The experience of creating an Android game alone from scratch and how it was captured on Google Play

Hello! My name is Ibrahim, I am a novice indie developer. I always had a desire to do programming, but I was scared away by the complexity and uncertainty of choice (what exactly to study and do). And only 2 years ago, I still overcame this psychological barrier, was able to free up enough time, and decided to thoroughly approach the task. I was determined to find and learn a profession, from which I would get high.

Narrowing the circle of the search for what exactly to do was hard. There were no acquaintances in this area, so I decided to build on some general considerations. Since the priority was to first find something interesting, the choice fell on gamedev. I liked the idea to start making a simple 2D game for Android and put it on Google Play.

Having spent a little time on theory (algorithms, data structures, and design), for further study, I chose the Java language, which is essentially the official language of Android, and in general is very popular. LibGDX attracted as a framework, it is free, it is being developed just in Java, and in addition it is cross-platform. Although for the next game I plan to master the well-known Unity.

It is worth noting that from theory the most useful for me was the study of design patterns in OOP. The use of these templates helped me very often in practice, and I returned to design books many times. When you initially build the correct code structure, correctly organize the interaction of objects, this greatly simplifies the process of adding new functionality to the code or fixing it, it becomes much more convenient to work.

After creating a few test games, I took up the game, which I eventually published on Google Play. This is a casual geometric arcade game, where the main goal is dodging obstacles.

I will not describe here the process of creating a game. If someone has questions, I can answer in the comments, or maybe I'll write a separate article about it.

Let me just say that I greatly delayed the development process, paid a lot of attention to things that were not worth it. Perhaps, he stepped on all possible rakes, which beginners usually attack. Creating a game took about a year, if you do not take into account breaks and programming training. Everything except music was made by myself. A good acquaintance helped me a lot with music.

They say that the promotion of the game must begin to engage long before the release. I, of course, did not do that. Promote started immediately after the release of the game. I made a simple website, a game trailer, sent out requests for a review to a bunch of different resources, including English-language ones (I received very few answers, and mostly asked for payment), updated social networks. From paid methods: I bought a review on on the developer support program and tried advertising campaigns on Facebook and Adwords.

Most of the money was spent on Adwords, the so-called UAC (universal app campaigns) campaigns, about $ 600. Despite the fact that this method gave me the cheapest setup, the average income from a user was still less. I expected Adwords installations to trigger organic growth, but this effect was too weak and the campaign had to be stopped.

As a result, neither paid nor free promotion methods brought me the desired effect and I practically stopped trying. The number of game downloads per day after that dropped to 10-40 and the game showed almost no signs of life. However, I was lucky, and unexpectedly for me, Google Play got me signed up in the Indie Corner section. This is not a very popular section by the standards of Google Play, but nevertheless, the number of downloads has only increased greatly due to it and on some days reached more than 2000.

I think instead of words, it will be more interesting for you to see the statistics. This data is 2 months after the release and 2 weeks after the start of the feature:

Active installations / Total installations: 8400/37000
Rating on Google Play: 4.2 (148)
DAU / MAU:3400/33000 (number of unique users per day / per month)
Average game time per user per day: 8m 31s
Average number of sessions per day per user: 1.6
Users without critical errors: 99.6%



Thus, I got the opportunity to compare the audience, attracted through Adwords, and organic. Interestingly, there is a significant difference between them. An “organic” user leaves a review much more often, makes purchases more often (it is still very rare, but not a single user from Adwords has made purchases before), and he has longer game sessions. Although, unfortunately, his retention is significantly worse (retention on the first day of 25% for organics versus 38% for users with Adwords).

Summing up, I will say that the game is still in a small minus. But there were no special expectations from the first game, but the experience was valuable and interesting.

If my story turned out to be muddled, ask questions, specify that I can.

Also popular now: