1: Getting Started
2: Building Logic
5: Game Mechanics
6: Advanced Topics
7: Testing & Tuning
8: The Last 10%
M1: Mobile - Intro
M2: Mobile - Basics
M3: Mobile - Services
M4: Mobile - Publishing
B: How-To Guides
3.0 Drafts (In Progress)
Making a Successful Mobile Game
Developing your game is only half the battle. Taking it to the App Store and reaping the profits of your hard work (whether in actual revenue or downloads) is a challenging task.
Whether you are building a free game or a paid one, you want to give your game as much exposure as possible in order to maximize its ranking in the App Store charts. It's no longer OK to just put it on the store and expect it to fly off the shelves.
This guide covers the bare minimum that you’ll need to do to launch and promote your game.
Choosing a Good Game Concept
First and foremost, pick the right concept from the outset. The golden rule is to pick a game that fits well with mobile devices. Games with virtual keypads or complicated controls tend to fare poorly (unless they're ports of previously popular games). If you look at what's out there (Angry Birds, Temple Run, Tower Defense games), the games that fare best tend to be entirely touch driven and very easy to pick up without much instruction.
This isn't the same as being casual or dumbed down. You can still make a sophisticated game - just don't make the learning process and control scheme so complicated.
Before You Launch Your Game...
Run the game by friends and family. They'll catch issues that slip by your eyes. As you build more games, you’ll build up a list of trusted beta testers to give you feedback. Use sites like TestFlight for easy beta testing.
Build a proper website around your game. If you’ve got several games, build a website to represent your brand (or studio). Cross-promote your games through your site. Don't fall into the trap of rebuilding your audience from scratch each time.
Start talking about your game on your website or blog while it’s in development. You want to build up interest in your game before you launch it, not after.
Similarly, use social media - start up a Facebook page and Twitter feed for your “brand.” Most blogs offer an easy way to link to your Twitter account and Facebook pages, so make sure you add those to your blog or website.
It’s also a good idea to join game development communities (for example, Stencyl’s very own forums and TouchArcade) and post your game idea in an appropriate forum topic area when you’re ready to do so.
Last but not least, contact game review sites. A review by a major outlet like AppAdvice or 148Apps can give you that little boost you need to hit the charts.
Write a Convincing App Store entry
Put extra effort into writing up the App Store description of your game and into generating screenshots. Sell the user on the value of the game with captions in the screenshots - don’t just show random snapshots and call it a day. Make the description concrete and to the point. Don't use vague terms such as "unique gameplay." Instead, say what's unique about it.