Hey now that the October challenge is upon us, I thought I would share the story of the my October challenge from last year.
I started on “Planet Minesweeper” way back in February 2010, for a Mini-LD that I never finished. Over the next few months I poked at the code a little but every so often but didn’t really do much with it. Then for the 2010 October challenge I resolved to finish the game. As you can see, it hadn’t progressed very much past the first prototype.
Unfortunately my strategy for Oct. 2010 was to “Add a bunch of stuff to the game” to complete my vision. I literally had a Campaign mode planned! I wrote a script for the cutscenes. Cutscenes! For a minesweeper game! How insanely stupid is that? YEAH I KNOW!
So, needless to say, I didn’t finish the game. It crawled back into hibernation. Not to say that I didn’t work on it, but I just kept messing with it instead of going towards a focused goal. Fast-forward to October Challenge 2011. By this point I had a bunch of cool artwork, awesome musics from HyperDuck Sound Works, and the game itself was totally playable. It just wasn’t finished.
I was determined to finish it. This time I would adopt a new strategy. That strategy was “DON’T ADD FEATURES JUST FINISH IT”. This served me well and I worked my butt off.
Unfortunately, I failed again. I did not make a dollar in October 2011.
But all was not lost! I rode the momentum that the October challenge and kept going. I switched to a new strategy, “CUT EVERYTHING YOU CAN”. Working through the next month, and in early December 2012, the game was finished. After a week or so waiting for apple to approve it, it went live in time for the holiday season.
So did I make a dollar? I did. I made just over $1000 so far! That’s almost as good as Minecraft, right?
And the momentum continues. Last week I knocked out an update to support the new iPhone 5 screen, we’ll see if that makes a difference with the hordes of new iPhone 5 owners. I’m also playing with the idea of releasing a free version so people who like ads and stuff can play it.
So even though I failed (twice!) with this October challenge, I ultimately finished a game and released it and made a few dollars.
So, TLDR i would say here’s what I’ve learned from these Octobers:
- If you’re trying to finish something, CUT CUT CUT features. You can always save them for an update.
- Don’t have a campaign mode.
- Stop adding stuff. Prove your game works first, then add stuff to it.