Distractions and a new Minamalist Skiing Game

The last time I posted here, I was deep into development of my new Diving game.  

I'm usually pretty good at resisting temptations to get distracted and side-tracked on other ideas. It's not easy but most the time I can resist.

This wasn't one of those times. I came to a point with Diver where I wasn't sure what direction to take it.  I could either go large and make this a huge game full of all the ideas I have bouncing around my head or scale back and keep it more focused and minimalist.  I since figure out the direction I'm going to take with Diver (more on that later), but at the time this indecision allowed another idea that had been percolating for a while to creep in.

The game is called "Just Ski". I describe it as a minimalist skiing game powered by physics.

Part of the idea for Just Ski came when I first fired up Desert Golfing on IOS.

When you start up Desert Golfing, there is no splash screen, no menu, no buttons.... just THE GAME!  It was awesome and refreshing.

What I've attempted to do with "Just Ski", is invoke that same feeling but with skiing instead of golfing. Here is what "Just Ski" looks like when you open it.

Like Desert Golfing: no menus, no text, not buttons... just a small indicator to hint at the player how to control the skier.  When the player touches the screen... off they go. 

As you can probably see, Just Ski is a mashup of my game Krashlander with Desert Golfing.

The visual design for Just Ski comes from, of all things, a video for the Microsoft Band.  

Originally, I was going to have just a simple white line to ski on like the video shows, but in the end I decided to flesh out the landscape a bit more while at the same time keeping in minimal. I recreated the trees and and made the landscape solid white.  (with a slight sky-color tint).

Just Ski development is complete.  I'm currently working marketing material and when that's done I'll do some beta testing and then release the game.  

So, what about Diver?  I'm actually really chomping at the bit to get back to Diver.  I think it has a lot of potential to stand out.

I mentioned earlier that I've been struggling to find a direction to take Diver. While I'd love to do a full-blown version of the game with all (well, most) my ideas included, I realistically just don't have the time. So, for now, I'm going to create a more minimal version of Diver. I don't have it all fleshed out, but my hope is by keeping it minimal I can actually finish it this decade. :-)

I'm not going to promise more frequent blog posts (I will try though...), but I am going to post more dev progress to Twitter and Facebook so if you want to follow along:

Me on Twitter
Me on Facebook.

Thanks for reading.


Prototyping Background Visuals for Diver

I'm trying to figure out the look and feel for the new version of Diver. One of the things I really want to get right is the background sky.  I added some logic that lets be vary the sky colors and created the screenshots shown below.

Would love to hear thoughts on these screens. Like them? Don't like them?  Which ones stand out?

Ignore the foreground stuff for now. That's all still very much a work-in-progress.


Remaking Diver!

A Little Diver History

Forever ago, in 2008, I released my first physics game.  The game was simply called "Diver".  Your goal in Diver was to jump off cliffs and enter the water cleanly between two buoys.  

Diver 1 - My First Finished Game

Diver 1 - My First Finished Game

Diver was followed up sometime in 2010 by "Diver 2".  Diver 2 was more of the same with some added obstacles and a bit more polish. 

In their day, these games, with their unique physics powered control scheme, pulled in a pretty good crowd of hardcore players. Those that liked it REALLY liked it.

Wow! This is just so cool! Im addicted. 
-antotabo (Fun-Motion forums)

Wow, just wow, awesome game. I just have one problem, though. It's punishing difficulty, I just barely got through the first level after the tutorials
-MrGreed (Fun-Motion forums)

AWESOME!!! I love it its great! 
-meow-muffin (Fun-Motion forums)

Some, however, thought it was too difficult.

this game is extremely difficult o.O
Gump (Fun-Motion forums)

Of the games I've developed to-date these Diver games are the games I'm most proud of.  The unfortunate thing about them, however, is they are built on an old and defunct technology. (Silverlight if you are wondering)

While it's still possible to play my Diver games, you have to jump through some pretty serious hoops to do so. I felt it was finally time to bring this game into the modern era.

Introducing The New Diver

The videos below are very early development so expect many changes as development progresses.

I still have a lot of work to do before this new version of Diver can be released, but I have been working on it in my spare time for about 6 months and I have most of the primary systems in place and working well.

