Today is Mystery Coconut’s second year anniversary, so I thought it was as good a time as any to do a recap, and then go through my plans for the immediate future.
The Ghost of Christmas Past
Looking at my game production to date is kind of depressing. In the past two years in the AppStore, I have only managed to publish two versions of one app that, although game related, is not really a game. Pip was kind of an experiment, just me testing the waters of what the iPhone could do, learning the API, OpenGL, etc. It is a really well-done app and I am proud of it, but is also totally niche.
As of today it has only around 2,000 sales, mainly because I decided to set a price of $2.99 from the very beginning that has never go down (even when there are competing products at cheaper prices), I made no promotions, zero marketing efforts, and updates have been nil. From the outside it looks like an unsupported, forgotten product; but yes, I still answer the support emails and read all the reviews with glee. I am planing on updating it once more (don’t ask when), but probably that’s going to be the end of it.
Not all has been bad for the company these last couple years though. Soon after getting into iPhone development I decided to get in touch with the iPhone developer community through Twitter. Lets be honest, I didn’t think much of Twitter at the time. I was totally not wanting to register into yet another social network. But I am so glad I did now!
I have met some of the most kind, knowledgeable, passionate, fun, supportive people through Twitter, and later this year at the awesome 360idev conference (that you should totally go to, there is one coming to Austin this November). I found I was not alone in my dreams of creating and publishing games on my own, and more important, that it was possible to make a modest living out of it. Having the support of people in similar situations than you, dealing day to day with the same problems, does wonders for your productivity. The #iDevBlogADay experiment, the blog posts, and whatever other small contributions I was able to share, are my way of saying thank you. So if you are not on Twitter, or worse, you are just lurking, join in and tell us what you are up to. Don’t know where to start? Just say hi @mysterycoconut.
After the Jump
A couple weeks ago I officially quit my day job. Signs of appreciation were hastily bought by my comrades in the trenches, and offered between tears and good luck wishes. The city gave permission for a parade five blocks long to stop downtown traffic for three hours. An army of baristas wearing coconut bikinis threw flower petals at my feet as I walked down Pacific Avenue behind the last marching band. When we reached the Murray Morgan Bridge I climbed the railing while waving to the crowd. And then I jumped.
At least that’s how it felt. Being a Game Developer. Working on my own stuff 24/7. Sounds like pure awesomeness, no? But then the next day the amazing wife goes to work (cause you know without her bringing food, stimpacks, and love to the cave this will not be possible at all), and there I am in front of the blank screen, the mortgage still hanging from my neck, the three cats still requesting food every day (in the case of Pancho every hour), and doubt starts creeping in. Will I be able to pull this off? Or will I run out of the few savings we have and end up in the unemployment line again? I suppose that is the best summary of these first weeks on my own: a weird mix of over the top excitement and gripping fear. Totally makes you feel alive.
So what’s the plan? Since last April I have been collaborating on and off with the Noel Llopis twins in a number of prototypes (did I told you about registering for 360idev already? And attending the Game Jam? Do it!). Those didn’t turn out that great, but somehow he decided he wanted a bit more of the pain that is working with me.
So yes, this is the official announcement of the Snappy Touch/Mystery Coconut collaboration (Snappy Coconut? Mystery T… oh, forget it). We are currently in the middle of a project that will hopefully see the light before Christmas. He is doing most of the coding, I am doing the art (a nice change for me), and we fight constantly about the rest (the sign of a healthy partnership). Since I know is cruel to talk about unnamed projects and not even give you a screenshot, I think I will leave you with this: