Today, Apple completed their review for Letters of Marque, and the application is officially “Ready for Sale!” The review did take longer than expected so the release date will be moved to Sunday, December 15th. This is to give game reviewers a full 4 weeks to complete their reviews, and hopefully the result will be an audience waiting to play the game on the release date.
According to every resource I can find on the subject, Sunday seems to be the best day to go live. Christmas is also a wonderful time to be in the App store (or so I have heard), so I am hoping that everything combined will propel this game to a successful launch. Over the next few days, I will be contacting most the review sites on my list and providing them with a promo code. I have 180 contacts total, though some only offer paid reviews and I will be skipping over those.
Thanks to the folks on Reddit, I have also learned of the site redeemco.com which will distribute promo codes to people who click a link. Depending on how many review sites in my list are paid sites, this may come in useful.
Heres to a busy weekend!
Hey everyone, I wanted to give you all an update. Unfortunately, due to some technical difficulties, there will not be a public beta available. However, we have uploaded to Apple and are awaiting their review. If all goes well, the app will go live in the App Store on December 8.
We have chosen to deploy only on iOS 7+ devices as the operating system has pretty good adoption rates now, and that number will only grow. LoM uses upwards of 200MB of memory at times, and all iOS 7 capable devices have at least 512MB, so iOS 7 also ensures that the game isn’t launched on insufficient hardware. The iPhone 4 seems to suffer low frame rates though so we may remove support for this device as the graphics chip is just a bit underpowered for the Retina display. It will currently run on an iPhone 4, but as we add more, the iPhone 4S and iPad 2/Mini 1 will be the baselines for testing.
The apps status is currently “Waiting For Review” on iTunes Connect, I will keep you posted.
I just finished tuning the final dock and decided to give everyone a little preview of what you will be up against! Beta should be available this week on TestFlight!
Letters of Marque – The final stand
LoM Alpha 2 is now available on TestFlight! If you want to try out the alpha on your iOS device, just follow this link and connect your device:
For all of the current alpha testers, some changes were made in this build that will not work with previous saved game data, so this update will be starting fresh. This will likely be common during alpha releases.
– Added a crosshair to target the next objective
– In the ship level-up menu, you can now tap anywhere on the level up item to perform an upgrade
– Pause button now reflects that it contains a mini-map
– Added more docks to increase frequency of action and decrease boredom
– Many enemy ships now patrol areas in the water
– Enemy ships respawn at much further distances. So you can now clear out an area and return later without the enemy ships reinfesting the area so easily
– Performance improvement by combining textures for the buildings at the docks
– Collider meshes have been generated for all levels (instead of colliding with the terrain, a simple mesh is used)
– Weapons have been retuned so that a level 5 weapon is not many times more powerful than a level 1 weapon
– Enemy ships now start off with a random speed modifier making it more difficult to just stay out of their range while killing them
– Damage/second stats have been added to all weapon purchase menu items
– Treasure chests have been added to Fishermans Cove
– Existing treasure chests have been retuned so they don’t give too overwhelming of a reward
– Steering speeds have been increased to make the ships more responsive
– Pause menu now fills the whole screen on all iOS aspect ratios
After playing through LoM Alpha 1, it became obvious that the weapon tuning was a bit off. A level 5 weapon was many times more powerful than a level 1 weapon. This meant that upgrading from the CatBoat (a single weapon ship) to the Sloop (a dual weapon ship) was a difficult transition as two level 1 weapons were far less powerful than one level 5 weapon.
I have retuned the weapons so that a level 4 weapon will be about double the strength of a level 1 weapon. I look forward to hearing your feedback for this change in the Alpha 2 release (which will be available on TestFlight September 20). The game is iOS 7 ready and I cannot wait to give it a try on the iPhone 5S.
LoM Stats Guide for Alpha 2
Well if you have been waiting to get your hands on LoM, then this is your lucky day! I am running a TestFlight for the app. If you have an iPhone 4, iPad 2, iPod Touch 5th generation or newer, just follow the link below from your device and connect your device to your new (or existing) TestFlight account:
I will be manually approving recruits every day, so please be patient. Within 24 hours of connecting your device to your account, you should get an email with an install link that will install the game right onto your device. Since this is a development build, it is a rather large install and it may take a while to download (213 MB).
Hope you all like it!
I have been working on tuning the weapons and ships a bit as we get closer to a public alpha. I am also doing a lot of tuning and polishing on the “Swab the Deck” level which will make the first 4 levels ready to play, about 3 hours of gameplay. Once I am finished with that level, I think we will open up the alpha to a limited number of people. Apple only allows for 200 devices to be on my developer account, and I am saving some of those for review sites and journalists, so if you are really interested in getting into the alpha, let me know as soon as possible!
Anyway, here is the current configuration for the weapons and ships:
Letters of Marque Stats Guide
We submitted a press release to GamesPress.com yesterday and there are some sites picking it up already, like GamaSutra! We also got up to #54 in popularity on IndieDB, and #5 on SlideDB!
I am not sure yet where all of the traffic is coming from, but we have been very active on Twitter today. I look forward to reporting what brought in all if the analytics on Funonium show it.
We are also trying out TestFlight for the application, and we hope to offer a limited public alpha soon for iDevices. Keep watching!
Here is a video that demonstrates how the player controls work in LoM.
There are two ways to control the player ship. You can choose to “push” the ship with your finger, or you can use a virtual joystick which (I find to be much more natural on larger devices.) When using the “push” method, the ship just sails away from your finger leaving the view in front of the ship and to the sides clear of fingers. When the joystick is enabled, anywhere you tap will create a joystick control under your finger.
The player can also pinch to zoom the camera in and out. Larger ships allow the player to zoom out further so they can see more (just one of the many perks to upgrading your ship.)
Here are some sketches of the new characters that will help you purchase supplies, tell you about your journey, and threaten your crew!
Artwork by Ashley Kozicki
Letters of Marque – Male Pirate
Letters of Marque – Female Pirate
Letters of Marque – Privateer
Letters of Marque – Female Merchant
Letters of Marque – Male Merchant
We also now have a twitter account setup. Follow us: @funonium