Worm Puncher Report

This is not an income report and also will not fit well on my website, that’s why I wanted to share some of “starting wormpuncher” because it is some sort of experiment for me also. I am still a newbie :wink:

For the first, Worm Puncher was not a 1-day project, I may write an article for “creating worm puncher” in the future, but currently I am low on time (like always g)

This “diary” is for the purpose to get a look in what to expect when starting with a new game.

I spent a reasonable amount with creating marketing graphics like the Functional Image and the Icon of the app. I also added the google play marketing graphics, even when I do not know its actual (practical) purpose…

The next thing I did was some basic marketing. Announcing the new game in some forums.

I also started to create facebook fanpage and website project page in advance - I did not promote anything of it. You may go ahead and invite everyone you know to these groups … personally I don’t like to invite everyone I know xD

Sooo - while the above was also true for Robo Miner (I did promote that on more forums) Worm Puncher lacked the expected downloads.

My conclusion for that is the same, why admob currently lacks a good CPC and also Robo Miner has dropped in revenue … holidays. Summer Break concerns the whole industrial world as well as kids and their parents.
If I am right with that than that means, that the beginning of July is the worst time to release a new app/game xD
Also phones currently does not work outside in the sun

I also looked out at steam and recognized that there were no big releases - so maybe the big ones already know that summer is a bad month for release because userbase just has different goals (being outside or drunk, haha)

Curious about your opinions!
and there we go… because for simplicity I used only(!) google play as store and only(!) admob for advertising.

Because the gameplay itself does last for ~30 seconds in a row, I decided to set the auto refresh to 30 seconds. As a bonus, admob gives me some sort of in-time evaluating about current usage by looking at impression count.

The impression count started low (and is still low) but there is an uptrend in it, so yes, it does get popular without any work - but very very slowly :slight_smile:

I also was concerned about the CTR but today the CTR is over 4% … indeed, I am not sure if that is good or bad, I do not find, that the placement is intrusive in any way (bottom screen, always visible)

I followed the advice of user “mind” to place the ad near the location of interesting (changing) areas. In worm puncher that’s the time left - it is located at the bottom.
The reason is to get more attention of the user near the ad, maybe that works better, than I’ve expected! If this CTR is staying like that I will also update the placement in some other games of mine.

In concerns of the CPC Wormpuncher (0.02) is currently 1 ct less than robo miner (0.03) in the same period of time. Which is very interesting because it means, that there IS some sort influance from the app

By the way I have invested an unexpected high amount of time into getting scoreloop into wormpuncher - first time I’ve worked with them. There are many features of scoreloop which I want to include in the game. Like Challenges and Awards.

Unfortunately Awards (Archievements) does trigger some sort of virtual currency gain and with challenges you can spend those currency to do some sort of betting who is better.

I am not completely sure about it, but I think I could add this virtual currency with no other use than being able to make challenges with other users. Like in poker where you play for coins which are needed to play against other players … hopefully you can follow me. But as I told … I am not sure if I will do it that way :slight_smile: mAybe I find the one or other additional reason for “coins” …

Very interesting ideas Reiti, thanks for sharing. The idea for virtual currency and betting for rounds sounds genius! Do you plan to let users also buy the virtual currency with real money? I don’t really know but this may then constitute gambling for money, which is not allowed for apps in google play’s terms. If so, even without buying it with real money, I think it’s a genius idea to increase players and players interest in the game.

I’ve been using Open Feint for leaderboards and achievements in my games, but I’ve come to hate Open Feint. It’s crap. I’m going to be switching to scoreloop in the future. Do you plan (have time) to write a beginners tutorial on integrating scoreloop?

Good luck with it, I hope it gets real popular :wink:

I will write a tuturial for scoreloop, because I was struggling a bit with it and would find it useful for others when they get some reading about others did it. Also there are some points to think about, for example what if user declines to use scoreloop and such things.

