Prothos

Infinite Planetary Destruction!

Fly as a nimble and fast asteroid named Prothos and wreak havoc around the galaxy by destroying planets when powered up! Fast and sequential destruction will be rewarded with multipliers!

Be careful, though, touching a planet while unprotected is fatal and to be avoided at all costs!

Compete with your friends and go for the highest score! Can you collect all achievements?

Can you be the best Prothos in the universe?

Developed with my brother Felipe Ribeiro as our first commercial release! (10 weeks)

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Postmortem

I consider Prothos to be the spiritual successor and older brother of Rhesus, a 2 week assignment for the NYU Game Center done with Maria Saint Martín.

I decided to keep working with the design concept behind Rhesus during my 3-month break from NYU (summer) with my brother back in Brazil. I felt that while that game had very simple mechanics and design ideas, it was interesting enough to earn a overhaul during the break. I can’t, however, just claim that the remake was created because I felt that the game had potential: I would take this opportunity to learn everything else aside the development itself, like how to create achievements/leaderboards, how to submit to Google/Apple and how to implement in-app purchases/ads.

I guess that my most interesting takeaway is that the creating of the game (from the ground-up) took only half of the development time: one month. An extra-month had to be spent working on implementing all the other features, which are not as easy and intuitive as I thought.

Achievements and leaderboards were kind of easy, even if Unity’s script structure is still not very solid and clear on how to call functions and drawbacks, but I was able to get it working in one or two days, which also includes the time spent creating icons, achievements tiers, etc.

In-app purchases (IAP) was probably the most problematic. You see, there is no real libraries that allows you to easily implement purchases in your game, so developers have to choose between: Purchase a plugin like Prime31’s or do it the hard way (learn how to code it in Unity). In our case, we decided that Prime31 was too expensive for our tastes and that implementing ourselves would take huge amounts of time that we didn’t have. Luckly, we heard about a nifty thing called Soomla, a open framework that had exactly what we needed: simple and fast implementation of IAP with just a few lines of code and settings. After a long test time, we felt that it was working flawlessly and ready to go!

The last thing was definitely the most important: how in the world do you submit it to Google and Apple stores? Well, Google Store was actually pretty easy. You just submit and in a few ours the game is live. While I do appreciate the simplicity and how easy it is to have a game in their store, it also implicates that there is no kind of restriction or control, so tons of cool games are put in their store with a bunch of probably faulty and bad apps, which is kinda sad.

Submitting to the Apple Store… Wow, that needs a whole new paragraph. Apple is on the opposite end of the Google Store, meaning that the submission process is really long and painful. To be completely honest, I’m still not able to fully describe the whole process step-by-step, as I had to do it one error at a time. You need provisioning files, certificates that allows you to release at the store, use XCode (which is a complete nightmare to import from Unity), add/remove tons of frameworks, etc. It took me probably almost a week just to have it all ready to go, but it was done!

I was once told that there is a 99% chance that your app will be rejected by Apple at least once before being accepted, and I found it the hard way. My app got rejected once because I was missing a “Restore IAP” button, even when I had the button used to regularly purchase IAP to run both purchase and restore functions (what the hell!).

The game was finally released on October 12nd and so far the reception has been great! Of course, with zero dollars spent on PR and Marketing, I had a initial base of 200 players on the first four days which, to me, is pretty incredible considering just the word-of-mouth about Prothos.

WHAT WENT RIGHT:

  • No strings attached to money: I was able to focus only on gameplay and mechanics aspect of the game without having to worry about stuff like “how much money will I make with this”? This helped me greatly to focus on what I consider the most important aspect of game development and left me with a much better game than if I had spent days figuring out how to milk money away from players (skins, boosts, etc)
  • Learning new tools: By having my mind set that Prothos would be used mainly to teach me how to do new and more complex stuff, I was able to learn a lot of cool and interesting things about game development that I wouldn’t be able to if I was only doing school projects. Learning how to juggle Apple’s rigorous application process and how to implement social services in the game was a big plus!
  • Pacing: By working during my summer break I essentially had all the time in the world to work on Prothos. This allowed me to pace myself better and not work in a rush to put it out as fast as possible (which would probably have happened if I was working or having classes at the same time)

WHAT WENT WRONG:

  • Fatigue: Okay, this might go completely against my last point above but hear me out: I sometimes lose track of time when I’m doing something I really like (and that also goes for playing games or just reading internet stuff). Because of that, I went working sometimes for 14 hours straight and not even realizing. That worked against me a LOT because then I would be super sleepy and grumpy on the next days. It took me a long time to learn how to know when to stop and hopefully I won’t be doing that from now on.
  • Bugs: Yeah… Because the project was more about learning than actually making a full-fledged game, I ended up not testing it as much as I should have. In the end, as soon as the game was released, a few players noticed some bugs such as not running on some specific Android devices (dammit) and that the Facebook posting feature didn’t work on Android (woops). I definitely should have spent more time testing it.

Anyway, the game is out and I’m pretty happy about it. Hopefully you can also play Prothos, it’s free after all! 🙂