My goal from here on out is to continue blogging/tweeting my progress with Diver. I'm hopping to attract some interest and start building a community around the game.  I also plan to do some sort of early access in the not to distant future.

If you want to stay informed as development progresses you can do so in the following ways:

  • Follow me on twitter: @jeffweber 
  • Like my Facebook page: FarserGames on Facebook
  • Follow this blog
  • (NEW) Subscribe to my Newsletter (No spam, just game development updates)


Finally, if any press want to get in touch feel free to send me an email at: jeffweber@farseergames.com

Take Care Everyone and Stay Tuned.


Fat Penguin! Numbers.

After porting Krashlander - Ski, Jump, Crash! to both Android and Windows Phone, it was time to FINALLY start a new game.

My original plan was to start working on a remake of Diver, a game I made a long time ago on what is now out-of-date technology. (more on that in a future post).  I knew the Diver remake would be a large undertaking and I kind of wanted to get something out a little quicker so I decided to remake a different very old game of mine called Tire Storm.  

My wife always liked the Tire Storm game play, so she was also encouraging me to remake it for Mobile.

Tire Storm is a very dumb name for a game so I knew I'd need a new name. I eventually came up with the idea of a Penguin on a chunk of ice. The penguin would need to be round for the mechanic to work and he'd need to sink if he fell in the water so it made sense that the penguin should be fat... to fat to swim.

With that, the name 'Fat Penguin' was a pretty obvious fit.

Fat Penguin starts with you floating on a chunk of ice in calm sea on a sunny day.  Quickly, the skies begin to cloud up and waves get larger. Your goals is simply to roll back and forth on the ice in an attempt to keep from falling in the water.  Best to just watch the video trailer below.  

The trailer was put together by my wife, Jamie. Pretty cool, right?

I initially released Fat Penguin on iOs with the plan to port it to Android and maybe Windows Phone if the iOS version did Ok.

So, how did Fat Penguin do?

I decided to make Fat Penguin a free game with occasional interstitial ads as that seemed to be the trend for mobile games.  (Really hated this because I hate ads in my games. Plus, I've never had anything but headaches implementing the ads and keeping the SDKs up to date.)

Here's what the downloads look like for 'Fat Penguin'

And, here is the $$$$ I made from the ads.

About $43.00

Really not much to get excited about. I have since just turned the ads off because they weren't really making me anything anyway.

I'm not sure why the game didn't do better. I'm sure it has something to do with my lack of marketting skill and the fact that the mobile games market is so saturated these days. Or maybe the game just isn't good enough to stand out.

Even though the game didn't do so well, I'm still glad it's out there. I think it's a fun game and it's good to have a 2nd game on iOS finally.

Fat Penguin! is free on iOS. Give it a go if interested!

Next, I'll finally start talking about my latest game! Stay tuned!


Krashlander Platform Ports and More Numbers

Writing about past games and past game development is kinda boring, but before I dive into current development projects I thought I should fill in some of the gaps between my 2 year old, very long  Krashlander numbers post and now.

Once Krashlander slid into its long-tail, I had a choice to make: start on my next game or port Krashlander to other platforms.  It was a pretty easy decision.  Krashlander had done very well on iOS so it seemed a no-brainer to port it and try getting traction on some other platforms.

I ended up porting Krashlander - Ski, Jump, Crash! to both Android and Windows Phone..

Side note: Why Windows Phone????  
Krashlander actually debuted on Widows Phone. What you might call Krashlander version 1 was released on the same day Windows Phone 7 launched way back in October of 2010.  Looking back, that game was pretty rough around the edges, but did pretty well and had a good following so bringing the new, updated version back to Windows Phone made sense.

So, how did the ports work out for me? Not that great, actually.  I was happy to get more people playing the game, but neither the Android nor the Windows Phone version of Krashlander - SJC did very well financially.

See for yourself. Here are the numbers.


Downloads on Android were decent I guess. To tell the truth I really didn't know what to expect but to date, Krashlander - Ski, Jump, Crash! on Android has been downloaded over 50,000 times. Here are a couple charts showing both total installs and current installs. 

