Category Archives: Tacheman

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Launching Tacheman and the Struggle Since

Note: One of my New year’s resolutions is probably to update this blog more regularly!

A little late posting this but we finally managed to release ‘The Adventures of Tacheman’ on October 29th on both iOS and android.

Unfortunately we did not go about the marketing side well… But lessons learned and all that, especially as this is our first time trying to tackle this side properly. Posting on forums seemed to generate little interest which can be quite disheartening from a dev point of view. Although offering promo codes did prompt some people to inquire about the game (the lure of free stuff is always strong I guess!) Asking for feedback was also met vastly with tumbleweed, although the little feedback we did receive was generally positive.

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There was a spike in sales immediately after release which is pretty natural for most app launches. Trying to optimise on this too (launching on a Saturday was recommended as the best time to do so) was something we tried out and may have resulted in this spike, which is one positive to take away. Another reason was that we had a review put up on ifanzine.com. However, this spike also naturally plummeted to basically zero soon after that. We could have paid for advertising but that kind of marketing was way out of our budget and quite frankly we were not sure if it would be worth it on this game.

When we were developing the game we made the decision to make it a premium game as we were sick and tired of freemium models, and having to find ways to monetise (yes that evil but unfortunate necessity to survive) with IAPs and whatnot. As a result we did our best to polish the game up to as much as we could to justify this decision-which admittedly was a really tough ask as the three of us were pretty sick of the game by that point. In a way, I guess we were resigned to the fact that maybe our game was simply not good enough which was the most obvious reason for it’s failure so far. It is a little confusing as no one has explicitly told us that it is a bad game so we are left in this weird limbo of not really knowing the ‘why’ of anything. I am personally of the opinion that negative feedback is always better than no feedback as at least you know what you need to work on.

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Another avenue that we perhaps naively did not choose to explore was to get in touch with a publisher towards the latter stages of the game’s development. They may be some indie devs that might be of the opinion that getting into bed with one of these is ‘evil’. But the fact is they’re not and as the app store has matured they’ve become more of a necessity. It is generally almost impossible to publish a game independently and come close to matching the marketing might that publishers wield. In a nutshell, would you rather have 100% of a small pie, or 50% of a very large one?

These days you either strike lucky through word of mouth (even Pokemon Go was an example of this- and that already had the weight of the Pokemon brand behind it) or pray that you get an apple feature. In the early days it was enough to have keywords to help you reach the top but this is simply not the case anymore. In hindsight, having made contact with publishers after going live we received some interest but either they don’t republish games or they simply had too many games on their hands already. Now I’m not sure how often a publisher replies but this could have been a missed trick. At the end of the day not only can they market your game, but they can also give you valuable feedback in order to make sure your game is up to speed.

So where does this leave Tacheman? I did a little experiment (and call me crazy for doing so) and made it free during Black Friday weekend, whilst posting about the offer in various forums. Downloads skyrocketed over the two days. It’s not exactly rocket science that people will download free things but this might just be the way forward.

There was this idea that we discussed very early on, almost two years ago, but somehow that idea was lost; basically to make the game a ‘free demo’ with an IAP for the full game (e.g Super Mario Run). It’s strange that more games don’t do this as it is a very effective way to draw people in. Again, perhaps we just couldn’t wait to get it out (this really was a nightmare in on-off development that took far longer than necessary) but that’s no real excuse.

In any case, hope our experiences will help inform other indie devs out there who are still developing their games. We are taking everything we have learnt from this game, and hopefully improve on it in the next!

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Tacheman- Back in Development

Gameplay clip

It’s been a fun, steep learning curve but Tacheman finally has a complete working version. I am very excited to show some of the new features it has. The GUI has been revamped – there’s now a health and ammo bar which makes the game more accessible than the one hit kill mechanic of before that became a little too frustrating at times.

Building from a raycast engine and looking at the code was an eye opener into how to do a simple 2D platformer the right way.

The multiple death animations

For something a bit different, I thought it would be good if the same death animation wasn’t played over and over for every enemy. So, it’s a little more contextual. Cannon fire? Gets incinerated. Razor? Gets sliced and falls off. Due to the simplicity of the Tacheman characters this was relatively easy to animate and implement into Unity.

Dangerous even when defeated.

With a newfound knowledge of the particle system, it has certainly brought the game up to a higher level of polish (as well as being a lot of fun to play around with!) I had one idea for an exploding enemy that would grow every time it got hit before unleashing a fairly sizeable and potent explosion when defeated (wonder where I got inspiration for that from…)

Jetpack from a moustache? Why not?

Collecting stuff for no reason is fun no? No? Well, coins in this game may give you a special surprise if you collect enough of them…which I may have just given away with the above gif. This special ability will allow you reach previously difficult to access/ downright inaccessible places as well save you from mistimed jumps.

Flip in style

The weather did not help with someone’s mood

There will be unlockable characters, each with their own unique abilities and narrative bits in the story.

So what’s left?

It’s currently going through some internal testing, there’s a few more art assets I would like to add as well as much more optimisation (bloody optimisation!). There will of course arise one or two, or a hundred bugs (bloody bugs!) that will need to be fixed, gameplay tweaks et al. But it’s finally getting there, and will keep you updated on its progress.

Tacheman update

You may have been wondering what has happened to the old Tacheman. Well, truthfully it has been under development limbo for half the year, but the team is now back working on it and we’re overhauling the project to really improve performance and mobile.

With the help of a fantastic asset from the Unity Store called the Corgi Engine 2D, we’re cutting down on the amount of physics in the initial project and implementing a raycast system. (Lesson has been learned- for a simple 2D platformer- physics are generally a no no, not least for mobile optimisation).

Although we did somehow manage to tame most of the physics related problems, the fallout in memory usage (all those physics materials on all those colliders can’t have helped for e.g) was not worth it. And although it worked fine on more recent devices, it was virtually unplayable on older devices which seemed a little unfair.

Player Raycast
Tacheman raycasts

We’ll keep you updated on its progress.