I am not sure if my idea would be gambling … because there is no luck involved, when player can beat another player by skill - anyway I am not sure what law thinks about it … which is a problem, I don’t want to hire a lawyer. Maybe I ask google directly about that issue

On the other side it is easy to switch off virtual currency purchasing. Maybe that would work much better with tapjoy (scoreloop has no such system to earn coins by looking videos and such) … maybe I can combine it …

I guess there is luck involved, but you could say that Poker is a game of skill also. I’m like you, I don’t know the laws, just thought I would bring the point up to save you some trouble in the future. I think you would have a good chance of not having trouble if using tapjoy offers for the virtual currency. Then your getting money, but people are not actually paying any money to bet with, so I don’t see how this could be considered gambling at all. Another genius idea :wink:

Please do write about your scoreloop experiences, thanks!

I don’t think its considered gambling I have seen a few games use this. For example SAS: Zombie Assault 3 uses this game has 100k+ downloads so I don’t think it will be an issue.

Do they let you buy the currency to bet with, with money? Or are you talking about using offer walls to get the currency to bet with?

In both cases the user is not forced to spent real money … nevertheless, if it will be counted as gambling, that could be an issue for google play as well as admob … but admob does display poker apps … xD

Ah, ya sorry I misread the post. They do not use purchased currency in that game. However in Zynga Poker they do allow to you purchase chips and they have been doing this for years

Back to topic :wink: Because of it’s weekend, Worm Puncher did get a little bit more attention and usage.

The integration of scoreloop brought up some new helpful aspects for the developer. First of, by looking at the scores it is easy to see which game modes are played the most and also - which is interesting - gives you an insight of the overall difficulty of the game in relation to the userbase.

For me it is always hard to figure out, “how good” players actually are and at which stage players start to get frustrated about the game because it is just to hard for them. Imagine players trying the 10th time to beat a level ending up with throwing their phone against the wall and kicking their cat out of the room.

As a developer you just do not want to get players frustrated. Frustration is on of the top reasons why they take the effort to open the market and give you a bad review because they just hate you :slight_smile:

I could implement a pic of myself where frustrated players could punch me in the face… that could be funny … thinking further, how cool would it be to import photos of your friends and punching THEM in the face … haha … I can almost smell that YOU (the reader) just got a good idea for your next app - stop it! xD

So, well, but coming to the point. Unfortunately I do not know how it does spread out. I have no idea, how people find it, if it is random or they got told about it from friends. That’s a very big drawback of google play … and it’s also some sort of sheepish for someone like google when they have such tools like analytics right in their pocket. I really hope they will integrate more of that features in the future.

edit: edited the worst typos … :slight_smile:


I installed Worm puncher today to give it a try. Gfx is great - worms look really good. I think it is a great start but I think there’s a lot to work on to make the game more playable. My personal impression was that the game gets really monotonous really fast - I don’t feel any sense of differences between levels - they all looked the same. No sense of any progress either. I don’t know if you have already plans for this but I’d suggest adding more worm types that would be introduced to the play once player advances. More meaner ones, ones that try to escape, harder ones you have to punch several times, etc. Of course it would be good to have better punches to deal with them - perks like hammer, exploding punch, swipe’em out move, etc. User has to be curious what’s waiting ahead.
I’d also make the worms move more across the board rather than lean from the sides but that may be just my personal preference.

A bit more on a business side of things:
Since it’s a fast paced game the ad banner at the bottom is totally invisible. No one have time to focus on it and probably almost every click you get is accidental when user push ‘retry’ button that’s very close to it. 4% CTR seems quite high - with 30sec refresh this means ad is clicked on average once every 12.5 minutes. With this kind of game you may try to put the banner somewhere more to the center on the screens displayed between the levels. Why not also put a 5-10 sec. progress bar so that users have time to take a look at the banner. h

I wouldn’t draw too much conclusions from 0.02 vs 0.03 CPC - comparing it between different apps can be tricky since this is influenced a lot by where the clicks are coming from. Unless you have apps with pretty much the same distribution of active users you may have hard time getting useful data from it.

So again - thanks for sharing and I wish you a success with this game. I’ll keep an eye on updates :slight_smile:

P.S. Another worm type came to my mind - exploding worms blowing up if not punched on time :slight_smile:

Hi Max and many thanks for telling your opinion.

You are right, that Worm Puncher currently get’s boring very fast. I wanted to see if the generell concept of the game gets attraction before investing many months more - I am only a 1 person indy developer and therefore have not the resources to invest half a year not knowing if the game will work at all :slight_smile:

I have already some good ideas about that “lack of variety”. I think of worms with a helmet, which need to be punched twice. first punch helmet falls off, second punch worm falls of.