So, that's the download story, what about the $$$$$ ? Krashlander - Ski, Jump, Crash! on Android, used Unity Ads for monetization.  I couldn't find a good earnings-over-time report that I like on the Unity Ads website so I'll just give you the total. 

Total earnings from Ads for Krashlander - Ski, Jump, Crash! on Android.

Total earnings from Ads for Krashlander - Ski, Jump, Crash! on Android.

This is for just under 2 years on the Android store. Not the best.

What about Windows Phone?

Windows Phone

Keep in mind, Windows Phone has a MUCH smaller user-base than Android. Also, remember what I said above somewhere, I had some previous success on Windows Phone and therefore already had a bit of a following.

 Here are the numbers for Krashlander - Ski, Jump, Crash! on Windows Phone. (NOTE: The reporting on the Windows dashboard isn't great. Would not let me go back more than 12 months in some cases...)

Weekly Acquisitions for Krashlander - Ski, Jump, Crash! on Windows Phone over last 12 months. 

Cumulative Installs of Krashlander - Ski, Jump, Crash! on Windows Phone.

I'm a bit surprised to see nearly 380,000 installs on Windows Phone. I had not looked an the cumulative  data for a while. That's a pretty good number for Windows Phone.

Finally, the $$$$$.  

I used Microsoft's Ad system for the Windows Phone version of Krashlander - Ski, Jump, Crash! because really that's about the only option. Here is the $$$$ chart.

This really isn't too bad, but given the time spent porting it and setting up the ad system it could have been better.

Also, not really sure why things dropped so sharply in late September 2015.  I'm guessing either I updated something and made things worse or Microsoft updated something and made it worse. I don't have the time or energy to dig-in and figure out what happened. To busy working on new stuff...

So, that's what's been happening with Krashlander - Ski, Jump, Crash! since my last numbers post. Hopefully this was helpful or at least interesting so someone.

Next post, I'll talk about the last game I released, "Fat Penguin!".


Well I've been pretty quiet lately about my game development happenings.  Life leaves little room for blogging as kids get older and I get more tired. 

This is a short post just to say that I'm gearing up to start talking a bit more about my development activities.  The blogs may have stopped, but I've been developing pretty much every day since I can remember.  Usually just an hour or two a day, but things slowly get done even at that pace.

So, stay tuned...  My first goal is to give an update of everything that's gone on since my last post 2-ish years ago!

Till then, here's a teaser.

Very WIP

Very WIP


Editor View of Orange Level #3

Just finished this level. It starts to show what some of the future levels will have in store.  It'll take multiple attacks, a little bit of thought, and some skill to complete this one.

I'm excited to get to the higher levels so I can start throwing some even more crazy stuff at the players.

If you are wondering, the green rectangles are triggers that control zooming.

Screen Shot 2013-05-19 at 8.33.05 PM.png

Krashlander Update: Working On It...

When I have code to write I tend to neglect this blog and a lot of other developer-to-player communication avenues available.

I've been getting a lot of comments in the Krashlander (for iOS) reviews where people are asking where the update is. Many players want more levels. Some are getting pretty frustrated (understandably so).

Today, I got this:

It is amazing to see the loyalty people have towards this game without returned loyalty from the developer. Either release more chapters or give us more info to let us know when if ever, to expect an update.

This was a little bit tough to read, but I don't blame the person that wrote it.  I can't respond directly to comments in iTunes, so I thought I'd at least throw out a quick (edit: well maybe not so quick) blog post and hope whoever wrote the review (and others with similar feelings) see it.

The Krashlander update is in progress. Since the day it was released, I have not stopped working on it.  I'm re-working a lot of things based on the feedback from the first release. 

All the development for Krashlander is done in my spare time so it takes time to get things out the door.

Here are a few of the things I'm updating for the next release.

New skill level system:

One of the biggest issues new players had with Krashlander was that it was too difficult to grasp the control mechanic.  The frustration usually set in at, I think, level 4 or 5 when you first had to get air and then land on your skis.

I set out to fix this issue while at the same time avoiding dumbing the game down for those that like the controls and the difficulty level as it is.

In the update, players can choose to play the Novice, Expert, or Elite skill level.  

Expert represents the current controls.  If you like things the way they are, set the game to Expert and forget about it.

