[Release] Scrap Metal Mech

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[Release] Scrap Metal Mech

Postby wmdAndrew » Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:39 am

Image

UPDATE: March 17th 2012 I started posting journal entries. I will try to report revenue monthly, lessons learned, as well as other issues and items we encounter.

Market URL:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.wolfmobiledesigns.games.scrapmetalmech

The year is 2400. The dawn of a new age. The the bronze and gold age have left behind the age of scrap metal. Earth lays in ruins torn apart by wars long past. Everywhere lays pieces of ancient machines and toxic chemicals. Mining is a thing of the past. Enough of Earth's raw resources lay on the surface for it's inhabitants to make use of. Cities and villages have formed each with small aristocratic societies. Tired of war, leaders have decided to solve their differences and entertain the masses in the Arena. Their gladiators are men and women who can dominate through controlling Mechs. Will you rule the Arena? Or join the pile of scrap littering Earth's features?

Scrap Metal Mech is a full 3D Multiple Player game featuring several different mechs and weapons. We are currently in Beta so stay tuned for more content. Please write a review or email us with any issues or suggestions you have!

The game features:
3D PVP Multiplayer
Death Match
Team Death Match
Team Capture the Flag
Some basic 3D particle effects (GL Points)
Leader boards for kills

Future Plans (to name a few):
-Clans
-More mech 3D models and textures
-King of the Scrap Heap
-More Leader Boards
-Many more weapons (Flame Thrower, EMP ammo, Invisibility, etc)
-Story Integration
Last edited by wmdAndrew on Sun Mar 25, 2012 7:08 pm, edited 4 times in total.
Did you find my post helpful? If you want to help me in return please download and provide feedback for Scrap Metal Mech Feedback can be posted on our Scrap Metal Mech Show Case thread
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Re: [BETA] Scrap Metal Mech

Postby wmdAndrew » Wed Nov 23, 2011 9:57 pm

Since I made the original post we've pushed out improved server tweaks, performance updates, perspective change, control improvements, and UI items (screenshots have been updated on the market).

The release we are testing right now has in-game chat, leader board, texture bug fix, and a game lobby. Should be out this weekend.

This weekend I hope to prep for the release after with different game models UV mapped to the same texture (hopefully throw in fun 'bumper stickers' on them too).

We've been very motivated by the positive feedback and for some reason purchases (even though we're in beta? But I'm not complaining!). I was pretty much out of commission with a weed out class/weddings and now I have a 6 week break so I hope a lot will get done in the next few weeks :) I will try to keep this updated here if I have the time :)

Immediate future plans:
Solo play (survival mode)
Large Maps
Capture the Flag
Weapon improvements (and balance for 100 credit items)
Additional Mech models
Persistent Purchase data
Did you find my post helpful? If you want to help me in return please download and provide feedback for Scrap Metal Mech Feedback can be posted on our Scrap Metal Mech Show Case thread
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Re: [BETA] Scrap Metal Mech

Postby wmdAndrew » Sun Jan 29, 2012 5:00 pm

Another release for Scrap Metal Mech featuring:

1. Capture the Flag!! (or porta-potty....?)
2. Particle effects (very basic and then I read Mario will be working on 3D particles... bah! oh well we have a basic implementation)
3. Team Chat for team based games
4. Better score representation in games
5. More data drive and data gathering added

Next up: I'm overhauling the menu UI with libGDX awesomeness and polishing that up (better graphics, animation, 3D? :D). Cole will be working on solo 'survival' mode and modularizing our server side items for easy rapid expansion.
Did you find my post helpful? If you want to help me in return please download and provide feedback for Scrap Metal Mech Feedback can be posted on our Scrap Metal Mech Show Case thread
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Re: [Release] Scrap Metal Mech - Income Stats/Journal Post

Postby wmdAndrew » Sun Mar 18, 2012 1:22 am

Alright we passed that magical 1.0 threshold so I guess it's time to call this a release :) Although we are still planning on improving the game! I saw where others are making this a journal forum area and I think I will copy that and talk about some of the challenges and development items. Hopefully someone will get something out of it.

LibGDX UI - Amazing!
This last release we started using Nate's LibGDX UI and took a nightly down a month or so ago. My advice to anyone still running the old UI class... update to the new UI!!! After we figured out the skins.json file our UI development went much faster then previous UI development. Coupled with the animations we ended up using made our UI look pretty slick. I did some research on popular 3D titles and found what you can do with LibGDX UI in a matter of minutes trumps a lot of what other game menu UI's have.

