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We were completely surprised to find Flick Buddies available on a pirate website within 48 hours of its release. I had heard rumors of people asking for promo codes to acquire the game for free and then cracking it. Unfortunately, one of the promo codes we gave out to a seemingly legitimate user ended up being used to crack the game and release it for free on the internet.
While I don't think this would have hurt our sales too badly, it was still quite disappointing, particularly with the game coming in at a 99 cent price point. We have learnt our lesson and plan to be more scrupulous with whom we share our promo codes with in the future.
The final negative event is only small, but caused so many grey hairs. We distributed our press releases to media outlets around the world. This seemingly simple process took countless hours to get right. We were trying to organize an HTML email to go out with embedded pictures and video of the game. Everything that could go wrong seemed to, as we prepared the email and spent far too long going back and forth getting it right. We ended up sending the press release out and all was okay; however it ended up taking a total of almost six hours from when we started on it to release.
This fits well with most of the marketing/press material we created. My rule of thumb now is to allow at least a full week of time to prepare marketing material for all the sites around the internet. This ranged from various image sizes to custom press releases targeting different sites. While we had prepared for this to take some time we were still surprised by just how long it all took to complete.
Click for large image.
We also had a similar issue from a technology standpoint. We only completed some of our assets right at the last minute, which seemed to push us over a memory footprint size restriction. After months of development with no crashes, we suddenly found the app was crashing regularly on most devices. There was a mad rush to find out the cause of the problems and we ended up submitting Flick Buddies to Apple a few days after we'd originally scheduled. We fixed all the problems, however it was fairly daunting having more issues in the last 24 hours than we did in the entire three month development process.
Shauno, our artist, has put together behind the scenes video showing the process of creating one of our characters. You can check the video out on YouTube below:
We're currently working on the first update to Flick Buddies which will include many of the requests we've received from our players. We're adding a new game mode, family, set of levels and OpenFeint support. I've also started prototyping other games in the Flick Buddies franchise. This update also includes a web version of Flick Buddies intended for Kongregate's Unity competition.
We're also working on completely new games. We're looking at something completely different that is a little less casual. Our current two prototypes are for a new take on a platformer and strategy game.
Developer: Bane Games
Partners: SQUIDTANK and IndieNoizes
Platform: iOS (iPad and iPhone/iPod Touch)
Release Date: 15th December 2010
Development Time: 3 months part-time
Number of developers: 4 – 1 programmer, 1 designer, 1 artist, 1 sound engineer
Technology: Unity, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe After Effects
Number of Files: 3,408
Lines of C# Code: 5,549