Novice is less realistic but easier to stick a landing.  If you quit the game because it was to frustrating, try again (once it's released) with the new novice setting and see if it's a bit easier stick those landings.  

Elite...ahhh, ELITE.  Elite is my new favorite way to play. It is also the most realistic way to play the game.  You'll get no rotation 'help' while in the air. To stick your landing you need to plan ahead and impart some rotation at take off then control rotation speed by crouching (to increase rotation) or extending (to slow rotation) same as in real life.  If you take off and you are not rotating, guess what; you will be "not-rotating" when you face-plant into the ground as well.


I didn't even think to put the Elite style controls in the 1st release for fear it would just be too damn difficult.  Well, after playing Expert for a while, the Elite controls are not THAT big a step up and man is it fun.  

New scoring system:

The scoring system was confusing and caused a lot of people to just keep resetting the level after each run so they could get the 3 stars.  That really isn't the experience I was going for. Krashlander is really all about the skiing not some complex scoring system.  

In the updated version, I simplified things: 

  • Every level has 3 robots.  
  • You get 1 star for every robot you kill.  
  • You must kill at least one robot to unlock the next level.  

With this new system, you are not penalized for how many attacks it takes to kill the robots so there is no need to continually reset the level.  Also, to reward those who play at the higher skill levels, players get:

  • Single points for playing as Novice
  • Double points for playing as Expert
  • Triple points for playing as Elite

Your "overall" or "game" score, then, is simply whatever score is the highest of the Novice, Expert, and Elite.  


My goal with this system was to allow new people to get accustom to the controls playing as Novice while at the same time making it so the higher level players didn't have to concern themselves at all with the Novice skill level.  They can just ignore it and not be penalized in any way.

Better level progression in the beginning:

In the first version of Krashlander, the difficulty of the game ramped up a little to quick for a lot of people.  With the update, I've front-loaded the game with some more "easy" levels to ease players into the controls a bit slower. I'm hoping this increases retention and reduces the number of rage-quits.


New tutorials built into the beginning levels:

This, again, is to help ease players into the game.  The tutorials now exist directly in the levels and I think will make things much more clear.  The tutorials will not show for those playing Elite and for everyone else they can be turned off in settings.


New settings screen:

I'm currently working on a new settings screen.  This screen will contain:

  • A toggle to turn off tutorials.
  • A button that allows you to reset your level progression and scores in case you want to start over.
  • A feedback button to make it easy for players to send me feedback via email
  • Whatever else I think of between now and release time.

Video play-back and sharing:

Many crazy things can happen in Krashlander.  With the update, I plan to have an easy way to record, playback, and share videos of your game play easily right from the game. (This is still to be developed but should not take to long since I'll be using a service that helps with this)

Environment updates:

For the update, I'll be adding some minimal "landscaping".  You'll see some trees and other structures peppered throughout the levels.  The majority of this will just be background filler. I'll keep it pretty sparse so it doesn't clutter up the simple graphic style of the game.


Bug fixes and minor tweaks:

I have a small list of bugs and other tweaks that I've either already made or will be making prior to release.

    And of course, MORE LEVELS:

    I plan to have at least 40 levels total in the update.  The ordering of the levels is changed for the new release since I had to re-work things in order to ramp things up more slowly.

    This is cause for some bad news. I will need to reset everyones current progress in the game. I tried to figure out a way to avoid this, but with all the changes I just had to make the tough decision to start everyone over.  I know this is going to piss some people off and I apologize for that.  Had to be done, though.


    So, that is about it.  I know a lot of you are probably thinking: to hell with all that, just release the new levels.  I get that.  Thing is though, I want this game to be at least mildly successful long term and the release that's currently in the App Store is really not much more than a tech demo. Especially compared to my vision for the game.

    This huge update will bring the game much closer to where I want it.  After this update, I'll be able to focus much more on just level content.  My goal is to eventually get to 100 levels.

    To everyone who's played Krashlander. Thank You!   To everyone who is waiting desperately for an update.  Thanks for you patience... It's coming...

