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Google Play Games API

I need some input from y'all ("y'all" meaning all two of you who read this!)

I'm debating adding Google Play Game Services integration into Robo-Ninjua. Primarily for an online leaderboard (to track who beat the game with the fewest deaths), but it also adds achievements (I'd limit these to mostly how well you did when beating the game, ie "beat the game with < 500 deaths") and online saves via google drive.

So, opinions, please: how do you feel about games that connect to google's game api? Annoying? Cool?

I'm also considering, when I finally get around to releasing the game, releasing it for free, but having a "donate" version for $1 that adds a couple minor things (like a slightly harder difficultly option with 1.2x the speed, etc). I could put the play services integration only in that version, so a leaderboard would be a special feature for that.

I'm curious what people think? If you have any suggestions, please let them in the comments below, or vote/comment on the poll I set up on google+:


Tim Dudek said…
I am commenting on Nathan's blog :)

I think you should add the google stuff to the paid version
Bryan R said…
I like the approach of making the game free and having a donate version.

One problem is the scourge of "freemium" games that are free to play, but designed to extract money regularly from their players. If the Play Store shows that your game offers paid add-ons, people may be wary to even try it out. I'm not sure the best way for you to avoid this. Perhaps just make it clear in the game's description that no add-ons are needed to enjoy the full game.

I haven't heard of other games using play services as a bonus feature. Online saves are a great feature and one that I would care about. I personally don't care much about leaderboards, but maybe others would? I'd be interested in comparing my scores with a friend, perhaps, but not in finding out that I'm ranked 37,265th globally. I do kinda like having achievements.

Being able to play at 1.2x speed is a good idea for the donate version, because it's something fans of the game would enjoy, and it's not anything needed to play the regular game. My favorite add-on idea is bonus level sets. If I played a free game and enjoyed it, I'd certainly spring for more levels. One other idea is character customization. Perhaps players would like to play as robo-t-rex or robo-princess instead, or even robo-image-selected-by-the-user.
Nathan Tolbert said…
Thanks for the suggestions Bryan.

I completely agree about "freemium" games. I definitely want to make it clear that Robo-Ninja is the full game, and is completely free. The other will be a separate store entry, with a note explaining that it is really just a means to donate to the developer, but with a small bit of bonus stuff thrown in.

The funny thing with the leaderboard is that it's actually my main motivation for adding the play services. To promote the game, I plan to have a contest where I give out some sort of prize to whoever beats the game with the best score. So that's a way to implement that.

I agree about bonus level sets. Except that if I had the creativity to make more levels, I'd just put them in the actual game. It's a bit shorter than I'd like already. So that's probably out. The character customization isn't a bad idea.

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