As I sit sardine-tin-scrunched up on the Central Line en route to my day job, I have a few moments - or 12 stops precisely - to relax and reflect on the last month, and spare a thought for what's ahead too.
A cursory glance reveals a game-release as the salient defining moment of the previous four weeks. Despite my best precautions of trying to master the simple task of a scheduled release, in a sleep deprived moment of confusion I released in both stores early. But with the release came relaxation. After an adrenalin fuelled, - embarrasing confession - emotional roller coaster where I trawlled through every review site, google result, twitter post, and Unity Analytics stat I could get my hands on that is.
How did it go? Well, I still have my day job. I have received some super positive feedback. I had a few people openly and politely indicate the game was not for them - the sincerity and un-necessary niceness of these messages was equally as inspiring as someone who simply loved the creative work. While checking Unity Analytics it was looking like I was geared up to go Indie full time; sadly it appears most of the users had aquired the game via a cracked copy, which I'm strangely proud of; a download is a download and every day there were hours and hours of people playing Yakin. How insanely intoxicating awesome is that! Although the moment when the penny dropped as to 90% of my players not paying was a sobering one.
An update was needed. Faster turning, improvements to the noob experience, players could achieve three-stars on levels on a well timed swim, more air underwater needed (can hold breath longer), and the camera sometimes lost sight of the paddler (which I find both frustratingly hilarious and hilariously frustrating). The update accidentally also included a paddler which rendered on my test devices only. Oh, and you unlocked all boats and have three stars on every level? Not any more you don't. Grr. From about 5:30am I spent every spare moment on a fix. The remembering scores was trivial- I just had to add in function called getScoreIfPlayerHasPlayedv1(), or something to that extent, which looked at saved player data from v1 and knew to draw ...let's call them legacy conclusions. The hard one was the paddler not paddling. It would sometimes work on my test devices but I've learned not to trust these anymore. I fortunately have some extraordinary friends who are also extraordinarily great testers, and the "paddler not paddling still, lol" call was echoed within minutes of me uploading another fix. I had to commute to work: 8 minute break from coding as I walk to the tube then laptop out and straight back to it. I sit outside work and upload my latest fix. Why oh why has the paddler decided to stop showing a paddling animation - I have not changed anything in this area! ..intentionally, at least. Uploaded. Tested. Nope, still bad. I head in to work with a heavy heart heart thinking of how I've just defecated all over a seven month labour of love.
Lunch time. Ninety minutes coding and internet trawling. Someone suggests to disable mipmaps on sprites. Okay. Three years in to indiedeving and I haven't learned what a mipmap is yet. Still don't actually know. But disabled, and wow! Fixed. I think. Still, uploaded, verified by Christine, and that's a pass! We do as much testing as possible given tight time frames and other obligations, and all is good. Android store: published. iOS store: submitted for agonisingly long and drawn out 'review' where Apple presumably check that I didn't accidentally (or perhaps intentionally) include a bunch of smut within my game. One day I'm tempted to make a terrible game and see if it get's flagged in review. Upon inspection it appears King beat me to it.
What's next for Two Fish One Chips. I'm relocating to my home country, New Zealand. I'm going to use some savings to try this game thing full time. I have a couple of other ideas in the pipeline, but Yakin needs some more work first. I might not be able to code much for the next couple of months however as I've been tentatively invited along on a paddling trip which I actually need to train quite hard for. Just waiting to hear back if I've been accepted before suggesting any timelines.
Regardless of timeframes, Yakin's BIG upcoming feature: - Leaderboards! Compete and beat the world record ghosts! At the release party we all passed around a ps4 controller in the pub and played against each other and oh how we laughed. So this is a must!
Thanks for reading. Thanks for playing. Thanks for padding. -Matt CEO, paddler & only dev at 2Fish1Chips