Post-Launch: What's Up?

A few weeks ago, Give Me Fuel went live! It's been an exciting few weeks. Launching a game is always an interesting experience, because people experience the game in ways that you really can't imagine while you're working on it.

It's been super gratifying to jump online & start playing people we've never met. Even more gratifying, honestly, when they kick our butts!

One of the things we knew going in was that when we launched, the game was going to be really confusing for a lot of people. The reason was that we simply didn't have much of a tutorial in place at all. A single screen was all we had, and even that was pretty hard to understand. What we'd planned was that we'd just be live, quietly, with a small trickle of users for a few weeks as we worked out the kinks and made the new user experience a lot more understandable...

...but that isn't what happened. We were fortunate enough to get some featuring from Apple - they listed us as part of the best Card/Action/Family games for the week after we launched, and we're immensely grateful to have gotten that, but the problem was that we hadn't worked out the kinks yet! :D That's part of the risk for launching the way we do, but all we could do was make the best of it.

I think we confused the heck out of a lot of new players, but it also gave us incredibly valuable information about where & why people were quitting. A lot of the smaller details in the early UI turned out to not be as problematic as we might have thought, which has let us concentrate heavily on the part that really does matter - teaching people how to play the game. Seems obvious, I know, but in practice it's a lot less obvious than it seems. Sometimes fighting through a little early confusion can be part of the experience - and the problem is once you've been staring at a game like ours for a while, you can't really be a good judge of that.

So new users means good data about where & why people are dropping off. It's not like a laser beam pointing at this one thing that we can fix to make everything better - but it gives us a better idea of how to proceed. We put in a new tutorial last Thursday, for instance, and what happened was that a lot more people quit during that tutorial, but the ones that made it through appear to have understood the game better & stuck around longer. And we got more people to stick around than we had without that tutorial, which means that even though we lost more at one step, we ended up with more over the longer run. Now all we need to do is fix that big drop off... before fixing a ton of other things! :D

But for folks who are playing, don't worry - this doesn't mean that 100% of our efforts are now just for new players. We know that folks who've been playing will start to get bored after a bit without new stuff, so new stuff is in the works. The list of things we've got to build is ... well, it's really long. So you'll start to see small things rolling out (like XP) soon-ish, with things like leaderboards to follow. We have some really game-changing stuff in the pipe, but those depend on a few other things being in place first.

So it's a balance - always a balance. Gotta get more folks smoothly into the game, but doing that doesn't make the current players' experience better. So some time goes to making the new user experience better, and then some time goes into making the current user experience better. :)

But we've been hard at work. A lot of places take a break after launching. I think if anything, we've been working even harder.

One note - if you've been enjoying the game, it'd be incredibly valuable if you could leave us a review. We'd really, really appreciate it.