Dealer’s Life updated: version B:0.74

Hello to all Dealers out there!

Today we’re releasing the new great version 0.74! We released it for Beta testers last week and we had great feedback, now it’s time to let all players enjoy it!

Usually we try to release new content every two or three weeks but we went a little bit late because we’re really working hard on many things at the same time, for example in the background we never stopped working on big things like recurrent characters and new localizations for the game. And today we’re releasing a real lot of new stuff, we hope you’ll like it!

Let’s begin with the great new Item Pack #3 including 16 new items! This time things have gone big since we went for cars and motorbikes!

We really would have liked to introduce them since the beginning, especially because they’re really expensive but we couldn’t find any easy way to balance them with the items already in the game without compromising the delicate relationship between prices, rarity and year of production. So we made a huge tide of rebalance for every item price in the game.
It was a big work indeed but it was just the first step towards a new era of longer lasting games! Many players have reported us that going wild with DL and playing it like there is no tomorrow could result in relatively short games… Since we simply love players that go wild with DL, we decided to second their secret desires and release a huge amount of late game content, all very shiny and expensive!

With this release we’re also giving a lot of love to shops! Version 0.74 comes with the great New Shops Pack including a new best shop for every district, with the best features and the highest price you can find! But of course that’s not all about shops: we also introduced a whole brand new luxury district, with four totally new (and really expensive) shops, as an exclusive to our Premium Players only!

The Boss Empire

Remember the tide of rebalance I mentioned before while talking about items? Well the same thing had to happen here with shops, since they’re linked to the fame level of your character and that in turn influences the game flow, altering the “quality” of procedural generation. By introducing a total of 7 new shops we had to redesign the fame level system in order to grant enough granularity to level progression to better feel the difference between shops and see the differences in new items generation. That’s why now we have nine fame levels and not just five as before! Every fame level has its own parameters for items (and customers!) procedural generation, granting an ever changing experience while you climb the fame ladder to reach the ultimate success!

Could you imagine? That’s still not all about game balance! We really wanted to give a good strike at it and we also made some changes to starting items generation in order to avoid exceptionally good or bad starts that could compromise the entire game. From now on all games will always start with one rare item, two uncommon items and two common items. As it was introduced in the last patch, Premium Players will also get an exclusive legendary item at the beginning of every game, but apart from that every game should now present the right amount of challenge since the very start!
Last but not least we also gave a little rebalance to all costs and prices, to better fit the new game economy.

Next big thing we made with this update is a new management of end of week ads in the Lite version of DL. Before this patch we had an ad showing out at every end of the week, it sounded quite fair to us but then we realized that a week in early game lasts much less than a week in late game because during late game there are much more customers coming to your shop every single day. Thus, a week in early game could last a few (real time) minutes while in late game it could last even half an hour. The consequence of this is that early game players see much more “end of week” ads than late game players. For this reason we decided to equalize the vision of ads for both early and late game players, showing an ad at the end of a generic day if a certain amount of real time has passed.

Finally, let me talk about my favourite argument: recurrent characters! I know, I know, it’s so much time we’ve been talking about it you barely believe they’ll ever come, but before you start throwing rotten vegetables at me, I can tell you that with this latest patch we introduced the last UI adjustments that were needed just before the introduction of recurring characters in the game. We shifted the customer at your desk a little bit on the right, to make him more centered in the screen and by doing this we gained a lot more space for the customer’s balloon and the three choice buttons beneath it, in the left half of the screen. Thanks to this we will not only have more space for recurring character speeches, but also more space for your answers, granting us the possibility to make more complex and deep dialogues!

Since this change required quite a work to rearrange things and modify animations, we planned to make it just before the actual introduction of recurring characters, so you can be sure they’re really coming… and you know what? I’ll spoil you the first chain of encounters with the first recurring character is already in the game! We put it in “sleep mode” in this version because we need to test it a little more, but is already there and will be available really soon!

I hope you enjoyed reading about all these changes!
Stay tuned for more updates and keep up the good deals!

Dealer’s Life updated: version B:0.72

Hi Dealers out there!

Let me say it: today we’re releasing a ton of new content, you’d better prepare yourselves!

