[LIVE DATA] from my featured game

Posts: 15
Joined: 2011.11
Post: #1
hi guys

made an iOS game recently that got 15k/day downloads via FreeAppAday. I didn't pay anything to get featured, unfortunately I didn't make money too (cos I didn't have time to set up in-app purchases ). Game is called Private Joe, a 2d sidescrolling shooter. EDIT: it's now switched back to paid version.

This being my first iOS game, here's some insights I got from my users.

Metric #1 - Beginnings and Deaths

[Image: I7zMZ.png]

Blue line: steep player drop rates right after Levels 1 and 6.

I knew immediately why most players left after Level 1 : the user flow was horrible! The missions menu was poorly designed.
Most players couldn't progress beyond Level 6 because too many died there!

Orange line: most players get killed in levels 5, 6 and 10.

Note: I excluded Level 10's deaths because it's a boss level. I shall write a separate article about boss level analytics soon

What I didn't expect was a high number of players dying in Levels 5 and 6. I had to investigate the cause of this! First thing that comes to mind is to record the x,y coordinates where players die frequently, and plot this over the level map. Enter heatmaps!

Metric #2 - Heatmaps

[Image: rXJk2l.png]

Some definitions:

StartPosition (Purple box) : Spawn position of player at start of level
WeaponBazooka : Collecting this unlocks the Bazooka for the player
RefuelStation: A checkpoint to emit messages ( not important here )
Ger_schutzer: Basic enemy soldier
Ger_captain: Advanced enemy soldier
Ger_tank2: Advanced enemy tank

Notice the two colorful spots in Level 6. The first (300,200) is green-bluish, signaling a lower intensity of deaths. The killer is the 2nd, more colorful one near (600,200). What could be the reason?

The enemy tank packs a powerful punch. Getting hit by a tank shell gives 3x more damage than a regular bullet from an enemy soldier. Most players die fighting the 2nd tank, because their lives were reduced too much after fighting the 1st tank. Having two health packs after the 1st tank didn't seem to help much.

To reduce death numbers, I could add more healthpacks, reduce tank damage, remove the soldiers, remove the 2nd tank, etc... the options are endless for the game designer. Without analytics, I wouldn't have considered them!

Metric #3 - Favourite weapons to buy

[Image: SGlgpl.png]

Appears that the rifle (blue) is the favourite weapon, followed by the pistol (orange). Ironically, these were the two weapons I spent the LEAST development time making. I poured most time into making fancy Machine Gun recoils, Grenade mechanics and Bazooka explosion effects. Bummer.

Does that mean I wasted precious dev juice doing unimportant things? No. I just had to tweak the other 7 weapons to make sure they're utilized more. This can mean: increasing firepower for the big guns, reducing the prices ( players need coins to purchase weapons ) or giving players more "trial bullets" to begin with.

So now we have like a billion options to test against. This sets the scene for a future AB or multivariate testing. To do this, we can use the "GameVars" feature in Playtomic to selectively manipulate variables in-game. AB/multivariate testing is a science which deserves it's own article: more on this in future posts...

Metric #4 - Free vs. paid

[Image: MRjt0l.png]

To encourage players with zero lives to continue playing, I offered them two choices:

  1. buy 8 lives for 80 coins, then respawn at the nearest checkpoint
  2. take the free life, but respawn all the way back at the starting point

"Free life" won by majority. The upside? Some people are willing to pay for lives, because it provides value: you don't need to respawn from the beginning, PLUS you won't get nagged at for at least the next 8 deaths!

PS: Let me know what other metrics you'd like to see, and if I should write other posts as well. The tool I used to track users was Playtomic

About me
I experiment with game analytics. Read about it here
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Posts: 387
Joined: 2002.08
Post: #2
Fantastic analysis!
Edit: oops, just saw you used the Playtomic tool to track players. Definitely something to look into... wonder if Flurry would enable tracking of usage like this, too.

KB Productions, Car Care for iPhone/iPod Touch
All too often, art is simply the loss of practicality.
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Posts: 15
Joined: 2011.11
Post: #3
don't think Flurry does it. But please check and report back here!

About me
I experiment with game analytics. Read about it here
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⌘-R in Chief
Posts: 1,277
Joined: 2002.05
Post: #4
Hey, this is cool.
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Posts: 1,234
Joined: 2002.10
Post: #5
Yeah, this is cool. Lots of opportunity to fine-tune gameplay based on user experience.
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Posts: 15
Joined: 2011.11
Post: #6
yup, let me know there's anything else you'd like to see. I can dig into the data to reveal more insights

About me
I experiment with game analytics. Read about it here
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