Lions, Tigers and Leopards, Oh My!

Our customers are adopting Lion (Mac OS X 10.7) at an incredible pace. A week hasn’t even passed and 50% of LicenseKeeper users have already adopted it as their primary OS. Knapsack users aren’t far behind with 30% having already made the move.

Because of this incredible adoption rate, I’ve decided to finally make the move to start dropping support for older OS X versions along with PowerPC (PPC) in our Mac apps with the next round of updates.

Tiger

Mac OS X 10.4, Tiger, was released over six years ago on April 29, 2005.

Except for Bullfrog, almost no-one is still using Tiger on a regular basis. Because it’s free, Bullfrog won’t hold up this move.

LicenseKeeper: 0% of user base in last 60 days
Knapsack: Has never supported Tiger
Bullfrog: 15% of user base still using Tiger

Leopard

Mac OS 10.5, Leopard, is now four years old and was released on October 26, 2007. More of our customers were already running Lion before it was even publicly released.

LicenseKeeper: 4% over the past 60 days
Knapsack: 2.5%
Bullfrog: 18%

PPC

Apple stopped supporting PowerPC Macs with the release of Snow Leopard in August of 2009 — three years ago.

LicenseKeeper: 1.9% PPC users over the past 60 days
Knapsack: 0.6% PPC
Bullfrog: 19% PPC

Schedule

The next set of updates for each or our applications will require at least Snow Leopard (10.6+) to run.

LicenseKeeper

I’m currently working on LicenseKeeper 1.8. I still have several open items to take care of which will then require a fair amount of testing. I’m hoping to have this update out in the next couple of weeks — sometime in August.

Knapsack

There is a lot planned for Knapsack over the course of this year. Knapsack 2.3 is scheduled to follow the LicenseKeeper update which will also require Snow Leopard (10.6+). Development on Knapsack 3 along with iPhone and iPad versions has already begun.

Bullfrog

Because Bullfrog is free, it takes a low priority for us and tends to sit on the back burner. I don’t have any specific releases scheduled, but I will no longer be updating Bullfrog for Tiger and Leopard. Any updates that do make their way out will require at least Snow Leopard and possibly only Lion.

Questions & Concerns

If you have questions or concerns regarding these changes and plans, please let me know.

The current versions of our apps will continue to run on your existing configurations and you will not be forced to upgrade to the newest versions.

Lion

Happy Lion Release Day!

Today, Apple unleashed the latest version of their Mac operating system, OS X Lion via the Mac App Store.

We’re Lion Compatible

The latest versions of all of our Mac apps are Lion (Mac OS X 10.7) compatible and should run without issue.

Knapsack 2.2.2

LicenseKeeper 1.7.2

Bullfrog 1.2.3

If you do happen to find any problems with our apps and Lion, please let us know so that we can get a quick fix out.

Bullfrog 1.2.2

Bullfrog 1.2.2 has been released. This fixes several issues with high score submissions.

Download directly or use Check for Updates.

Release Notes

  • Fixed: High score submission is now done in the background for better performance over slow connections.
  • Fixed: Fixed bug in high score submission that could allow fake high scores.
  • Fixed: Scores of zero points are no longer accepted as high scores.
  • Fixed: Minor user interface improvements for the high score submissions sheet.
  • Fixed: Help Menu item displays in-game help screen.

Bullfrog 1.2.1

Bullfrog 1.2.1 is available. This update fixes a crash on Leopard and improves the sound quality of some of the sound effects.

Use “Check for Updates” or download the new version directly.

I’ve also added a new screen cast of the Bullfrog game play to the Bullfrog product page.

Release Notes

  • New: Higher quality ambient swamp sounds.
  • New: Higher quality timer sound.
  • New: Higher quality chomp sound.
  • Fixed: Crash on Leopard when timer sound starts playing.
  • Fixed: Memory leaks.

Bullfrog 2

Bullfrog exceeded all my expectations. Even though it was only supposed to be a learning project and was developed with a tiny budget, downloads have been non-stop since it made its way on to the big Mac download websites.

Watching as the high scores have gotten higher and higher over time and reading all the extremely positive feedback has been feeding the game developer monster inside of me.

Finally, I can’t resist any longer. I’ve decided to begin development on the sequel to my little arcade game. But, this time the plan is a little different.

Take Two


The first time around I didn’t know any Objective-C or Cocoa, had a budget of almost zero, and developed the entire game from scratch.

Bullfrog 2 will benefit from all the experience I earned the first time through, an existing code base, a larger media budget, an existing user-base, and a new development partner.

Marcus Zarra and I thought it would be fun to team up and develop Bullfrog 2 together as a joint venture between Outer Level and Zarra Studios.

Sharing the Journey


Neither of us are real “game developers”, so we’ll be working through some interesting challenges on the way to releasing Bullfrog 2.

With this in mind, we’ve decided that sharing the design and development process on our blogs would be fun and hopefully interesting to gamers and fellow indie developers.