    -Jeff Weber

    Krashlander for iOS - Launch Day Approaches

    Krashlander for iOS has now been accepted into the AppStore and will be officially released February 7th, 2013.  I've been working on Krashlander for iOS in my spare time (before the kids get up and after they go to bed) for about a year.  It's a good feeling to finally be approaching launch day.

    I will eventually blog more about development of Krashlander for iOS and what the future holds, but for now I will just say I have a google document full of Krashlander update ideas  and ideas for other games so stay tuned!

    I also want to assure all the Windows Phone and Android users I have not forgot about you. Krashlander was built in Unity3D which is inherently cross-platform.  It may take some time but I do plan to bring this version of Krashlander to all major mobile (and non-mobile) platforms that make sense.

    Please checkout the Krashlander launch trailer and screenshots below and watch for it on the AppStore February 7th, 2013.

    Krashlander - Official Launch Trailer

    Krashlander: Numbers

    I’ve been meaning to make a Krashlander numbers post for some time now.  I think Krashlander has finally peaked in terms of popularity on the Windows Phone Market place so now seems a perfect time for such a post.

    In order to give the numbers some context here is a quick history for Krashlander on the Windows Phone Marketplace. 

    The paid version of Krashlander was released around October 20th, right about the time the U.S. Windows Phone launched.  It was released as a 99 cent game.  The paid version quickly climbed to be one of the most popular indie games in the marketplace (Indie meaning non-XBox Live)

    On Feb 22nd, I released Krashlander Free.   Krashlander Free peaked at, I think, the #2 spot for free games in the marketplace and #7 for apps/games combined.

    Krashlander Free was a full version of the game with ads.  I did not try to up-sell players from the free version to the paid version as the free version seemed to bring in more per-person than I would get from a 99 cent sale.  The paid version was really more for those that just really didn’t want to see the ads.

    As you will see in the charts, Krashlander Free really cannibalized the paid version but numbers-wise I think it was worth it.

    Overall I’ve been very pleased with the Krashlander numbers.  Windows Phone is just getting started and if these numbers scale anywhere close to linearly with phone sales then I think it’ll be a great place for developers to make some money.

    On to the numbers.


    Krashlander Paid (10/19/2010 to 05/19/2010)



    Krashlander Total Daily Downloads (Including Trials)


    The above chart shows total daily downloads.  This chart does not represent purchases because trials are included in the numbers above and not everyone that downloads the trial ends up purchasing the game.  The spike you see occurred when Krashlander was featured in the marketplace.

    The actual numbers for the paid version of Krashlander break down as follows:

    Total downloads (including trials): 21,147

    Total purchases: 4,477 (I get 70% of that which is $3133.00)

    Conversion rate : ~21%


    Krashlander Free (2/22/2011 to 5/19/2011)



    Krashlander Free Total Daily Downloads

    As you can see, Krashlander Free has substantially more daily downloads than the paid-with-trials version of the game.

    Since this is a free game, the downloads give no indication of revenue. Microsoft’s Pub Center is what I used for serving ads in Krashlander Free. Here are the revenue charts for that. (Note, I’m purposefully not showing impressions and/or eCPM as I believe that is against the terms of Pub Center)


    Krashlander Daily Ad Revenue

    This chart requires a bit of explanation. 

    The beginning of the chart is very low due to a bug with my Pub Center account.  A couple weeks in March were really high do to what I can only assume were inflated eCPMs.  The rest of the chart is a bit more “normal” in my mind.

    Total downloads: 187,298

    Total Revenue from ads: $15,011.37


    Krashlander Free and Paid Totals

    So, combining things here is what things look like.

    Total downloads (Free, Trial, and Paid): 208,445

    Total revenue: ~ $18,144.00

    There you have it, all my numbers… well almost.  I actually also made some money from a special promotion deal with LG.  The contract does not allow me to disclose the amount, but lets just say it was a solid number.

    As I mentioned at the beginning of this post. If these numbers scale with the phone sales, which I think should start to take off when Nokia gets in the game, then Windows Phone is going to be a great place for developers.


    What’s Next?

    Mango! That's what’s next. Smile  I’m currently working on the framework that will be used for my next few games.  Certainly a Krashlander sequel will be one of them.  I’m targeting sometime close to the Windows Phone Mango release this fall.

    -Jeff Weber