Let’s start with graphics: Item Pack #2 has arrived with 16 new items! The theme of this pack is skateboards and game consoles, toys that many of us love to play with! We really hope you like them! ;D

With version 0.72 we also made big changes to VIPs names. What is a VIP, you say? Well, we use to call that way people we link with items during procedural generation: gun belonged to Einstein, document signed by Madonna and so on, just to give you a couple of examples. We decided to second the humoristic nature of Dealer’s Life and go for funny names that can recall the real names they come from! The goal is to create a particular setting for the game, a sort of parody of the real world. It is a long term goal so new changes and content about this will continue to come in the near future!

As we were already working on VIPs names we also decided to drastically increase their number adding 40+ new VIPs! Now they’re quite a lot, it will take some time for you to discover them all!

Now let’s talk about what we did in response of some of your greatly appreciated suggestions! We made a couple of little changes to gameplay mechanics in order to give a better and quicker game experience.
First of all we changed the entrance animation: if you now select the option to skip the first customer animation, not only the first customer will appear directly at your desk but also other customers of the queue will appear directly in the shop. Should you quickly dismiss the first customer you won’t have to wait for the second to come anymore.
Secondly we altered the logic behind buyers. Remember those customers coming to your desk only to say: “Uh, I don’t see what I wanted to buy anymore. Well, farewell then.”? That occurred because we made the customers decide what item they wanted at the moment of their generation, which is at the very start of each day. Since it’s actually quite useless to have such customers in queue we went for another approach and removed them. You won’t see such customers anymore unless you actually do not have any sellable item in your inventory. Plus, now it’s possible for you to sell items you bought the same day, which is quite nice if you need to. 😀

To finally conclude this update, let me talk a little about Premium Version Bonuses. We actually desire to give the best gaming experience to everyone, but we sure know Premium Players deserve more love from us. Here at Abyte we’ve been talking about it for quite a long time since we, as gamers, know very well this is a delicate topic that could have heavy impacts on the overall experience. Eventually we decided to be prudent and to proceed by little steps here. Our first step comes with this new patch, in which we introduced a first big difference between the Lite version and the Premium version: from now on Premium Players will begin new games with double cash and a bonus item! Those will boost the early game quite a bit and grant more “freedom to buy“ in the very beginning.
As I said, this is only the first step towards the introduction of premium content, stay sure more will come shortly! The goal here is to give Lite Players a complete feeling of the game, granting almost every feature available in the Premium version, but also giving to Premium Players a much deeper and more varied experience.

 

And that’s all for… Oh, I can hear someone asking: “Hey, what about recurrent characters? I’m waiting for them! Where are them??”. Well they’re coming, just like the Winter XD Ok, just joking, they’re actually coming, I told you this was going to be a huge thing to develop and it actually is! Tanek almost finished the main engine that will manage all recurrent characters, while I’m writing down all encounters designs. It will be a lot of fun, I tell you that, but most of all once the engine is complete it won’t take long to see the first characters coming up! We have about ten different recurrent characters to introduce, with new features for the game, dedicated plots and mixed ones (that means involving more than one character), so it will take some time to put everything in the game. Expect all this to gradually happen during this summer anyway, so stay tuned!

We’ve finally come to the end of this update, I hope you’ve found something interesting here! See you for the next update and keep up the good deals!

Dealer’s Life updated: version B:0.67

Goooood morning Dealers!
Today we come out with the great new 0.67 version of Dealer’s Life! We took some time since in the background we’re working hard on recurring characters and on our steps into localization, but some great new content and features are here!

Let’s begin with the nicest: new items!! That’s right, we introduced a bunch of new shiny pieces for you to discover and to play with! The list includes cowboy hats, vinyl records, videogames and glasses. Keep an eye on them and watch for other news, we’re already preparing new ones!

 

That’s sure not all for what concerns this update: we also introduced a new feature in the inventory, giving you the ability to lock items you own during each morning. Locked items will not be on your shop’s shelves when you open the shop, in this way customers won’t ask to buy them. That’s quite useful when you want to perform tasks on items before selling them but your employee is already working on another item. No more customers uselessly coming just to be sent away!

