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Developing educational game apps

I decided to post a bit our experiences with educational apps for the last 3 months. We have in the past dipped our toes in the water, but really decided 2 months ago to go all in with our new elephant character Trunky. We decided that we needed a new brand for it, namely Upsidedown games where we would focus on children educational game titles. In below I will try to break down our efforts so far.

Trunky Learns Letters
Small running game where you pick up letters by jumping from side to side avoiding ghosts on the way.

  • Code: 3 weeks
  • Graphics: 6 weeks
  • Game design: 1 week
  • Sound: 1 day
  • Updates: 2 weeks

Trunky Learns Numbers
This was a spin-off from the letters to see whether the interest for letters are number were greatest – indeed letters had biggest interest – with ration 1/4. It is hard to know whether it cannibalized but I don’t think so, and it’s probably the only one that so far have RoI

  • Code: 2 days
  • Graphics: 2 hours
  • Game design: 1 hour
  • Sound: 1 hour
  • Updates: 1 day

Trunky Memory

This is a classic memory game but where you can also match letters and numbers in different variations. The goal was to try out a very classic formula to see how that would be received. This has only been a few days to hard to know yet.

  • Code: 5 days
  • Graphics: 5 days
  • Game design: 1 day
  • Sound: 1 days
  • Updates: None yet

Localisation

As always this is underestimated but we were certain that the US market was very crowded so focused on getting some experiences with that. We did it for Danish (home-market) and Arab (untapped market), and they were actually more successful than the straight up US version suggesting that there is something to be sad for looking at the smaller markets. Localization where not that bad cost-wise except Arab where we have to spend 3 day re-coding it to get it to work. Otherwise it was 1 day for changes and redeploying, and a couple of hours for doing translation in text and speak.

Marketing
We have in the past always forgot about this, and although we really tried this time around to give it effort I am still not completely satisfied. Still, I think we have spent too little. We invested a lot in a nice-looing cinematic trailer that cost more than 4 weeks of time, and I don’t that that seems to be worth it. I think we should hit around 25% but currently we are struggling to maintain that if we exclude the video, and I think the results are meager. So far my conclusion is still like most other that you need to do everything to get to the top of a list, and then hopes when it’s there it can support itself. We have used Twitter, Facebook, youtube, reviews, forums, blogs, press releases to get through. There is definitely an initial struggle to get above the masses as the marketplace is quite flooded.

We were lucky to get featured on the home market in Denmark which made all the difference, and we could maintain the listing on ranks especially when I used my personal network to email all people I knew. After 8 weeks on the list we started to slip and I bumped the price from $3 to $1 on the Danish market. Sales immediately lifted up against, but have to see if it’s sustainable.

Technology

We have been working with Unity3D for more than 5 years and decided to do this for these products also. It has worked pretty well although we have learned that one has to be really careful how much one push through the devices. Especially lower-end. Our returning nightmare is transparency and memory issues – look out for those.

Conclusion

We will never launch without a press release on PrMac and doing social media, but the rest is up the air. Please do chip in with your experience. Our development times are probably on the low side as we had a lot of previous graphics and research to draw on, and we are quite an experienced game developer.

Development time: 16 ManWeeks

Marketing time: 7 ManWeeks

Posted in Development.


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