While I’m pushing version 1.1.0 of Heroes of Loot 2 to all the platforms, I figured it was about time to post something new up here and talk about all the stuff that has been going on in the last few weeks.
Just in case you haven’t noticed, I actually released Heroes of Loot 2 little over a week ago. Which in it self is a fun story!
So originally I think I planned to release the game somewhere in April maybe May, but I just didn’t manage to get the game done in time, at least not to the point I wanted.
I did release it in Early Access but I needed more time to flesh out the gameplay and balance everything (which I posted about a few times). So then June came, and a mild panic started to flood over the business-cap wearing me.
You see, June is close to summer-vacations. Nobody wants to release during summer-vacations because most people are .. you know.. on vacation and doing other fun stuff. So June was the latest date I could release in, or otherwise I would have to delay the release until late-August / September (after the summer vacations).
Now the vacations them selves weren’t an issue, release somewhere mid-June and you’re safe.. however! This month was also filled with the E3 game conference, Apple’s WWDC event, and later this month Steam’s summer sale starts. That suddenly limits the release window to maybe 2 weeks with that 2nd week being end of June which is just damn near the Steam summer sale and why would people buy your game if they can buy every other game with 95% off?
So.. suddenly I figured the only week I could launch was last week, just in time before the E3 and WWDC starts and not near the whole Summer sales and vacation things.
The launch itself was perfectly planned, everything was ready, nothing could go wrong… except.. that one..button.. The game was approved on the App-store, and ready for “manual release” by the developer (aka me!). I had planned to release somewhere during Wednesday, with most games doing that on Thursday, it gave me a little extra window and a nice “tada! it’s here already!” moment.
On Tuesday morning, I was on the App-store backend, and made sure the “manual release” was still there, and then I also figured I could set the “don’t release earlier than” date to “Wednesday” .. and then.. press.. release.. In my mind that meant it would do a developer release, but “not earlier than Wednesday”. But that’s not how it works apparently, so on Tuesday afternoon I read messages on the Toucharcade forum thread saying “it’s live on US app store already!”
I quickly checked, then ran screaming through the house, then figured I would just set the Google Play version live and the Steam version live, and start sending out the press-releases. All a day early! I was VERY worried this stupidity was basically going to screw up my whole release of the game..
Luckily the awesome people at Toucharcade actually made a post about the “surprise release” so people read it, noticed it, and the whole launch didn’t drop in a large black-hole of games.
Failure on some systems
Once a game launches and goes live, the rest of the week is a weird week as my developer-cap goes on a shelve somewhere and I go full marketing and business mode (as I mentioned various times on this blog). It means I’m reading forum threads on multiple sites, responding to most of it. I get emails and direct messages from people wanting free copies, I send out press-releases to sites and if they reply for a key I handle all that, and it’s hectic but also kinda fun at times.
It quickly became clear tho that there was a problem on iOS 7 devices.. now not many people still run iOS7, but at times like this it seems the whole world is running iOS 7. Apparently a bug in the latest version of Libgdx caused the touch-screen to not behave nicely and all touches were 90degrees off. Completely unusable and so it caused a bunch of 1 star ratings on the app-store. It took me some time to fix all this, even tho Apple’s approval process is much faster, I think it took at least 6-7 days and two updates to get this working correctly.. shit happens!
On Android I got a lot of the, expected, problems with the game freezing up on devices. Of these devices 99% is a Samsung device running Android older than 6.0. There is a known bug in those devices that has to do with the audio.. from what I can tell it’s caused by games that use more than 32 sound effects, Heroes of Loot 2 has at the last count 75.
Normally I tell people to try playing without sound, but my own code had a bug where even if the sound was turned off, it would still try to play a sound-effect so the freezing wouldn’t go away. This is now fixed, but still not a great fix for those users (playing without sound sucks).
I did have various confirmations from users that upgraded their Samsung to Android 6.0 and noticed all problems were solved.. so I know I’m right, but that doesn’t make it awesome to deal with.
I’m very happy with the results so far tho. The game is getting raving reviews, a game-of-the-week from Toucharcade, a Gold-medal from PocketGamer and more importantly 4+ out of 5 star ratings on all platforms. People are still very much playing the game after more than a week, which in mobile-game-land is a pretty big thing ;)
Business wise (read: revenue) the game reached my minimum-target at the end of the first weekend, so I’m pleased with it, altho there is a LOT of room for growth and compared to the original Heroes of Loot you could see this one as a failed game. Mixed feelings, but that’s the mobile-game business for ya.
With some luck there is still some featuring coming around the corner on the mobile platforms, which also brings me at the next chapter:
Still no break through
Sadly on PC I’m still not making any waves. The amount of sales on PC are sad to say the least. I’m pretty sure the game will pick up a bunch of more sales in the coming months and when I eventually put it on sale (not sooner than December tho) because many people added it to their wish-list.
Interestingly, it almost seems that I sell more copies during pre-order and early-access using sites like Itch.io and my own social media reach, then having it on Steam.. there’s some food for thought.
The main problem here is that I would prefer to create PC games, as there is much more possibility if I would design for PC.. but right now, that would be a huge risk to take and could possibly hurt my mobile revenue which is where I’m making my living.
Having just pushed version 1.1.0, which comes with a big update of adding 4 new playable characters, collectible hero-cards and many improvements. It leaves me with maybe one or two big updates for this game and after that it will get fewer updates as the weeks pass on.
I do plan to take some time off, because between Space Grunts and Heroes of Loot 2, I think I worked for 14 months or so, with just one or two weeks actual vacation.. It’s time to re-fill my energy bar a bit, and get some new interesting game ideas going. So that usually means I’ll play a lot of other games and see when it starts itching a bit!
For now, Nathan Drake needs my help, and my PS4 is fully updated!