We could have made a queue system to manage multiple tasks at a time (as some of you Dealers suggested in these last days) but we think this lock mode could be a good solution as it leaves the freedom to decide each time what item to work on next: some tasks could take long and during that time things could change, a queue you planned days before could not be the optimal choice anymore. Plus, this mechanic will become even more useful in the near future, when there could be more than one reason to hold a specific item in your shop, even without performing tasks on it… but that’s another story and I won’t tell you more about it, for now. ;D

Another big improvement we made is putting more articles on the Daily Journal. What for, you say? Well, more articles means more job offers! Since we introduced some more employee types in the game we think you should have more alternatives in choosing your favourite ones! And do not forget even more employees are coming, we will need more space for them!

Speaking about balance, we listened to your feedback and made a little change on random events that could occur during the game: you will now have no more permanent events! They all have been changed to long lasting events since it could be quite bad, while playing infinite mode, to have more and more permanent events that accumulate without the possibility to make them go away. Also, we limited the number of events you can have at the same time, now they can be 3 at most.
Of course both changes are not retroactive so if in your current game you already experienced some (or more than three) permanent events… well, we can’t change that but you won’t receive any more of them!

Can you believe? I nearly forgot to tell you about the biggest (at least in terms of development) improvement of this release: number formatting! All numbers in the game are now formatted and that’s quite pretty since they’re a lot more readable than before! Yay!

Right now numbers are formatted according to American standards but we already linked them to localization, so you will see proper formatting for your language when we release it.

And with this we’ve reached the end of version 0.67 update, I hope you’ll enjoy all these great improvements!

Stay tuned for more and keep up the good deals!

Dealer’s Life updated: version B:0.65

Hello Dealers!
We just released a new update on Dealer’s Life, bringing our new version (B:0.65) to all our players!

The first addition is about a new job that some strange, dressed in black, guys have just brought in town… they call them “Brainwasher“!

Hey, that’s a brain washing machine!
Hey, that’s a brain washing machine!

They have this strange device that lets them reset your memory… and what better way to use it than dazing your soon to leave customers?

This renders the “brainwash” option a core mechanic of our game, linked to the employee and his level rather than a single extra possibility given to the player sometimes. And it’s for this reason that we made two big changes: the ad you will see can now be skipped and of course it has been removed from our Premium version!

Speaking about ads, we always listen to our players and, even if I’d like to remember that our Lite version is free thanks to those very ads, we decided to remove the ad shown when hiring a new employee!
That means that there are going to be a lot less ads in this version! But if you dislike ads and if you’d like to support us (and probably have some bonus and exclusive content in the near future, we are discussing about that right in these days!), consider buying our Premium version!

Regarding balance, in this update we also decided to increase the help you get when you run out of cash, so that it will be more difficult to lose a game, and to slightly increase the number of employee slots in higher level shops, given that there are more types of employee available.

Also, we had some reports of device heating, we investigated and linked them to some performance issues caused by our recent addition of in-game shadows and outlines to a lot of graphic elements. With this update we moved those graphical improvements to the sprites and the images included in the game, so your device will have a “lighter” effort running our game, improving performance and reducing heating. Please tell us if you notice any further issue on this topic.

And last, but not least, we have a wonderful new set of screenshots!

So, Dealers, what’s next now?
Well, as we said in our last post we are currently in the design phase of our next huge task which is bringing to (Dealer’s) life one of our core gameplay mechanic: quests and storylines. We have planned this since the beginning as Dealer’s Life was born with this great idea in mind of mixing stories and consequences into the everyday life of a pawn shop owner. Which is also a tribute to one of our biggest inspiration: “Papers, Please, created by Lucas Pope. And if you are reading Lucas, those are all for you: 👍👍👍🤘🤘🤘 !
This is really huge and it will take us a lot of days before it will be completed (the design is huge, let alone the whole development process), in the meanwhile we are working on a lot of things (as usual), you can check them all on our roadmap, here is a summary: a gameplay video for YouTube (which is currently in its early development/editing phase), a new items pack (a sneak peek will be released on the roadmap very soon!), the design of the new “advertising agent” employee and the development of the “lock” button in inventory.

That’s all for now, don’t forget to comment and let us know what you think!

Join our open Beta!

Welcome back Dealers!

Today we announce that Dealer’s Life Beta is now open to everyone, meaning that you can join and try our updates before everyone else!


On top of this, we just released a new Beta update (B:0.63) with our most recent changes that’s available right now to every Beta tester.