If I get time I will contribute to the wiki for UI tutorial if it is still blank :)

Email/Hashing
We also delved into gathering a users email address and hashing the value. Lots of data juggling going on between our Android application and SQL Server database. Already found some places to improve. Although I'm pleased with the SHA-2 hashing available within Android. We will see how well this works out!

Admob Ads
We also implemented Admob ads. Using the LibGDX wiki entry I believe Mario made was pretty much all you need for that. Very straight forward although we worked the turning on/off into a 'backendListener' class we pass around already for in-game purchases.

SMM Users Rock
I can't express how impressed I am with our user population. With All Mighty RTS Free users were hating a lot. Probably because our game wasn't as well made (hey it was our first game). But the Scrap Metal Mech user population are full of praise and nice feedback that really helps pump us up. As a lot of you probably know it's a lot of work/sacrifice to put in 20 hrs or so a week after your full time job to work on apps/games. Then do it pretty consistently for 2 years. Anyway, after screwing up a data sync issue I need to fix in another release and 12 emails later with a user, he still calls us 'the best developers' makes me pretty impressed with our users ability to forgive and contribute. This is just one example of many emails.

Add Campaign
Google sent us a $100 USD voucher for ads that we have to use by the 31st. I'll let you know how that goes!

Revenue
Ok I know I'm always curious what folks are making and there's even a whole post on the forums about this. So I figured I would share our numbers. First we only have about 2,500 active installs. I'm not sure how Google counts something as 'active' though as I don't think we have that many active users. We only had in-game purchasing up until today so these are all based on purchases. We also have All Mighty Free RTS that brings in all the Ad revenue up until today and maybe 10 bucks in purchasing of the no-ad version. Sometimes we get as high as 20 bucks a month from All Mighty.

For Febuarary our purchases made 154.74 and Ads were 17.02. We have a monthly cost of about 35 bucks. Our virtual Windows 2003 server costs 30 (OurInternet.us is the company if anyone is looking for something like this) of that the rest is in renewing our company each year and domain name. Basically, we will not be quitting our day jobs any day soon :) and we make under a dollar an hour. But we are building up a nice code base so we can develop the next game faster and so on. Plus, it's a heck of a lot of fun and might pay for my next phone :)
Did you find my post helpful? If you want to help me in return please download and provide feedback for Scrap Metal Mech Feedback can be posted on our Scrap Metal Mech Show Case thread
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Re: [Release] Scrap Metal Mech

Postby mzechner » Sun Mar 18, 2012 10:27 am

Thanks for the journal, good info there. I think you are on the right path, even if you don't make a living yet :) Keep it up!
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Re: [Release] Scrap Metal Mech

Postby wmdAndrew » Sun Mar 18, 2012 4:06 pm

Thanks! We feel the same :) We don't see anyone doing real time 3D PVP games. The closest is probably Project I.N.F. that has a 2d real time PVP game. We're guessing because the game server is *extremely* complicated once you get into it. Everything we do seems to turn out much larger than we anticipated :)

Some quick journal updates:

User Feedback update
So, our users are still great, but turned out they did not appreciate a change we made to weapon experience scaling. We adjusted the weapons up so some items people had purchased in-game were no longer available to them to equip (although they still retained ownership). Some users were fine with the 'greater-good' / 'game balancing' but not the majority. We ended up undoing the change and we have some other ideas for some game balance that doesn't effect peoples paid for items :)

Hashing
I mentioned we did the SHA-2 hashing specifically the SHA-512 hashing. Thought I would post a link on how it was accomplished:
http://stackoverflow.com/questions/6393292/android-sha512-example

Because it's easier to store strings we then convert that do hexadecimal. I really wish Google gave us a hashed value or had an option for users to 'run app under xyz account' that way we don't have to deal with the sensitive data of an email address. Maybe some day :)
Did you find my post helpful? If you want to help me in return please download and provide feedback for Scrap Metal Mech Feedback can be posted on our Scrap Metal Mech Show Case thread
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Re: [Release] Scrap Metal Mech

Postby Magnesus » Sun Mar 18, 2012 8:05 pm

Thanks for sharing the info. Turorial about UI would be great I feel like I'm loosing a lot of time doing things by myself while they are already implemented in libGDX sometimes. libGDX is full of good surprises. :)
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Re: [Release] Scrap Metal Mech

Postby wmdAndrew » Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:22 pm

Hey Magnesus,

Hopefully, I can find time to put some documentation out. I would love to actually make or convert a demo to the new UI if I have time. You definitely helped me with animation I hope I can do something to help you out in return. I start my next master's class on Monday on top of my full time job and Scrap Metal Mech :S time is tight! I'm hoping in the next week I will update the Users-Wiki with the new UI help.

