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  • Hang Line: Production Data And Tools Used

    [05.21.20]
    - Ed Kay

  • Development Timeline

    Here's a summary of the development timeline:
     


     

    So in summary - the game took a year and a half to build from zero to fully a functioning soft launch. But in total it took about 2 and a half years from start to final release.

    Production Breakdown

    To track my progress on Hang Line I used a simple online tool called toggl:
    https://www.toggl.com/

    It works like this: when you start working on a task, you click the ‘start' button in toggle. When you finish working on the task a few hours later, you click the ‘end' button and simply write what you did in a few words. Then if you like you can also set what type of work you did (coding, art etc). 

    Using toggl serves two purposes:

    1. Once you click that ‘start' button, you are highly encouraged to actually stick to whatever task you started and not waste time reading articles, looking at Kermit gifs etc.
    2. Once you've finished a project you get a really handy set of data that you can use to see a breakdown of where you spent most of your time.

    So for Hang Line, according to toggl, this is what I spent taking the game from start to Soft Launch:

    Total hours: 2571
    Total days (assuming an 8 hour working day): 321
    Total weeks (assuming 5 days work a week): 64.2
    Total years (assuming 48 weeks per year of actual work): 1.34

    The actual time I spent on the game at this point was actually about a year and a half, but there were times when I forgot to log a task, or periods where I couldn't work on the game due to other commitments, hence the number above being a bit lower. At soft launch the game had about 5-6 hours of content.

    Note: I only tracked tasks using toggle for getting the game to soft launch. For the period up to full launch when I was working with the publisher, I didn't use time tracking.

    I pulled the data out of toggl to a spreadsheet and made this pie chart:
     

     

    Here's a bit more information on the categories:

    • Art: includes technical art tasks like rigging, post processing etc. as well as UI art.
    • Technical issues: stuff that I had to solve to be able to work e.g. getting computer fixed, build creation issues, xcode, cloud build etc.
    • Sound: getting sounds to play from code, not the actual creation of audio samples.
    • Marketing: includes everything from making a website, creating gifs, trailer, screenshots, and posting on the interwebs.

    Some conclusions I drew from this:

    • I spent half my time programming. To be honest it felt like I'd spent almost ALL my time programming! Keep in mind that my programming experience was pretty minimal (I come from a design background), so I had to figure out a ton of stuff from scratch. 

    • I spent a huge amount more time building systems than building content, even though I have hand-authored levels. This was intentional. When you're making a free to play game, you need to be able to make new content as rapidly as possible or you can get swamped.

    • Marketing was the third biggest time sap. This surprised me mostly because I didn't really do a huge amount of useful marketing. Making materials for marketing can really eat time (screenshots, trailers etc). I made quite a few 5 seconds gifs for twitter that took a heck of a lot longer than 5 seconds to make! Were they really worth it? For me, probably not. With mobile, getting a feature with Apple or Google makes so much more difference than someone seeing your game on twitter.

    Revenue

    Unfortunately I can't talk about how much the game has earned due to contractual obligations with my Publisher. But I'm not swimming in a bathtub of 100 dollar bills, in case you were wondering. 

    But for a solo indie developer, it has definitely been a huge success and enabled me to keep making my own games.

    Here's the number of downloads to date:

    > 2 million on iOS

    > 2 million on Google Play

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