If you want to join, the process is very simple: head to Google Play Dealer’s Life Beta page or Dealer’s Life Lite Beta page and agree to become a tester! From that moment on you will be registered as a Beta tester and you will always receive our Beta releases!

We decided to change from closed Beta to open Beta because the number of players is growing fast and we would like to implement a more robust release flow, having as much feedback as possible. Furthermore, a lot of players have asked us to be able to try as soon as possible our new changes and the open Beta will be a very pleasant surprise for them. 🎁

The standard release flow will be on a weekly or biweekly basis, depending on complexity and volume of changes, and it will be:

  1. A closed Alpha only for us developers where we test our changes thoroughly (same as always).
  2. The new version is promoted to the open Beta channel and release notes are available:
    • In the “What’s new” section of Dealer’s Life Google Play Store page.
    • In the dedicated list on our Public Roadmap (where you can always check our progress, even before releases).

      The 🚀 means “In development” and the 👍 means “In Beta”!
  3. You, the Beta testers, can try every new change for a range of days that depends on the complexity and the urgency of the release (let’s say from one day to three or four days) and you will be able to write us your feedback and your advices.
    You will be able to do that on three possible channels:
  • The “Beta Feedback” form (accessible in Dealer’s Life Google Play Store page only from your device) will be your quick and easy way to contact us with a feedback or a suggestion. Remember that this form replaces the “Review” form so you will be able to send a private message to us but you won’t be able to rate and review our game unless you leave the Beta program.
  • The “Requests or Feedback” card on our Public Roadmap if you think that the issue should be publicly discussed or if the topic is too complex for a short message.
  • Our social pages (Twitter, Facebook or Google+ Community) if you prefer to contact us on one of these channels.
  • [optional] In cases such as bug fixing or quick updates, the flow could go back to point #1, with an updated release which will be available only to Beta tester.
  • When we see that the new version is ok and stable on multiple devices, we will promote it to Production and it will be available every player.

That’s all for now, we hope that you like this new opportunity, don’t forget to comment and let us know what you think!

Dealer’s Life updated: version B:0.62

Welcome back Dealers!

We just released an update for Dealer’s Life, bringing this new version (B:0.62) to all our players!
Now, let’s talk about the changes, shall we?

First of all, we introduced a graphical preview in some newspaper articles which shows you who you are going to hire and what you are going to rent. This now looks a lot more real and it’s also more pleasant to the eyes.
Here are two examples, directly from our public roadmap where we posted a preview some days ago:

Hi Ronnie, now I can see your resume picture!
That’s a nice emporium! I’ll rent it!

We also fixed a rare bug which, in specific cases, froze the “Not interested” button, preventing the player to be able to dismiss that customer. This means there will be no more awkward situations with your customers, where you try to dismiss them but they want to stay in your pawn shop. 😉
With this fix we also worked on avoiding double taps on a lot of buttons, in order to prevent double purchases or duplicate actions: we are still working on this but the most part of it is completed and included in this release.

Last, but not least, we improved the game flow after an ad has been shown, meaning that you now see the following windows and actions only after you have seen the ad and not partially before, when loading the ad.

And that’s all for now! But definitively that’s not all for these days because we are about to announce another big change… anyone said “Open Beta“?
We’ll talk about it in the following hours with a dedicated article and instruction on how to participate!

Thank you Dealers and see you soon!

Dealer’s Life updated: version B:0.60

Hi Dealers!

We’ve finally come out with a shiny new version of Dealer’s Life!
It took us two weeks of hard work but I assure you it’s worth the wait! We’re talking about many improvements in many aspects of the game, so take a seat and enjoy the reading of what’s coming with version B:0.60 !

Let’s start from the biggest news: an Expert revamp!
Many players reported the small use of the Expert compared with other employees with more useful abilities so we took some time and thought about new ways to use him.
We added the ability to ask the Expert a quick estimate of an item you are going to buy: a very useful feature as it helps prevent the cases in which you couldn’t estimate an item by yourself. And if the Expert has good experience it’s also a way to get better estimates than yours. But beware that this ability comes with a cost: you can use this ability a limited number of times per day and only if your Expert is not on duty with some item you already own, so you have to keep him available in order to have him around and ask him an opinion.

Yes, he’s right!

