Thursday, November 14, 2013

2.6.3 Released!

Update 2.6.3 was released today! Thanks to expedited review.

So some notes on how Apple Featuring works (at least for the "Best New Games" category).
1. Games in this category only get featured for a week.
2. This changes at 4PM Eastern time on Thursdays (today).

Which means our visibility will be pretty drastically reduced when we get bumped off. The plan is to attempt to use those last few hours to their fullest potential.

Pathogen has been put on sale for $.99 for the next three days in hope that we bump our numbers high enough that Apple puts Pathogen into another featured category (such as Strategy).

By updating though, the app loses its stored set of user reviews (people can look back at past version reviews, but they have to interact with the screen in order to do so, which most people won't). So we need additional reviews again, which is too bad we had nearly 70 on the last version already.

Update 2.6.4 is coming down the pipe as well. We noticed a few things that we would really like to fix, simply because we didn't have enough time to pack these changes into 2.6.3.

This includes support for iPhone3GS. Originally I really didn't want to even support this device, its rather old & doesn't have the greatest processing. The thing was, that I had no idea how to exclude this device from sales...

Now that I do, Apple won't (for good reason) allow me to cut off the iPhone3GS users. So I spent yesterday walking through all of the screens & optimizing them. Currently with this newest build, its at least playable (the ship version is not), yet there are some pretty bad artifacting happening.

Finally caught a very strange bug that we noticed about an hour before we wanted to push 2.6.3, Matt spent the next morning & tackled it, but by then it was too late. In certain instances the AI can actually cheat, which is no good.

Ha, i did fix the Facebook issue. Forgot to turn the app from sandbox to live. dumb, but at least it works now (this should work across versions, a code thing on Facebook side, not on development).

A huge break through with Push Notifications!!!!!!!!!!

Matt is brilliant & after several prior attempts where we basically bashed our head against the wall, he figured it out!!

So maybe we will get that into the mix for version 2.6.4.

Updated our screenshots with some of the HD ones, updated our contest entries & overall climbing again, feeling better than this past week.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Wow, it seemed as if too many things happened this past week. From fantastic to truly awful.

But let's start out with the good. Pathogen has been received well!!!!


"Pathogen's simple-yet-addictive gameplay is augmented by a terrific presentation, with visuals that make it feel like you're playing on a computer from a 1980s sci-fi film."-

"A portable game of elegant strategy."-
"I’d definitely say Pathogen is an absolute steal at $2.99 in the app store...A damn fine reason to share your iPad."-

"There’s no way to know yet whether (Pathogen) has anything like the durable interest of the classics, but I haven’t found any sign of a bottom to its depths."- Pocket Tactics
"A novel abstract strategy game that checks all the boxes for a fantastic digital experience...Success requires both thinking and feeling your way across the space, a delightfully snug balancing act that's much more fun than the haughty logic of other abstracts."- Pocket Gamer


Which is all I ever wanted really. I think I poured too much of myself into this, its now very difficult to pull it away from my own identity, so it is truly amazing to see some else "get" the game.

Pathogen is currently sitting in the top 10 of both Strategy Games & Board Game categories on the App Store & it is featured as one of Apple Best New Apps, which is huge. We are working to hold onto that lead for as long as possible.

But this week crumbled into a decline of terrifying proportions....

We got hit by a few negative comments on the press side of things (though it didn't detract from the score too much), but it was in the user comments on the App Store page where people began to slam it for some of the "obvious" bugs that ruined the play experience.

In particular we had a mud slinger appear to make it his mission to tear into the game. While yes, you must have a thick skin, his persistence & attitude threw the whole company off...

The problem with a game (or any product really) is that its a result of human work, which means its susceptible to human flaws. That there is a story behind Pathogen, one that takes a year to tell, is completely hidden from the end user.

Yes, we had (i am using the past tense, it has been corrected already) a major issue with how single player progression saving was done. Yes we should have seen it, but its something we missed. Why? Because its just the 4 of us & within those first 24 hours Pathogen had more people playing/testing it than it ever had during the entire lifetime of its development.

More issues poured in & we had an incredibly difficult time trying to organize/assess/triage them into a list of things to do. To complicate matters, internally we had difficulty trying to reach a concensious of what we needed to fix first.

But finally we nailed it down, got to work & pushed a build to Apple yesterday evening.

Here are the major changes you should see in the next release.

+ Mute Switch Functionality - Pathogen now obeys the iOS mute Switch! Its not something done by default when building in Flash.
+ Improved iPhone experience - Buttons are bigger! & some have been rearranged to better suit the screen. This should help the overall experience for you phone users
+ General Optimizations - Especially in the single player
+ Single Player Changes - The entire "structure" of the Campaign has been reconfigured. Gone is the need to scroll down in order to play a level.
+ Save Issue Addressed - I have corrected the save issue that is plaguing everyone in the single Player! If a level was completed, & you lost that progress, you should be getting it back.
+ Infection Mode now available in Local Multiplayer - Because this mode is awesome, & i should have done it earlier.

