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A Question - Mobile Gaming Continued

A follow up question!

The refund policy on the Android market has changed drastically in the last few months. There was a time when any of us could download a game and usually play it to completion within 24 hours if we wanted. If not to the end of the game, long enough to know if we were getting our money's worth (see yesterday's post).

With a 15 minute window, I am more squeamish about purchasing games, and especially those with notable after-install downloads, because I know you basically get one shot and a few minutes to decide if you like it.

What are the factors you are watching to decide if you want to refund in the first 15?


  1. There only factor would be if I purchased the wrong game/app accidently because 15 minutes is far too little. Every purchasable app should have a free demo/trial like in the case of Star Traders, especially since some games and apps cost alot of money(most dont though) and are not guaranteed to even work on your phone(even though its listed on the market). I suspect that is the case for the game dev game, which I have been itching to try, but since other similar apps(baking world etc) are listed for my phone, they do not work but rather say that my resolution isnt supported I dont even dare try.

    Heck, if I have a bit of bad luck and the download goes slow, the installation freaks out and it takes a bit to load up, and turns out that the game does not work.. Im gonna be in a real hurry to get a refund or possibly even miss the time limit.

    I think upping the time to 30 minutes, even an hour, would be a good idea.

  2. Joel,

    Good point- I am in a similar bucket... because of the 15 minute window, I don't buy paid games unless I know they already work through trying out their free version and know that 1) it works, and 2) I like the game.

    From a game developer's POV, it does give more control as to what you are willing to give away for free vs. require payment, but a lot of game developers are releasing a demo / free trial version.

    We went the extra mile with Star Traders and released a very functional free game so that you can really get to know if you want to buy Elite or not, and the customer has appreciated it!


  3. So far, of all the games I've tried in android market, I can definitely say that ST was the one most worth the money, but if there had not been a free version like the one there was I would not have tried it out. Luckily there was and although there were alot of FCs I finally purchased(after cory fixed the fc's I was having). Thank god for that, I dont want to know how many hours I have spent on Star traders so far, but playing it is on hold right now.

    Now, if Secrets of steel could come out soon ;) That will definitely be one of the games on android market that will be worth the money ten times over if it will be as good as I think it will :D

  4. Joel,

    In our opinion, Secrets of Steel will be the game for which you are hungering. As with Star Traders, we will release a compelling free version to allow you to play it for hours, report all the FCs you want (we will fix!) and then choose if you want to pay for Elite or not.

    There have been a lot of questions about what type of game Secrets of Steel will be. It will be an immense fantasy RPG, with a tactical combat system that resonates with classic tactics games (think Final Fantasy Tactics, Shining Force) and with a dynamic world that changes and reacts to your actions. But, unlike most worlds that claim to be dynamic, the world of Secrets changes without your action too, crumbling, deteriorating and falling into ruin if you ignore it or cannot stop the entropic forces working against the world itself.

  5. The 15 minute window also makes me more reluctant to purchase items from the Android market. Of course I was already reluctant to even download things from the market as my phone is a work phone and I did not need anything potentially damaging the phone. So for me my decision to even download a program is determined by looking for reviews, evaluating the creator's website, and checking the game's forums. I have to be completely sold on the program before I even download it.

    You guys don't have to worry about Secrets of Steel, however. I already know it is going to be good stuff considering the work you have put into Star Traders RPG. I am looking forward to a world that doesn't wait for me to continue on the main quest to change. A problem I had with a lot of the games I have played is that if I decided to stop and pick dandelions the villans would patiently wait for me instead of continuing their evil plans.

  6. In fact, if you dally, those dandelions may turn evil, grow many heads and try to eat you for lunch, if not breakfast!

  7. Dally around picking potentially flesh eating dandelions while the world is falling to pieces around you is one thing, but what Im more interesting is if you can actively aid the downfall of civilization.

  8. Joel,

    The protagonists in Secrets of Steel are part of larger story arc that is wrapped up in the world's struggling against entropic forces. They come to the table with their own conflicts, personalities, morals, and powerful personal connections. Based around that starting setup -- no, the characters would not sign up to actively destroy the world. They are not blank slate characters that you find in games that provide the Good and Evil path.

    There are paths that may lead you astray throughout the game, in which you intend or try to do good, and bad results very well may come of it, but Secrets does not focus on a group of characters that may descend into darkness and purposeful evil.

    It's something that could have been leveraged into the game, but we have a policy of: "If you are going to do it, do it well, and do it full bore." So, if we took that route and lined Secrets up against Fable or other games that attempted this type of Good-Evil dichotomy, we'd really want to make a game that focused on that as its main course.


  9. Good to know :) Thanks for the info. I tend to strive against being good in most rpgs anyway, but find that even if going the "evil" route in games like mass effect 2 and fable 1, there is not much difference other than a few key moments but ultimately you strived towards basically the same goal.

  10. With an open game like Secrets of steel seem to be, its much much harder to do evil/good, but doing "lesser of two evils" or two choices where the outcome is unclear is easier and in the end better than pure evil/pure good and is more rewarding in a way. Because pure evil/pure good tend to look the same in most games.

  11. I think the "evil path" in Secrets is very much there -- it just does not manifest as a "I will destroy" character.

    The "evil" of Secrets of Steel is the evil of greed, pride, corruption and sloth. Evil is the character who does nothing when a distant land calls for aid. Evil is the character who will not risk all to save the marginalized people of the coast.

    Evil takes many forms.

  12. He's got a point... =)

    Joel - on Fable / Mass Effect, I too have felt cheated by games that provide a Good-Evil dichotomy but you know its really the same. If Trese Brothers ever decides to produce an RPG that has this branched path as a central part of the game, it will be of a different caliber all together.

  13. The 15 minute window is what restricts android software to what I term impulseware. If it's more then 2-3$ there's no chance of me purchasing it.

  14. nanenj,

    I'd agree... I have a hard time springing for anything over $2. Especially if I have no guarantee that I am going to get my money's worth. I always enjoy a cup of good coffee... but some games are not well supported by the devs and just aren't worth it.

    I wonder how many people refuse to buy games at all? Or run a game-budget, such as 1 game a month. I see a lot of "this is the only game I have bought" comments on Star Traders RPG.

  15. Star Traders -is- the only game I've bought. It's clear that it was made to be fun. The developers are personable and response quickly to any inquiry. It's their method of development, the spirit and feel of the game that makes me happy to support them. I'll likely buy Secrets of Steel up front. I know that when I buy a game from the developers of Star Traders that it's very likely to have a certain feel about it.

    Star Traders is a game that's quite dinky by today's standards of PC gaming. But, it's able to live and thrive in a smartphone arena, and it's the kind of game that made programming games fun. It's targeted at a platform were and individual developer (or very small team) is able to make and produce something they themselves think is fun and it's able to get attention instead of being looked over or drowned among 500 similar products. Even when there are similar products, this type of game, and the development method used thrives.

    I'm not sure really to put it into words why Star Traders inspires me and makes me happy to support the people behind it and to persue my own programming projects on the platform.


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