So, if you choose to assign him an item of yours to analyze, you won’t be able to ask for quick estimates but on the other hand you still get a new ability from him besides the usual precise estimate and identification of fake items: if the item the Expert is analyzing is a fake he will now give you a smart hint to help sell it without being noticed! I mean, you’ll still be noticed if you insist too much during the haggle but overall it will be more easy to sell a fake item without the customer having it recognized.

What’s that new calendar over there??

Plus, if you assign a task to the Expert he will now take less time to perform it!
Great improvements, huh? That’s why the Expert now costs as much as the Restorer…

We’ve just been talking about time, and here is a real “time improvement”: we changed the way the in-game date is displayed, so now you can know the week number and the day number within that week, meaning that you immediately know when you’ll have to pay weekly expenses.

Next big thing of this new version of DL is about UI graphics: we are working hard on performance optimization but we also want to make the game look as good as possible, so we used a new approach to UI graphics handling and reached a new level of polish, image definition and quality! This improvement also affects the quality of items appearance, we really hope you’ll like it!
And speaking about items, we improved more than 40 items to make them better and nicer!

Just to continue talking about graphics we added new graphics for employees!
As you know we already put some great graphics for employees with the last patch, but this time we added a new appearance for every level of experience of employees! Nice!

A level 1 Restorer… pretty sad, uh?
A level 2 Restorer.
A level 3 MacGyv… ehm Restorer!

Finally we took some time to make a small balance of Luck (the in-game skill, not your luck 😉 ) weight during early game, just to make the game less unforgiving at the beginning if you have low Luck. No more deadly chains of events!

Oh, and of course we fixed a lot of bug with this version!

That’s all for now! Prepare for new great announcements in the near future!

Dealer’s Life updated: version B:0.57

Hi everybody!

We just released another big update of Dealer’s Life, bringing this new patch (B:0.57) on both lite version and premium version!

First of all we decided to address the issue with the connectivity to the ads server: we apologize for this issue, in these days we were constantly in touch with the ads provider and we found an issue on their side that was affecting the game flow. In this update we released a first fix that solves it and makes the game flow less dependent from the ad server. As a token of gratitude, Dealer’s Life premium version players will also be able to get some rewards even when there are no ads available.

Then, thanks to player feedback, we decided to do some balance changes on victory conditions, meaning that now some winning thresholds are higher and hence more difficult to reach. You’d like to know what and how much we changed, wouldn’t you? Unfortunately that’s up to you to discover! 🙂
We’ll surely make other rounds of balance changes in the following patches, so if you have anything to suggest us, head to our roadmap and make yourself heard!

And when you win a game? Well, now there is the brand new “infinite mode“!

I am sure that you will recognize it without any doubt because of the special “continue” button:

Which is of course a tribute to one of the pillars of my entire gaming life!
(Hi Sid! 😀 please be aware that I admire you with all my heart!)

We also fixed some bugs, first among all a bug regarding volume on some sound effects which was not affected by the level set in the option menu.

That’s all for this patch, we hope that you like these changes and we look forward to your comments and feedback on our roadmap !

The importance of the app store description

Hi everybody!

This is the first article for the new “Indie Dev Insights” blog section we decided to start to give some insights to indie developers out there, to help you solve issues we already faced or to have a “in production” point of view on some topics.

In this first post we just want to give you some insights you might find useful if you decide to approach the mobile market, in particular we’ll talk about ASO (App Store Optimization, more on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/App_store_optimization ).
Our thoughts could sound trivial to somebody with more marketing experience than us, but you surely know that for a developer this is quite a new territory and some knowledge in this field can really make the difference.

When we first released Dealer’s Life one month ago, we put a lot of effort to write an exhaustive description of the game that explained as clearly as possible all major features and mechanics, having in mind just the reader (which is of course a potential player) and focusing on concepts rather than on words.

That’s a big mistake.
We later found out that choosing the right words makes the real difference between being visible or not. You should not consider the description of your game just as an explanatory text (which is, of course, what “description” means, isn’t it?), but instead as a group of keywords that the Play Store utilizes to place you in the right spot, especially if we talk about textual researches made by users (the so called “organic searches“).