Also I think about worms carring a bomb, which are not allowed to punch because the bomb will explode.

For the better punches I think of adding different items in the bubbles which will trigger some sort of action

But you are right, that this is all quite a lot of work and will come into the game one after another hopefully fitting well beside the current game experiences.

The CTR has settled down to very regular value of about 2.5%, which is nearly the same like robo miner which has a very low “correction rate” at the end of the month.

An ad banner is by nature completely useless during a timed gameplay but technically showing/hiding the ad will lead to different technical issues on phones, that’s why it is always visible. The aim is, to show a banner after the gameplay where the user decides to carry on with the game or doing something else.
I have tried on different phones and found that there is no big risk of accidental clicks, because clicking back is not done in a hurry or such things. (my opinion)

It would drive every ad banner pointless if putting them miles away. from any user input. I am pretty sure, admob is aware of that. Especially on small screens.

You are absolutely right, that a centered banner will drive more attention to it - I already think about some sort of interstitials between levels or on the game over screen. Thing is, that to make it right I would have to wait for the score to get submitted which would be a nice time to show some ads :slight_smile:

The 12.5 minutes is not a bad value, be aware of the case, that there will be users who starts playing the game to play 1 level, dont like it and search for other opportunites because they are bored and the banner just delivers something interesting. I truely believe that this is one of the main reasons why users click on a banner (by purpose)

Please remember, that I am just telling my opinion, that doesn’t mean that I am right or I am insisting, that I have eaten knowledge with a spoon :slight_smile: I may tend to trigger this thinking xD

Yes, I think some kind of interstitials would do the trick. You could also just use a bigger banner which tends to to bring bigger CTR. I have plans to try this out with my games but there’s a few items on the to-do list still higher than this :slight_smile:

To me the main concept of this game is working just fine - it’s the details that’s missing for it to be addictive. The only conceptual thing that was not quite right for me is that most of the action is very near the edges of the screen and not in the center. One way to change that might be to make the worms differ in size - maybe you could add a pseudo 3rd dimension where worms would be popping up at different ‘heights’ closer being bigger and further away smaller. Maybe even they would ‘climb’ towards the player and getting bigger. The smaller worm killed the more points it’s worth :slight_smile: I don’t know - just a random idea thrown into a mix you probably already have in your mind :slight_smile:

I already thought about different worm sizes … indeed it is easy to accomplish. That could also be reflected in points for sure, nice idea.
The 3D approach will not work, because you crack the screen always on the same pane … :slight_smile: (nippicking g)

One of the main “problems” with android are the very different screen sizes/ratios to make everything fit accross different solutions without sacrifying the usability. That is true for banner sizes as well as overall screen usage and scaling approaches. Especially when it comes to highscores, noone should have a gameplay benefit just because using a bigger screen (which you cannot eliminate completely)

I could also think of a mode where worms are traveling towards screen center where there is an apple and you have to save the apple… maybe I get sued, when a worm just bites a bit away from the apple xD

Yeah - also make the worms more android-ish looking :slight_smile: That would make a great … wait … iPhone game. Are you developing in native Java or in some cross-platform framework? :wink:

more or less pure java, with libgdx as opengl wrapper (I try to stay low level)

unfortunately that keeps me away from iPhone compatibility xD especially with worm puncher I’ve made use of many opengl<->android ui interfaces to spare some time making everything in opengl … (mainly highscore and saving related). Robo Miner for example does everything in the game layer … more work…

just a small update about the last days.

The CTR ended up being not very stable and ranges between 1% to 4% (more likely the lower bottom). Normally that means, there are either more long time players OR more players who dont like the game and quit very fast :slight_smile:

The overall Impression Count has peaked at sunday (like expected) and has fallen down yesterday (also expected)

Anyway - Worm Puncher does not reach more than 500 imps per day currently, which is very few considering that there is a 30sec refresh. Current daily downloads are at around 30 slightly increasing.

the active installs count is not that bad and is at 66% - the google play stats lag 2 days behind … so not very accurate at the moment - where the most comes from germany, followed by the USA

I still did not do any big marketing, just want to see how it goes on autopilot- and also show you.

