We have been getting some really good feedback about our T-Rex DLC. there is some confusion about whether you get all the options or just a single option for $0.99 and we want to make sure everyone knows you get all the options for that pack and you can go back to the screen at any time to change your T-Rex back to the original or another skin without having to pay again.
As far as the results (in case you're a dev and are thinking of implementing DLC). We haven’t received much of a backlash from going to 3.0 only. We might get 1 email every few days about it and most of them are fairly understanding, but might not have the money to upgrade right away. We have had some issues with reviews where people think that going to 3.0 means that the game isn’t compatible at all with iPod Touch. I'm not sure if these reviews are by people who are trying to spread false information because they are angry or they just didn't bother to read the message that tells them to upgrade to 3.0. We lost about 10 ranking points in the top paid apps (US) due to the 3.0 change but it seems we are fairly stable at 33 right now. Even though new users dipped, our overall sales of DLC + new users are better than what we were getting before with just new users. Also, the sales curve is a little steeper with DLC than with new sales. For us at least, new sales decline at a pretty slow rate while DLC has a huge spike when the update first comes out but a pretty rapid decline after that. Although, after a week, it seems like DLC sales is settling into 27% of new sales. It will be interesting to see when the new DLC pack comes out whether its sales will add to this figure or just replace it. Also, keep in mind, we have a pretty big fan base and a lot of loyal users that continue to check out our updates. It would be interesting to see what other apps are seeing with their DLC figures.
Apple recently announced that they are allowing free apps to charge for DLC. We have no plans to offer a free version of Pocket God with a $0.99 upgrade fee. Right now we are afraid that if we switch to free+DLC, we may lose some of our visibility on the Top Paid apps list but I don't want to say we will never go in this direction because obviously I didn't think we would be moving to 3.0 or offering DLC until recently.
About the update, we are introducing a humongous spider into the graveyard island. We retweaked combat with the T-Rex and the Spider to make it more challenging and also added it as a challenge that you can do with friends. There are new achievements for combat based on the lowest number of spear throws it takes to knock one of these down and I have to say, it's pretty hard. Because if the difference in sizes, each monster needs a slightly different strategy to take it down. Some of the betas had a reaction that it was way too hard at first but there are techniques you can learn in order to get better at it over time. I think it will end up being a fun challenge and it brings more life into the T-Rex so those skins don't go to waste. We also made the spider web interactive, you can drag a pygmy into the web, call a small spider down to cocoon it, and then trigger a bunch of baby spiders to eat the pygmy from the inside out.
We also added a new DLC Halloween Skin Pack to this update. Instead of skinning a single object and giving it lots of options, we chose to pick a lot of objects and give them a Halloween version of it. I swear to god, I haven't typed the word Halloween so many times in my life compared to this last update, and every single time I find myself singing the Halloween spelling song I learned as a kid. "H-A-Double L-O-W-Double E-N spells Halloween". God, I'm so sick of it already ...anyway, so there are cool Halloween versions of a bunch of objects like the volcano, the bird, even doodler. Screen shots will be released in the near future on the blog. Allan did a really good job with them, you can enable each skin individually so as we release new skin packs, you'll be able to mix and match.
From the technical side, I was able to optimize some things. There was some polling going on with challenges that were dragging the cpu down by about 10%. So it should run a little quicker. I hate to be one of those games that asks you to reboot your phone before playing but that helps too. I noticed that the iPhone 3G that I use for personal reasons can be really slow after a bit of use. Not sure what it’s from, maybe a lot of apps, a lot of music or whatever, but it can run a lot slower than a 1G iPod touch that has hardly anything on it. Once I reboot though, it seems to go pretty quick.
We also ran into a wall in terms of texture memory, we currently have 5 1024x1024 16 bit texture atlases and 2 1024x1024 PVR compressed atlases that are in RAM while the game is being played. This combined with other assets give us a 30MB RAM footprint which is right on the edge of the suggested amount of memory that iPhone apps should use before serious problems start to happen. We managed to add all the new skins and assets from this update to the existing atlas space but we won’t be able to add new atlases to the game so that means no new functionality without figuring out a system to dynamically load pieces into memory on the fly. Most games do this already but you end up seeing a small stall between screens or levels in their game. I think we can figure out a method that will do this on the fly but it will take a big cleanup effort to complete.
So this means that the next update will be a cleanup update and it will probably take longer than 2 weeks to complete. We will still find some kind of functionality to add to the update (and DLC) but our main focus is to improve startup time, improve frame rate, and implement a good dynamic texture and sound loading system that allows us to add DLC and new features in an easier manner. Not sure how long this cleanup will take but we are trying to get 3 major updates out before the end of the year. It will end up being a new trilogy and will include a new location, something a lot of people have been asking for.
This isn't part of the post. So when he says people have been asking for this new location for a long time, I think he means the next update is "aliens from afar".