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Letter Quest Video – by Twisted Inc

Posted by on Jul 16, 2014 in Letter Quest, Youtube | 0 comments

Letter Quest Video – by Twisted Inc

Today we have an excellent video by the very talented youtuber Twisted Inc. You can check out more of his awesome videos on his youtube channel or follow him on twitter. He’s also looking for more indie games to do videos of, so if you’re a dev with a cool game drop him a line! We want to say a sincere thank you to Twisted Inc for making this video, we really appreciate it! I especially loved the part where he’s trying to guess the treasure chest word, had me and my girlfriend laughing!...

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Our Experience With Steam Greenlight

Posted by on Jul 15, 2014 in Business, Letter Quest | 0 comments

Our Experience With Steam Greenlight

Letter Quest has been on Greenlight since April 11, 2014…which is an interesting date, since it also happens to be the first day of PAX East 2014. Unfortunately we overlooked this fact when we added Letter Quest to Greenlight. It’s funny, when you’re getting a Greenlight page ready, you pay attention to all the details – a nice trailer, quality screenshots, a concise description, etc…and then you forget to do a thorough search for major gaming events that are currently happening! Oops! We’re doing okay on Greenlight now, although after 95 days on there we’re still only 52% of the way to the top 100, as you can see here: Based on other devs that have been kind enough to share their Greenlight stats, we’ve seen that a lot of titles get around 7,000 – 10,000 visitors in their first day or two on Greenlight, just from traffic on Steam. We only have just over 9000 total, after 95 days! We’re assuming that is the effect of launching on the first day of PAX East – our first few days didn’t bring in very many visitors. We’ve been doing okay since, but it’s certainly a long process. Letter Quest is a word game at its core, and as such doesn’t seem to appeal to a large portion of the people that vote on Greenlight. We have a demo and link to it in our Steam description, but that doesn’t seem to make much difference, most people never click to try the demo. We’re trying to find a way to get more people to try the game, because almost everyone that plays it gets hooked and really enjoys it, even people that don’t normally like word games. Luckily we got a bit of a boost in visitors and votes when we put a Letter Quest demo on Newgrounds a few weeks ago. The demo has been played over 25,000 times as the time this was written, which is fantastic! It also managed an average rating of 3.96/5 from 780 votes, which we’re told is really, really good for a demo on Newgrounds, since most players downvote demos on there simply due to them being a demo (most Newgrounds players expect full free versions of games). The official launch of Letter Quest on PC and Mac is happening on July 22, 2014 and we’re hoping that helps with Greenlight votes as well. Every copy of the game will come with a Steam key if/when we get onto Steam. Also, right now we’re only selling the desktop version via Humble widgets on the official Letter Quest site. Once the full release of Letter Quest happens on July 22, we plan on selling Letter Quest on several different stores, and hopefully that will help with sales and Greenlight votes! Hopefully in the next month or so I’ll be doing a new post on how we got through Greenlight and will be bringing Letter Quest to Steam! ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh, and if you have a moment to spare please consider voting for Letter Quest on Greenlight: Vote on the web by clicking here Vote on Steam by clicking...

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Choose Your Words Carefully (Part 2)

Posted by on Jul 8, 2014 in Business, Design, Letter Quest | 0 comments

Choose Your Words Carefully (Part 2)

Last time I talked about how important the wording of your “buy now” button can be. Today’s post is similar – it’s a quick tip about how it’s very important to pay close attention to the wording you choose to use on a game’s landing page! When designing the Letter Quest landing page, we tried our best to follow the tips outlined in Emmy Jonassen’s wonderful landing page design post – thank you so much for posting that Emmy! One thing the article doesn’t talk about though, is how to word the various parts of your landing page. We started selling early access versions of Letter Quest on July 1, 2014. And in three days, we had three different people ask the same question – “if I buy the early access version, does that include the final version too?”. We were a bit put off by the question at first, thinking “wow, we’d be some really evil devs if it didn’t include the final version, does anyone actually do that?”. A quick read of the text beside our Humble widget pointed out the problem. At the time, the first bullet point beside the widget read: Includes early access to Letter Quest on PC Hmm, no wonder people were confused – we didn’t actually outright say anything about it including the full version. We assumed that was a given, but we then realized that, in a time when many devs try to nickel-and-dime players in any way possible, we shouldn’t assume anything. So we updated the wording to: Includes early access to Letter Quest on PC now, and the full game when itโ€™s done Much better! No confusion there! We also mention that it includes a Steam key if/when we get onto Steam via Greenlight. So please do be very careful about your wording when you’re trying to sell something!...

