Ready to give up on C2 Mobile App Ad-based games

  • thank you! btw love your game [fixed]Cluckles..[/fixed] (my son plays it all the time - although he's always rage quitting -haha)

    Thanks

    There's something about a f2p game though and what it's become with kids. There's a certain expectation nowadays - mobile games should be free (not all) and ads are how you play for free. Any kid will take that deal.

    Yeah absolutely, people are more likely to grab nice looking free games. So we have to monetise in that case with ads and possibly iAPs. Its definitely possible to make money with the f2p model and if you get a good sized user base, you can potentially use your free games to direct traffic to premium paid games.

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  • I doubt I'd ever become a full time app-developer... but I guess my point is, using C2 I don't really think it's possible. The time spent getting it to work is crazy. The trial and error process you are required to do is quite large.

    I'll disagree on this point. It is definitely possible to make good money publishing mobile games, and it is definitely possible to make good quality mobile games in C2! Im sticking with C2 based on the small taste of success I had with Cluckles.

    Basically, I had an effective export pipeline in place with XDK. I had ironed out all the bugs, documented all the steps involved and it just worked. It was repeatable and I could easily make changes to my game and publish an updated version to Android and iOS in a short amount of time. There were multiple steps involved, but the process was stable and repeatable.

    Yes it took time to get that pipeline in place, but once established I could have used it to churn out more quality mobile games into the future.

    Now that XDK isnt an option, we just need to figure out the best platform for building our C2 games with. Which build service is likely to be the most stable into the future and the easiest to use? Cocoon, Phonegap, C3 build service or Cordova CLI?

    As I said before I dont like Cocoon much. I had more troubles getting Cocoon working than I ever did with XDK, although I would stick with it if I could manage to publish to iOS successfully. Ive never been able to figure out how to publish to iOS with Phonegap, although I probably haven't spent enough time testing Phonegap . I would consider paying a subscription to use the C3 build service, but will it be easy to use? Will the iAPs, GameCenter, GooglePlay and Ads plugins work well with C2 and be maintained into the future??? Id also consider using Cordova CLI. This final option would probably be the most time consuming to troubleshoot, but once you had the pipeline in place you'd be entirely self-sufficient I guess?

  • > The two plugins Ive had success with are the Cranberry Chartboost plugin and Verstala's adnetwork mediation plugin. But of course both took hours of fiddling and troubleshooting to make em work.

    >

    I'll take "hours" any day... it's weeks of trial and error I don't care for. The plugin is not free correct? what kind of support is there? (if you have a problem of it all of a sudden not working?)

    Its not free but it's not very expensive. The dev Verstala responded to every message I sent him and he was fairly helpful. I have this plugin working well in Cluckles on Android. But I havent been able to test it on iOS yet because I havent been able to release an update on iOS due to the localStorage bug with Cocoon I mentioned previously. I will most likely be using this plugin for future games when I need ads, depending on what the new Scirra ad plugin turns out to be like. I really like the fact you can choose which ad networks are displayed. I'm showing ads from AdMob, Chartboost, UnityAds, Vungle and HeyZap using this plugin. It's pretty good. I did find bugs with it tho. If I remember, some of the conditions dont fire as you'd expect. Im pretty sure I posted in his thread about that. Not sure if he's fixed it. Actually I should check and see if there are recent updates or something.

  • > what portals and what protection do you speak of?

    >

    The ones with working api's we have plugs for.

    Newgrounds, Gamejolt, maybe Kongregate.

    You have to do a custom build for each one, but you also get a reliable sdk to make rewards, and that's a great experience/ setup for iap later.

    You can use other portals, but you need to make some custom control methods which requires a lot of planning.

    I want to try these platforms too to see what kind of revenue is possible.

  • Does people have the same kind of negative experiences getting microtransactions to work?

    do you mean iap (in-app-purchasing)? Like I said, some people are doing it in C2. I think it's just a matter of patience and trial and error. The only thing that worries me about it is having so many layers of dependencies. I can already foresee some players finding a bug in the game, I fix it and go to recompile it, it fails and I can't update the app.

    but honestly after hearing Artpunk talk about it, maybe I should keep at it. My game is mostly complete, so I'm leaning towards giving it another shot. I will update the thread on my progress.

