As promised, I will be posting “developer reports” again. The only difference is that I will not name them “Developer Report [month][year]”, since I cannot promise that there will be somthing to write about each month. Or there will be two interesting things to write about in one month at times. As of today. Two topics. One post. Total confusion…. (I just want to compensate for the long silence, hence the information overflow in this post).
I wanted to name this blogpost “Windows Phone and the Price of a Cheap Translation” first, but this would be misleading. These are two separate topics that have nothing in common, and I will start with the first right away:
There are many different stories of whether it pays off to port your mobile app to WP or not. Some apps see huge financial success, like Taptitude (read the success-story here). Other reports paint a more or less abysmal picture of WP like the (one year old…) comparative report here.
As always, the truth is somewhere in between, and can be different for everyone. So here are my two cents:
Bloo Kid 2 on WP
Since the Monkey-X Framework I used to create Bloo Kid 2 already supports WP, it did not take much time to consider the port (and to even port it). So my advice as always at this point: Choose your framework wisely. There are enough “engines” out there today that every aspiring developer should be aware of, so pick your favorite one carefully. Multi-Platform coverage should have a high priority in my opinion.
You often hear that Microsoft is desperately looking for apps built for WP. There are even stories about developers being paid to port their titles to WP. So I thought I’d see if there is an opportunity for me. I was in the lucky situation that someone from Microsoft was following my twitter account, so I just contacted that person and asked what’s in for me. If you are not that lucky, then remember that there is always someone who knows someone (Maybe that someone is me! hint hint). The indie/app/general/dev-scene is large and well linked up. And most people are very helpful.
I was not offered money for the port, but they promised that the game would be featured. Featured! That’s it! I thought. A feature in a store is the grand prize. Man, was I wrong…
First I had to learn that Microsoft’s features only last for one day. At least the features that I got. Jupp. One day. Some people might not even get a glimpse of your app before it vanishes again. The next thing was that the features are very specific. There might be global features for all countries and devices, but the features that I got where somewhat like featured in Turkey and United Arab Emirates on Nokia Phones with WP 8.0 installed. The only thing missing was and for people wearing a green shirt today, to give it an even more niche character.
The initial launch and the first featurings generated some adequate downloads, but the downloads pretty quickly dropped dramatically. And yes, the green bars you see in the chart are the periodes (== days) where the app got featured somewhere. They never stopped doing it, but it never helped either.
Since the games launch in July 2014, it has amassed the extraordinary amount of 8.083 downloads IN TOTAL
I chose the free to try, $1.99 to buy model this time. Users get the first world for free, but must do a one-time-payment to get the rest of the content. Below you can see the total amount of sales
Needless to say, I am very dissapointed with the outcome. I never thought that being featured would have so little impact. I still believe that WP has much potential, and I will continue to release my future games on that platform. For that reason alone to bring my games to as many people as possible. It just did not work out this time.
The Price of a Cheap Translation
This is the very first “mini-announcement” that Bloo Kid 2 will be coming to a new (and quite unexpected) platform very soon. I cannot say more at the moment, but once the release date is confirmed, I will let you know.
For that purpose I was in the need to translate all the texts in the game to several languages. At no cost, if possible. There are big companies out there which are sometimes even specialized in translating games. But their services are quite expensive for an indie-developer-type of budget. So I looked for alternatives. And found it.
Maybe some of you have heared about fiverr. It is a marketplace where people offer their work for $5. It ranges from designing a logo to writing some music or just baking a cake. If you need more stuff done, you can buy multiple $5 “gigs”. There also happen to be many translators on fiverr. So I took some time to search for the highest rated and most popular translators for the language I was looking for and asked them to translate my game.
The process was very smooth. I provided an excel sheet with the original texts, a column with “meta-information” that explained the part of the game where the text was used, and a column for the new translation. Most of the translators did their job within days.
The translators usually translate 400-500 words for $5. My ingame texts and the descriptions were about 800 words, so I needed $10 per language. For 8 languages, that’s $80. That sounded pretty decent to me.
The outcome was quite mixed. Some of the translators overlooked the second excel-tab containing the app-description. So I had to communicate with them and persuade them to translate this, too, without having to book another gig. In most cases, this worked.
Another downside was that some of the translators did not seem to get the point that they were translating a video-game. So at some point, the translation for “savegame slot” was similar to “saving slot”, as in terms of “saving money”. I had to find this out by using a mixture of http://dict.cc and google translate.
One translator even translated the comments column which was intended as additional information for the translator. This resulted in much more work, and I decived to pay him and additional $5, even though the mistake was on his side.
The translation was cheap in terms of money. But it cost time and stretched my nerves, so it acutally took much more than the $80 that I initially spent. On the other side, I think I still got away better than working with a big company. The translators reacted very fast to my inquiries, and the overall quality of the translations is still better than a great amount of appstore translations that I get to see every day.
Still, for my next project, which will be bigger and have more text-content than Bloo Kid 2, I will look for another solution. Fiverr works great if you have some small text that you need to get translated fast. But once you notice that you forgot something and must translate some additional sentences, it can become quite painful to convince the translators to rework stuff.
So, that’s all for today. I hope you like the return of the dev-reports. Please tell me what you think in the comments below!