I am pretty sure, I could increase that numbers by publishing to more stores, which I will do in the future. Not sure how amazon does currently accept scoreloop.

by the way, scoreloop was bought by RIM (Blackberry) last year… as far as I know Blackberry wants to support android apps as well in the future - big opportunity! (which is alreay possible now, I know g) maybe the support it natively

…board server seems to have some issues again …

well, there is something happening with worm puncher which is worth to mention.

While the last days, the impression count does only raise very slowly, today is better - already reached the highest imps/day of the last days - not bad for an normal weekday (beside it is summer break/holidays)

The CTR is a bit weird … it tends to go up very fast than settles again … already had a 5% because of some clicks in a row … that may be concerning. I also have a very small phone where I tested usability and find no great opportunity for false clicks there and also it seems to be very occasionally so it still could be, that there are just good ads displayed.

Even on the board here, I got a decent amount of very interesting ads, which I want to click, so it’s not that far away that something similiar happens on the phone.

anyway I am still below 5% which I found natural.

On older phones I found also, that the reloading of an ad during a game results in a little lag … which is bad, so I may do the refreshing controlled ingame and shut off auto refresh because it could lead to frustrated users. It’s very visible that the ad refresh is the reason for that lag and that makes it even worst. Ads should never influence the gaming experience in such a way. You may consider that issue in your own games and supress any ad reloading during timed gameplay. Phones are still very bad in multitasking (future android versions may be better).

I also found one or two weird looking highscores recently … not sure if they were possible at all (maybe a glitch?) and that is an issue you have to be aware off when using global score services. It’s even an issue when making your own scoring systems.

So currently the eCPM is very high for today (1.34) while the CPC is more or less as usual (0.38) - that’s still not any revenue worth to mention (50 ct) but may lead in a direction.

Mostly played is the easy campaign, less played is the hard campaign. It seems, that people even doesn’t try the hard one :slight_smile: But that’s fine, I found myself doing the same with a new game - starting with easy and proceeding to hard, when I mastered easy.
Noone seems to play longer than lvl 7 at the moment - which is concerning :slight_smile:

Enough insight for now :wink:

I played WormPuncher for a while. To be honest, I found it repetitive and boring after a while. You need a carrot. You need the player to feel like they are working towards a goal and achieving it.

Go read this. Print it out… put it under your pillow… eat it… whatever you need to do to absorb it. Pay particular attention to slide 36 onwards.

Yes, you’re right - currently it’s just a timewaster. I just want to test a bit the actual acceptance of the game concept before investing several months of enhancing the game experience in a game. I just cannot afford months of developing with a game nobody likes at all.

The risk is for sure, that there will be players now playing, getting bored heavily (fall asleep during game or get comatic) deinstalling it (after awake) and never come back again.

So I am heavily working on more challenges, reward system and such things. Robo Miner started very similar (and also very poor). Worm Puncher will still stay repitive I fear, no matter what I’ll do, because it’s just a simple game :slight_smile: … it’s just about punching worms xD But as long as it is good, it will also work as building up good reputation (I think) … I never thought of getting rich by making simple android games … but it may build up a fanbase for your company which is a longterm goal and makes it easier to get attention to potential future games.

Imagine a new game prangering with “from the makers of Robo Miner and Worm Puncher” xD

Thank you for the link, it’s an very interesting read … someone has to able to invest that much time (and also be willed to) when starting from scratch … also can be tricky to fit in some games - but possible, and it’s worth for sure.

Please re-read the information at that link I added to the forum.

You need to REWARD your users. So, yes, the game is about punching worms. But what does that give the user ?

Think of it like a top to bottom screen scroller in the video arcade. You get a little space-ship and enemies come at you… now what ? Shooting them kills them. Killing some of them releases a ‘reward’ which needs to be collected. Some of them need to be shot more than once. The rewards give you better abilities. So instead of getting 2 shots in the arcade, maybe worm-puncher gives you a fat thumb that squishes multiple worms as once? How about a worm that makes your next squish kill all worms around that area ? How about one that repairs the screen ?

Suddenly the game sounds a lot more interesting… yes ? You are limited only by your imagination…