Game Design Game Development Geek / Technical

Freshly Squeezed Progress Report – Finished Custom Worker Barks, Adding Calls to Action

In my last sprint report for Toy Factory Fixer, I had finished up work on the in-game help pages and made a lot of progress towards updating the worker barks/grunts so that they were more varied and specific to one of the three worker types.

I continued the audio updates this past week.

Sprint 48: Release criteria

Planned and Complete:

  • Update worker grunts

Planned and Incomplete:

  • Make mailing list CTA more prominent

I managed to put in more game development time than usual, which allowed me to finish the worker barks for all three worker types.

The Strong Worker has a deeper voice, the Normal Worker has a squeaky voice, and the Sewing Specialist sounds kind of weird with an echo-y, gruff voice, as if they might be a machine or otherwise augmented.

In summary, I went from having three barks for “attention” (when you click on the worker and they effectively say, “Yes?”) and three barks for “affirmation” (when you command the worker to do something and they say “Yes!”) that played randomly no matter which worker was involved, to having each worker personalized with five attention and five affirmation barks, for a total of 30 audio files.

For those who are interested, I saved them as mono Ogg Vorbis files to keep the download size down, as stereo would have effectively doubled the size of the files for no real gain.

Now, as Toy Factory Fixer is the first of my Freshly Squeezed line of games, which are meant to be freely given away in the interest of finding my audience more easily, I wanted to make sure that that audience knows how to connect with me.

So at the suggestion of a colleague, I wanted to add more prominent Calls to Action asking the player to sign up for the GBGames Curiosities newsletter.

I already had one on the Quit Verification screen, but I wanted to add some to the main menus and to the in-game options menu, and potentially at the level end menu, but I don’t know if there is room for the widget I came up with.

Toy Factory Fixer - animated Call To Action widget

As you can see, the giant orange button has some text (really, an image of text) floating above it that animates by scaling up and down repeatedly. There are four variations on that text, so hopefully it captures the player’s attention each time they see it.

Is it obnoxious? Maybe. You can’t miss it, as it is the main thing animating on the screen, and the point of it is to make it clear that there is a mailing list and you want to sign up for it.

And the point of giving away the game for free is to attract players, and if they like my game enough, I want them to want to hear from me to know when my next games are coming out.

I’ve also considered adding more calls to action asking people to follow me on Twitter or like my Facebook page. Maybe either of those is a lower-barrier-to-entry ask, but I think the mailing list is better in terms of the kind of engagement I want with my players.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to finish up the Call to Action work when it comes to the in-game options menu, as it overlaps the existing modal dialog that is there, so I need to rearrange some UI elements, but it’s almost finished and I expect to get it done early this week.

In the coming sprint, I’m going to be creating “easier” versions of the game levels already in the game, and I’ll need to finish up packaging for both Google Play and the App Store.

Then, the last thing I will want to do before the game is released is create a strategy guide PDF, much like the Toytles: Leaf Raking one you can currently get (see below!) as a free extra incentive for people to sign up for my newsletter. I can write the copy quickly enough, but taking screenshots, cropping the images, and placing them in the text can be annoyingly tedious if my past experience will be any indication.

So I anticipate between two and four weeks left, depending on how smoothly the level-design work goes.

This is it. Don’t get scared now.

Thanks for reading!

Want to learn when I release updates to Toytles: Leaf Raking or about future Freshly Squeezed games I am creating? Sign up for the GBGames Curiosities newsletter, and get the 24-page, full color PDF of the Toytles: Leaf Raking Player’s Guide for free!

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