Thursday, November 28, 2013

Elevator Joe icon redux

Elevator Joe launched to pretty dismal sales last September, and it's taken me a while to come to grips with the realities of releasing a game as opposed to simply creating the art and moving on.  I'd considered writing about that, but I'm not sure I have it in me to go through that process just yet.  Instead I'd like to be a little positive, and talk about one of the ways we're thinking of to increase our downloads, and that's by updating the icon.  All of Kuyi Mobile's have a built in ticker that lets Erick (the owner of Kuyi Mobile and my partner on Elevator Joe) cross promote through his library of games.  We were hoping that this would provide a constant stream of downloads for Elevator Joe, since Kuyi Mobile's last game, Streetfood Tycoon, has amassed quite a few downloads.  Unfortunately this wasn't the case.  We're not sure why, but people just weren't clicking on the icons like they did Erick's other games.  There was ultimately no way to find out why this was happening, but one of the things we discussed was redoing the app icon to try to visually entice more people to download the game.  The above icon was our original app icon.  We're both satisfied with it, but it since there was nothing to lose by trying, I went ahead and redid the icon.

Here is the new icon.  I used some of the same color schemes Apple is using in its new UI as well as retaining Elevator Joe.  the colored bars are a reference to the new minigame that we added to the game, and the buttons are obviously in reference to the nature of the game, which is to simulate (in a really cute way) being an elevator operator.  If the original icon had one drawback it was that it didn't really explain the game in any way, and I was hopeful this new design would do just that.

So did it help?  Well, ultimately yes, although not as much as I would have hoped.  There was a small uptick in downloads after the update went live, but not enough to really change things.  We're hopeful that the new icon and other changes we made to the game have made it that much better, and that all it needs is some more marketing to push it over the edge.

I'd be very pleased if you could try out Elevator Joe and vote for it to be Coronalabs' November App of the Month (we were recently chosen as app of the week).  Also, if you think that the icon layout I used here is cool, head on over to the awesome and give some kind words (or better yet a donation!) to Michael Flarup.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Urban Sketching : Bali

Some of the sketches here are now available as prints on society6, as well as other sketches I've made over the course of our travels.

"Look, just give me 100k Rupiah and I'll leave." (said in bahasa Indonesia, which I can still speak conversationally)

The shady money changer furrowed his brow for a moment before putting 100k on the table.  I shook my head and looked at him with the defeated resignation of a foreigner who knew he'd been screwed but didn't want to bother with making a fuss over it.  I was only happy that I managed to get back at least half of the money that was owed to me, and chalked it up to experience.  In any case, I was getting a terrific deal on the room I'd found on Airbnb, so how could I complain?  I wasn't about to let this first experience with Bali sour my opinion of the island. 

And what an island it is.  My wife and I barely scratched the surface of Bali's beaches, only choosing to stay in the touristy Kuta beach area.  We were having renovations done in our condo while we were away, we'd decided that the short respite would be spent lounging around on the beach instead of running from one tourist destination to another.  We'd found a room at a steep discount in the Aston Kuta, a relatively older but well known hotel that was just about perfect for us.  It was near enough to the touristy areas if we wanted to do a little shopping or browse the numerous restaurants, but far enough away from Kuta proper that the beach area was relatively quiet.  In the afternoons locals would come out by the beach to relax and have some sate babi (pork sate, only common in non majority muslim Bali) and kelapa muda (coconut juice and meat straight from the source!) or a Bintang beer.

I was enchanted by how Bali's Hindu religion still permeates society.  Little shrines are attached to every house and store, with offerings laid there every morning.  I've always loved the contrast between antiquity and modernity and seeing them side by side on almost every street was a joy for me.  I wandered around the Kuta market area for a while before settling in front of this temple and beginning to sketch it.  While the temples of Bali are beautiful, they are a nightmare to sketch because of the sheer complexity of their designs.  Picking a smaller temple was a matter of practicality, and even then I had to go back the next day to finish it off.