Reflections Part 2 – Zero IQ Test
Zero IQ Test
After spending 15 months developing my first game I wanted to have a go at something a lot easier so I decided to put my mind to developing a tap-tap style game.
The Initial Idea
My wife and I brainstormed some ideas, eventually, she mentioned a game she used to play in China when she was younger. In the original game two children would take turns saying a direction “up”, “left” etc, and the other child had to instantly point in the opposite direction. I took this idea and fleshed it out a little, and the end idea was “Zero IQ Test”, where you have to do the opposite of what the crazy professor Simon says. The basic idea is the same, but obviously, mobile devices are a visual medium which gave me the ability to add a bunch of other themes.
Initially, I thought I would develop and release Zero IQ Test in the space of two weeks, but the inner geek in me took control and I spent an unbelievably long length of time refactoring code, something that I could have probably avoided given the simplicity of the game. In fact, a lot of my earlier code ended up on the “editing floor”, I was basically trying to be to fancy in the beginning and this ended up breaking my code a little.
Lesson learned… NOT…
Well, I haven’t spent a bucket of money on this app, but I didn’t learn anything about how to properly release an app from the raging success that was the release of Truck Trials. I still started my marketing on the day it was released, and I still hoped that somehow word would magically get around and downloads would just happen.
The underwhelming performance of Zero IQ Test early on forced me to spend some time looking at my process, I spent a lot of time researching different marketing ideas (more on this in another post), one idea I came across was to run a competition to try and get the word out. I found a checklist online on how to run an online competition to increase app visablility;
- Build some hype – CHECK – I started tweeting to different indie related hashtags about 3 weeks before the competition. In reflection maybe tweeting indie groups was not the best idea as these groups might not be my target audience??
- Make the prize relevant – CHECK (kindof) – First prize was $25US and a promo code to Truck Trials (I thought I was being extremely smart by doing this, cheap prize to giveaway and push Truck Trials at the same time)
- Make it easy to enter – CHECK – Couldn’t be simpler, entry was done via a tweet in game when the player scored more than 50 points. I even released a version of Zero IQ Test where it was easier to score higher points.
- Run it for a while and have a fixed end date – CHECK – ran for two weeks, and ended on Christmas eve
- Take advantage of trending hashtags – CHECK – #christmas
And the end result…… The first ever Zero IQ Test Christmas Twitter Competition (maybe this title was too long) had one entry… ME… So I gave myself $25 dollars, and a pat on the back.
- Having another app in the app store.
- I spent A LOT less money. Makes it a lot easier to stay “in the black” if you don’t spend much.
- Running a twitter competition (even if it failed) was kinda fun. I did a lot of research around this and feel that if I were to do it again then it would be a lot easier.
- Forced me to start researching this marketing thing. This has been my sole focus for the last 2 months or so, I think I need to get comfortable with this before I move onto my next project.
- The app was a lot quicker to make.
- mmmm. Another disappointing release to the app stores (not much more needs to be said about this)
In summary… Fun to make, no money.
BUT, it has made me really start thinking about the other 80% (I read somewhere that releasing an app is 20% development and 80% marketing). I have spent a lot of time researching this side of things and have some ideas (more posts to come).