Come Home, Space Carrot Bunny – Development (2/3)

Hello! here’s the second part of the development blog for our latest game: Come Home, Space Carrot Bunny

If you miss the first article, you can check it here

Here’s what we have so far. Two bunnies flying through space in a carrot rocket visiting planets searching for their lost comrades.

Come Home, Space Carrot Bunny

Monetization

Such an evil word. But with an honest and good meaning. To help us to make a living making games and focus all our efforts to make better games each time.

As a mobile game, we have certain options to monetize and we evaluate each one of them:

1. Paid game: Is simple, but this is such a small game that we think that nobody is going to pay for it. Sad, but true 🙁

2. Microtransactions: We could add a store section and sell some content on it, but again, the game is so short that maybe nobody is going to buy anything.

3. Ads: This is maybe the best, because people are going to play it several times in short amount of time.

Well, the best alternative was the ads, but we also add one microtransaction: ‘eliminate ads’. That may allow us to gain a few extra bucks.

The next thing to check was the type of the ad. We have the banner type in the bottom or in the top. The interstitial (a big image that covers the screen from time to time) and the video ad. Before anything i want to add that almost all of them interfere with the flow of the game. The most important thing is to deliver a great experience to the player. We can’t predict the image that is going to be shown. Taking all of that in consideration, we decided to add a button at the end of each play that allows the player to revive, just one time, but this works as an sponsored revive, were the player has to see a interstitial ad and it gets revived.

In this way, if the player does not want to see ads, just has to press the re-play button and start over. The ads will never interfere with the experience in that way.

Come Home, Space Carrot Bunny

Testing

It’s time to make a few test with people we know in order to check that everything is going as we expect. This are the results 🙂

+ The graphic style was well received, but it was boring for them at times. Too cold say someone.
+ Too difficult was the other big critic. They want to go further and they couldn’t. This cause frustration on some of them. (But too easy can cause boredom)- They play around 3 minutes and then give back the device. This is a bad sign. The game is not engaging.
+ Nobody press the revive button. They didn’t even ask for what it do 🙁

This give us very good data about what we should change and improve. Let’s start working!

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We start adding detail and movement to the game. We add shooting stars, meteor rocks, rotation to the planets and color to the stars. Also work better in the atmosphere of each planet and work on the gravity.

The next thing was to work on the planets, and make all a little more detailed.
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After changing the background and adding more detailed and color, the graphics were better and the game looks much more ‘alive’.

The next issue was to fix the difficulty. We change the gravity of the planets in order to attract the rocket. Also, we put a ‘force indicator’ to help the player to visualize the power given to the rocket and calculate their trajectory. Also, we add a little tutorial image, showing how to play the game and improve the final screen adding some light the the revive button.  With all of this, the game become more easy, but only the testing will show us if we do a good job.

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In the next and final article we’ll look deeper into our testers minds and prepare the launch! there’s a few things to have in mind like promotion, keywords, facebook page, product page, press releases and more. Stay tuned!

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Come Home, Space Carrot Bunny – Dev(1/3)

Prologue

It has been some time since we start a development blog about one of our games, but is important for us to share the information about the good, the bad and the ugly of game development and check it out from time to time in order to determine what went wrong or how to replicate success. For the fans is fun to know how their favorite game is coming along and give their opinion to create a better game for all of us. Ok, with all that said, the bottom line is to get you entertained and encourage your participation into this articles in order to create a game that you’d always want it to play. So, let’s start!

This game start as a 2 days game jam. The idea come from my girlfriend, Chriss Vasquez and with the help from Gonzalo Muñoz in character design and animation we start the development. I was the programmer, game designer, GUI, music and sound effects guy.

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The main idea was to have a bunny on top of a carrot rocket jumping from planet to planet rescuing his friends. Pretty simple and fast forward to complete in two days. The first prototype prove to be quite fun and it looks like this.

Not very impressive? well, you’re right. Every prototype has to answer a question and the question here was: is the mechanic fun enough? the answer was yes, so, we continue.
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[one_third_last]The next one was made to test some graphic proposals. Gonzalo started to send really good material and as you can see, with just a little graphic design, the game was started to take shape.
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The upper number is the number of planets visited and the bottom one is the number of friends saved. This last one is accumulative and it doesn’t reset on every play.

Who would play it?

But here we start to wonder something very important… who will play this game? The graphics and gameplay has to appeal to some defined target group. Until now, we were focus on make the game and didn’t think about that at all. Should it be for children under 10 years old? for moms? for hardcore gamers between 24 and 30 years old?

After a lot of discussion we started to look into our own game and established that the gameplay is short and funny, easy to pick it up and play for a few minutes and come back anytime. With that information, we established that the players should have little time and the game was meant to kill some time waiting for the bus or waiting in a line to get a coffee. The age was defined, we were pointing to young professionals or students between 20 and 24 years old.

Sex, sex, sex

The next question was to establish if the game were suitable for male, female or both. Little bunnies are something better suitable for girls, but one may say that doing that we are closing a door for a big market and that’s right. We decided to focus on the female market but making the graphics to appeal both genders. And so, here’s the next steps on that:

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In here we have to take a big decision, Gonzalo’s design include things like buildings and mountains on the planets, but the new style was conflicting with them, so we have to take them out 🙁
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[/two_third_last]At the end it was better, but with better planning, this would have been avoided.

Well, the game is taking shape at last, but there’s a lot of work still needed. In the next article we’ll dig into monetization, should we sell it? put ads on it? how many and where? is the graphic style filling the expectations? what do testers has to say? well, all and much more in the next one.

Remember, the idea is for you to participate, make questions and please share! Thanks for reading!

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