There are more fixes coming down the pipe, but as its only Matt & I, we can only do so much.

 Lost a lot of faith this week, trying to scape together some more.

- Zach

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Quiet before the storm

Now its just time to wait...

After months & months of working, there is nothing I can do. Development has halted because Gameblyr (our publisher) is too busy orchestrating the PR efforts this wee, which is ok. A stop in production helps bring the pulse under control.

Polished up the website, will push this updated one on Launch day that will have links to the game on the App Store & links to the forum.

7 Days article came in!

Very nice little article about us/the game. Great to have local coverage & let people in the state know we exist.

It's kinda surreal that Pathogen launches tomorrow. We got the updated list from Gameblyr about what media outlets are writing something and it is surprisingly large. Hasn't really sunk in yet.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

T- 2 days!

Umm, we are launching Pathogen in 2 days?!

Pretty strange to almost be there.

Worked through yesterday trying to solve a rare bug that occurs when viewing a replay of an online game. Was able to solve it, so that issue will be addressed in version 2.6.2 which should be pushed to Apple later today(meaning it will go live some time a week from now).

Version 2.6.2 has some great analytic stuff built in thanks to Flurry. Not to mention a number of optimizations with our conversion to Starling 1.4.1 & Feathers 1.1.1.

We learned that you cannot update game screenshots after a build has gone "live". Unfortunate... but they will be changed in the 2.6.2 version. Same goes for adding Localization text. A hang up we didn't quite know was going to happen.

Went downstairs yesterday to scope out the space we will be having the launch party & figured out kinda what we need, table/podium/projector wise. Hanging a projector from the ceiling? Heck yes.

Will be updating all of our contest builds (IGF & IMGA) here in the next few days to reflect the fact that the game is out.

Looks like we will be doing a PC build before anything else here. Need to sit down & plan out how we want to optimize the interface for a mouse. Very important. Until now everything has been driven by touch. Screens where plays drag with their finger to scroll (campaign, map selection, etc) are not natural motions in a PC environment & need to be adjusted. We also need to implement Mouse Over commands for our button class (which doesn't exist with touch interfaces) & see if there is anything else we can do to normalize the experience.

Lots to think about.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Its raining outside

Interview this morning with the 7 Days.

Went pretty well, nice to do some marketing on our end. We are doing pretty well on the marketing end already, thanks to the Polygon Article. Have seen 3 or 4 since!

We have received the list of media hubs that have confirmed that they will be writing something, which is awesome.


Moving through the last of our bug list for Update #2, we should be good to go with it right after the retina display version gets approved.


Finally have gotten some traction on the trailer. Marguerite picked up a camera yesterday, shot some footage around the building with a few random people. We also took it to testing to grab additional footage.

So a new trailer should be rolling out for Pathogen next weekish.


Lastly, Pathogen Launch Party!

Yep, if your reading this your invited. Its happening on November 8th from 6 - 9 at our building (47 Maple St) We will be showcasing the game, projecting it onto the walls/floors/etc & generally celebrating the release!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Umm what!!!!!!!

Woke up this morning, was preparing to make my chilly bike ride past the graveyard only to double take at my phone when I saw that we were on polygon!!!!!

Yay! Press!

Its too bad that we don't have a newer trailer up or that the screenshot is kinda fuzzy, but we are already feeling the ripples of that article. Had a few other Press people express interest in getting a look at the game & another article went up an hour ago on App Spy.

This is pretty amazing, especially since its just kinda out of no where. We handed the promo codes to Triple Point last week & didn't quite know what was going to happen.

Kinda surreal, but we needed the buzz to start building.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Once again push notifications have become a pain.

We did learn that Flash can natively push notifications, no external libraries needed. Which is nice, however it is dependent on the traditional Flash Stage, which we do not use in Starling.

So for the moment, we are going to move on. But we are still going to release a quick 1st week patch with the work that I have been doing.

The move to Starling 1.4.1 has optimized a few things, allowing a smoother experience for iPhone users. This update will also include the work I did today: analytics.

Utilizing a library created by Stick-Sports, Pathogen is now logging player data to Flurry. This flexible tool set allows me to track a variety of different data that we can use to help shape the game experience. How long is the median time for a level? What level are players giving up on? Which is the most difficult? What difficulty are they playing on? How many people on average play in a local game? And so many more questions we will be able to answer with the data the game returns to us.

This is the kind of stuff I love looking over. Our first game, Loc, was built with this kind of thing in and it really helped to polish the difficulty curve of the experience.

On top of the service that Flurry provides, Flox will also help to map the average play session of a user, look at retention rates, etc.

Think of these services as a heart beat monitor. By watching the data you can see the state of the game & know when/where you need to react in order to keep it healthy.

& for those of you who haven't seen this: