How I got to #7 in the App Store

Posted by on Apr 5, 2011 in Games, iOS, Marketing | 0 comments

I wanted to share my experiences over the past week, as a beacon of hope to my fellow indie game devs, as I sit here watching an app that I created sitting comfortably in the App Store’s Top 25 Overall.


The name of the app is SimplePhysics, and it became available in the app store Thursday (3/24/2011). I have been preparing for this moment for a few months now, starting back in December of 2010. I implemented a dialog popup in my other games that asked the user if they’d like me to e-mail them when I released a new game. Since that time, amazingly, I have been able to collect over 35,000 e-mails. This is largely due to a promotion I did with FreeAppADay.com, who I highly recommend if you want to boost your fan base.

I created an e-mail campaign at Campaign Monitor, and loaded in my list. I created an extremely basic e-mail, and got everything ready to pull the trigger.
Here’s the e-mail:

Hello!

This is Andrew Garrison, the creator of BridgeBasher.
I am excited to let you know that BridgeBasher’s sequel,
SimplePhysics, is now available in the App Store! If
you like BridgeBasher, then you will love SimplePhysics.
You can find out more about it here:

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/simplephysics/id408233979?mt=8

Thanks, and I hope you enjoy it!
-Andrew

ps – If you do not wish to receive e-mails about my game
releases in the future, you can unsubscribe here.

At the same time, as I was setting up this e-mail campaign, I tweaked my other app, and I removed the e-mail signup dialog and replaced it with a dialog that linked directly to my new app. I submitted the update to Apple, and set it to “Hold for Developer Release.” Now I had all of my ducks in a row. When I release these updates, and my existing user base loads up the new version, they will immediately be hit with a dialog telling them about my new game, along with a link directly to the iTunes page where they can buy it.

SimplePhysics went live Thursday, March 24th, and I sat on it for a few days to make sure it propagated to all app stores worldwide. Last Wednesday, I pulled the trigger. I sent the e-mail and I logged into iTunesConnect and released all of my app updates. After less than 12 hours, SimplePhysics rose to #12 overall in the iTunes App Store. I had complete refresh-syndrome….constantly holding my iPhone, checking the charts every other minute. I watched in complete amazement as SimplePhysics rose to #1 in Games->Simulation, ousting NBA Elite, a game made by friggin Electrnoic Arts. It is almost euphoric to see a game that I made sitting on top of a game made by EA.

For those of you who are interested, these are the numbers for the e-mail:

35,704 e-mails sent
13,558 opens
1,574 bounces
20,572 not opened (misleading statistic, since some email clients block the tracking image)
334 people unsubscribed
45 people marked it as spam
6,182 clicks through to the iTunes purchase page from the e-mail

I do realize that this rise on the charts is fleeting. I realize that once all of my e-mails are opened, and once all of my users have updated, that the game will start quickly falling from the charts. Nonetheless, it is still extremely exciting, and I hope it will encourage my fellow indie game devs. The app store is such a great opportunity for indie game development. It is the only place that I know of where a little guy like me can outsell a major game company.

If you want to see the app, here’s the product page for it:
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/simplephysics/id408233979?mt=8

New Level for SimplePhysics – Truck Crane

Posted by on Apr 4, 2011 in Everything | 0 comments

Last night I submitted an update to the App Store for SimplePhysics. The update includes one new level, titled Truck Crane, where (you guessed it!) you design a crane. The level is fairly difficult, I’d say its slightly more difficult than the roof, but not quite as difficult as the ferris wheel. I hope you guys enjoy it!

Tags: iphone,SimplePhysics

SimplePhysics Facebook Fan Page

Posted by on Apr 1, 2011 in Everything | 0 comments

SimplePhysics now has a Facebook fan page. If you want to chat about the game and share pictures of your designs, that is the place to do it.

SimplePhyics Released – BridgeBasher and Skyword are Free!

Posted by on Mar 30, 2011 in Everything | 0 comments

Today has been a crazy day. SimplePhysics was released and it has already climbed to #20 in the US App Store. I have also made BridgeBasher and Skyword free for a short while to help with the promotion, so if you haven’t already tried those, make sure you grab them in the next few days. This is essentially three apps for the price of one:

I have already gotten a ton of great ideas from the beta testers. If you have an idea, please submit it at my uservoice page, and vote on the ideas that you like. I have already implemented some of the top voted ideas off of that page.
http://simplephysics.uservoice.com

Tags: iphone,SimplePhysics,bridgebasher,skyword

SimplePhysics v1.2 (Release Candidate) Submitted!

Posted by on Mar 22, 2011 in Everything | 0 comments

I am uploading v1.2 of SimplePhysics to iTunes as I’m writing this. There are several bug fixes and small enhancements in this update, and there are two huge enhancements:
1) Finger Test – Use your finger to push and pull on your design. You can apply forces to your design with pinpoint accuracy, or you can smash it to smithereens, which is undeniably more fun. Here is a screenshot of me tugging on my tree house design:

2) Skyscraper Level - I think this is the best level yet. Design a 24 story skyscraper that can withstand winds of up to 300mph, and it must do this for under $175,000. I am VERY curious to see what you guys come up with to solve this one:

Tags: SimplePhysics

SimplePhysics v1.1 Submitted to the App Store.

Posted by on Mar 13, 2011 in Everything | 0 comments

I submitted v1.1 of SimplePhysics tonight.  This is a big update, with several enhancements and bug fixes. Thanks to all of my beta testers for finding some of those bugs!
Here’s what’s new in v1.1:

  • Leaderboards! 
  • Tutorial Level 
  • Increased difficulty of all levels 
  • Added budgets to levels 
  • Added save/load 
  • Bug fixes
Tags: SimplePhysics

SimplePhysics Beta [Closed]

Posted by on Mar 5, 2011 in Everything | 0 comments

UPDATE: The Beta is now closed. I have given out all 50 promo codes.

SimplePhysics has been approved! However, it is not yet available in the app store. I have set the release date to be the end of March. There are still a few more things that I want to include in the final version before it officially goes live. If you would like to try SimplePhysics now, then e-mail me and I will send you a promo code where you can download it now for free. E-mail me at iphone at andrewgarrison dot com and put ‘promo code’ in the subject line. I only have 50 promo codes, so act quickly!

Tags: SimplePhysics

SimplePhysics Submitted to the AppStore!

Posted by on Feb 15, 2011 in Everything | 0 comments

I finally submitted SimplePhysics (the sequel to BridgeBasher) to the App Store tonight. My carefully crafted binary must now begin the long and dangerous trek through the approval process. I can only pray that it makes it through on the first submission.

Tags: iphone,SimplePhysics

BridgeBasher – Bridge Gallery

Posted by on Feb 12, 2011 in Everything | 0 comments

View other people’s bridges and upload screenshots of your bridges to the Bridge Gallery:

BridgeBasher Free for a Day

Posted by on Jan 24, 2011 in Everything | 0 comments

I have decided to make BridgeBasher free for a short while, starting on January 24th. Don’t miss out! Get it while it’s free!