October Challenge Failure Success Story!

Posted by (twitter: @joeld42)
September 28th, 2012 12:53 pm

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.
Anyways, if you want to support the game you can buy it on the App Store or just Like the Planet Minesweeper Facebook page . I really appreciate it. UPDATE: Sigh! The drama continues. I just found a bug in the new update with the iPad version that can leave some users stuck on the Game Over screen, even if you quit and restart the app. I’ve already submitted a fix to the app store and it’s awaiting apple’s approval. So if you’re using an iPad, hold off until the next version is approved..
And good luck everyone with the October Challenge 2012!


2 Responses to “October Challenge Failure Success Story!”

  1. Martoon says:

    Just wanted to say that I’ve enjoyed Planet Minesweeper immensely over the last several months. Now just waiting for the update to the update to go live, so I can get off the game over screen. 😉

    • jovoc says:

      Yeah, sorry about that. That’s what I get for rushing out an update for the iphone5. I wish apple had some kind of “expedite” request for these kind of small, important bug fixes but they don’t, so it’s just got to filter through the review process.

      It does still work on the iphone and ipod touch, so if you have one of those devices you can play on that.

      And thanks for the kind words, it’s good to hear that people are enjoying it!

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