Finnick And Prat: An Excerpt

We don’t just make games that get zero recognition here at Not Worthy. As it happens, I am a writer currently in the process of writing my first novel, a comic fantasy murder-mystery-esque piece called “Finnick and Prat,” or, possibly “Heads and State.”

Here’s a small taste (pun almost intended), from somewhere in the middle:


Jeremias had had quite enough of the capital.

There wasn’t one thing in particular that he disliked about it… mostly it was all of it at once that he found himself despising.

Taken individually, there were things that, given time and possibly some reality-altering drugs, he could find enjoyable. There were even things he didn’t immediately find completely terrible, like the multitude of museums. However, after the third one all of the paint had seemed to run together in his mind and he was having trouble telling his Remembrandts from his de Veenzès.

Even the statues of naked women, which Jeremias found he was quite interested in, began to lose their appeal once he realized that they all had the same vague “I’m getting paid for this, right? Remember I don’t do anything with animals” expression on their face. Not to mention the fact that none of them had any arms. He had asked Upchurch about this.

“That’s classical art, for you.”

“But, surely they had arms.”

“It takes all kinds, sir.”

After the fourth museum and the fortieth painting of bowls of slightly rotting fruit, Jeremias declared that he had had enough art for the day, and wasn’t there any place to get some food?

Upchurch had grinned, which should have been Jeremias’ first warning sign.

The cafe that Upchurch steered Jeremias towards looked innocuous enough from the outside, but later Jeremias reflected that Pandora’s Box had probably seemed safe enough as well, and look where that had gotten Pandora.[1]

Apple v. Google

From a developer stand-point, before publishing on Google Play, I liked the App Store quite a bit. A lot of devs complain about the restrictions that Apple places on them, but that has never affected me or type of games I make. The week+ wait times for approval were a hassle, but I had kind of assumed that that was how it was everywhere.

Well, I was wrong.

A few days ago I bit the bullet and submitted Hex Attack (iOS, Android, Android Free) to the Play Store. Imagine my surprise, after having been conditioned by Apple and their average 9 day (for my apps) approval time, to find that it would be available in mere hours. It was amazing.  I assumed that the Play Store used an algorithm to analyze each app and make an automated approval. There is no way, I thought, that people are reviewing these apps.

I was wrong again.

As explained in this article, the Play Store has been having its apps largely manually reviewed for months now and developers haven’t seen a difference.

So, come on Apple.  Put all that money where your mouth is and step up your game. Android as a platform is rapidly overtaking your crumbling app monopoly, and if you want to stay on top, you’ve got to do your devs a favor. If it wasn’t for us, the app store would be a novelty, rather than the billions-a-year-industry it is now.


On Free to Paid, or: a post-mortem of Stormy Skies

Last week, we touched upon what little we had to report regarding Stormy Skies, and today I’ll lay it out for you, as well as give a preview into the game’s future.

Stormy launched in June 2014, and was coded by one person entirely (Harrison… me).  It received a few updates and has kind of just been left to its down devices.

Since its launch, it has generated (from in-app purchases) a total of ~USD$95 and around ~USD$3 from ads (mainly RevMob).

It currently averages 1.2-2 downloads a day with very very little advertising.

Reviews of the game have been mostly positive, netting it around 4.2 stars aggregate for all versions.

So, where does it stand?

For a -frankly- buggy game coded by one person and graphically designed by essentially that same one person, it isn’t exactly bad.  It isn’t the Scrooge-McDuck style swimming pool of gold coins we all hope for, but it isn’t BAD.

By the same token, it isn’t good either.

So, what can be done to make it better?

A lot has been learned from development of Hex Attack.  A LOT.

Namely, things are prettier if you don’t have to wait for the game to load between menu screens. One big load at the beginning is better than a lot of smaller loads as you press menu buttons.

Second, ads make things ugly.

Third, gameplay needs to be more varied.

On that third note, Stormy has received some criticism from AppStore reviews to that effect, stating that there wasn’t enough variation in gameplay, no interesting scenerey changes, etc. It is, admittedly, a very boring and static game. I freely admit it.

It is the subject of gameplay improvement that has led to my decision to completely remake Stormy from the ground up.  No ads this time around, four scenes total (instead of the 7 that make up the current game (Loader screen, title, stats, credits, settings, shop and gameplay screen)), and more varied gameplay.

One of the new additions is that of a “torrent,” a sudden, unstoppable burst of rain that causes the water level to rise without the player’s control.  The chance of a torrent occurring increase as a player’s current streak do, with checks to prevent a player from gaming the system by just missing a drop here or there.

Rewards of credits will be made to players that beat their best scores and streaks (after a preset threshold is met, of course, to avoid boosting).

Other changes include the removal of the sun powerup (who actually used that thing, anyway?) and its inclusion as a random event in the game world, acting much the same as it did before, but also evaporating some of the water (at half the rate it is increased by a torrent).

Sponges will be slightly nerfed, and the cap on powerups will be decreased. However, this is to counteract the fact that the raindrops are considerably easier to hit (in beta testing, before anything has been added that modifies score or lowers the water level, I am consistently able to hit near 1000 points before game over).

Frozen drops will count for half as before, but will now take two hits to destroy (since they do not move for much of their life-span).  They will also now increase the water level by half the regular amount for full-strength, and one quarter at half-strength).

With the new additions of torrents and sunshine, there are two new upgrade paths that will be added, to decrease the time of torrents and increase the duration of sunshine.

That brings me to the stickiest part of the update.

With the amount of work that has to go in to Stormy to make this update work, it doesn’t feel right to keep its original name, and it doesn’t seem fair to me as a developer to keep it free.

As such, once the update is out, the name will change to Stormy Skies DX (meaning “deluxe”) and the price will go from free to 99¢.  This update will be free for existing users.

In addition, because of the change in the way data will be stored, powerups and upgrade progress, as well as achievement progress, WILL BE WIPED.

To make that less unfair, players who have played at least ONE game of Stormy will be given 100k 25k credits for free to use as they will, regardless of their upgrade progress from the previous title.

One last thing:

ICON copy

The new icon!


Things! Cool things! (Secret things?) Things are gonna come soon!

First on the menu: Hex Attack’s development is going smoothly, minus a few crashes and unsaved work.  If all goes smoothly, we anticipate around two weeks at the latest before it is given to Apple for approval, so around 2.5 to 3 weeks before release.

Hex Attack will be free for its first week, then USD$.99 thereafter, except for occasional sales. The app will include in app purchases, but not for anything that is necessary to complete the game, and unlike Stormy Skies, will be ad-free for all players.

Next up: We have begun the process of producing a ████ called “Safety Off,” which will be █████ very █████.  It is going to be an exciting project, and we think you will all enjoy it greatly.  Maybe, we can’t see the future.  If you want more info (or insight into our boring lives), you can follow each of us on twitter: @HarryMcLain, @HaydenMcLain and @J_cartoons, or follow Not Worthy Studios as a whole @NotWorthyStudio.

And finally: We want to thank those of you who have downloaded and played Stormy Skies. We are honored that it has seen the modest success it already has, and hope that it continues to do so in the future.  Speaking of the future, we hope to also have an android version of it available soon.

Thanks for reading, we are watching.  Closely. While you sleep.