually look into Dwarf Fortress (DF) till a few years ago. I was on a personal quest for some kind of time filling 'simple' RPG when a friend (Miccah Merrill) suggested I get over my hangup and try it. There was a new adventure mode (satisfying my desire for an RPG), but I never got that far! I'll try it someday along with Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup RPG... There is simply not enough time in the day. And the latest release notes said something about mining carts. OK now this I got to see!

I agree with the source blog's title and the graph is rather accurate... I am glad and sad I waited this long in life to finally stop whining and get into this game/simulation/lifestyle. Bay12 Games (Tarn Adams and his brother) have been crowd sourcing this game for decades. They are the first kickstarter before kickstarting was cool since they operate solely on donations. Read this well written article by the NY Times for the full history.


If you ever want to be bored to tears about my escapades in DF just ask!

I don't know if the following image was original work of the blog post I caught site of it on, but here the link. And the image is being served from my service (as a courtesy to their bandwidth, what are the accepted courtesies these days?) 


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