Bullfrog 2 is still very early in the design stage, but we already know some of the challenges we’ll be facing.

The first Bullfrog engine was built entirely in Objective-C and Cocoa and had some “interesting” performance challenges. One of the early design decisions I made was to avoid using OpenGL so I would not have to learn two entirely new frameworks to get the project completed.

This time around, one of the big goals is to migrate the rendering engine to OpenGL. We hope that this decision will lead to some huge performance benefits that will allow us to add new fun game-play features.

So we’ll probably have much to say on the OpenGL switch along with other technical hurdles we’ll likely face.

Stay Tuned

If you are interested at all about game development on the Mac, look for articles coming down the pipe about all things Bullfrog 2: design, development, brainstorming, and marketing.

Bullfrog Download Statistics

Sorry for the lack of updates, I’ve been busy, busy, busy. I promise this isn’t one of those “this is why I haven’t posted” posts. I hate those.

Back on August 15 I promised an article showing the traffic and download numbers resulting from submitting Bullfrog to various shareware download sites.

This sounded much easier than it turned out to be. I originally wanted to submit Bullfrog to each site one at a time. Measure the effectiveness of each submission and put together a nice chart of the results. The one thing I didn’t consider is that once you submit your application to one site, all the rest see the listing and automatically add the listing to their sites as well.

While this “service” hurt my measurement plans, it was a fascinating exercise to watch as Bullfrog organically found its way on to various shareware download sites. Due to this magical spread of download sources, it is impossible to give exact numbers as to which “submissions” where the most effective, but I was certainly able to glean overall trends.

Granted my sample size is only over the last two months, I think it is enough to get the gist of what is happening.

Traffic Trend

This first graph shows the overall web traffic to the domain outerlevel.com. This includes this blog, my company website, and all downloads.

Graph Legend

  • Orange = Unique Visitors
  • Yellow = Number of Visitors
  • Blue = Pages
  • Teal = Hits
  • Green = Bandwidth

This graph shows the overall traffic trend with the huge jump in numbers in August when Bullfrog was first submitted to MacGameFiles.com and then found its way to being Apple’s Kids & Learning featured download. Then in September, I released Bullfrog 1.2 which pushed Bullfrog back to the top of all the download listings.

The Numbers

Ok, so the graph is pretty (ooh, ah); but what about the hard numbers? All my site traffic statistics are generated using the AWStats Apache log analyzer. So they are only as accurate as this utility’s numbers.

Month Bullfrog D/Ls Comments
October 2005 0 Start of Development
November 2005 92 Alpha Released
December 2005 478 1.0 Release, OMG Contest
January 2006 147 OMG Winners Announced at MacWorld
February 2006 46
March 2006 53
April 2006 64 1.1 Universal Binary Released
May 2006 52
June 2006 70
July 2006 39
August 2006 8395 Apple, MacGameFiles, VersionTracker, MacUpdate, etc.
September 2006 6174 1.2 Release

This table clearly shows that “build it and they will come” did not work for me. From February 2006 – July 2006 traffic was primarily organic search, from one of my blogs, with a few still coming from the OMG contest site.

Referrers

I was not able to prepare a table of Bullfrog downloads by site referrer, but I do have visits by referrer. Since the overwhelmingly high percent of referred visitors are direct Bullfrog downloads, we can assume that this shows the best download referrers, though the numbers and exact rankings are probably slightly off.

Referrer Visits
Apple.com 11,183
iDevGames (OMG Contest) 1394
MacUpdate 984
VersionTracker 890
mac.page.ne.jp (Japan) 536
MacGameFiles 263
iUseThis 147
MakeMacGames.com 107
Macalecole (France) 83
Hello-Mac (Japan) 42

These numbers are only estimates and only reflect my results for my freeware game. Your results may vary greatly depending on your product, your target audience, the time of year, etc. But the trend is clear, if you want the greatest exposure for your Mac software possible, get it listed on Apple.com.

Bandwidth by Country

One thing of interest is that two of the top referrers are Japanese and one is French. I have not localized Bullfrog to any other language, but I would certainly consider it based on the above numbers and the following chart and table.

Country Bandwidth (GB)
U.S.A. 45.32
European Union 3.29
Australia 2.42
Japan 2.35
Canada 1.71
Italy 1.46
Germany 1.38
UK 1.05
Netherlands 0.63
Spain 0.53
France 0.47

Side Benefits

Some of the numbers I have not included but were also quite positive are the traffic to my blog and to my other product and services pages. I have seen a significant jump in numbers to my LicenseKeeper product page and to my Consulting Services page.

I seem to have also been added to some Mac Consulting and Cocoa Development recruiters’ lists and have received several inquiries since the surge in traffic began. The increased exposure directly related to this 8 week development project of a simple little freeware game has had some nice unexpected side benefits.

Conclusion

I hope you found this information interesting and helpful. It was certainly interesting for me and I hope that the increased traffic continues. Please keep in mind that these numbers are specific to my experience and that they are not exact. Your results may vary greatly.