Mommy's Best Games, Inc. is an independent game developer founded in 2007. Our seventh game, currently in development, is Pig Eat Ball on which we started working in 2013. This is behind the scenes thoughts about game development and marketing.

Nathan

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Shoot 1UP travels the globe

Shoot 1UP has been loved the world over, come see the global shmuppreciation!


First off, and truly international, Shoot 1UP has been honored as a Top 20 finalist in Microsoft's Dream Build Play 2010 competition!

A.R.E.S. - Thailand
Abaddon - United States
Abducted! - United States
Alien Jelly - Australia
Armor Valley - Singapore
Beat Hazard - United Kingdom
Capsized - Canada, excluding Quebec
Creed Arena - Australia
Duality ZF - Canada, excluding Quebec
Dysnomia - United Kingdom
JoyJoy - United States
King Spray - Australia
Lumi - France
Mind Over Metal - Australia
Ninja Garden - Ireland
Prismatic Solid - Japan
Shape Shooter - United States
Shoot 1UP - United States
Soul - France
The Shadows in the Underworld - Canada, excluding Quebec

The bolded games are forced-scrolling shoot 'em ups; impressive to have 3 of the top 20 from such a "niche" genre!


USA
There's been tons of great reviews in America, and here's a sampling.

"The Best Possible Way to Spend a Buck."
Game Critics review

A-
"Shoot 1UP- the latest release from Mommy’s Best Games offers shmup fans the largest dose of originality seen since 2003’s Ikaruga."
Tech-Gaming review

B
"A super-cheap, accessible, and worthwhile Indie shoot-em-up on XBLA."
1UP.com's review

9/10
"Shoot 1UP delivers an excellent shooter experience, and is compelling enough to hold the honor of being the best indie space-shooter available on xbox live!"
Gamespot user review

5/5
"Shoot 1UP is a marvel in game design, a game so addictive and fun that it’s hard to pass up
RunDLC review

9/10
"If this sort of action remotely interests you, then the full game of Shoot 1UP should already be on your hard drive"
Console Obsession review





UK
8 out of 10
"...it'd almost be rude for shooter aficionados not to destroy the mechanical-tentacle hybrid forces responsible for your pain"
Eurogamer review

Indie Pick of the month
"Games have been trying to perfect the life and death mechanic for years, and Shoot 1Up has a simple, elegant solution"
Digital Spy recommendation

Odd Bob can barely tear himself away from the game.
"Go buy your own, I’m still playing!"
XNPlay round-up (#67)

"There’s also a boss that fires boobies. 11/10?"
NTSC-uk review



Australia
While Indie Games are not officially available in Australia that didn't stop The Go.

"...a sleek 16-bit design that brings you right back to the golden age of arcades."
The Go Indie of the Month



FRANCE
16/20
Shoot 1UP's equal to Ikaruga by their measurements! That's some amazing company to keep.
Xbla360 France's review


99/100!
"A phalanx plus chocolate", probably missing something there, but what could be better than ships and chocolate?
CF-network review



SPAIN
Indie recommendation
"I could write a review or something, but it's best to just go and immediately buy it."
No vale dar en pajaritos recommendation



BRAZIL
"A trailer for the frenzied shooting game"
Crie-jogos trailer viewage



GERMANY
"Shoot 1UP is a 2d shooter with a fresh taste" and "Brilliant nonsense"
Spieletipps review



ITALY
"I mean, oh, a chick with steel boobs and a laser ... really beautiful, yes yes"
Indie Vault review


JAPAN
This is a massive fan post covering most aspects of the game with tons of pictures and explanations.
Most Ultimate Shoot 1UP JET Extreme Extra story!

NSFW Ads, the game has been lumped in with Hentai naughtiness!
New Akiba coverage
I guess we can thank Mecha Lilith for that.

Game*Spark's controversial review
This Game*Spark story apparently sent the commentors into a real frenzy with the game's review of 4.5 out of 5!

And finally a super Japanese fan sent me a scan of the April 22nd, weekly Famitsu magazine (No. 1116)--Shoot 1UP has it's very own page! Though he didn't translate it all for me , he said the title reads "XBL Indie Games is the last frontier for Underground Games".
Also, I can sort of make out "1996", and "HAHAHAHAHA", and they have Mecha Lilith and wrote a bunch, so I think they really liked it!



There you have it, around the world with one plucky little shoot 'em up's coverage in the gaming media.
Auf Wiedersehen!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Shoot 1UP Daily Sales


Here is detailed sales information and analysis for Shoot 1UP. I'll work to update it daily so consider bookmarking the page and checking back each evening.


Make sure to click various tabs above for cool graphs of the data!

For some time, I've been sharing detailed sales information for Weapon of Choice, annotated with notes based on trends, press, etc. I hope it's been helpful to other developers trying to understand at least some piece of the XBLIG platform. Being a community I think a great way for everyone to make more informed business decisions is to start by sharing sales information about their games.

Recently JForce Games starting sharing daily sales information on their blog for their game Avatar Showdown. It was a brilliant move in terms of business visibility and data management and I commend them. I was inspired and decided to share Shoot 1UP's data as well to help contribute to the data landscape and understanding of the wild, wild west we call XBL Indie Games.


For any other devs interested, and I certainly hope there are many I'd like to share the way I created the system above. You can comment or write me if you have any questions or can suggest improvements. Because I haven't fully automated this, I do limit some of the slicing and dicing based on time (eg. not looking at countries, etc). But I am open to cool new ideas still.

Keep in mind, I'm doing this the fairly manual way. It takes some time to set it up, but from there, it's not too bad (minute or two) to update each night.

Downloads:
I created a template for XBLIG daily sales data, on Google Docs. Also, here's a sample for that same data (this csv data is what goes into the template). I explain how I use it below.

Intial setup:
Step 0: I'm using MS Excel to shape the data before taking it to Google Docs (the demo of the newest version, currently). Get the demo, then set up an account with Google and start up Google docs.

Step 1: DL all your sales data since the start. Sort by Date then by Price. You should something like get this:


Step 2: Set up an AutoSum of each day's trials, and their sales. Then do an AutoSum (division version) of each day's conversion rate. I'm sure some masters of Excel can make this much quicker on the inital setup.

Step 3: In a new sheet, start a new column of daily totals for sales, trials, and CRs. Copy these over from your raw data. Form a column for the date and put one Date to the left of sales and trials, and one to the left of Conversion Rate. We're still working in Excel to prep to upload to Google Docs.



That pic is what you should have going in Excel.

Step 4: If you want more analysis, set it up now. I added a running total as well (but had to add a new date/day number column also).

Step 5: Ready to go to Google Docs. Upload your Excel sheet to there that has the multiple Date columns with your processed data. I'd say do this as a separate new file, from your raw data, so it's less confusing.

Step 6: The data from Excel should show up fine in the Docs. If not, check the help. From there, select the first date column, the sales, and the trials, then click Insert->Chart. I moved mine to their own sheet.

The key to getting it to show up (if it's not) is have the Date as the first column, and when editing the Chart select, select both "Use row 1 as labels", and "Use column XYZ as labels". I had problems otherwise.

Step 7: Pretty things up. I went back and moved the 'raw data' to the right (like JForce) and then made a new 'front page' of data. I have to update both spots. Not ideal, but it looks better.
The front page is easier to see trends for weeks, and write in notes, and see the totals.

Upkeep:
Download the most recent bit of sales for your game. Sort that day by Date and then Price. Sum up sales, trials, do the CR. Copy these over to the google docs file. I put the data in "Charts data" and the front sheet "Sales and Notes". This should update the totals and all the charts.

An alternative that JForce's Jeremy (see comments for his explanation, could make more sense than mine) pointed out is that if we use the "maths" we can make this super quick. View your new sales and trials for the entire period which will include the new day's sales and trials. Subtract the new sales/trials from your old one (in your current google docs). Then take those values, divide for your CR and copy this new day's data over. Obviously make sure the new "total" values are the same as the ones you saw in the first place on you MyBusiness page.
(Note though, this method will not work for a game that's been out for over a year, as the "full" data on CC only goes back 1 year. You'll have to start appending it in a stand-alone file at the at point. Or alternatively you could keep track of the current months sales/trials then subtract the new total on the CC page each day from that, starting again with each month. Using this math as Jeremy pointed out does save you the step of having to sum up all the sales/trails per each day which is more tedious to copy around.)


Make sure for each chart when you edit it, the "What Data?" part includes the newest data you added (you may need to extend it, for example: C2:C40 needs to increase to C2:c41 once you add in enough days). Check each chart to make sure the new data shows up.

Wrap Up:
That's it for setting it up. For about 45 days of data, it took about an hour to prep them and about an hour or so to learn Google Docs and get it all rolling. If you have 1.5 years of data, you might consider displaying weekly or monthly sales so you don't have to mess with it as much. I may end up doing that with Weapon of Choice sales. Or be smart and automate it in some awesome way!

To display it here, on the spreadsheet that you edit, on the far right, I picked "Share" and embedded it in this page there.

Please tell me how it goes for you in the comments and share your site links!

Friday, April 2, 2010

PAX East 2010 Pics and Press

PAX East is finally over and boy was it a first show! By most estimates there were nearly 60,000 people in attendance and every single one of them stopped by Mommy's Best Games' booth!
At least we'd have liked that. We did get a lot of traffic though, and Shoot 1UP thoroughly convinced many reticent gamers they still *do* like shoot 'em ups and can still enjoy them!

I've been fortunate enough to have been to E3 and GDC for many years now, but being to a fun video game convention *before* everything is setup is a little disenchanting. Fortunately once the show starts the magic begins as well and everything actually turns out looking cool.

Pre-show forklifts scour the floors indiscriminately lifting boxes and eating grown pets. Beware!

Shortly after arriving, Amy begins to construct our booth. I'm sitting in our second blue chair, watching her work.

Now we're getting somewhere! The rental TV and computers are up and rental-dude Tyler is making sure things work.

Near-complete version of the booth. The Weapon of Choice sign was deemed "too much". We put that on the back side to face the lounge area. Believe it or not--and our games not withstanding--we do have our own limits of taste and decor.

Boston, 32 stories high, first morning of the show. The rain didn't dampen (Ugghh) our spirits!

Gamers trying out Grapple Buggy and Shoot 1UP. No the game won't ship with a 5' poster of Javeya (to the right). If we sold it in a box though, we could pack it in!

Crowds formed each hour as we held the Shoot 1UP High Score contest at the show. Guy standing on the left is watching Grapple Buggy in action and literally cannot believe his eyes.

Kotaku's Mike Fahey stopped by to gross us out by hanging a Grapple Buggy grabber off his nose piercing. F'ing hardcore.

I explain to Evil Avatar's "pwnophobia" how the Natal-powered, piano bar mini-game in Grapple Buggy will work.

Here's some of the media coverage for Grapple Buggy and Shoot 1UP from the show:

Video interviews:
http://kotaku.com/5503881/bionic-commando-meets-blaster-master-meets-metroid

http://www.evilavatar.com/forums/showthread.php?t=109534

http://negativegamer.com/2010/04/01/paxeast-%E2%80%9810-a-short-video-interview-with-mommys-best-games/

Audio interviews:
http://www.racketboy.com/retro/podcast/2010/04/racketboy-podcast-10-pax-east-retro-roundup-pt-2-indie-old-school-developers.html

http://rejectedgamer.com/2010/03/pax-east-2010-day-2/

http://negativegamer.com/2010/03/28/ngcast-special-paxeast-10/

Stuff with words: (there may be pictures!)
http://www.gamepro.com/article/previews/214668/pax-east-grapple-buggy/

http://www.newgrounds.com/bbs/topic/1156047

http://oneofswords.com/2010/03/pax-east-day-2/

http://gamingnexus.com/FullNews/When-Nathan-met-Nathan-Fouts/Item16914.aspx


Overall it was a great show--here's to next year!