So Replica Island has been out for about three weeks now, and today it reached 85,000 installs, which is pretty cool.
Lots of users have been nice enough to leave feedback, too. Most of the feedback is overwhelmingly positive, which is fantastic--there's nothing better than knowing that something you made is bringing other people pleasure. And even the negative comments can be useful; I've identified several bugs and high-value features thanks to the suggestions of users posting on the Market page.
Here's a few of the comments that really made my day.
Flattery will get you everywhere. I'm preparing a fix as we speak!
That's some high praise right there.
Then there are the useless comments. These are comments that, typically, contain so little information or are so undecipherable that they don't tell me (or a perspective user) anything useful about the game. These are mostly comments like, "doesn't work" or "I'm stuck."
First the shift key and now this!
Wait, which is it? Man, how would you rate a game that you liked?
Thanks for the bug report! I'll get right on that, uh, wait, what did you say happened again?
Perhaps you missed the text at the very beginning of the game that explained how to move? It's pretty complicated, I know: "roll the trackball" or "press the d-pad." I mean, come on, give me a break, right?
Harsh! Wait, are you saying that the effort is only worth 2 stars, or that the game is so bad that it only warrants 2 stars because we put a lot of effort into it. Wait, what are you saying again?
Your feedback has ensured a higher standard of quality for our next app!
Then there are the hilarious comments. Sometimes they are sort of innocent, like this one.
Thanks, but maybe you meant to post on the Zenonia page?
Sorry to let you down Etan, but I'm not sure exactly where that expectation came from, as this is our first game and all. Also, maybe you could have added "mediocre" or "run-of-the-mill" in there somewhere--I'm sure there's some way to fit in another few words meaning "average."
See, this is almost a useful comment! There really aren't any cutscenes in the game (well, there's one, but I won't spoil it), but there is a lot of dialog--maybe that's what you meant? I'm not sure how to make the game faster and slower at the same time, though.
There were a bunch of comments with a common theme that I couldn't figure out.
Uh-oh, that sounds like a bad bug!
How could this happen? I tested the Droid extensively!
Oh no! This sounds like a real problem!
I was so confused about what these posters were trying to tell me. Is there some horrible bug in my game that prevents moving forward? How can that be? And if that's the case, how come only 4 people out of 1000 have reported it? I've played the game on the Hero, I know that it works fine.
Finally, one final post from a user with this problem suddenly made it clear what was happening. This post has since been removed by its author, but it lives on forever in the databases of services like AppBrain.
If you've played Replica Island, you might remember the intro sequence. In it, a character (Wanda) runs through a few short credits, finds the broken Android robot, and says a few words. Then the game changes to the first level, in which Dr. Kabochanomizu teaches you how to play. That intro sequence takes, on average, 48 seconds (I know because I have user data from 85k users telling me so). During that period, you can't control the game. These users are people who booted the game up and closed it again in less than 48 seconds, and then went back to Android Market and wrote a review.
I actually figured this out before Patricia came along and made it clear, so in the 1.1 update I released about two weeks ago I added a little flashing "Please Wait" message to this part of the game. Still a few folks (like our friend Patricia here) didn't figure it out and gave up in less than 48 seconds.
I guess I don't have anything to say to people who give an app less than one minute to be awesome. It might be nice if Market displayed the amount of time each user had the app installed before writing a review.
Ah, the good old backhanded complement! However, this poster is mistaken: I never claimed that the game would get 50 fps on the Droid. I said it would get 50 fps on the G1, which it does during normal play (it can drop to about 30 in complex scenes). No game draws faster than 30 fps on the Droid (or Nexus One) because those devices are fill limited. Sorry about your luck, Mario, but your device is going to be 30 fps for all games forever. It's still a pretty cool phone, though.
Do you see this!? THIS is how you write useful feedback! Both points of feedback are great, particularly the suggestion box. I am totally going to add that in the next update. Glad she liked the game, too.
The funniest comment so far, however, wasn't posted on Android Market. The user was so incensed at the game that he visited the Replica Island web site and sent e-mail to Nicholai, my PR guy.
By the way, your game sucks big donkey balls. I have spent a Good amount if time playing only to find I am at a part I can't pass. I would tell you what part of this stupid game it is from but I can't go to a reference point. I have also ran into several game glitches and I just can't believe you would publish such a piece of shit. Fuck you.This is so awesome. Mr. Russell Hall, whoever you are, you totally made my day. Hopefully one day you'll figure out wherever it is that you are stuck and continue putting a good amount of time into my donkey-ball-sucking-game. Seriously, this was the first comment to really make me laugh out loud. Thanks.