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Acceptable Words in Letter Quest

Posted by on Jul 7, 2014 in Design, Letter Quest | 1 comment

Acceptable Words in Letter Quest

When making Letter Quest, we wanted our target audience to be everyone, from young children all the way up to the elderly. As such, we spent a lot of time making the game accessible and “safe”, which included many tweaks to our word list. Letter Quest uses a custom word list curated by us manually, from a variety of different sources. NSFW (“Not Safe For Work”) words, such as “sh*t”, were intentionally removed by us, along with racial slurs. If potentially offensive words have an alternate, non-offensive meaning, we generally left them in (ex: “faggot“, which is an alternate spelling of “fagot”, and means “a bundle of something”). We have tried very hard to make a game that is safe for people of all ages, so we felt that this was the best way to handle it. Our word list is currently over 190,000 words, which is actually huge for a word game! As this page explains, there are only just over 170,000 words in the entire Oxford English Dictionary. We have most of the words from the Oxford English Dictionary in Letter Quest, last time I checked (aside from the offensive ones mentioned earlier). The rest of our words are, for the most part, British words. There are many, many more British words that we’re considering adding to the game’s dictionary too, we’re just not familiar with which of them are racial slurs and/or insults, so need to do some research on that! If you come across any words that aren’t accepted by the game, and you believe they should be, please let us know and we’ll be sure to add them!...

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Opening Steam to a Greenlight Page (Easier Voting!)

Posted by on Jul 7, 2014 in Business, Dev, Letter Quest | 0 comments

Opening Steam to a Greenlight Page (Easier Voting!)

We’ve had Letter Quest on Steam Greenlight since April 11, 2014. Once you get taken off the front page of Greenlight, you’re on your own for trying to get people to go there and vote…it’s really difficult! The Newgrounds demo that we recently posted has helped out a lot – we’ve gone from getting around 10 “yes” votes a day on Greenlight, to around 40! That’s a huge jump, since the only thing that changed was the Newgrounds demo. One thing that is very difficult is actually getting people to vote – it’s tricky because most people don’t ever log into Steam in their web browser, instead they are actually logged in to Steam. This tip is absolutely not my own – it’s from a wonderful Gamasutra article. You can see the tip at the bottom of the article, where it says “Update:”. The original person that created this solution is the developer of Black Annex, and you can see his post here. Here’s the summary: if you want more votes on Steam, you need to make it easier to vote. The easiest way for most people is to vote in the Steam app. So you create a special link that opens Steam directly to a Greenlight page, here’s how: You first create a tiny php file containing the following code: <?php header('Location: steam://url/CommunityFilePage/248089760'); ?> Where “248089760” is the ID of your Greenlight page. Then you simply point people to your php file in a browser, and it will open Steam to your Greenlight page! One thing you can do to make this cleaner is to create a URL that redirects to your php file, we used http://greenlight.letterquestgame.com (try clicking it if you have Steam running on your computer!), which looks a lot more friendly. Also, it’s nice because our main page for Letter Quest is at http://www.letterquestgame.com, so most people tend to trust that greenlight link more because it’s on a recognized domain name. Good luck on Greenlight everyone! We’re currently 45% of the way to the top 100 – it’s a lot of work but we’re hoping we’ll eventually get...

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Exporting Your Best Word as an Image

Posted by on Jul 4, 2014 in Design, Dev, Letter Quest | 0 comments

Exporting Your Best Word as an Image

For quite a while now, we’ve had the ability to export a picture after a battle in Letter Quest on mobile, and post it to twitter. Each image features the best word that was spelled, the damage it did, the character you played as with the weapon and letter tiles you were using, and the stage background and monster you were fighting. People really seemed to enjoy this feature, and we were happy with it. Now that Letter Quest is also on desktop, we wanted a way for players to export their best word as an image, even though we’re not using twitter on desktop (if someone has a nice solution for integrating twitter into a desktop game, we’d love to hear it!). So we simply added a button at the end of each battle, and it lets you save an image of your best word. You can then post it anywhere you like – facebook, twitter, your own site/article, anywhere! Here’s what it looks like after a battle: And here’s a couple examples of some exported images: This functionality will be in the final release of Letter Quest, which is currently available in early access – and every early access copy will be upgraded to the final version for free when it’s available....

