Saturday, October 30, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

First month of Portaball

It's one month already! I'm satisfied with results so far. My realistic goal of Portaball sales was crossing 1000 copies in couple of months. It turned out Portaball was downloaded 1352 times in those 30 days. I think it's a success. Obviously, I dreamed of achieving mighty 1,000,000 but I still got time for that. Some day, for sure!

I'm more than pleased to notice that those who play Portaball, seem to enjoy it. Portaball was reviewed by three quite big sites and received satisfying grades. Plenty of AppStore reviews are also praising. As of today, current version of Portaball is marked as 5 stars in UK AppStore and I'm not using any 'If you like it, please award 5 stars' pop-up, although I'm probably going to.

As of recently increased Game Center activity, those numbers have also improved. So far, 21 players got less than 1000 portals in 'Least Portals' challenge, apparently it's getting some momentum. However, I'm going to add a less demanding achievement for this one. The easiest one is currently 600 portals, only 13 players achieved it so far. Adding a 1200 one would pull some attraction towards this leaderboard.

Looking forward, I've started working on new update. It will feature new levels, I plan to create 30 of them. The thing is, it's really hard to come up with something difficult and challenging. I've got 11 so far, I'll keep going.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Portaball Lite coming soon

Portaball Lite has been waiting for review for 4 days now. I expect it to get approved during upcoming week. This version contains first 15 levels of game, thus allowing everyone to give Portaball a try. Obviously, Lite version is going to be free and will not contain any ads.

As for icon, I didn't want to put a 'LITE' caption on it, this would ruin consistency of already not outstanding icon. I realized I should try something similar, maintaing the original spirt, but displaying lack of a key element. I stripped down the blueish glow. It conveys a message that only full version of Portaball shines with intriguing light that makes you wanna play it ;)

Portaball featured as Game Center game in 4 countries!

Yesterday, October 22, on the weekly AppStore lists refreshment Portaball got featured as Game Center game in following countries:

  • Australia
  • France
  • New Zealand
  • United Kingdom
It's a pleasure to get noticed. The funny thing is it happened day after posting thoughts on Game Center stats. I hope it's going to grab more attention to Portaball and will allow to populate leaderboard with really good scores.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

On Game Center and difficulty

It's been almost a month since initial release of Portaball. It didn't conquer AppStore, but it's got good reviews and couple of fans as well. What I find really intriguing is its Game Center activity. There are currently 745 scores in Least Portals leaderboard. Portaball is sending total number of portals on each game launch. That's my way of guaranteeing that score gets uploaded, one can never rely on network connection.

The problem is out of those 745 only 47 are under 2500 portals (the initial value) which makes it roughly 6% of total user base (game center enabled user base to be exact). This begs the question: what causes such a low number? What comes to mind first is: few people bother completing those levels again - game is just boring to replay all over again. I see point in that.

There is just one thing that bugs me: there are currently two players that got better result in 'Least Portals' than me. That is correct. My best test run was 379 portals. They made it 370 and 373 respectively. Get Portaball and check for yourself ;). They've beaten game dev in his own game. This is quite fascinating! It makes me wonder how can I improve myself, where can I find those best paths to get better, even though I've completed each level tens of times. This means, that there is fun and thrill in playing Portaball again, though it's quite hard to discove. I guess it requires some kind of perfectionist nature, willingness to improve oneself in every possible way.

The other possibility of weak Game Center attendance is level of difficulty of Portaball. Is Portaball an easy game? I have absolutely no idea. Obviously, for me it's easy, I designed every single level. Test results on my friends introduced various feedback. Some found it relatively easy, they've burned over 40 levels in one hour. The other group struggled with some of the first levels. What might cause that is lack of step-by-step tutorial. On the other hand I've designed every introductory level with a self explaining puzzle. Right after starting the ball it shows how different elements behave. Player's only task is to get the idea. Some levels are more demanding. Level 4 is good example ('speedy thing goes in, speedy thing goes out'). However, once player understands that it's all about acceleration, it becomes trivial. Getting that acceleration thingy might be hard, however, I believe it's one of the crucial and most rewarding moment ('OH! So that's what it's about! I'm genius!')

To sum up: if you struggle with Portaball, keep playing. The satisfaction is well worth it. If you find Portaball to easy, give 'Least Portals' a try. Getting on top and competing with others, that's a real challenge.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Portaball downloaded over 1000 times!

As of today, Portaball has been downloaded over 1000 times. It's not exactly a huge success, nonetheless it's something worth noting. To push those number a little further, I'm planning to release Lite version, with 15 levels for free for everyone.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Portaball 1.1 - now in the AppStore!

Portaball 1.1 has just been approved and is now available in the AppStore, make sure to check it out!

Apparently posting about slow review time does work.

Portaball reviews

Since Apple Review Team is taking their time to test Portaball 1.1 thoroughly (it's even taking more time than original release), I've decided to show off with some reviews Portaball received lately:

appolicious - 'Beautiful Portaball iPhone game could leave you puzzled'

148apps - 'Puzzle games are usually hit or miss. Portaball is a fun, albeit graphically sparce, hit.'

gamesuncovered - 'Smartly presented, but Portaball needs a couple of tweaks to its gameplay to get it where it should be.'

Sunday, October 3, 2010

New and Noteworthy in Germany and Austria!

I've recently noticed greatly increased activity in downloads in these countries. As it turned out, Portaball has been featured in 'New and Noteworthy' category. I'm grateful for recognition, it's huge success (I'm making a note here)!

Update 1.1 submitted to review

After one week's worth of work Portaball v 1.1 is finally done. It's great update to Portaball, adding many interesting features. Here's the outline of what you will see in 'What's New in this Version':

'Game Center integration!

- compete globally for best score in 'least portals' challenge

Least portals challenge
- finish Portaball with as little portals as possible

- prove your friends that you've mastered Portaball

Sound effects
- enjoy audio indication of your actions

Super tip: you can (and you should) spawn portals when paused'

As you can see, a lot of improvements have been implemented. I'm personally most thrilled with social features of this version. It's simply cool to fight for a better place in leaderboard, avoiding every single unnecessary portal in 'least portals' challenge. And for those that are not that ambitious, a variety of achievements from trivial ones ('complete level 1 in normal gameplay') through really hard ones. A few not standard achievements found their way into the list as well. I'm not going to spoil the fun, you'll have to check yourself!