Weekly Dev Journal 11: On goals, shadows, and self-publishing

The bad news: We don’t have a playable build this week. We decided to dig in and make some big additions, and right now the game’s in a bit of a messy state.

The good news:  we’re making great progress! We’ll have a build ready for Kongregate.com next week, with some solid new features that we’re pretty excited about!


We finally got around to adding something we’ve been planning for awhile: Player objectives and leveling:





This addition serves two purposes. First, it lets us unlock the game’s features slowly and teach people the game’s mechanics one at a time, and secondly, it gives you something to do other than try for a new high score. Once you meet the three objectives for a given level, a new pickup, player ability or other game feature is unlocked.

We’re trying to make the objectives interesting: In addition to some of the usual suspects (high score milestones, collecting X number of gems) we’re going to ask you to do things such as clear a number of Regions without colliding with anything, and to catch a speed powerup while soaring through the air.

Once you reach a certain level, we’re also going to unlock a set of daily “multiplier” objectives that are generated procedurally. These will be much more challenging, and if you finish one, you’ll get a 5% or so point multiplier for the remainder of the day.

We’ve been giving a lot of thought to how to separate the “demo” features from the full version features, and this leveling system will probably be a central part of that: The demo will feature around 5 player levels and a single daily objective, the full version will have at least 15 player levels (which means a lot more special abilities and pickups) and at least 3 daily objectives.


I tried turning on Unity’s dynamic shadow system, and it’s actually working really well, pretty much out of the box! We ran into some performance issues, but I think I’ve been able to get a handle on it. It’s starting to look like a real game!







Self Publishing

As I mentioned last week, we setup a Greenlight page for Steam, and so far it seems there are a lot of doubters 🙂
This feedback is a great thing, because it gives us some perspective on what the general public will think, and gives us a chance to tune the game’s look. But it also reveals that there are a few people who really seem to love the game already.

Through this experience, and the advice of several other indies who’ve gone before us – we decided that maybe it’s time we just take matters into our own hands and start selling pre-orders for the game right on Flippfly.com, and to use other platforms when the time is right.

This has a few distinct advantages:

  1. We get a bigger portion of the revenue than we will on most platforms.
  2. We’ll “own” the customers in the sense that we’ll have an email address so we can tell them about future products.
  3. When someone buys one of our games, they’ll know they’re buying a Flippfly product, not just some game on the app store. This brand recognition should start to pay off over time as people start to associate our brand with quality and fun!

We’re not quite ready to open the floodgates yet, but look for an announcement next week! We’re using a company called FastSpring to handle the payment processing, for a combination of a great rates (they take less than 10%) lots of payment options for customers, and great customer support, according to lots of other indies. We’ll probably setup the pre-orders in a way that looks somewhat like Kickstarter – with a few different tiers including soundtracks, perhaps a 3-pack at a discount, etc.

Of course, self-publishing will have its challenges. One of them is simply making people aware of your presence and website.

Hmm, if only we had a newsworthy story…
Stay tuned 😉

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