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Newgrounds and Letter Quest Demo

Posted by on Jul 3, 2014 in Business, Letter Quest | 0 comments

Newgrounds and Letter Quest Demo

We recently started selling an early access version of Letter Quest over at www.letterquestgame.com and wanted to find some ways to market it and get the word out. Someone suggested we look at Newgrounds and post our new Letter Quest demo there. We’re very familiar with Newgrounds, and have been watching and playing content on there for many, many years. But we also know that there aren’t a lot of game demos on Newgrounds, generally it’s full games, and quite often they are games that are not available in any other form. But we decided to take a shot and see what would happen. Two days ago, on July 1 (Canada Day!), we posted the Letter Quest demo on Newgrounds. We clearly marked it as a DEMO in the description, and it says DEMO on the title screen as well, to hopefully avoid any confusion. And you know what, there hasn’t been any backlash at all! We’ve had a lot of really constructive and positive comments and reviews. And no one has said anything negative about it being a demo. It’s gone very well too, we’re just on the verge of 7000 plays in just under 2 days according to the stats on Newgrounds, and are sitting at a rating of 3.84/5 at the time of this writing! We’re really happy about that! Here’s our number of demo players (from all sources) – we actually did have some demo players before July 1, but were getting about 10-20 per day, so they don’t even show on the chart now! Our stats will be ticking over to the next day in about one hour, and it looks like we’ll break 2500 unique demo players today! And here’s how long people have spent playing the demo. The numbers are actually lower than what they should be due to how our reporting works – it only sends the play time stats for a session the next time you try the demo, so if you only play once and never come back it won’t count that play time…so as you can see people are spending quite a while with the demo! We’d say there’s a good hour or more worth of content in the demo. In the chart for “Today”, it works out to just over 58 days of play time today! And since I took that picture it’s gone up by over 2 days! We need the exposure for the game too, since we’re entirely self-funded, and quite honestly I’m running out of money! We’re hoping for really great things for the desktop version of Letter Quest, and have been getting some great feedback so far, and have seen a few sales from demo players. Every little bit helps! So if you have a game that you’re really proud of, and are looking for a way to get some exposure and become involved with a really awesome community of players, consider posting your demo on Newgrounds! We’re sure glad that we did! Oh, and one awesome side effect of posting the demo – tons of small (and some large!) Flash game sites take content from Newgrounds everyday, so in two days we’ve seen our demo pop up on over 15 different Flash game sites…and we don’t mind, it means more people are...

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Flash Content and allowFullscreen

Posted by on Jul 2, 2014 in Dev, Letter Quest | 0 comments

Flash Content and allowFullscreen

We recently put a Letter Quest demo on Newgrounds. It’s doing very well, with great ratings and lots of plays (7000 in just under two days!). But one important thing you need to realize when you post a game on Newgrounds… Your game will get posted on other sites. A lot of them. And the more popular that your game is, the more sites you’ll see it pop up on suddenly (at the time of this writing the Letter Quest demo is on over 15 sites that we didn’t post it to). Now, it’s not a bad thing when your game gets spread around the internet, especially when it’s a free demo. What is bad is when you have a button in your game that allows the player to switch between fullscreen and windowed, and the site hosting your game decides to set allowFullscreen to false in their index.html. It’s even worse when you fail to account for that in your code, and the game throws an error whenever someone clicks that nice (now evil, nefarious, nasty) fullscreen button. Luckily there’s a pretty simple fix – a huge thank you to Sarah Northway for her reply on stackoverflow about how to detect if that flag is set. Basically you can detect if it’s set using if (stage.hasOwnProperty("displayState") && stage.hasOwnProperty("allowsFullScreen") && stage["allowsFullScreen"]) { // fullscreen allowed } else { // fullscreen not allowed } So I simply added that check, and if fullscreen is not allowed, I don’t bother showing the fullscreen/windowed toggle button. Problem solved. Well, mostly… IMPORTANT: As Sarah notes, the property that this code checks was added in Flash Player 10.2, so in older versions of Flash Player, it won’t give you a reliable result (but it won’t crash). So I also added some extra code to handle the case where the button is still visible, and fullscreen is not allowed, and in that case I catch the error and then set a global flag saying that fullscreen is not allowed. The only catch here is that most Flash gaming sites that borrow (steal?) your game’s swf will actually make a copy of it. So upgrading the swf on Newgrounds was only part of the battle. I also contacted the owners of each site that is hosting the game, and asked them to manually update to the new swf. Surprisingly, every single one of them got back to me within a day and updated their swf for the game – I was really impressed, thanks for being awesome everyone!...