Data Server Issue
I effed up pretty majorly on our Data Server. It's funny how the smallest things can have large impacts. I had a + instead of - for updating the client with experience/credits to keep the client in sync with the database. The + practically tripled a person's experience (and credits!) every time the section of code was accessed. I rolled the data server out on the 14th and a user, "Ur Mom" who was ranked #1 on our leader board for a long time, told us he thinks there is a problem on the 20th :) Practically everyone who logged in in those 6 days were effected.

I ended up taking our leader board files that are stored in .txt format right now and creating an AutoIt script to turn the entries into insert statements. Probably not the most efficient way but it worked. Luckily Cole has the leader board spitting out every 1/2 hour. So I took kills from 3/14 minus from kills from 3/22 and loaded them into the database. AutoIt scripts took a few hours to run. I took the kills people had in that time frame and multiplied by 3 (3 exp per kill is probably higher than anyone was getting and wanted to account for CTF wins/captures too). I then made a script that took what people received in those days and adjusted their experience based on what they should of received at a 3 exp / kill.

Lost a lot of time on this, but hopefully everything is done now.

Experience Issue

We also discovered on the 22nd we had an experience issue. When we updated to the new UI we were saving experience in memory but not writing to disk that experience. Cole fixed that and did a release on the 22nd.

Users

Again, very impressed with how our user base is taking our mistakes :) I did have one user who had 15 billion experience and 40k credits email me asking for credits back. I traced his purchases and he only bought 200 credits... I have no problem giving a little credits out to smooth things over but 40k credits was... a little too much to ask. Sometimes I have to wonder though. The guy sounded like he earned them etc., but we also log our chat messages :) This person and others were discussing how to exploit the bug. Makes me really appreciate "Ur Mom" for letting us know and being honest about his own experience duplicating.

Been very encouraged by the reviews coming in as well and the 5 star ratings. That really pumps us up.
Did you find my post helpful? If you want to help me in return please download and provide feedback for Scrap Metal Mech Feedback can be posted on our Scrap Metal Mech Show Case thread
wmdAndrew
 
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Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:55 pm

Re: [Release] Scrap Metal Mech

Postby wmdAndrew » Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:51 pm

Stability and Summer
Well it's been a while. Cole and I have been busy on the home front so we haven't been developing on SMM very much lately. Cole promised family time and I've been doing a lot of school work and oh yeah... going on my honey moon finally :) However, our last release has stood pretty stable over the last few months which we are very happy with. A few weeks ago I decided to pour in some more enhancements and start kicking some development up again (and I took the summer quarter off of school)

Player Tiers
Today we released the start of a change in how our PvP system works. Currently, players are grouped together by their experience points. However, as we don't have millions of players, the top amount of experienced player's don't have many people to play against. We thought of a new way to do this and so did a lot of fans who wrote or commented.

In this release, we separated mechs and their enhancements into tiers. Next release, we want to focus on grouping people by the mechs they have selected. This allows top experienced players to play against lower and mid-experienced players maximizing the PvP that can occur with our limited player base.

Revenue
So I haven't been posting this as regularly as I probably should, but here is our revenue for the last few months. Keep in mind this is between both our games. Most of the google payout comes from Scrap Metal Mech though. We definitely experienced a dive in revenue without pushing our releases. All Mighty we haven't touched in a long time and I think there might just be a lot more competition in the RTS game area.

May (USD)
Google Payouts - 73.61
SMM Admob - 7.70
All Might Admob - 10.60

June (USD)
Google Payouts - 115.13
SMM Admob - 7.78
All Mighty Admob - 13.56
Did you find my post helpful? If you want to help me in return please download and provide feedback for Scrap Metal Mech Feedback can be posted on our Scrap Metal Mech Show Case thread
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Re: [Release] Scrap Metal Mech

Postby Lomelin » Tue Jul 10, 2012 5:35 pm

Nice game man, and thanks a lot for your journal, very interesting :)
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