My plan for Best Smartphone Games, as a blog, isn’t to just cover new game releases and review new titles. What I want from this blog is to try and raise the bar for mobile gaming. I can achieve this by showing, explaining and deconstructing the predatory tactics of this industry or releasing new titles with above average quality that players can enjoy. Titles that are not driven by direct financial incentives but designed from a fun or experimental game design perspective. And lastly, to release and do case studies that other devs, and some players, can learn from. This is why we’re releasing BSG – Dragon Battle – A boss battle game for iOS.
Scope and Goal
BSG – Dragon Battle nails the last two points. It’s both a new title with, what I hope to be, a higher than average quality bar AND the starting point of a few case studies I plan to do.
What do I mean by case studies? Hopefully, using the game I can answer a few questions that not many devs answer. Questions like:
- How many downloads does a free game with no advertising budget gets in its first week?
- Can you release a game with no ads and in-app purchases?
- Do players like games that use the gyroscope or accelerometer?
- How much of an impact do updates have on a game?
- Does advertising with a $1000 enough to gain 300 new players?
- Does releasing a youtube trailer help with getting downloads on the App Store?
Questions like this that many people have but with very few answers. By releasing BSG – Dragon Battle on the app store I can, in time, write the articles mentioned above (and after I write them, I’ll update the question with links to the new answers).
BSG – Dragon Battle – the Boss Battle Game for iOS
I started designing and writing BSG – Dragon Battle about a week ago, or so, around xMas 2021. The game is scheduled for release on January 10th, 2022. By the time you can download it, I would have spent a maximum of 2 weeks working on the game – if I work on it any further. Right now I think I have about 5 days of work.
If you’re wondering how this is possible, don’t forget that I have about 12-15 years of actual hands on experience designing and making games. I am both a programmer and designer and the game is my design document. I don’t write things down, I just implement them. And boy have I implemented a lot of games over the last few years. So naturally, I can move fast, really fast.
But, since this is a game designed and programmed in a bit over a work week, it doesn’t feel natural to charge for it. So this makes it a good subject for a case study AND as a way to promote Best Smartphone Games as a blog.
So here’s the deal.
Starting January 10th you can download the game, completely for FREE from Apple’s App Store (if they review and approve it by then). And I don’t mean FREE, FREE+, FREE with In-App Purchases or FREE with Ads. Or Data Collection.
The game is going to be 100% free, as in beer and in-speech. The only sign of any kind of advertisment is going to be a splash screen with this blog’s logo, + two buttons in the Main Menu (one of them in the About section) that will take you to this blog.
There are no analytics built into the game and no data tracking. So any feedback, suggestions and info needs to be volunteered by you – the players, with me via email, twitter or as comments on this blog. Now let’s talk about the actual game.
BSG – Dragon Battle – Gameplay
One of the goals behind the game was to design a good looking mobile game in which you and your fellow orcs try to scratch the belly of a fearsome Golden Dragon – with arrows, swords and axes. It’s a Boss Battle Game for iOS that features a single, highly detailed level and one giant and mean boss dragon.
The Camera is controlled via the iPhone or iPad’s gyroscope. Look around and aim with your phone. You can “jump” or move to other locations by swiping LEFT or RIGHT on the screen. With your fingers. You can equip your bow by swiping down, shoot it by tapping, holding and then releasing your finger from the screen.
And if the bow is unequipped – you can pick up swords, barrels and tiles from the environment and throw it at your enemies.
The Boss Dragon has its own aces up his sleeve. He can attack from range, melee or take flight as he summons multiple creatures to destroy you. He’ll get meaner and meaner as his HP drops. Your goal is to take his health down to 0. You get bonus points for not taking too much damage or by finishing the battle fast (and there are ways).
In the end – you’re given a score.
That’s all there is to the game. But i tried to make sure it’s the best vertical slice of gameplay that I could make in such a short amount of time. It looks gorgeous (for being a mobile game developed in 5 days) and it should sound pretty decent as well.
Future Updates and will the game stay free?
The plan is to wait and see. If the game gathers a hefty amount of downloads and interest from players? I’ll be sure to update it. I have an entire tournament/arena battle system cvasi-designed in my head, where you can join an Arena Gladiator Team and fight in ranked tournaments against AI (and possibly other players). Example: Join a 3v3 team, destroy your enemies, earn XP, unlock gear and try to reach the finals – and win.
This update shouldn’t take more than 2 weeks, with most of the time being consumed on designing the gear for the player (and it’s flavour text + balancing). And maybe some more optimisations. But if I do the update, will the game stay free? Probably, most definitely maybe sure.
But for this to happen – there’s gotta be interest in the game. Or for me to want to do a case study on “if a game with low downloads can gather more via new gameplay updates”. Now that’s a topic I haven’t seen covered anywhere.
Where To Next?
You’ve reached the end of this article and hopefully we piqued your interest with our Boss Battle Game for iOS. I write extensively about the mobile gaming industry, their tactics and how greed influences a game’s design, subjects which were brought up in this post.
I believe that you might be interested in more articles on game monetisation. So if you want to stick around, you can check out “How Do Free Mobile Games Make money“, “Why Do Mobile Games Have Fake Ads” and “Why Do Mobile Games Have In-App Purchases“.
There’s also a monster post (about 4000 words) that answers the question: “How Hard Is It To Make A Mobile Game“. It goes in depth with actual examples on how Experience, Resources and Financials affect the difficulty of developing and releasing new mobile games!
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