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Choose Your Words Carefully!

Posted by on Jun 30, 2014 in Business, Design, Letter Quest | 0 comments

Choose Your Words Carefully!

When making the page for our new Letter Quest demo, we decided to add a nice frame around the demo, with a button just above the demo. The point of the button was to get players to click it if/when they wanted to buy the game, and it would take them to the page where they could do so. We keep reading about how your “call to action” button should be nice and large, and be highly visible, have attention drawn to it, etc. So this is the button we made: Now, there’s a few things wrong with that. First off, when you’re on the demo page, that button is just above the game, and the ALL CAPS text makes it seem really “in your face” the whole time. That’s not cool. And second, the text of “BUY NOW” is a bit overpowering/too strong. We had a few people comment that it felt too pushy, and looking at it now we would tend to agree. We realized that the demo already gets people engaged, and at the end of the demo there’s a nice splash image showing what the full version has, and it politely asks the player if they’d like to buy the game or not. And chances are, if someone doesn’t reach the end of the demo, they probably weren’t going to go and buy the game! So we made a minor change, and ended up with this button: It feels a lot friendlier. The text feels less “pushy”. And it links to the Letter Quest landing page, where players can get more info about the game and make an informed decision about their purchase. We’ve had several people tell us they like the new button much more, and prefer to not feel like they’re forced into a decision…and that’s certainly not what we ever want our players to feel! We want players to enjoy the demo, be excited about playing more of the game, and either go and download the game on a mobile device, or purchase the PC version (currently in “early access”, with a free upgrade to the full game when it’s ready, and a Steam key if/when we get through Steam Greenlight…help us out by voting on the web if you have a spare minute, or click here to open Steam to our Greenlight page, thanks!). So just remember – even one or two words can make a difference, so try to think about how players are going to interpret what you...

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Letter Quest now available on Amazon Appstore for Android!

Posted by on May 8, 2014 in Business, Letter Quest, Release | 2 comments

Letter Quest now available on Amazon Appstore for Android!

As many of you are well aware, we’ve been having quite a bit of problems with bringing Letter Quest out worldwide on Google Play. The trouble is how Google handles taxes on app sales…or rather, how they don’t really handle them at all! They forward the tax on to us, and then we’re responsible for squaring things up with every single country’s tax authority at year end, which is a nightmare! Recently we started looking into Amazon Apps. Turns out they handle taxes in a much more straight-forward way: they collect the income, taxes, etc. from sales and handle it all internally, and then send us money as US income. This is much easier for us to deal with, because all we need to do is fill out a W-8BEN, which stops Amazon from having to send 30% of everything we make to the IRS. We provide them with our EIN, and that’s it, good to go! We do have to settle up with the IRS once a year for our year-end, but that’s pretty minor (and why we have an accountant!). Now that we got that out of the way…the great news: Letter Quest is now available worldwide on the Amazon Appstore. So for all of the Android players that have been wanting the game, now you can download it through Amazon Appstore! The game is $2.99 on Amazon Apps, and has no ads and no IAP (in-app purchases). It includes the in-app purchasable content (second character, all weapons, all custom letter tiles) from the App Store/Google Play version. We hope that everyone can now finally get a chance to play Letter Quest! Please help us out by spreading the word, and if you have a spare moment after purchasing the game, consider leaving a review. Have...

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