Indie Dev Diaries: Playback interactive

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Been following this series?

Well then:

By now you’ll know that every other week we a get an Indie developer to write a diary entry on their life as an Independent developer.

This week we have London based Studio, Playback interactive who have create a pretty unique game called “Curry Goat revenge”

Enjoy!


Playback Interactive

Welcome to Playback!

Hopefully this diary will give you an insight into the journey we embarked on whilst making our game ‘Curry Goat Revenge’

The idea came from a funny youtube video that went viral a while ago.

The clip captured a wild goat in a remote village running around bucking loads of different people. Best of all? There was an angry Jamaican man voicing the goat whilst he hunted down those who were responsible for “cooking up his bredrin Billy” in a curry.

So at about 2am whilst doing an ‘all-nighter’ on a maths puzzle game that we were supposed to launch last year, the idea for our next game was born… Curry Goat Revenge!

Development begins

Around January 2015 we started to take the idea of Curry Goat Revenge a little more seriously and we began to flesh out the game.

Burak (Obama), one of our developers, had an old prototype of a game he made in Unity called Dodge’em Crates.

It was a rudimentary affair during which crates would fly at you from a distance and you would have to move out of the way to avoid being hit.

Curry Goat grew around this platform.

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Over the next month, Curry Goat Revenge would become an endless runner set in the Caribbean. The player (the goat) would have to chase the butchers truck through various different areas. This truck swerves all over the road dropping crates of Curry Powder and Goat Meat, all of which the Goat has to dodge to avoid being killed.

Curry Goat was built in Unity 4.3 with the aim of being available on iOS and Android platforms.

Unity licenses all paid for, we mapped out the game and began coding…

Changing to Dynamic Ragdoll Characters

Curry Goat Revenge is an affectionate look at the caribbean culture and we wanted a lot of humour in the game.

The more the team spoke about it, the more concepts we had for characters to include. We threw around some ideas for character names and decided that the game should feature a few (which quickly grew to 40 or so) in-game characters.

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These characters (much like the original  Youtube video) would need to be “Bucked Down” by the goat in revenge, plus it gave us an opportunity to add some more funny voiceovers.

The characters we built using MagicaVoxel.

This software is really easy to use and within a day or two we were creating some really cool looking models. Our 3D animator built a few examples for us with several “falling” animations that activated when the goat bucks them.

Somewhere around April we ditched animations and and decided to go with dynamic rag doll movements for each character.

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Suddenly there was a real feel to hitting the people in the game.

To Update or To Not Update?

Then Unity 5 comes out.

So the guys update and start working with some of the new features.

But….

Loads of the packs and features that we have worked with on Unity 4.3 were not yet available for Unity 5. The iOS version seemed to work fine,but on Android we just could not implement Unity 5.

So we were faced with the exhausting task of rebuilding the Android version.

Word of warning! Don’t bother to update mid-project, its not worth the risk. Loads and loads of late nights were spent going over old code.

Check the app size!

We thought we were so close to the finish line and we were waiting patiently for the app to arrive on iOS store.

When it finally arrived in June, we realised that we hadn’t even considered the size of the app.

Ours was over 100mb and was only available to download via wifi!

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This was a huge problem… social media was aiming to be one of our biggest marketing pushes.

We needed our users to be able to jump from their Instagram or Twitter apps, over to the App Store and download Curry Goat Revenge from anywhere.

We envision potential customers being on trains, buses, school playgrounds etc when they first encounter an advert for our game, and we wanted them to be able to download it whilst the thought was fresh.

Needing to be on Wifi put a stop to all that.

So… we searched again for ways to condense the files within the game and tried to hit that lower size. We managed to get the file down to 80mb.

Launch Day

We had so many dates that we wanted to launch on. We even had the idea for a Curry Goat BBQ outside our office to celebrate.

This got pushed back once, twice and a few more times after that until we eventually cancelled.

Instead, we decided to silently launch the game on the app store, and waited for the android to catch up whilst one of the developers was still working on the Unity 5 problems.

When everything was in order, then we would push to market.

Big Indie Pitch

We were shortlisted to the final 20 for the big indie pitch in Brighton.IMG_3237

The night went really well.

It was a great networking opportunity and it was good to hear some honest feedback from other developers. We never made it to the top 3.

However:

Pocket gamer did feature our gameplay on their Vine and we have since had our Curry Goat promotional Video posted on their site. So all in all, we thought it was a good eye opener.

Off to market

We decided to use social media quite heavily to promote our game. The goat in the game is voiced by Jamaican comedian White Yardie who has over 100,000 followers on Instagram and a huge presence on Twitter and Youtube.

Yardie would post for us and call in favours from his network of friends in the industry.Curry goat Double up social

The idea was to have a blitz on social media and spark some interest in the game.

Early August the app was in both stores, was under 100mb and the timing seemed right. So the media blitz began.

We created loads of 640 x 640 Instagram sized images for people to post, we also had in-game footage and stylised videos that people could post.

Specifically, we wanted users to post the end game screen and be chasing top score status on our leaderboards. We wanted people to discuss and share this throughout social media.

Tweeting, retweeting, reposting, hashtags, youtube links… etc, etc

We just put our phones on charge and made sure we commented and posted and added people across all platforms.Curry goat Double up team office

We found the website Tag Board to be really useful. Type in your hashtag (for instance we promoted the hashtag currygoatrevenge) and it brings up all mentions in one place.

This site was a great time saver for us and allowed us to see all the action at once

The biggest banner possible

Luckily for us, our office building overlooks a busy commuter train line into the city of London and we a printed a massive banner to hang on the side of it.

We thought it looked great until some nearby residents complained, mentioning something about it being an eyesore.

But it was worth a try, I think they downloaded it anyway. Wonder if they bought any coin packs?

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3 weeks in…

This has helped a lot with our first week downloads. The response has been great so far and 3 weeks in, we have had 30,000 downloads.


Enjoyed reading this Indie dev Diary?

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Be sure to check out the game and let the developers know your thoughts.

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