Game Design
stories, tips, follies,
...and making some $$$ along the way!

First Sale and Price Adjustment

Posted by: Sam Horton on Apr 1, 2008 at 6:51 PM

Today I just sold the first copy of Mobile B-Out, and I have to say, it feels great!

I was using this handy little tool to calculate how much I would need to charge in order to make a dollar after paypal took their cut. It looks like I missed the mark by a few cents, so I've adjusted the price to $1.35. It's too bad really, because it seemed like luck was on my side when I came up with the $1.11 price tag! Paypal takes a flat fee of $.30 per transaction, Plus up to 2.9% of the total. International orders can get hit for 2.5% on top of that.

In other news, I'm working on making a nice installer for various phone models, starting with the Symbian OS. I almost have something working, but it's about 10 times harder to make the installer than the game itself. The process involves:
  • Downloading gigs of symbian sdk's

  • Creating cool icons

  • Generating encrypted keys and certificates

  • Searching through a library of congress worth of documentation

  • Hacking through file headers

  • Fighting with tools that claim to do all this in a single click

It will be worth it in the long run, and I'm sure it's valuable info to have under your belt! I really would love to see an Adobe solution that streamlines this whole process though!

I would also like to get this game listed in the Nokia Marketplace, but it looks like there are pretty strict guidelines in place, and a $200 per year fee to get a proper Symbian certificate. Since B-Out doesn't need any of the advanced features that require strict certification, it might wind up being much easier, and hopefully cheaper.

For now, it's easy enough to just manually choose the game from the Flash player on your phone and enjoy it!

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By: Sam Horton | Apr 1, 2008 at 6:51 PM | | Leave a comment

New Release: Mobile B-Out

Posted by: Sam Horton on Mar 31, 2008 at 1:06 PM

Several months ago I took it upon myself to learn how to develop Flash games for cell phones using Adobe's Flash Lite. Flash Lite is basically a stripped down version of Flash that most modern phones come pre-installed with. The only alternative for developing games was Java, and I wasn't too excited about going there.

Releasing a Mobile Game
Today I decided to go ahead and release my first mobile game: B-Out. It's a simple game similar to Breakout or Arkanoid, and serves as a great time waster when you are bored out of your mind, or just need something to occupy your attention for a few minutes at a time. I also decided to charge one dollar and thirty five cents for this jewel of a game!

What What?
But Flash games are free!

True, but Flash games are free largely because there are several ways to make money from them without charging the player. Mobile games, on the other hand, do not currently enjoy this luxury. Since the market for mobile advertising is still in in its infancy, we have to look for other methods to earn a living from our efforts. This is why I decided to use the magical price of $1.35, which buys you the game and free updates to it for life! You can also install the game on any supported phone, free of charge, no strings attached. Why $1.35? Because after Paypal takes their cut, I will have exactly one dollar remaining and I think that is an excellent deal considering what a dollar is worth these days.

Since most people would be hesitant about buying something without first checking it out, I made this game-play video so you can get an idea of how everything works.

watch it on youtube.

Earning a Decent Living
As an independent Flash game developer, I am always interested in alternative ways to turn a profit from my games. The future of Flash game development seems to be heading towards micro transactions and subscription fees. While it might seem like a bad thing from the player's point of view—to actually have to pay for what was once free—it's actually a great concept that if implemented properly will allow developers to make complex games with better features. Anything that helps kick us out of the whole "play it for 30 seconds and throw it away" mentality that Flash games suffer from is a giant leap forward in my book. In the long run, I think we will be seeing some very advanced flash games that just would not be possible without some plan for funding them.

Plans for the Future
If this idea even remotely pans out, I will devote quite a bit more time and effort into making better mobile games. I would love to see this industry take off and become both accessible and profitable *crosses fingers* If I could survive comfortably and make games for free I would, but as it stands, the rent is always due and the bills don't pay themselves.

If you are interested in finding out more about Mobile B-Out or upgrading the Flash Lite player for your phone, then head back to the B-Out page at

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By: Sam Horton | Mar 31, 2008 at 1:06 PM | | Leave a comment