Shut the Window Diaries 1: Inspiration and Concept

The Inspiration

A couple of years ago, we came across Windows of New York by Jose Guizar. Check him out HERE. The illustrations just completely blew us away.  It is an on going project wherein Jose illustrates a new window from anywhere in New York every week. The sheer details captured in such an innovative yet routine sight enraptured us. The designers in us just couldn’t keep away. We wanted to do something that was similar to it.

Shut the Window Diaries 1: What and Why?
Shut the Window comes out on April 5, 2018 for iOS and Mac App Stores
The Concept

Fast forward a few months, I was reading about human biases that people are not generally aware of and came across this concept known as ‘Variable Reinforcement’. A response or action is called reinforced response if it generates a reward i.e., a person will be motivated to repeat a response if he or she gets a reward for the same. That’s the well-known theory of motivation. However, when a response is reinforced after an unpredictable number of tries, it generates a high and steady rate of response. Which means, when you receive the reward with irregular or unpredictable frequency, your behavior is reinforced even more strongly.

Shut the Window Diaries 1: What and Why?
Shutting the window gives you the reward of furthering the game.

You see we had decided that instead of following random games, each game of ours would have a psychological aspect to it. An underlying principle, if you might. And we thought why not combine this with something like the windows of New York. This is more experiment than game. We just want to know how people will respond to this. Think of it as a grand social experiment of sorts. Shutting the window gives you the reward of furthering the game. And the various different windows opening gives you the randomness. Also each window has varying difficulty levels. Rewards keep varying that way.

So this is our take and part homage to Jose Guizar.

Shut the Window: Frustratingly Fun
Shut the Window Diaries 1: What and Why?
Based on real life windows of Amsterdam. Each window is made with great care and love

Based on the windows of Amsterdam, there are 10 beautifully illustrated designs that you interact with.  Each one is made with such care. Each one has so much detail. They are taken from the historic buildings in Amsterdam and each one bears testimony to it. We hope you fall in love with them. We will dive deep into each of them from our next blog.

Till then don’t forget to Pre-order Shut the Window on iOS and Mac, it comes out on April 5, 2018. Pre ordering ensures that the app automatically downloads onto your device on April 5.

Quote Codes Diaries 10: UI and App Designs

Hey Guys,

Sorry about the delay, we have just been really tied up with the launch of Quote Codes on Android! Once again, cheers to everyone who have downloaded and are enjoying our game. It has been an amazing ride.

Now, Let’s get on with the topic! Previously, I previously talked about our design failures and wayward thought process in Quote Codes Diaries 8: Design and App Failures. Today we learn how we turned the failure into success by simplifying  our thought process and getting things in order.

App Flow

It was important to get the app flow right. We ditched the clunky and confusing method of making this digitally and focused on physically jotting it down on paper to get the app flow . Our goal was was to divide the app into 2 segments:

Menu

  • Home Screen
  • Credits
  • Settings
  • Categories
  • Archives
  • Tutorial

Gameplay 

  • Gameplay screen
  • Game End Screen
  • Game Options (Skip, Unlock Clue etc)
Quote Codes Diaries 10: UI and App Designs
We kept things simple this time by taking the traditional route of jotting down the app flow on paper.

UI Design and Interaction

After sorting the app flow, Our next challenge was design and interaction. Unlike most mobile games, Quote Codes gives the users loads of options and screens in the form of Clue, Skip Quote, Categories, Archives, Settings, Credits, etc.  We wanted to give each option its own separate page. Cramming all of them into 1 page would be too confusing.

So how do you add that many pages in the app but not make the UI confusing?

The idea turned out to be ingenious for us.

Quote Codes Diaries 10: UI and App Designs
The simple stacked card system allows us to add/remove pages easily

A simple card system stacked did the trick. This allowed us to make the whole layout of the app dynamic and really simple. We could easily add or erase any page and still maintain the same aesthetic and design.

Next was the the design of the individual pages. Since Quote Codes is a word based game, we wanted to keep everything textual (word based) and to-the-point.

For instance, in SKIP, instead of showing an icon and hoping the user would understand, we decided to add directives with YES and NO button: SKIP THIS QUOTE AND COME BACK TO IT LATER.

Quote Codes Diaries 10: UI and App Designs
Our aim was to use direct questions so the player never gets confused

Similarly for Categories which allows the user to select the various themes of quotes, the design as you can see is really clean and understandable. The Categories are arranged alphabetically and the search bar on top gives the user easy access to search the various themes. Once again selecting a theme will open a drawer confirming your selection in the same “YES” “NO” format.

Quote Codes Diaries 10: UI and App Designs
Categories is one of the main pages of the app. Clean well defined structure was important here.