  • I really like the fact you can choose which ad networks are displayed. I'm showing ads from AdMob, Chartboost, UnityAds, Vungle and HeyZap using this plugin.

    Just curious, why from all those sources? Wouldn't it to be better to stick with one so you get more 'impressions'?

  • jobel

    I see, thanks a lot for the info I guess I will have to try it by myself because everyone has different results probably.

    [quote:uzfs0tk1]but honestly after hearing Artpunk talk about it, maybe I should keep at it. My game is mostly complete, so I'm leaning towards giving it another shot. I will update the thread on my progress.

    +1 will be awesome to see updates about this

  • So do you think is still a viable method to make money, how is been your experiences with your Apps revenue etc... I don't ask the amount you make just a general it is good worth it, you know all that to have a general view.

    Also congrats for your game I have it on my iPhone and is really fun to play

    Yes I can tell you that it's definitely possible to make money publishing to mobile with C2 games. When I published Cluckles I had a single ad plugin (Cranberry's Chartboost plugin) in both the iOS and Andorid versions of the game. By pure dumb luck the game got featured on iTunes and the amount of money that single plugin generated in a matter of weeks made me realise that yes, there is definitely money to be made on mobile. Based on that small taste of success I am persevering with mobile game dev for the moment. The problem is the revenue is so inconsistent! As soon as the game stopped being featured the revenue dropped to a tiny trickle. If Cluckes had not been featured at all, Id be seriously considering whether game dev was worth the effort (if you are serious about making an income from it that is).

    So... how to make income consistently and not be reliant on dumb luck? Here follows random, somewhat related thoughts in no particular order:

    -I think your game has to be at least half-way decent to stand any chance of success. It has to be somehow unique and interesting. Clones, crappy artwork, crappy gameplay wont help you. A good game can be simple, it doesnt have to be massively complex but Id argue it needs to be polished to stand a chance. But even if u do make a great game, thats no guarantee of success.

    -Equally as important is getting eyes on your game... somehow... anyway you can. Getting featured is the ultimate but you can't rely on it obviously. How then? Free games are more likely to get downloaded. Having quality sites like TouchArcade mention your game could help? If you're a social media junky I guess thats to your advantage: getting as much awareness of your game out there as possible I think will help. I think the idea that you should share your game during all stages of development so that people are aware of it and looking forward to it's release is a good idea. I can see the value in doing that, but I find it hard to practice myself as Im not much of a social media junky.

    -An approach I am trying to follow is to leverage traffic I already have. I was super lucky that Cluckles got featured, and now that I have a decent number of people playing that game, I plan to try to direct those users to my new game when I release it. Ill do this by updating Cluckles and putting a link to my new game and also by having my own ad on rotation within Cluckles, for example: every forth ad shown will be an ad to my new game.

    -Following from the previous point, having a large portfolio of games will help because you can cross advertise all you games within each game. That way if one of your games is successful, you can try to leverage that success by directing traffic to the rest of your portfolio. Each game should have a 'more games from this developer' link prominently displayed. And you can have ads rotating that link to your games on the market. I think this method can be v helpful, but obviously relies on you developing a portfolio of decent games.

    -I read around the place that one important thing we should all do is create an email subscription list (this apparently is a thing not just for game devs but for a range of digital creatives no matter what you're trying to sell). The idea being that if you can get people signed up to an email list, you can email your list when you are releasing a new game and they will all rush to download it I found that getting people to sign up to an email list is v hard. Maybe I didnt implement it well in Cluckles, but so far I have <100 email subscribers in total. So if 100 people rush out to download my next game thats not really going to line my pockets with gold. I think that an email list could be helpful if you manage to acquire a sizeable email list of people interested to hear about your games. Building your list will take ages I guess, so start early and just persevere with it? I need to find a better way of persuading people to sign up.

    Interesting related observation: I also included a link in Cluckles to report bugs. So far I have probably 5 - 6 times as many emails from 'bug reports' than from people signing up to the email list. And 99% of those bug report emails have no text... ie. People press the bug report button, it launches the default email app on device with a prefilled email and the user presumably cant be bothered entering any text and just presses send. Ethical dilemna: to 'accidentally' merge bug report email list with 'marketing' email signups and run the risk of having my games booted for vialoting terms about collecting users email addresses ? Obviously I cant do that. Rules exist about collecting people's details for marketing etc which would be breached by doing that, so you cant get away with it (and I would never consider such a dastardly act... just saying). But what it shows is that more users found it easy to hit a send button on an email, than to go through the process of signing up to a email subscription system. I guess that seems obvious, but how can I use this to inform how I get people to sign up to a marketing list etc etc?

