Overworld dev, week 35/52, 2021

Getting something out of the way first: This is a mobile F2P game, which loses some folk right off the bat. I feel the free offering offers a mostly complete experience, if you read past the last sentence thank you. I may talk about things here that most roguelike developers don’t have to worry about, but at the end of the day this is the community where I feel at home. The PC version may well be a single item, but mobile is where I’m going live first. Now on with the story.

I went on holiday taking a month’s hiatus from posting, but continued development. Got a lot done, but also made a bad launch and took the game out of action for several days because of the lag inherent to third-party providers (the play store). A lone 1-star review described the problem in satisfyingly outraged user terms.

The game now has a demo mode which presents the best recorded game for a given release version. This means that it resets each new build, but I can’t put multiple engines into the client yet. Anyway this keeps it fresh. The “best” is determined by a combination of length, difficulty level, and finally score of a given match. These demo matches are then anonymously presented as in-engine demo videos for each hero (elf dwarf halfling wizard pirate +30 more). A demo also triggers after enough idle time on the main screen, a la old arcade cabinets. It showcases high level play globally, it’s cool.

The other big change is more esoteric. A diamond now buys 10 tickets (almost a full refill) rather than 1, and tickets recharge hourly instead of every 2 hours. My bind is that I want some kind of temporal cap on unlocking content (heroes and medals) to justify the lack of ads, but to many roguelike (and peripheral demographic) fans any kind of energy mechanic cap on play is galling. This compromise makes the game extremely hard not to play for free forever, given the average play length is 5-10 minutes.

Looking at what other mobile games do, I realized I need to at least let people get through the tutorial without asking them to log in. I’m going to do a slew of work around FTUE (first time user experience) in the next month and try to improve retention. And YOU can help out by retaining your beautiful self over to Overworld and giving my game a try! <3


Leave a Reply