Ball on a Stick: 5/23/16 Progress / by Dan Andre

So work has been ramping up quite a bit on Ball on a Stick over the last week or two. After some extensive testing, now we are revamping some elements of the game for a new monitization strategy.

Originally, we were just going to make Ball on a Stick a paid app, but now we intend to move it to a free-mium model. Now we are going to make some of the balls in the game unlockable through one of two means.

Either you can simply buy them through in-app purchase, or watch ads occationally during gameplay to unlock a random pack. This means that hypothetically, a player can play the entire game and unlock every ball without ever having to pay for anything.

This is something that I felt was important, because I feel that so many mobile apps use what I would consider to be somewhat slimey means to make money through skinnerbox gameplay mechanics that just seem so obviously designed exclusively to reward the developer rather than the player.

I am not against developers making money, me and Danielle need to pay our bills and hopefully build our company so we can make better, more ambitious games, but some of the techniques I've seen used make me uncomfortable, so I feel the way our system is designed is a fair compromise so that we can make money without putting important features behind a paywall. I hate pay-to-win gameplay mechanics and obvious money making skinnerboxes, those just equate to intentionally bad game design with perverse insentive for the developers, and offers nothing to the player in exchange.

If someone wants to play our game for free, it is truely free. Everything in the game can be unlocked without any money changing hands. That being said, if a player does want a spesific ball pack and don't want to wait to get it, and have the money they want to spend to get it, we give them that option as well. It presents the best of both worlds I feel for everyone.

Beyond this big transition, we have also taken a lot of time to balance the gameplay, and we feel now that the game is much easier to control and play effectively. We have tested with people from varying demographics and skill levels, and I feel now that we have reached something of a sweet spot in terms of controlability vs challenge.

In addition, as a result of our overhaul of the way balls are represented in the game, this has allowed us much greater levels of customization in terms of different effects we can apply to each ball.  This means each ball can now have it's own sounds associated with it, as well as new visual effects. These will be implemented soon.

We've also been working on livening up the actual gameplay space. Danielle is working on making some animated scenery assets that should allow for a much more lively scene around the ball and stick.

We hope to have the app out sometime next month. Unfortunately we have yet to get a functioning system for getting good pictures and video of gameplay to show you. As soon as we do, they will definitely add them to the updates.