Back in 2016, I wrote a Post-Mortem blog on my mobile app Pumpkin Patch Match (actually, I wrote it when I released PPM in 2015, but took several months to publish the article). Since the release of the Windows and Mac version, I decided to update the article a bit, and it follows below.
I wanted to create a Halloween themed game along the lines of my past two holiday releases, Tappy Holidays, and Tappy Valentines Day. Tappy Halloween, as it was going to be called, was going to be a simple game with the same game mechanics as the first two games in the series, but I just couldn’t figure out a game that would be interesting.
After a couple of weeks of trashing ideas, it came to me… make a game where you have to match a pattern of jack-o-lanterns. Shortly after, I decided to change the name to Pumpkin Patch Match since it seemed better suited for the game.
Putting It Together
I have been learning Unity throughout the first part of 2015, and I thought that this would be a good “first game”. I got pretty far, and was pretty impressed with it, but what I thought were a couple of limitations prevented me from continuing, so I went back to CoronaSDK for this app.
I put together a CoronaSDK based application in no time and I am very happy with the results. I feel it is one of my better developed apps.
Stuff I Encountered
- CoronaSDK is great for 2D games. I built Pumpkin Patch Match rather quickly, but I’ve been trying to find a reason to move completely to Unity. I guess both have their strengths and weaknesses. I am close though, since there are a few things that are a bit limiting with Corona.
- 2016: Looking back, I think I should of continued to use Unity… it would of been a great learning experience.
- 2018: Looking back again, it may have been more difficult to use Unity. CoronaSDK makes creating iOS apps so easy (it takes the complexity out of XCode). With Unity, integration of Admob on mobile is a bit difficult, and working with XCode for app updates is killing me. If this was a non-mobile game, it would be a no-brainer to use Unity, but I am glad I stuck with CoronaSDK. I found this out when I wrote Tappy Easter using Unity.
- I decided to try Vungle for monetization… let’s see how this pans out. I hate ad based games, and I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to get out of that, but I don’t seem to have a choice. My games with In-App Purchases, or games I originally released as a pay-to-play (no ads) were unsuccessful.
- 2016: Still not sure Vungle is the way to go. It fits well with the game (allowing the player to continue at the same level if he/she watches a video), but I do not see the profits I expected.
- 2018: I moved from Vungle to AdMob. Easier, less hassle.
- I am also going to release on the Windows Phone platform. I have no experience there, and have no idea how this will turn out. CoronaSDK recently released a Windows Phone build.
- 2016: I did release a Windows Phone version, but since Vungle on CoronaSDK on Windows Phone is not supported, I had to go with a $0.99 app, and as I expected, not a single purchase was made.
- 2018: Windows Phone version is still there, and not being purchased (*sigh*), but a Windows desktop version released!!
For the Windows version, I released it on itch.io for a low price (right now, only $1.00 USD). All ads have been removed. This version makes a great game for toddlers and young children… it’s “Halloween-y” without being scary, is a good way to improve memory, an does not display advertisements. It’s also great for adults who remember and enjoy a certain popular hand held audio matching game as well.
I have some ideas to add features to the game, and may add them as time goes on. Of course, if Pumpkin Patch Match for desktops becomes popular, it would be a great incentive to add these features sooner.