Jan 9 2014

Full Circle

Voyager began as a Windows Phone 7 game, and Voyager: Grand Tour would not exist if not for our dedicated and supportive Windows Phone fans. Now, at last, Windows Phone users can experience the new levels, beautiful visuals, and dramatic replays of Voyager: Grand Tour!

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Nov 11 2013

Milestone

Last week, our Windows Phone games passed a quarter-million downloads!

windows phone totals
With this milestone and a few months of availability for the iOS, Android, and Kindle versions of Voyager: Grand Tour, I figured it was time to take a look at how these platforms compared.

First, let’s take a look at Windows Phone. Where do those 250k downloads come from, and how does that compare to, say, last month’s (October 2013) ad revenue?

windows phone numbers
Voyager is responsible for approximately 2/3 of our Windows Phone downloads, with Rare Earth making up the bulk of the rest. In terms of ad revenue, things are stacked even more heavily toward Voyager. This is likely because Rare Earth’s ads are only shown in that game’s pause menu, while Voyager’s are displayed during gameplay.

Next, let’s look at just Voyager across platforms.

all numbers
This is interesting! The Windows Phone version of Voyager has almost 9x as many downloads as every version of Voyager: Grand Tour (iOS, Android, and Kindle) combined. Android is about 2x iOS, and Kindle is a rounding error.

But if we look at the same one-month snapshot of ad revenue, things change dramatically. Windows Phone makes up less than a quarter of the total, and Android is responsible for well over half.

Note: Kindle is not broken out separately, because both the Android and Kindle versions use AdMob as their ad provider. However, Kindle’s numbers are so low that it’s not worth differentiating which platform is responsible for which ad impressions.

To get a better look at the overall picture, here’s a chart with everything included.

voyager numbers
This really puts into perspective download numbers vs. revenue. The raw numbers are crazy: the best-performing version of Voyager: Grand Tour is barely ahead of the low-performing BuildDown. Windows Phone games make up a staggering 93% of all installs. And yet, they were responsible for barely a quarter of the total ad revenue last month. Android dominated with more than 50%, and even with a lowly 2.5% of the total install pie, iOS managed a respectable 17% of revenue.

None of these numbers take into account in-app purchases, which were not available on the Windows Phone platform at the time of the first Voyager’s release, so I don’t know how that platform would stack up against others in terms of direct payments. But my experience is that, even though it was easier to reach a wide audience on Windows Phone, Android (and to a lesser extent, iOS) offer a significantly better return on investment for ad-supported games.


Aug 28 2013

New Horizons

new_horizons

We’re sailing into a new region of the Solar System. Well, the mobile landscape, at least. Voyager: Grand Tour is now available on Android devices, and on Amazon Kindle Fire!

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*not this one; metaphorical new horizons


Aug 20 2013

On the anniversary of one launch, the announcement of another

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36 years ago today, the space probe Voyager 2 lifted off from Cape Canaveral atop a Titan IIIE rocket, beginning its vast and unparalleled Grand Tour of the Solar System. Just over two short weeks later, Voyager 1 launched from the exact same pad, on a trajectory that would fire it faster and further than – not just its sibling – but anything else created by human hands.

Next week, nestled snugly between those two amazing milestones, we will be commemorating the occasion with our own launch celebration – finally, owners of Android devices will be able to play Voyager: Grand Tour!

The game will be available on both the Google Play store and the Amazon Appstore, with support for Google Play Game Services and GameCircle (including a brand-new feature: achievements!).

All systems GO for launch!


Jul 3 2013

Voyager 1.0.1

Our first update has just been approved for release on the App Store!

What’s included? Mostly UI and UX improvements: stuff to improve the overall play experience. First up, mission sets now display completion percent with a new progress meter. Earn gold with two stars on every mission for a perfect score!

grandtour_levelsets_1_0_1

We got rid of the need to visit a sub-menu to select an alternative probe – now you can just swipe side-to-side on the title menu to switch. There’s also a brand new bonus probe: Mariner 2, the first successful planetary flyby and great-grandfather of the Voyager missions, is free for anyone who rates (or re-rates) the game!

grandtour_probe_mariner2

On the title menu, there are links to our Facebook and Twitter profiles (please like and/or follow Rumor Games!). Finally, swipe sensitivity has been bumped up in all menus, and the touch target are bigger for small buttons – basically, a bunch of stuff to make the UI feel better and more responsive.

Check it out today, and let us know what you think!
 
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Jun 24 2013

Fast Scene Switching in the Unity Editor

One of the many powerful features of Unity is the ability to write extensions for the editor. As I worked on Voyager: Grand Tour, I found myself doing a number of repetitive tasks – not terribly time-consuming individually, but frustrating enough in aggregate to get me curious about optimizing my workflow with software. Still, I put it off, figuring I didn’t have time to divert toward extraneous development to save a few seconds here and there.

Well, a few months ago, a friend of mine by the name of Zach Aikman gave a talk on Unity Editor extensions at the local Unity user group meetup. His detailed overview provided more than enough information to get me started, and the first thing I did when I got home was to whip up a solution to a problem that, while small, had nagged me frequently while developing Voyager: quickly switching between scenes.