UI Animations

And then finally it was time to merge them all together. Our aim from the start was to treat the user with subtle and cute animations throughout the app and not just gameplay. Animating the Card menu and the Ui buttons was a lot of fun.

So thats it! Thats how Quote Codes was designed. So far we have covered everything in design right from conceptualization, to implementation. Next Diary will be a treat! For the first time we will have our champion developer Kunal taking you guys through the whole development of the app. Let me tell you, that it is purely brilliant and insightful. Do not miss.

Till then Dont forget to download Quote Codes. It is available on iOS and Android for Free!

How to get BETA Testers For A Mobile Game

Hey everyone!

Thanks for signing up for our iOS Quote Codes BETA. We received an absolutely overwhelming response and even better feedbacks. Doing a BETA release of your mobile game is great way to polish it as well as start gaining some early traction and followers. In the entire process, we learned some important lessons and thought of sharing with you guys a mini guide on how to get BETA testers for a mobile game.

Preparations

1. Right! first things first, its obvious you need to have a kickass app ready to BETA test. Along with it, make sure to have a teaser and some screenshots/gifs done – This is really important as it is the most easiest way to showcase your game and capture the attention of your audience/testers. A nice, short and fun teaser along with some pretty screenshots/gifs goes a long way!

Here’s our Quote Codes teaser again because you have to shamelessly promote your game :p

 

2. It’s time to write a small description of your game. Don’t make it too long, just 2-3 lines that aptly explains your game and its features. Keep it short, simple, easy to understand and to the point.

3. Next is the most important task. Creating the sign up form. We suggest using google forms as everyone is familiar with it and its really easy and straightforward. Keep this form short! remember you are asking them to sign up and spend time on your game. Asking too many questions here is a big turn off.  Just stick to the actual details you need. Here is the sample of our Sign Up Form – https://goo.gl/forms/6p2M92LTMmonp9ws2

How to get BETA Testers For A Mobile Game
Keep the signup form as short as possible.

How to get Beta Testers for A Mobile Game:

Now comes the fun part. Its time to tell the world about your game and ask for sign ups. Take pride in shamelessly promoting your game, you have worked so hard for it and now is the time to make it shine.

If you google, you will find several lists of groups/forums where you can ask or find BETA testers. But, we have complied the best list from our experience. Make sure to post here without fail!

 

1. Announce on your Pages – It goes without saying that your first step should be to make the announcement on your game’s Website/Blog/Medium and all your Social Media Pages. Post your teaser, description and the sign up form and start sharing it!

 

2. Facebook Groups – There are a few super active groups on Facebook for indie games that can give you a good amount of traction and potential testers. Share your announcements on the following Facebook Groups:

 

3. TouchArcade Forum – TouchArcade is one of the biggest website for mobile gaming news and reviews and its forums are super active. Make a new thread and post in the following sections depending on your platform:

 

4. Reddit – You must have read several times how important Reddit is to promote your indie game. What no one mentions is how incredibly challenging it is as well. Getting a hit on Reddit is a combination of clever posting and a bit of luck. To get testers from Reddit post on r/gamedev in the following threads. Make sure to precisely follow their posting rules to avoid getting deleted!

The Secret Sauce

So you made your announcements on the above pages and more. But, you are still short of your targeted Beta signups.  The chances of this happening are quite high. What do you do? Remember when we said to take pride in shamelessly promoting your game. It is now time to hustle and promote!

Start by going through your ENTIRE friends list and note down all potential testers/audience. Message each one of them individually be it on Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, WeChat, iMessage, Slack, anywhere! Write down a short message and personally ask them to sign up. Trust us, you will be surprised to know how many people are interested – they even saw your social posts and loved it but did not sign up. This extra effort/push will help convert several potential audiences to actuals.

Send out your Beta and Collect Feedback.

It is finally time to start sending out your Beta to the testers. The main reason of doing all of the above was to collect feedback from players to improve on your game. So, its important you provide your testers the most convenient way to give you feedback. We recommend using Google Forms here again. iOS and Android do allow the testers to send you a mail directly for feedback but we don’t think this is a good idea. A more structured approach is required to get maximum feedback.

Be exhaustive in asking your testers questions about the game. Construct a Feedback Form that specifically asks them about the core concepts and pressure points of your game. Keep it convenient by giving them options for each questions but leave an open comment at the end so they can also explain their thoughts on the game in their own words as well. Here is a sample of our Feedback Form – https://goo.gl/forms/j9iAjZGaoRZaTijU2

How to get BETA Testers For A Mobile Game
Keep it convenient for testers to give your feedback by giving them multiple choice questions

Send out the Feedback Form with a short email thanking them for the time and their amazing feedbacks!

And then that’s it! We sincerely hope this helped. And, once again many thanks to everyone who signed up for our Beta. More news on Quote Codes coming soon!