2020-12-30 - Tinytouchtales
If there’s anything that could be said about 2020 then that it was an absolute weird and crazy year. A new deadly virus took the world by storm and changed the life of many people like nothing else has in quite some time. But despite the many issues everyone has faced this year I’m happy that we still are here and keep on fighting!
To change up a few things for this years End of Year feature I will mainly do a Stream/Video version of my recap and just add a supplemental post to accompany the things we discussed on Stream. So with no further interruption here’s the compact version of what happend in 2020 on the Tinytouchtales side of life.
After about 1 year of development Maze Machina our rougelike swiping puzzle release on iOS and Android. Maze Machina’s concept was first created for the 2017 #7DRL and called King of Nothing. After improving upon the concept and adding a very nice Elektro-punk-esq aesthetic to the game Maze Machina could reach a few fans of the genre but was not very well recieved by the broaded playerbase. I’ve already written about the issue and new challenges in another blog post: First 2 Weeks of Maze Machina. Maze Machina could win a Best Indie Games of 2020 award on the Play Store.
— Arnold Rauers (@tinytouchtales) December 1, 2020
In March I once again participated in the #7DRL this time with a new concept based on my joke concept posted on twitter:
— Arnold Rauers (@tinytouchtales) August 13, 2019
I was lucky that I could convince Dom2D to help me out with the graphics of the game and in the end a quite interesting game came out after about a week of work. I posted a small recap of Crypt of the Bone King as well.
— Arnold Rauers (@tinytouchtales) March 8, 2020
In April the first lockdown in Germany started and with that my Wife and I had to split our time to take care of our almost 3 year old. Having a small kid in a Lockdown isn’t particular easy and working wasn’t either. In the time between April and August I worked on a bunch of smaller updates and toyed around with some prototype ideas.
Coming out of the first Lockdown I worked a bit on Miracle Merchants transition form payed to free with iAp for the iOS App Store. I talked about this topic many times before but it’s crucial to recognize that the App Store from 2015 is close to non existent anymore. Free 2 Play and subscription services dominate more than ever and selling premium games in 2020 becomes an even greater challenge. That’s why I decide to convert MM to the same version that is available on Android and see how the sales of the game would be affected. I made a twitter post about the topic:
In August I changed @miraclemerchant to a Free with unlock iAp game on the App Store, similar to the Google Play version. Here's a snapshot of a month in Sept/Oct vs a Month back in Feb/March. Revenue increase slightly and downloads a lot (as expected). #gamedev #mobile #revenue pic.twitter.com/VmlprfLqNY
— Arnold Rauers (@tinytouchtales) October 19, 2020
In Jan 2020 I started a new game concept which I called “Card Tower” that is a mix between a classic Solitaire layout and a lane based tower defense game. In September I continued working on the idea and made a pretty playable prototype. The game definitely has some potential to be made into a full game and is high on my to-do list.
— Arnold Rauers (@tinytouchtales) January 24, 2020
In October Devolver digital held an official DISC ROOM game jam as a PR stunt for the recently release game by a bunch of cool people including JW of Vlambeer fame and Terri Vellman of which I’m a long time fan as well. Since I had some time I decided to join the game with an old mechanical idea of mine: “rotating hex tiles”. Hex Discs was made in about a week and was quite fun to work on since I finished the core gameplay in a few days and could spent quite some time on polishing the game which is unusual for most of my jam games. A twitter dev log can be found here:
— Arnold Rauers (@tinytouchtales) October 23, 2020
Back in August coming out of the Lockdown I was kind of sad that the year until then was quite messy and unproductive. That’s why I decided it would be cool to release a small free card game to make up for the shitty year and have at least one other game released and finished. I called Mexer and Oliver and pitched them the idea of Gnomitaire. We decided to make it as easy as possible to create the game and used quite a lot of old Card Crawl assets and added a few new cards and animations and an awesome remixed soundtrack to the game. After about 3 month of work we could release Gnomitaire in November on iOS and Android.
Gnomitaire – A tiny Solitaire for clever Gnomes.
✨ Out Now! ✨
Take a seat in Card Crawl's cozy tavern and play a round of Gnomitaire with your favorite Barkeeper.
— Arnold Rauers (@tinytouchtales) November 11, 2020
December and 2021
In 2019 I first teased that I started to work on a collaboration project together with Matthew Dunstan an Australian Boardgame designer living in Prague. He contacted me via Twitter after he saw one of my prototype concepts and pitched the idea of a Dungeon Crawler game played on a 3×3 grid of cards, which seem oddly familiar. That’s why I decided to give it a go and since August 2019 we’ve been working on getting this new concept in a playable state.
In July we first tested the game with a few players and got some valuable feedback.
Together with @wisegoldfish I've been working on a ✨new idea✨ for quite some time now.
We would like to involve more play testers as the games prototype🃏seems solid but needs proper feedback from 👉 you.
— Arnold Rauers (@tinytouchtales) July 14, 2020
After the break in which I worked on Gnomitaire I once again started working on what we now call Card Crawl Adventure and we made some bigger changes to the underlying structure of the game and I have to admit that we are now very close to a fun and playable version of the game. As said Card Crawl Adventure is my no 1 project to get off the ground for next year and I really hope we can get a hold of the Pandemic and make productive progress on all fronts!
Despite all the difficulties I could release two new games in 2020. Maze Machina was after Miracle Merchant in 2017 the first game released in the new App Store. Gnomitaire released in November as a free game besides the Ad you can watch to get one chance after losing a game. While my other games got pushed by my new releases Maze Machina in particular could not recoup its development cost. Even after 1 year the game hasn’t sold on Android at all. We just recently made some changes to its monetization but numbers still look bad.
On a high note Card Crawl and Card Thief are killing it on Google Play Pass this year. In comparison to their regular Play Store counter parts both Play Pass version make now up 70% of all revenue generated. I’m quite happy how Google’s subscription service is pushing my revenue up while having almost no extra work to put into those version.
Overall my revenue is down about 17% from last year at about $93000 after store cuts, which is compensated by the Play Pass revenue which I can’t disclose in detail. Another $2500 came from Ads displayed in various games. Gnomitaire reached 100000 downloads on iOS which is quite nice as well. Considering that we had a Pandemic that changed the way we used to travel and the way most of my players play my games I still would say it was a good year revenue wise and I’m thankful for everyone that bought and promoted my games throughout the year!
2020 was a year that felt bad overall but after writing this post and looking up all things I worked on it still was quite productive despite all the issues and problems we all faced. Shout out to my gaming buddy and “parental issues advisor” Simon (Firepunchd), with whom I spent most of my gaming nights in Escape from Tarkov escaping the real world.
I hope we all will take some good energy into 2021 and together we can make next year one of those good ones again!
Thanks again for all your support and see you soon!
— Melissa Stetten (@MelissaStetten) July 24, 2020