For your game to be discovered by people looking for that kind of content, you’ll have to use specific keywords in your description (and in your title, if you manage to do so).
Run a brainstorming session, try to imagine what words a potential player would use, find valid synonyms and separate them in terms of their difficulty score by answering simple questions like “How common is this word?” or “How many Apps is this search returning right now?”. Remember that synonyms are very important as it’s almost always better to be higher on an easier search (the so called “long tail“).
After you have your ideas then look at your competitors, analyze their game descriptions, find other inspirations and broaden your point of view.

Now that you have a list of keywords, look for the specific app store guidelines.
We currently are only on Google Play Store so we looked for every information about it; let’s recap what we found out:

  • The “short description” (which is less than 80 characters) is of course very important.
  • The first 160 characters from the description are the most important.
  • A specific keyword should not be repeated more than 5 times otherwise it is not taken into account.

With all this information you can now begin to rewrite your app description!
Of course be honest and don’t overuse keywords (remember that players, not just search engine algorithms, are reading this too) and you’ll see that every “search” you’ve refined this way will return an higher ranking.

There are also some tools out there that could help you decide which specific keyword fits best for your game and monitor your game’s ranking in keywords searches.
Most of those tools are quite expensive but there are some free alternatives that can help you out. We used the basic free tier of App Annie: we are not, in any way, affiliated with them, but it was very useful during this process and we’d like to suggest it.

And if you do this job right and if your game stands out from similar apps, you’ll surely see some results!
Here you can see a graph that displays daily downloads for Dealer’s Life Lite, with the blue arrow pointing to the day when we introduced some ASO concepts in the game’s description.

And that’s all for our first “Indie Dev Insights” article!
If you have any question or feedback, be sure to tell us in the comment section and if you like it, feel free to share it!

Dealer’s Life updated: version B:0.53

Hi everybody!

Here we are with a great new update for Dealer’s Life! This time we gave some more love to graphics and made some great steps forward in the direction of how we really want DL to look like.

Let’s begin with the tiniest of today’s improvements: a little change on UI. We listened to some of our most passionate players which were complaining that while fast-playing (which is the way they like to play: frantically tapping everywhere to get to the next deal ASAP XD ) they sometimes lost some important information that came out on popups. Since for many popups you could just tap everywhere to close it, we decided to go for a different solution about it. First we tried with a small X in the upper right corner of every popup window, but that wasn’t the right solution for a mobile game that you can play mostly with thumbs: the X was too high in the screen, difficult to reach with the thumb. So now we’re proposing a different solution: a “Close” button right inside every popup, in the lower right corner (or in the center if there are no other buttons). We are confident that this compromise will please everyone!

hirepopup

Enough for UI, let’s now talk about new graphics for employees.

newexpert

Every employee has now his own graphics that appears in the dedicated section on the notebook. We already planned to improve this visualization, adding specific graphics according to the level of experience of the employee but hey, this is already a good change, isn’t it?

Then we decided to enhance the visual difference between buyer and seller, since some of our players got sometimes confused between buy and sell and made the wrong offer. Now sellers will put on the table the item they want to sell (like before) while buyers will put just their money. So if you see money on your table, that’s what you’re going to get from your actual customer 😀

maingame_money

The nice thing is: the amount of money you see on the table will change in accordance to how much your customer would like to spend, and that will somehow help you understand from the beginning if you’re going to make a huge deal or just get some small cash. Plus, we assure it’s quite a good sensation to have a customer putting a HUGE amount of money on your table, you should check it 😀

But now let’s talk about the improvement I like the most: visual quality of items! I finally managed to find a way to visually reproduce quality of items in their images. Which is not making a dedicated sprite for every quality level of every item (it would have been just CRAZY), but instead integrating the quality rendering in the procedural generation process! Here is an example of the results I got from this:

itemconditionlayer

See? Same item sprite, 4 different versions based on quality: from the top we have very good conditions, then good, bad, and finally terrible conditions, really ugly! This automatically applies to ALL items, you’ll see while playing the nice effect it makes! 😀

That’s it about graphics but still it’s not all about this patch’s improvements (yep, we worked quite hard…). We also made some changes on late game balance, improving the impact of your Charisma and Luck skills on customers behaviours. Some of our players were telling us the late game is quite easy… well now it will be different! XD

We hope you’ll like all these changes, that’s it for now!
Stay tuned for the next update and have fun!