iOS indie developers writing every day about their stuff.

Engage Users In-App

Tod Cunningham
fivelakesstudio.com

Ken and I have been trying to figure out how to better engage and communicate with our users.   The AppStore sure doesn’t make it easy. We have tried to use GetSatisifaction and of course there is classic e-mail, but they both have the problem of discoverability.  We don’t have a good spot in App to make those resources available without disrupting the user experience.  By forcing users to leave the app and visit our website to communicate with us, we averaged only a few contacts a month.We also prompt for star ratings within the app and that has been helpful in getting reviews, […]

AB Testing – Results

Tod Cunningham
fivelakesstudio.com

In Part 1 I talked about how we are adding interstitial ads into Picross HD. We had been getting tips and suggestions on how to do this in a way that doesn’t drive our users crazy.  We decided to put together an AB Testing framework so we could learn from the results, and this is the results of that experiment.Interstitial Ad Providers TestOne of the tests we conducted was on interstitial Ad providers.  We went with 2 different providers: ChartBoost and PlayHaven.  These ads are displayed on launch of the application and half our users got ChartBoost and the other half got PlayHaven ads.Ads ShownEven though […]

Mobile Website (dudamobile.com)

Tod Cunningham
fivelakesstudio.com

OMG.  Five Lakes Studio is a mobile casual game company, but we had no mobile website.  What’s even worse is a majority of our traffic is coming from mobile devices (surprise!!!): How did we get here?We don’t get much traffic to our website, and we don’t want to spend a lot of time on it.  We focus our business on our users and our apps.  For example, we just integrated AppsFire’s AppBooster SDK into Picross HD so users can contact us and we can communicate with them directly within the App.  I plan on writing a blog post just about it.  So far […]

ABTesting

Tod Cunningham
fivelakesstudio.com

We are looking at adding interstitial ads into Picross HD.  We have been talking to people on the subject trying to get tips and suggestions on how to do this in a way that doesn’t drive our users crazy and yet allows us to gain some additional revenue that we can use to keep making our games better.One point that kept being made was to use AB Testing for figuring out how to optimize what we are trying to do.  This of course can be applied to many more things then ads, but I finally had a real need to solve this ABTesting problem.The ProblemI […]

Push Notifications and Urban Airship

Tod Cunningham
fivelakesstudio.com

I have been considering putting Push Notifications into Picross HD for some time now.  This weekend, I decided to take the plunge and give it a try.  I will try to cover some of the hiccups and things that I have been trying.Why Push NotificationsKen and I aren’t very good at the marketing side of things, but everyone I talk with about marketing asks if we use push notifications.  I finally decided there must be something to this so let’s give it a try. There are a couple of uses for push notifications that I would like to try:Notify Picross HD […]

Picross HD Localization – Part II

Tod Cunningham
fivelakesstudio.com

At a Mobile Mondays meeting in Ann Arbor, Michael Antaran founder of Marvel Apps, was talking about the benefits of localizing AppStore Apps.  That was enough to inspire me to give it a try.In the first part, I explained that we decided to localize Picross HD into three languages: German, French, and Japanese along with some of the lessons we had learned.  Now that the localized versions have been in the AppStore for about a month, I thought it would be good to share the results along with some other interesting tidbits we learned.German & FrenchWe didn’t see any positive impact to new user growth […]

Picross HD Localization

Tod Cunningham
fivelakesstudio.com

At a Mobile Mondays meeting in Ann Arbor, Michael Antaran founder of Marvel Apps, was talking about the benefits of localizing AppStore Apps.  That was enough to inspire me to give it a try.  I spent the last week localizing Picross HD, our best revenue generating App so far, and I thought I would share my experiences thus far.LanguagesUsing some metrics and based on the appeal of Picross HD, the first thing I decided was to localize in 3 languages: German, French, and Japanese. ContractorsWe used odesk to find the people to do the localization and that has been a very good experience.  It was […]

Game Art for the Artistically Challenged (Part 2)

Tod Cunningham
fivelakesstudio.com

Game Art for the Artistically Challenged (Part 2)Hello again, this is Ken Vadella blogging for Five Lakes Studio, LLC (FLS).In my last article on the subject of Game Art I discussed the FLS strategy for acquiring artwork for our iOS projects. A reader of this posting (plicatibu) provided, what looks to be, a very valuable website for hiring artists to produce custom artwork at reasonable prices – thanks plicatibu. The site is called oDesk and though we have not tried to use it as of yet we plan to give it a shot in the near future. Check it out.This […]

Integrating Social Media – Epic Fail

Tod Cunningham
fivelakesstudio.com

I plan on returning to my multi-part series on creating a Star Rating System in a future post. This week, I wanted to take a small side detour and talk about how Ken and I have tried to integrate social media into our games.   Or perhaps I should say, how we have failed at it miserably.  I’m hoping someone will share some words of wisdom as there must be something fundamentally wrong with our approach thus far.iOS 5 TwitterWith iOS5 Twitter integration, I thought it would be great to add twitter to Kento.  I created a little twitter helper class […]

Star Rating System – Part 1: Google App Engine

Tod Cunningham
fivelakesstudio.com

We have been looking for ways for our users to share their experiences playing our games.  We tried things like Game Center, HeyZay, twitter, facebook, and prompting for people to rate the app on the AppStore with moderate success.One day, I had this “inspiration” to allow people to easily rate individual puzzles and share those ratings.  I was currently working on Kento: A Distorted Jigsaw, so I decided to just do it.This is a very simple star rating system that allows puzzles to be rated from 1 to 5 stars.  That information is sent to a server where it is combined […]