    -One thing I really noticed with Cluckles was that the 'remove ads' iAP I made in the game was a waste of effort. Hardly anyone pays to remove ads, and the amount of revenue generated by the remove ads iAP is minuscule. 99.99% of income comes from ads. And yet, building and testing the iAP and getting it working was time consuming (especially on iOS). So it was wasted effort and if I had my time over I wouldnt bother.

    -In my next game I am planning to try the lite version / full version model. So Ill make a free lite version that has ads and provides a sample of say 10% of the levels. Then there'll be a full paid version with no ads and all levels. This option is appealing to me because it kind of has the best of both worlds, first you can try to hook users with the free version, it costs them nothing to try it. Then if the game is good enough you can hopefully persuade them to pay for the full version. I dont think I have enough users to release my next game as paid only (premium). But in future I aim to do that. I think once I have 3 - 4 games released I could have a user base who know what to expect from my games, who like my style of game etc and would therefore be prepared to 'risk' $1.99 on a new release without seeing a free version to first. But at this stage Im still building that user base and I wouldn't feel confident of success releasing a new game as paid only. I doubt there'd be enough people willing to 'risk' the purchase price at this point. Thats how I'm viewing it atm anyway.

    -As a general rule of thumb, everything is harder when publishing on iOS. The pipeline has more steps, the approval process is a nightmare etc. BUT as a mobile dev you absolutely MUST target iOS. Its a non-negotiable. I would go so far as to say that you should make iOS your priority 1. It's where the money is. iOS represents the high end, wealthy part of the market. iDouches are more likely to be cashed up and willing to spend the allowance mummy gave them. Also, it does actually work to developer's advantage that iTunes is better curated: ie, less crap games are allowed on. So its not quite so awash with cloned turd-ware like GooglePlay is. The competion is less. So the higher barrier to entry, while a real prick when you're trying to publish, actually ends up being and advantage. This could be becoming less relevant maybe as time goes on idk. I also read that iTunes has a better system for giving exposure to a wider number of devs. ie you're more likely for your game to be featured in some small way on iTunes than on GooglePlay. I dont know if thats true, but it seems to be reflected by my experience. But having said that, some C2 game devs have had their games featured on Android... so who knows really.

    Sorry for the wall of text. I got on a roll.

    ...So all these problems that you guys have had happened only when you export with C2 exporters or will happen the same with C3 exporters swell?? basically is the c3 exporters any better and what are the differences between (c2 & c3) exporters or they are both the same

    I'm very curious on this

    I think that's what we are waiting to see? If Scirra gets the C3 build service working nicely, so that its easy to use and stable, it works with C2 and all related plugins (iAP, Ads, GooglePlay, GameCenter) are updated to work with C2 and are maintained, then Ill sign up and use it. I dont think everything has been released yet has it? I saw some tutorials and things were released, I need to go look. Im not ready yet tho Im still focused on building a new game, not tuning the export / build pipe-line.

  • but honestly after hearing Artpunk talk about it, maybe I should keep at it. My game is mostly complete, so I'm leaning towards giving it another shot. I will update the thread on my progress.

    Absolutely 100% Dont give up! Your better off publishing a game with some faults than not publishing anything at all. Your game will be good because you care. Youre coming at from the right angle, you want to make a good game and become a successful dev. Therefore you'll polish it as best you can and what you create won't be faultless but it won't be crap either. You'll learn what worked and what didnt and your next game will be better. And your next dozen games after that will be what makes you a successful dev.

    ... as if I know anything

    But seriously I do believe that. When I look at Cluckles there is a HEAP of stuff I would improve in that game if I made it again. But it was a huge learning experience and my future games will be better because of it (I hope)

  • This was an insightful read, and it seems I was right to fear the monetization part of development. Sigh... Does people have the same kind of negative experiences getting microtransactions to work? I'm considering ditching ads due to its invasive nature, but if I can't expect any monetization options to work, I might have to rethink my approach to KlangMs business model.

