This week I recorded a video of myself playing Godsweeper on the hardest difficulty, offering a few tips and introducing the game to people who may not have played yet.
The number of plays the game is now getting has predictably dropped off since the first month, so videos like this help to swell the numbers a little and it provides good content for us to share as we continue to grow our social media following.
Godsweeper was also featured this week as part of the Indie Freebie! series by Gaming Faster than Light.
You can view both videos below.
This dev blog will eventually stop being updated as we switch focus onto new projects, because of this, we have now set up asdesignedgames.co.uk where we will continue to write blog posts which will cover all our projects, including Godsweeper.
Of course, you can still find us on Facebook and Twitter!
In November last year, +AsDesigned Games released its first game; Godsweeper. Godsweeper is a flash game that takes the classic minesweeper and adds some RPG-style levelling up elements to it. You can play it here: Godsweeper
Development began in earnest in June, and consisted of a team of two. I worked with a student from The University of Birmingham who did all the programming, while I focused on the design, art, marketing, and setting +AsDesigned Games up as an official company.
The initial plan was just to create the single player game, but this was complete long ahead of schedule thanks to the programming talents of Joel. Because of this we decided to crack on with a two player version as well, taking inspiration from Minesweeper Flags.
We completed the game and launched it across the web, first appearing on Kongregate on 20th November. It was immediately clear that we weren’t getting the ratings that I’d hoped for, and I’ve got a couple of theories as to why that might be.
1) People were finding the game from the newest games list and were hoping for something different.
2) People came to the game thinking it was minesweeper and were confused by having to actively reveal followers, rather than avoid them.
3) The game wasn’t as good as I hoped it was.
Since launching the game, the ratings have been steadily increasing, especially on Newgrounds where we have gone from 2.7 out of 5 in the first week to 3.35 today. The comments have been encouraging too, with around 90% of feedback being positive.
Godsweeper was inspired by a game called Mamono Sweeper, so to receive the comment of “Mamono Slayer” was a huge compliment and extremely rewarding.
Because of the initial low ratings, Godsweeper failed to show up in any top rated lists which of course impacted the number of players we brought to the game. The game has been played around 4000 times in total across the web, but to see any real money we’d need 100 times that number.
Godsweeper is the “Most Favorite Game” on Fun Games Site though, and with a pretty healthy lead too, so that’s certainly encouraging!
I had also contacted around thirty indie games journalists and bloggers that I thought would be interested in the game, I took the time to read their work beforehand so that I could approach them in the best way and give Godsweeper the best possible chance of being picked up. I didn’t receive a single response, even when I chased up every correspondence with a friendly reminder in case it had been missed the first time. From this, I got a mention on Twitter, but no actual site coverage.
Godsweeper was never going to make huge amounts of money, especially after we failed to get an acceptable sponsorship offer (despite another couple of hundred e-mails being sent to potential host sites), but it’s now clear that it won’t make any money at all.
This isn’t the disaster it may sound like though. As +AsDesigned Games’ debut release, it has helped us get our name known and provided us with plenty of content to grow our social presence on Facebook and Twitter. And we now have thousands of players that we can tell our next game about which we didn’t have before.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and if I could do it all again I would have released the game once the single player version was complete and not bothered with a two player option.
While I believe the two player option could have been a good addition to the game, it was poorly implemented and hasn’t driven people to play the game nearly as much as it had the potential to.
With no alerts for players when they get a new game request or when it is their move, there is nothing that pulls players back in once they have forgotten about the game. There is also no easy way to begin games against a new opponent without first finding out their username. And the ‘play random opponent’ option doesn’t work at all.
I learned a lot from creating and releasing Godsweeper, and everything I learned will be used to make our next games as good as they can be. I’m not in any hurry to release any more browser games though!
It’s here! Godsweeper is now available to play, for free, on Kongregate!
I’ll follow up at a later date with a full blog post, but in the mean time point your browsers here and start recruiting those followers!!!
Godsweeper was made available for sponsorship on 31st August, but the game itself has been on FGL since the 19th.
With that in mind, we decided to document our experiences with the service so far:
Each game that is uploaded to FGL automatically generates a thread in the Feedback Forums, this allows players and other developers to play your game and provide feedback before making it available for sponsorship.
When Godsweeper was uploaded, we marked it as being 96% complete and as we have been showing the game at various events during development, we were confident that there would be no major issues. Thankfully we were right!
A few suggestions were implemented, and one bug found and fixed. It was certainly worthwhile not activating sponsorship immediately so that we could add a bit more polish to the game.
When uploading your game to FGL you’ll also add an icon, and on each page of the site two random icons will be shown for users to vote on which one they’d be more likely to click through to play.
Our first icon was, in hindsight, pretty plain and although we felt it gave a decent impression of what the game was about, it only received a click percentage of 45.45% from 11 votes.
Because of this, we looked at the top-scoring icons on the site and redesigned our icon based on what we saw. After adding a new icon, we’re now on 64.28% from 14 votes.
To be honest, this still isn’t as high as we’d like it, but an increase of nearly 20% isn’t to be sniffed at.
What would be nice is if you could see which icons yours was placed alongside and which received the vote. Currently there’s no way of telling if you lost out on a click to an icon currently on 80% or 20%.
Finally, each uploaded game shows the number of views it has received, on what date, by whom, and how long they played for.
This has been really interesting to look at, as I’d anticipated that the average play length would be between 5-10 minutes per session. In actual fact the average time is only 03:50, though there have been a couple of players who have played for over 40 minutes in a single sitting.
So that’s our experience of FGL so far, Godsweeper is still in the bidding process so if you do happen to be reading this and you’re from a browser games site looking to sponsor this unique game, check it out here!
On Saturday 31st August, we hit our biggest milestone yet as Godsweeper became available for sponsorship!
Godsweeper is now in the bidding process as we anxiously wait for bids to come in from host sites. It’s a nerve-wracking process and I have to try and stop myself from refreshing the bids page a hundred times a day!
Thankfully, I have Pikmin 3 and Rayman Legends to keep me distracted!
Much of what happens with the future of Godsweeper, and +AsDesigned Games, depends on how the next few weeks go. It’s currently equal parts exciting and terrifying!
Prospective sponsors can find the game on FGL, here
It may technically be four weeks since the last “Weekly Update”, but we’ll gloss over that fact!
Recently at Godsweeper towers, we have been working hard getting a build ready to upload to FGL. We had hoped to have this done last week, but moving house and getting final bugs fixed and polished has taken a little longer than we’d hoped.
What we have achieved however is:
The main bulk of our recent work has been on the online multiplayer, here’s an example menu showing the games you have in progress:
It’s not only the weather that’s hotting up, as Godsweeper development continues apace. This week we:
Next week we’ll be presenting the game at Launch’s Studio Showcase, and as well as being able to play the game if you’re attending, you’ll hear me talk about development so far and our plans for the future.
Remember the Godsweeper scratchcard business cards?
Someone has gone and made a classic minesweeper version. It looks amazingly realistic. I wonder how they were able to get the tiles looking so good as I tried all sorts of ways for the Godsweeper cards!
View the full gallery here: http://imgur.com/a/xc9oK/all