In my game, I split my content and menus up into a lot of scenes that I frequently had to switch between, which in the default Unity editor meant a lot of pointlessly scrolling around in the project view. This simple editor window grabs a list of scenes from the Build Settings and presents them as buttons for fast switching. It’s dead simple, but it genuinely saves me time and frustration every day, and I’m happy to share it with anyone who’s interested!

// --------------------------------
// <copyright file="SceneViewWindow.cs" company="Rumor Games">
//     Copyright (C) Rumor Games, LLC.  All rights reserved.
// </copyright>
// --------------------------------

using System.IO;
using UnityEditor;
using UnityEngine;

/// <summary>
/// SceneViewWindow class.
/// </summary>
public class SceneViewWindow : EditorWindow
{
    /// <summary>
    /// Tracks scroll position.
    /// </summary>
    private Vector2 scrollPos;

    /// <summary>
    /// Initialize window state.
    /// </summary>
    [MenuItem("Window/Scene View")]
    internal static void Init()
    {
        // EditorWindow.GetWindow() will return the open instance of the specified window or create a new
        // instance if it can't find one. The second parameter is a flag for creating the window as a
        // Utility window; Utility windows cannot be docked like the Scene and Game view windows.
        var window = (SceneViewWindow)GetWindow(typeof(SceneViewWindow), false, "Scene View");
        window.position = new Rect(window.position.xMin + 100f, window.position.yMin + 100f, 200f, 400f);
    }

    /// <summary>
    /// Called on GUI events.
    /// </summary>
    internal void OnGUI()
    {
        EditorGUILayout.BeginVertical();
        this.scrollPos = EditorGUILayout.BeginScrollView(this.scrollPos, false, false);

        GUILayout.Label("Scenes In Build", EditorStyles.boldLabel);
        for (var i = 0; i < EditorBuildSettings.scenes.Length; i++)
        {
            var scene = EditorBuildSettings.scenes[i];
            if (scene.enabled)
            {
                var sceneName = Path.GetFileNameWithoutExtension(scene.path);
                var pressed = GUILayout.Button(i + ": " + sceneName, new GUIStyle(GUI.skin.GetStyle("Button")) { alignment = TextAnchor.MiddleLeft });
                if (pressed)
                {
                    if (EditorApplication.SaveCurrentSceneIfUserWantsTo())
                    {
                        EditorApplication.OpenScene(scene.path);
                    }
                }
            }
        }

        EditorGUILayout.EndScrollView();
        EditorGUILayout.EndVertical();
    }
}

Now also available on the Unify Community Wiki.


Jun 19 2013

3, 2, 1… Liftoff!

Voyager: Grand Tour is now available to download from the App Store. Download it today on iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch!

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Press Release


Jun 12 2013

Launch Date

launch


May 15 2013

Voyager Level Design

I’d like to share a bit of my process of creating levels for Voyager.

Most of the time, a level starts as an idea for a technique I’d like the player to learn, or a cool experience I want them to have. For instance, a gravitational slingshot is a core mechanic in the game, but at some point I’d like players to figure out how to chain multiple slingshots together to get past several obstacles. I also like the idea of weaving between planets – sort of a space slalom. So, there should be a level between learning how to do a slingshot maneuver and being expected to string them together to win where the chaining concept is introduced and presented in a fun way.

Unity 2013-05-15 13-58-11-28

The “Gas Giants” level does just that. It features an arrangement of planets that suggests (but does not require) a winding, between-the-gates sort of trajectory. Jupiter blocks a direct route to the target Uranus, and Saturn gets in the way of a simple slingshot around Jupiter on the right-hand side. Once I’ve got the general arrangement of planets figured out, it’s time to run the Path Predictor.

Path Predictor is one of the more important tools in my design arsenal. It simulates the trajectory for a launch, given an angle and power level (and delay, for levels with a timing element). After running it, I end up with a visualization like this.

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Though it’s usually more helpful to filter out angles that result in crashes and misses and just focus on successful paths.

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This view makes it clear that there are a few viable slalom trajectories, but it’s also quite easy to just bypass that experience and slingshot straight to the target. I need another way to reinforce the weaving path as something worth attempting. That’s where star placements come in.

Unity 2013-05-15 13-37-26-35_stars

In this level, there are a few points where the slalom trajectories intersect, providing natural, ideal locations for stars. This ensures there are multiple viable solutions. And of course, players will experiment with different power levels (or, with the “expert” controls enabled, fractional angles) that could surprise even me.

Of course, at this point the level is still far from done. It needs to be playtested for fun and difficulty before making the cut in the finished product!


Apr 25 2013

Announcing Voyager: Grand Tour

It’s about time I start talking about what I’ve been working on these last few months.

This!

 

Voyager: Grand Tour is more than a sequel or remake. It’s a re-imagining.

Dramatically improved graphics (before/after):

VoyagerVoyager: Grand Tour

New multiple-target levels:

grandtour_multitarget_croccograndtour_multitarget_titan

Stunning first-person replays of each successful flyby:

grandtour_replay2grandtour_replay

More planets, more missions, more everything!

Completely rewritten from the ground up using the powerful, cross-platform Unity game engine, I hope to eventually target many devices and markets. But the inaugural release will be next month on the App Store, for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch!

Stay tuned to Facebook, Twitter, or right here for updates.