    Premium won't really fit my game though...

    Like Newt said, I've found iAPs even harder to set up than Ads. The iOS approval process is v particular about thoroughly testing your iAPs. You need to have the whole 'restore purchase' functionality working faultlessly. My 'remove ads' iAP i set up turned out to be wasted effort because no one bothers with it, they are happy to put up with ads. But I agree microtransactions should be a good option for generating income from our games.

    In my current project I have an in-game currency that player's can accumulate and use to buy new weapons, mana, keys, health (maybe also skins). I would love to link this to a microtransaction so players could buy a quantity of the in-game currency. But I am really not looking forward to dealing with the complexity that having iAPs brings to it. It would be much easier to just have a single purchase price for the game and leave it at that. Im still tossing this up.

    I really hope the new iAP plugins Scirra is developing are easy to use and take some of the pain out of this.

    > I really like the fact you can choose which ad networks are displayed. I'm showing ads from AdMob, Chartboost, UnityAds, Vungle and HeyZap using this plugin.

    >

    Just curious, why from all those sources? Wouldn't it to be better to stick with one so you get more 'impressions'?

    I think HeyZap is mediating ads from those different networks, then delivering the ad with the highest return / payment. So you want to enable as many ad networks as possible, so that you can have the most lucrative ads being displayed in your game... but then another consideration was that my game didnt like all of the ad networks. Like, AppLovin is also an option, but for some reason AppLovin interstital ads didnt display well. I cant remember the details now, I'd have it written down, but I remember I disabled that particular ad network because it was problematic.

    Aren't impressions just the number of times an ad is displayed without being clicked? So your ads generate impressions regardless of which network is serving them. It just means you're accumulating revenue in several different accounts (ie you need an account for Chartboost, UnityAds etc). Sorry I'm not sure what you're asking there about impressions?

  • Anybody tried Enhance ( guys who used to run Flash game license ) ?

    Supposedly you upload your mobile app and they automatically inject ads into it. This would mean you would not need to worry about ad plugins in Construct 2.

    As long as you can compile an Android or iOS app, they handle the rest. Ads shown through them are also the same/usual ad providers you would use yourself anyway ( admob, whatever..)

    https://enhance.fgl.com/documentation/integrate-zero-code That's zero code on developers part, there are also instructions for Construct 2 ( click on interstitial ads for example ).

    If this works seem like it would eliminate much of this nonsense

  • -Following from the previous point, having a large portfolio of games will help because you can cross advertise all you games within each game. That way if one of your games is successful, you can try to leverage that success by directing traffic to the rest of your portfolio.

    excellent point here... I always see Blizzard doing it and always thought it was genius.

    -I read around the place that one important thing we should all do is create an email subscription list

    another great point, I think any pr is good pr. But people do hate this step.

    -As a general rule of thumb, everything is harder when publishing on iOS. The pipeline has more steps, the approval process is a nightmare etc. BUT as a mobile dev you absolutely MUST target iOS. Its a non-negotiable. I would go so far as to say that you should make iOS your priority 1. It's where the money is. iOS represents the high end, wealthy part of the market.

    I honestly am totally intimidated by iOS. I worked on a team years ago and we made mobile apps, but I was just a designer and sound designer, I wasn't doing any really technical. It was such a pain...just no good, the process to just test it was a headache. And when we finally released the same thing happened, we were featured and got tons of action, then we weren't and everything stopped - like nothing. Then a new version of iOS came out and broke the game, we lost our programmer and it was over.

  • Anybody tried Enhance ( guys who used to run Flash game license ) ?

    As long as you can compile an Android or iOS app, they handle the rest. Ads shown through them are also the same/usual ad providers you would use yourself anyway ( admob, whatever..)

    the only problem is you lose all control of how ads work. but seeing how I can't get them to work at all, maybe it's cool?

    although something about that doesn't sit well...idk

  • Well, looks like with zero code you can show pre game ads and fixed banners , and with some code you can show them between levels too. They say Construct 2 is supported. I think you can also check / uncheck which ad network to use.

  • Yeah the dependency thing is really bad. This is something Scirra should've worked on their own solution for. Of course it's much to ask they make their own service, but at the very least make it easy to hook up with!

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